We caught up with finalist Amy to find out more about her connection with art and her time on the show so far.
Hi Amy! Can you tell us what or who it was that inspired your interest in art?
My passion for life inspires me to make art. I have an innate need to express with colour and line all the beauty and complexity of being part of existence.
What motivated you to apply for the show?
I applied for the show because having a baby has made me re evaluate my life and my priorities. I decided not to go back to work and instead to pursue my art full time. As soon as I made that decision this competition popped up, I applied straight away and I think it will be a good launching pad into a career as a full time artist.
What’s the most interesting advice or skill that you’ve learnt on the TV series so far?
Daphne Todd drummed into us the importance of observation. Look, look and look again, this has really started to change my drawing style as I will continue to change and adapt things right to the end of the work.
How have you found painting with a time limit?
Painting with a time limit was awful, I’d like to say that it taught me something but actually I’ve had to train myself back out of it and learn to take my time again. I’m not a fan of painting alla prima. I like to paint in layers so that the colours are fresh and crisp.
Is it true that you always remove your shoes to paint? How do you feel this helps you?
I often take my shoes off to paint as it’s grounding like yoga, also because I’m so physical and it is quite a taxing endeavour to complete a painting. I’m not one of these people that will sit quietly on a chair or at a desk, painting is exciting and body moves with my mind. Also you have to be prepared to move closer and further from a painting throughout the process to see what is and isn’t working.
As music is such a big influence in your family, has that had any influence on your art?
My art is a visual music. Inspired by the musical upbringing, using colour was my way of saying what my dad was singing about on stage; and that is that life is so exciting, so full of love and vibrancy. Visually my painting is full of pattern and rhythms just like a piece of music. I listen to music all the time and the sounds elicit particular colours that I use in my painting.
Who is your favourite artist and why?
I love Hockney because what comes across in his work is the pure joy of trying to represent the world around him with paint, pencils or collage. I also love Yayoi Kusama because we share a similar philosophy to do with pattern being a universal expression of love and unity. I love Matisse’s use of textiles to create rhythms and colour, and also his long fluid lines.
If you could paint any person, who would it be?
When I started painting as a 10 year old I used to paint endless portraits of Bob Marley and also tribal peoples of Indonesia, Africa, Australia. These were just characters that really inspired me at the time. Now I paint my son, my husband, my dad and brother – the people I love most in the world.v
What is your favourite medium to work with and why? Do you have any tips for working with it?
I love oils, watercolours, inks, acrylics, collage. I don’t have a favourite, it’s more about choosing the right medium to express what you want to convey in that particular image. That’s what makes a great artist.
Do you prefer painting animals, people or places?
I love painting people. I always paint people I love or am deeply moved by, it’s the emotion that counts. I’ve done loads of work of animals as well. I love to pick out the patterns in animal makings and I’m intrigued by the way the same patterns crop up else where in the natural world.
Which painting do you consider to be your masterpiece and why?
The last painting you’ve done is always the masterpiece. You feel you have done something really clever when you finish a painting but soon it’s not enough and it’s back to the studio. The idea of masterpiece is one aspect that drives you forward.
What advice would you give someone considering taking up art?
To someone starting art making, I would say enjoy the process don’t be too critical. Art making is more than a lifetimes worth of journey, you can never achieve everything so forget about achieving and just really enjoy yourself. Don’t limit yourself, try out every idea you have and follow every inclination- it’s all about experimentation. And remember, even Picasso made naff paintings sometimes.