Where I am
Waterloo Iowa. I am a Michigan native and lived there until this summer. I am from a small suburb of Detroit and miss it tremendously. I hope the city can get back on its feet!
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I grew up in Holland Michigan on Lake Michigan. It is a beautiful part of the state and also very supportive of the arts. I took art lessons from elementary on and showed in many competitions in high school. My parents are both fine artists and encouraged my creativity from a young age.
I attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and earned degrees in Scientific Illustration and History of Art. During my undergraduate years I started a part time job as a veterinary assistant that turned into a full time job after graduation.
The job allowed me to work with animals and have time for my art as well. I was never around horses until I started dating the man who would become my husband. His family owned horses and his cousin is an accomplished jumper rider. From the first time I went to their barn I was hooked! My husband got me my first horse a month before our wedding. He rides as well and we now own two beautiful horses along with 2 greyhounds, 1 husky mix and 4 cats. I am currently in nursing school and find my photography to be a much needed creative outlet.
When did you first start drawing & painting?
I was drawing as long as I remember. Almost all my childhood drawings were of cats! I became serious about art in high school and was especially interested in scientific illustration which melded my medical and artistic interests. I found my passion for photography in high school too, and was out most weekends with friends shooting around town.
You paint more than just horses, what is your favorite subject & why?
I photograph and draw plants and nature as well. I am especially interested in close ups of leaves or plants in different light.
Who are your main influences?
Edward Hopper is by far my favorite artist and has been my main influence for years. His paintings use light to invoke a feeling that permeates the piece. I try to use light in a similar manner to help tell a story.
You work with a variety of mediums, which one do you prefer?
Photography. I love capturing movement and light.
Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
My greyhound Marigold is seen in a lot of my pieces. She is a rescue dog and had a tough start on life from an autoimmune disease and a broken leg that didn’t heal well. She has the sweetest personality and was a therapy dog at a hospital. She has the kindest expression too! My horse muse is my Angloarab Kaprys. He has a cute face that lets him get away with a lot. He is also pretty expressive especially when ridden and I’ve captured quite a few interesting shots of him!
Do you have any secret rituals you do to help you get in the zone for your art?
When I go out to shoot photographs I like to take my husky mix Kailie with me. She is wonderful to photograph and loves to hike or go anywhere in the car.
It’s a lot less lonely in the middle of the woods with a good dog by your side.
Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Aside from my horse barn I love to shoot photograph in the woods. In Michigan I lived on a small island called Grosse Ile that had preserved open spaces. Many had trails but most were left wild. It also sustained a large wildlife population and was a winter haven for water birds. It was such a quiet and peaceful place.
What effect do you think the Internet will have on art in general?
It has been great for exposure for upcoming artists. It also enables an easy way to communicate with other artists. However, copyright issues also come into play. Even with embedded watermarks or copyright statements it is possible for people to copy pieces. It’s a scary prospect to think your hard work will be used in a way not intended.
Has it had an effect on yours?
It’s definitely helped my exposure and sales. It’s also a great way to find out about upcoming shows.
Which one is your personal favorite piece?
It’s a toss-up between a photograph I took of my dog Marigold on her adoption day (called “Contentment”) and a colored pencil drawing of my horse Kaprys. The light I captured in “Contentment” is beautiful and Marigold’s peaceful expression takes me back to that day. Her foster mom had just dropped her off and she climbed on my bed to watch her out the window. When she was gone Marigold lay in the sun and I snapped the picture.
My drawing “Kaprys” was done after a bad accident I had on my horse. It would be almost a year until I rode him again so the piece was largely therapeutic.
Would you ever sell it?
I do sell prints of “Contentment” and a part of the proceeds (as with all my work) go to greyhound rescue to help other greyhounds find permanent homes. I would never sell “Kaprys,” it is a very personal piece for me.
What else are you passionate about?
Greyhound rescue is a large passion of mine. I have worked with various rescues since I adopted my first greyhound 7 years ago. Animal rescue in general is another interest. I am currently fostering two kittens that were abandoned by their mother and bottle feeding them. I also ride dressage and love any time I can get in the saddle.
Working on anything new?
I am patiently waiting for some sunlight here in Iowa to go out and shoot some beautiful woodland scenes! I love capturing the changing seasons at the barn and in the woods.
More to Come
Thanks to Amanda for answering the interview and sharing her work. Be sure to check out her portfolio site periodically for updates about her latest works.
Also stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists and photographers.
Are you a horse artist or do you know an equine artist you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.