Living the Artful Life - Pt. 1 - Becoming an Artist

I recently asked my students what they most want to read about in my blog, and many wanted to know about how I became an artist.

But first I want to say this: The popular idea that “everyone is an artist” is contemporary ego-massaging hogwash (in my humble opinion). I would say that everyone has the potential to be an artist. But what separates the wheat from the chaff (the artist from the hobbyist) is the grinding of the mill. In this metaphor, I am calling out those who DO and those who DON’T…

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Cycling With Tigers in Northern India

We were, just the 2 of us, halfway into our days of bicycling through the tiger reserve known as Jim Corbett National Park in northwest India. This vast tiger reserve was established to protect the majestic beasts from encroachment and poaching.

By now we had been cycling for almost 6 months and were desperate to detour off the main roads that were choked with pollution and psychotic drivers. At the time, there were known to be 100 tigers in residence in this reserve, roaming freely…

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The Passing of Things - Mono No Aware

Mono no aware, is a Japanese term for the awareness of impermanence or transience of things. This is a state of wistful knowing and gentle sadness about the fleeting nature of life.

This knowing is a call to the present moment, aware that soon this time will indeed pass. The chevron flight of migrating geese overhead and the splendor of autumn leaves now brittle on the ground are reminders that yes, winter is coming. The natural cycle of life is evident everywhere whether we…

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How Place Informs The Work - Part 1

I’ve always been curious how much of the work we create is a product of our environment. There are long dissertations on the Nature/Nurture impact on each person’s development, but how much of the visual/sensory experience is consumed and metabolized and then makes its way into the artist’s work? This is an ongoing obsession of mine as an artist and traveler…

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Travelogues waiting for their adventures

Few things make me happier than a fresh leather bound art travel journal with blank pages waiting to be filled! The virgin white pages fill me with anticipation - visual stories that I will look back on in future years. Whether the resulting images will be a reflection of literal places or from my imagined worlds, they are travelogues of the epic quest…

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30 Days of Aqua - Pairings

Now that my 30 Days of Aqua paintings are complete, they are finding themselves pairing up with their mates. Something about their natural affiliations make me happy, like finding one's tribe.

Even though the color Aqua is the tie that binds these paintings together, I wanted to be free to explore different strokes, and include imagery, or whatever I felt inclined to do in the moment. Sometimes just one limiting factor can throw the doors of freedom wide open…

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Fire and Ice - Dreaming of Iceland

The heat is already bearing down, the skies hazy with drifting wildfire smoke from miles away, and my default guidance system pulls me north. Could be my genetic predisposition - 98% British Isles, Irish, French and Scandinavian. I'm not built for heat and glaring sunlight. 

I did a residency in Iceland back in 2012 at Gullkistan, and wrote this passage in my sketchbook while there:

"To be in Iceland, the newest land mass on the planet - the rumbling belly of continents. Breaking, stretching, gasping open. Bleak, scoured, fertile. The clouds pan across the flatlands - spreading…

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30 Days of Aqua - a painting challenge.

Sometimes I set myself a painting challenge, to create boundaries in the candy store that is art-making. As summer heats up, my gaze turns to the cooling effect of Aqua. Doesn't matter in what way it shows up, but in land-locked Colorado, it gives me a a sense of water, flow, diving in to something that isn't rock.
These paintings are fast and loose, pint sized and purposely affordable. I love working small - there is less…

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Weekend Workshop - Courage vs. Confidence

As I prepare for my weekend workshop here in Boulder, I'm reflecting on the title and focus of this workshop. I first heard the quote "Courage is more important than Confidence" from the designer Debbie Millman. It struck me immediately that courage is the key to all creative pursuits and is critical in the broader context of ALL life choices.

There's an assumption that we must lead with confidence. That…

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River Seeks Ocean

Many days I cycle down to Boulder Creek to sit on my certain rock, now partially submerged from the high country run-off. This morning as I watched the frothy flow of water rushing by, I felt the urgency of the river seeking the ocean. And I thought of the human condition, always seeking connection with Source. It's the PULL of the Source, and when we allow our innate guidance to raft on the stream, there's no effort, it's easy to flow, and thrilling too. 

This is true in the painting practice - it is a form of meditation in that way. Deep listening to the guidance, the flow, the…

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Speaking of Freedom

Freedom is my M.O. Everything I do gets run through the freedom lens. It's the pinnacle of my pyramid, the joy and challenge of my life and work, and at times, my curse to bear. I'm restless when restricted, confined or subjected to other's expectations. I rebel at the smallest fences, and the longing to head for the horizon is almost always greater than the security of staying. And it's just how I like it.

