Kindred Tales | Amy, Macey, Ginny and Bonnie | Artist
Amy’s early morning walks with her dogs Macey, Ginny and Bonnie help to add structured to her days spent painting in her studio
Tell us a bit about your work and why you became an Artist?
The main two consistent themes running through my whole life have been animals and creativity. I am predominantly self taught when it comes to painting. I was keen on art at school but it was at university, whilst studying fashion design, where I learnt my distinct, mark making style and developed a strong colour aesthetic; monochrome with small pops of sky blue or orange.
After university I hopped from a ski season in Japan, to work in Zurich as a ‘dog nanny’ for a trio of Chow Chows. During the two years I lived there I’d spend almost every spare moment I had sketching and painting. I did an artwork of a family members dog which led to people asking for commissions of theirs. It turned into a full time job in January 2020 when I decided I didn’t want to work for anyone other than myself.
I work in patchy splashes of black ink and acrylic paints layered together with pen to immortalise my animal muses on a variety of surfaces. I love working from ‘candid’ photographs where a dogs character comes through - a wonky brow, a sloppy side lip, some stinking side eyes or the biggest panting smile. These kind of photographs jerk a reaction in me to paint them, ultimately ending up with a portrait that makes you feel something.
What inspires your work?
My mark making style definitely comes from the drawing and illustration classes I attended during my fashion degree. I have an ongoing interest in fashion illustration and particularly the work of Joe Eula, a 20th century artist, and Howard Tangye and Anya Brock, both contemporary artists.
I love great photography too - particularly of dogs. If I come across an exciting canine photo its hard for me to ignore working from it.
What’s your earliest memory of dogs being in your life?
Our first family dog was a miniature long haired dachshund, Greta. I remember her sitting on the basket under our pram when we’d be out for walks or in the park. I grew up with collies and farm dogs at my dad’s parents and Weimaraners on my mums side.
Tell us about your dogs and how they came into your life?
I have been involved with showing my grandparents Weimaraners since I was 13. As I got older I couldn’t live in a house without my own and so, ’Macey' was a 21st birthday present from my parents. She’s my best mate of 9 years. I Also have two mini dachshunds. My friends bred a litter and offered me the pick of litter when I visited them - I drove home the same day with Ginny. I also have Bonnie, who is a Ginny daughter from the first litter I bred in 2019.
How does having a dog fit into your general working day?
I’m an early bird. I like to get up, sort the dogs and get out for a good stomp first thing - for them and for me - I feel like my day is so much more structured if I keep simple things in a routine. I work from home so they are never far from my feet or nudging my hand for head pats whilst I am painting. In the evenings we head up to the fields behind my house, or to the beach for a good run followed by a cuddle on the sofa in front the woodburner.
Favourite all time place to go for a long walk?
The Purbecks on the Jurassic coast, in the summer you could be anywhere in the world. Miles of coast line, the greenest of fields, and the ocean to dip in as you fancy.