Originally from a small town in rural New Zealand, Amy moved to Melbourne permanently in 2008 to carve out a career in fine arts - and because Melbourne is awesome. She has studied design and architecture which she draws on for artistic concepts and is a self-taught artist. She has been painting since childhood and exhibiting and selling art professionally since 2010.
Amy started her professional career painting contemporary abstracted landscapes in acrylic (later incorporating metal leaf). Her landscapes are inspired by the beauty of the natural world, consider the Gaia Hypothesis, and how the local landscape influences its surrounding culture.
To say she loves wine and coffee would be an understatement. Her obsession with both has slowly spilled over into her arts practice and prompted her to experiment with subjects and mediums – eventually developing into the coffee and wine art you see today.
On Her Wine And Coffee Paintings:
The process of painting with wine and coffee instead of paint is a slow finicky process which Amy has developed over the past 3 years, with lots of experimenting and failures. She keeps her techniques a trade secret. While the finished artworks occasionally look similar to watercolour paintings, this is only one of the many techniques used and often the mediums are closer to gouache than to watercolour.
Wine paintings are usually a mixture of several different wines, having been opened anywhere from that day to 2 years prior. A shiraz will give a very different colour to a cabernet merlot. As is the nature of wine, Amy’s wine paintings gradually change with age bringing out different tones in the wine such as tobacco, lavender and blue; much like decanting a bottle will bring forward a wine’s different notes and cellaring wine will change the structure, notes and tannins.
Amy’s coffee painting process is slightly more straightforward, however she has learnt to substitute some of her own coffees throughout the day with decaf to prevent the caffeine shakes from affecting her work. Again she will use several different ‘cups’ of coffee, although not as old as the wine she uses. Rather than utilising different coffee types, Amy instead employs different techniques to apply the coffee to paper or canvas. This develops different colours, textures and tones. One such technique is to bring out the coffee’s golden crema and quickly apply it, as the crema changes back to a darker brown if not used within a couple of minutes.
Her works in coffee and wine are inspired by myriad of things, including visiting wineries and coffee plantations. Her coffee birds aim to capture the sense of freedom and elation felt with the first cup of coffee in the morning while commenting on the beauty of the local native birds and how much coffee is a part of Melbourne’s culture. Her wine instruments are inspired by her love of wine, music, dancing and the sense of exhilaration felt while drinking wine and hanging out with close friends.
On Her Landscapes:
Amy’s landscapes seek to create an alternate reality - a space in your mind to meditate and contemplate ideas while also expressing the emotions and abstracted thoughts themselves. The majority of her landscape works are highly stylised and abstracted where forms become vessels for emotions, ideas, experiences and a metaphor for life’s journey. Texture, simplicity of form, a balanced composition (including the Golden Ratio) and emotionally expressive colours create these spaces.
To Amy the earth is a beautiful and holistic entity, an idea she portrays in the majority of my works. Physical forms are derived from natural landscapes she’s visited and everyday objects which are less simplified representations. Inspiration and meaning for her works come from a need to explore the deeper connections that exist within our planet, our landscapes and ourselves which is overlayed by personal experiences and emotional reaction to these experiences.
Amy aims to stylise forms to their simplest shapes to somewhat remove physical representation and impart a sense of ambiguity. Compositions use precise symmetry, balance and the golden ratio. Often texture is applied to the initial sketch and allowed to dry for several days before metal leaf is used. Then multiple layers of visual texture is built up using Amy’s own broken paint technique; which is expressive of the emotions being portrayed but also invites the viewer to explore the painting from different angles. This is because a work may look very different up close, from a distance, or from the side than straight on due to how the paint has been applied. Amy tends to use a limited palette with colours selected primarily for their emotional values.