But what does freedom even mean? Your definition will most likely…

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Gaps in the Flow

Some people are steady at the helm of their creative activity, and are regular like roughage. That's not me. Try as I might there can be long gaps between painting sessions. Such as it is now, after the solid month of painting at my residency at Brush Creek Ranch. Sometimes I return from a residency - spent. Other times, energized, but am pulled away by life's other needs.

The longing to get back at it is a blessing and a curse at times…

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Horizons Everywhere

Something about the horizon line keeps showing up in my work out here in the wide open spaces of Wyoming. This is not the first time - the horizon is a composition I naturally gravitate to, in many ways - literally and metaphorically. There is an invisible tether that pulls, and sometimes yanks me toward the horizon, ever longing for the unknown.

This I think is partly the human condition, to be

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my solo exhibition, london, england

please join me for my solo exhibition at burgh house/hampstead museum in london, england. opening reception is jan. 30, 2013, 6-8pm. see more details below: my daily wanderings around the nearby hampstead heath inspired this series of mixed media paintings. the  bones of the trees against the winter sky, the low light filtered through the groves, the cacophony of crows and ravens, all find their place through my particular altered lens.

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London Diaries

While London is not a residency for me, it is my soul home in a way, and has been ever since first coming here as a wide-eyed 20 year old art student. By some invisible tether i am drawn back here again and again, and thus I find myself living here now, testing the limits of UK immigration and soaking up the dynamic thrill of this favorite city of mine. Alas, without a studio, I am confined to one small desk, so am simply cutting, pasting and drawing in my journal pages - calling this series of collages my "London Diaries" - as they reflect…

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Sketches from Iceland

Any attempts to compete with the grandiosity of this landscape was futile at best, so I focused on making simple charcoal and acrylic sketches - influenced by the rich earthy colors of this varied environment. And because of the ubiquitous presence of the Icelandic wool, and my love of all things fiber, I drew the crimped and twisting lines of the textured yarn found in craft shops and supermarkets alike. I bundled, braided, knitted and twisted the yarns, then unraveled and sketched the beautiful lines the yarn made when relieved of their confinement.

 Acrylic and graphite on paper - 10" x 10"  2012 ©Amy Guion Clay

Acrylic and graphite on paper - 10" x 10"  2012 ©Amy Guion Clay

 Acrylic and graphite on paper - 10" x 10"  2012 ©Amy Guion Clay

Acrylic and graphite on paper - 10" x 10"  2012 ©Amy Guion Clay

 Acrylic and graphite on paper - 10" x 10"  2012 ©Amy Guion Clay

Acrylic and graphite on paper - 10" x 10"  2012 ©Amy Guion Clay

 Acrylic and charcoal on paper - 10" x 10"  2012 ©Amy Guion Clay

Acrylic and charcoal on paper - 10" x 10"  2012 ©Amy Guion Clay

 Acrylic and graphite on paper - 10" x 10"  2012 ©Amy Guion Clay

Acrylic and graphite on paper - 10" x 10"  2012 ©Amy Guion Clay

corner wall piece, berlin

for the open studios last sunday, had an idea itch that needed to be scratched - so rushed off to the sunday only flea market at mauer park first thing - early enough to find what i needed, get back to the residency, make my wall piece/installation and shower before the opening at 3pm. managed to pull it off, even though my original idea morphed into something much more interesting based on what i could find at the flea market. there is a stall that sells old photo albums - probably picked up at estate sales - an intimate view into strangers lives - posing here and there, with loved ones, in front of monuments and such. but the photos that gripped me most were 2 albums i found from the early war years - 1938-1942. people living, loving, getting on with their lives in the midst of a terrible history. i made an installation of the photos - some typical family shots, others quirky and strange - each image drawing me deeper into questioning - wondering what their place was in the scheme of things: the little girl holding her doll, the family group portrait with young soldier in nazi armband, a couple on their wedding day.

i usually avoid political, historical or current events in my work, choosing instead to look for the universal, the mythical. but this immediate past was too compelling to pass up, and the richness of stories that may be lost are now written visually in my corner wall piece. being here in east berlin, it is impossible to not be reminded of what went before, and to wonder at the profound metamorphosis in such a short period of time.