Featured Artist Amanda Ward shares her artistic journey and talks about how she paints vibrant wildlife, landscapes, and floral still life paintings.
Featured Artist Amanda Ward
Dave – Hello Amanda, thank you for joining me today.
Before we get started, tell us a bit of yourself.
Where do you reside, and how long have you been creating art?
Amanda – Hi Dave! My family and I live in Alamosa, CO. It is the main town of the San Luis Valley, just west of South Fork, CO. We have lived here for the past four years.
Like most artists, I have been creating art since I was a child or, in other words, for over 40 years. In fact, before I even started grade school I would create very colorful drawings of my toys. Plus, I was lucky enough to be raised by my maternal grandmother who encouraged my creativity, which then enabled me to grow and flourish as an artist.
Dave –You have a unique art style and use a vibrant color palette. What inspired you to paint wildlife, landscapes, and rich floral paintings?
Amanda – I express my admiration for all living creatures, landscapes, and flowers with my use of vibrant colors. It is as if through this boldness of color the uniquesness and beauty of each subject matter is enhanced. Like they have somehow been enchanted.
You will notice that a lot of my still lifes include vintage colored glass. This is because it reminds me of my grandma. Also, it is through my love of vivid color and enticing organic form that I re-create the magic of vintage colored glass. The delicacy of this forgotten glass shouts volumes with its sensual shapes and spectacular detail offering a visual gift to the viewer.
Dave – You can see the personality of every animal you painted. How did you learn how to capture the character of every subject?
Amanda – After observing many photos and researching what each animal symbolizes I say a prayer before I start painting. I ask for guidance to know how to get across the feeling I want expressed . Although I use reference photos, what I paint takes on it’s own characteristics.
How long does it take you to complete a painting and what sizes do you offer?
Of course the size of my paintings and the subject matter determines how long it takes me to complete a painting. Also, taking in consideration that I homeschool all four of my girls, there are a lot of interruptions. I usually finish a larger work of art within two weeks and put in about 20-36 hours.
My largest size of artwork I have available is 48”x30” and the smallest is 6”x6”. The majority are 30”x30”.
What message would you like your viewers to receive when they look at your artwork?
Amanda – I would like my viewers to be inspired and edified when they look at my artwork.
What supplies do you use for your paintings?
Amanda – I mostly use Golden heavy body acrylics and Golden mediums, such as: Isolation Coat, Molding Paste, and Gloss Medium. Occasionally, I have used Liquitex heavy body paints and SoHo acrylics. I love The Edge All Media Cotton Deluxe Stretched canvas 1-1/2” deep. I use Masterson Sta-Wet Premier Palette with sponge and paper to help my acrylics stay wet longer. Although, I am not as picky with my brushes per say, I do like the Creative Inspirations Long DuraHandle brushes. I will use gesso to mix with my acrylic for an undercoat on the canvas before I start a painting as well.
Dave – When did you start selling your artwork, and how did you get started?
Amanda – Over 20 years ago I started selling my artwork. It was sporadic, but was still an exhilarating experience for me. I started off by selling to acquaintances and family members. My biggest sale was three commissioned pieces for the same collector who found out about my art from a mutual friend.
Dave – What platforms do you use to showcase and sell your artwork?
Amanda – As of now, I have a website and am on Instagram. I have briefly started a blog and I am in the process of using Pinterest to showcase my artwork.
How do you promote your art online?
Amanda – I promote my art through my online portfolio, through art competitions, and online magazine ads.
Dave – What was the biggest lesson you learned about starting your art business?
Amanda – The biggest lesson I have learned about starting my art business is that it isn’t just about creating the art. You have to put forth the effort to get the exposure you need in order to sell.
Dave – What tips could you give to new artists who are interested in selling their artwork?
Amanda – Do your research. Find out what all you need to do to get your work out there.
Keep creating and share your best work.
Having a mentor/artist coach to help you along the way is always beneficial.
Dave – Thank you, Amanda. Would you mind sharing a few of your favorite paintings with us and share the story behind them?
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Tender Intensity 30”x30”
Tender Intensity is my favorite painting. It was my first time experimenting with putting abstract and realism together. I have found for me two important elements when I create a piece of art. They are: be sure to have fun and to take chances. Keeping that in mind, I found the whole process painting this piece to be freeing and I enjoyed every minute of it. Also, it was the first time I felt a bond with the subject I was painting. I had a hard time stepping away. As if I was leaving a friend each time I took a break.
Since my main goal as an artist is to inspire others, I wanted this lion to have a tenderness to his eyes. Like the lion in The Lion, The Witch, and The Waredrobe by C.S. Lewis, my lion is supposed to represent Christ.
Although lions are intense and intimidating, my lion looks approachable and his main looks so soft you want to go up and cuddle to him. Or maybe that’s just me.
Inseparable, was another fun piece for me. I used texture medium and covered the entire surface before beginning the actual painting. The idea behind this painting was to step outside of my comfort zone and not paint a single horse, but a group of horses.
At first, I thought of painting them running at a distance. Instead, I decided to zoom in on the horses to show the details. I am glad I did because I love the outcome. Once again these horses came alive with the boldness of color.
This piece is titled Inseparable because it reminds me of three friends or brothers who enjoy each other’s company and are so close they are inseparable.
Ambitious Hope 30”x30”
Ambitious Hope is another favorite of mine. The reason why I love this one is because of the Bearded Iris. Irises are one of my favorite flowers to paint. I love how they come in a wide variety of color and how the petals curl. In other words, it is all about the color and the organic shapes.
In the past, when I painted flowers I did a single flower on black background. I decided to, once again, try something different. The iris is still on a black background, but it is more like a mural on the wall.
I also wanted a way to include vintage colored glass. However, I wanted my iris to take center stage so I made sure the colored glass was muted in color.
The end result was stunning and gave my painting a feeling of surrealism. The iris is the realistic part and the rest is the dream-like reality.
Delicate Arch 24”x36”
Delicate Arch was a commissioned piece that I really enjoyed painting. It was the painting that gave me the courage to go bold. The collector loved red and specifically requested for bolder color. Since the blue of the sky and the red orange of the rock are complimentary colors it really made the piece pop. It also added a lot of feeling.
Dave – What social media sites can people follow you on?
Amanda – I am on Instagram. My Instagram account is: art_by_amanda_ward
Dave – Where can people purchase your art?
Amanda – www.artbyamandaward.com
Dave – I would like to thank you one more time for sharing your artistic journey with us, and I look forward to seeing all of your new creations.
It was a pleasure. Thank you Dave for your time!