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Diving in with artist Amy Webber.

Amy Webber has always considered herself an artist, but didn’t take it seriously until just a few years ago. Despite all the encouragement she received to pursue a career in the arts, she internalized the idea that you can’t make a decent living as an artist, and developed a fear that utilizing her ‘outlet’ as a career would turn it into a source of stress and ultimately, resentment.

“My mom says it was evident I had a natural talent since I was a toddler and she first handed me a pencil, and I started drawing little circles instead of scribbling.”

Having other strengths in academics, she ended up studying psychology and working in the field for several years, and even started studying to apply for medical school at one point.

“I always told myself I would make more time for my art, but life – or rather, excuses – got in the way. I always had this nagging feeling that I was wasting my talent, and as the years went on that feeling gradually moved from the back of my mind to the forefront, when I began to realize I would regret living my life without seeking my potential as an artist.”

After feeling like she had been stifling who she is at her core, she began to believe that if she truly gave herself the time and freedom to create, the artist within would flourish.

A random series of events led to Amy taking up landscape photography as a hobby in 2016. And while sitting on a pile of beautiful photos that she could use as reference to paint from, she received the inspiration she needed to finally start a career as an artist. She invested in a set of soft pastels and created her first landscape from her own photo, and the response was incredible. She knew she had a calling.

Pursuing a full-time career as an artist hasn’t been easy, as Amy explains that her journey has been a bit of a rollercoaster, full of learning experiences. But through all the ups and downs she’s 100% certain that this is the road she wants to be on, and is happy that her fear of resenting her art has been completely unfounded.

Amy Webber art featured in Merrymen Magazine Volume 5

“I am more in love with creating than ever before. At the beginning of 2019, I started to teach myself how to paint with oils, and that is now the dominant medium in my studio.”

Through some of the lessons Amy has come to find when it became her full time job drove home the importance of supporting other local artists and creatives.

Seeing how instant and inexpensive the availability of mass-produced products are of just about anything, Amy says that it can sometimes feel daunting and disheartening to be an artist.

“What we do takes so much time and energy and heart, more than I can even put into words. So I am endlessly grateful to the people who see the value in what we do as artists, the people who understand the reason for the price tag, the people who support us. I’ve found myself supporting local businesses and creators more, because these people are what the world needs more of. And that money goes back into our local economy, and that benefits all of us.”

With a goal and mission to create work that evokes emotion and connection, Amy feels that human connection is what gives meaning to life.

Amy says it’s a privilege to have found something that lights a fire within her. Her connection to art is intrinsic to a high quality of life, and it’s a feeling that has strengthened over time.

“I feel like I need to make art as badly as I need air to breathe. There’s this poem by Atticus that goes, ‘Find what makes you forget to eat, sleep, and drink, and then do it until you die of thirst,’ and I can really relate to this because I do get so in the zone sometimes that I legitimately forget to ingest food and completely lose track of time.”

If you visit Amy’s Instagram account, it’s clear to see that her chosen subjects are seascapes and landscapes. And her ability to create works that capture the light with such accuracy and photographic realism is astonishing. Social media has been incredibly beneficial because it’s put Amy in contact with a wonderful community of other artists who can all relate to and are supportive of one another.

“It allows me to reach people around the world who would otherwise never see my work. I’m just in the beginning stages of building up an audience on there, but I’m also exploring ways to get more local, in-person visibility.”

As an artist who holds herself to a high standard of quality, she says that there is so much more to creating work than sheer talent alone. Even though painting can be meditative and therapeutic and wonderful in so many ways, the intricacy of it takes a lot of stamina, and there are parts of the process that can be very frustrating.

“If I’m putting my name on something, or if someone is going to pay me for something I made, I need it to be up to my standard of quality, and I’d rather not get paid than compromise on that. I think it’ll get easier as I gain more experience and hone my skills, but I also think I’ll keep pushing myself and challenging myself further, and so it’s never going to be easy.”

For as long as she can remember, her mind has been incessantly buzzing with creativity. It’s a major part of what gives her a sense of purpose in life – that is, to create beautiful things, to give life to something that existed only in her mind, and show people the world through her lens.

With her mind constantly buzzing with creativity she spends less time on passive things like watching TV. And as a strong self-motivator she explains that she always needs to be working on something, even if she’s been painting all day and is too tired to keep working, she’ll move on to her laptop and do some research or order materials for whatever she’s working on next.

Amy’s love for landscape and seascape paintings resonate a moody and somber feeling with deep blues and greys, fog and clouds. Before she started painting landscapes, she mostly drew people, and was drawn to moodier images there as well.

“I think part of this inclination towards moody images is because I am fascinated by the darker, more somber side of what it means to be human. Obviously the happy, joyous moments of our life are beautiful, but there would be little depth to life if it were all sunshine and rainbows. I find such beauty in our ability to feel things deeply, to be moved by emotion, to be able to empathize and connect with others through our dark times, or even to feel utterly alone and somehow find strength within ourselves to pull ourselves through despite it all.”

With humility, Amy admits that she doesn’t quite feel like she’s reached the point of success she’d like to achieve in her career. But that she has smaller successes that she feels incredibly proud of, and finds those little victories proof and validation that she is on the right trajectory to achieving those goals.

“Right now I’m really working on building up my skills, and building a collection of works to be shown publicly. I don’t have any formal art education, so I feel like I’m lacking connection to the industry and have been living within the bubble that is my art studio and my own mind. So I’m actively seeking out ways to get myself out there and make more connections in the art world, and it feels good to be making a bit of headway on that.”

Like any new career, Amy’s path has been full of learning experiences. And it’s taken her some time to learn how to monetize a business as an artist.

“It took awhile for me to learn just how much more there is to running an art business beyond creating art, and it has been a challenge to learn how to divide my time appropriately and efficiently to get everything done. Sometimes I feel anxious about not having gotten any actual painting done on a given day when I’ve had to work on any operational, marketing, or accounting related things. But all of it is necessary, and I’ve learned that it’s better for me to focus on one area per day rather than being too scattered.”

Her studio space has had to undergo constant changes in order to fulfill a plethora of daily duties that comes with being a business owner. She’s had to schedule and devote time to more than just her painting. But being flexible in her ability to change and adapt in order to fulfill daily tasks, whether it be rearranging her small studio for social media photoshoots, or working on prints and covering her entire floor by cutting mats and X-Acto knives, she understands that the dream only works if you do.

© 2021 Merrymen.

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