featured artist: Amy Abshier-Reyes

i was running behind schedule on my weekly featured artist, but have decided to post them now on saturdays instead of mondays. i know that i miss blog updates from my favourite blogs on the weekend, and having something longer that i can come back to and visit is always helpful.

{yeah, i know it - i'm hooked.}

anyhow, i stumbled across this week's featured artist while i was searching through listings and listings and listings of talented painters, and amy's work jumped out and bit me. for some reason, her style reminds me a bit of julia from red otter - classic, simple, almost victorian, elegant. like a fairy tale!

i've just started painting with watercolour again, but i hope that eventually i can make it look as easy as amy does; and as good!

- enjoy. xo

Name: Amy Abshier-Reyes
Location: Kansas City, MO

01. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a painter/illustrator and a whole lot of other things besides. I grew up in a rural community in Texas, graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute, and moved around a lot before deciding to move back to Kansas City. I show paintings at various galleries in the US and sell small paintings and prints on Etsy.

02. What first made you want to become an artist?

I've been making art since I was a little thing--always drawing, painting, making up stories--you should hear my mom go on and on about it!

03. Tell us a bit about how you first discovered painting - what were some challenges that you encountered and how did you overcome them?

I've always loved painting, and I painted with whatever materials were at hand: finger paint, watercolors, acrylics. I didn't properly learn how to paint with oils until college, though, and that opened some huge doors for me. It's my favorite medium now. I still encounter challenges, though! Feet are some of the hardest things to paint and make them appear believable.

04. Where do you draw your inspiration & motivation from?

I love old illustrations from the 1800's up to the 1960's, old snapshots of ordinary people, dreams (I have crazy, vivid dreams). Sometimes it's just a word or phrase that conjures up images, or something I saw from the corner of my eye. I'm always alert and open to inspiration--it comes from all over and can hit at any moment.

05. Apart from creating things, what do you do?

I'm a mom and a wife and, for a regular paycheck, I work in an auction house. I love to read. I love music and I collect records (my husband and I met working together at a record shop).

06. What's your favourite item in your shop?

It's hard to say--some of my favorite things sold long ago. I'd have to say my oil paintings--I list a new one every so often and they're so different stylistically from my watercolor pieces, that they make a nice contrast. Hmmm, now you're making me think...

07. Can you name a few undiscovered artists that you'd recommend to the world?

My friend Rachel Stuart-Haas is incredible--I love her paintings. And Amy Earles' illustrations and paper dolls are amazing. And I love Elsa Mora's work: she makes beautiful cut-paper pieces, jewelry, illustrations--so many things! There's so many talented people I've discovered through Etsy--it's really wonderful and inspiring.

08. What's something unique/interesting about you that you've always wanted to mention in an interview but never found a way to work it in?

I have a tendency to get easily obsessed with little things, whether it's collecting, or painting, or books. I find something that just *sparks* and I have to learn everything I can about that thing or idea; explore it fully, talk about it at length. Thankfully the obsession never lasts too long!

09. What is the best advice you have ever received?

Ooooh, so much. But here's one of the best:
I'm afraid of a LOT of pretty mundane things--I just get anxious very easily. And years ago a good friend said to me,"What are you so afraid of? What are they gonna do---take away your birthday?" That idea is so silly it makes me less anxious and able to deal with things that I might normally shy away from.

{check out more of amy's work at kansas city's blue gallery, her blog, on flickr, and of course, on etsy.}


amy abshier reyes said...

Wow, Courtney! This looks great--thanks again for everything!

elaine said...

Great interview and I love the advice at the end. Amy mentioned about how she deals with fear... Thank-you. (both)

Heather said...

Awesome interview, I just love Amy's paintings. Her ladies just haunt you, something about they eyes! Thanks for sharing :)


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