If you’ve had your eye on the treasuries I’ve been posting, no doubt you’ve seen this month’s “Meet the Artist” artisan, Amber Alexander, included in some, dare I say, most of them. I’m not the only one…If you’re on Etsy on a regular basis, you’ve also seen her work on the front page time and time again, and for just cause… it’s wonderful.
I’ll admit, I have always wanted to be able to paint; as far back as I can remember. While I’m your typical, right-brainer in every other way, alas it has never been. (I’m left-handed, isn’t that supposed to be a guaranteed trait of my people; excelling at creativity in all forms??) I’ve even gone so far as to buy all of the necessary tools only to find out that, at best, my work can be qualified as bad abstracts. So, I’ll stick with photography and design as my creative outlets…
This is one of the many, many reasons I love Amber’s work. Whimsical, colorful, sweet and simply divine, Amber’s work never fails to make me smile (and dare I say the teeniest bit jealous while I’m attempting to paint a dog…errr monkey… um maybe it’s a worm??).
So, without further adieu, meet Vermont’s own Amber Alexander after the jump…
What did you do to gain knowledge and skill in your medium?
When I started painting in 2008, I painted EVERY day. I studied other artist’s work, including but not limited to John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, John James Audubon, Beatrix Potter and Maurice Sendak :) I just kept practicing and refining and studying!
Do you have a favorite painting and why?
Yes, I do! “Eat Your Peas” When I painted it, it was almost as if it painted itself. I felt like I was channeling a child who hates his or her vegetables. I remember very well the feeling of having to eat something you absolutely did NOT want to eat. I also like the simplicity and soft immediate strokes of it. Every time I look at that little cat I smile:)
If you had to shut down your studio tomorrow and couldn’t paint, how would you express your creativity otherwise?
That would be HARD! but I would probably dive into photography. I dabble in it :)
I might also write children’s stories.
Do you think artistic ability is innate or is it learned?
I think everything that happens to us, or that we partake in, in our lives, affects the final product, from the day we are born. I believe I was born with talent. But just the same, I think I could have squandered it or not done anything with it. I believe there are a lot of people who don’t even realize they have the talent. I think you do have to WORK at it too. Very few people are able to create amazing things without any work.. but I believe there are many many people who just haven’t nurtured their abilities.
Do you find yourself attracted to work similar to yours or unlike yours?
Great question! I find myself attracted to both. I love classic children’s book illustrations and Audubon’s work, but I also love abstract art, embroidery art, pieces with texture, things made out of wood, photography and found nature objects.
What motivates you to do what you do?
It’s something I enjoy, but I also need to make a living. I think if I didn’t need to make a living, my art would probably be very different. I am also very connected to animals and try, through my art, to share that and maybe remind humans that animals have lives a lot like ours and deserve respect, good treatment and love.
Any advice for budding artists?
My advice would be: do what you do, a LOT. If it’s something you really want to do and be good at, do it every day, refine, critique it, study others who have done work that you admire and love. Keep at it and create what you love!
How about artists just starting out on Etsy?
Network, practice, create things that speak from your heart, because that is what people respond to. Keep yourself visible to the community and other Etsy artists. Renew or relist items often. Also offer great customer service. Take pride in the whole product including your shipping and communication with customers.
Can you believe Amber has only been painting since 2008?? Click on any of the pictures above to get to her shop and definitely check her out because there are so many more wonderful works in her shop!
Many thanks to my fellow Etsian (and animal lover!) Amber Alexander for taking time out of her busy day to participate in “Meet the Artist.”