Currently, my primary painting medium is oil pastels. It is an old friend, a medium I had not taken seriously in the past. My painting process begins with toned grounds. I use a combination of color and application to create dimension and texture. I chose oil pastels because of their simple and immediate state. They foster spontaneity, readiness, and effect.
I select colors that closely represent the hues and tones found in nature. Depending on the season, colors transition from dull greys and browns, to pastels and then to a vivid summer palette. In nature, all colors are expressed.
My subject matter chose me through my personal and intimate experiences with nature. In daily moments with nature, I began to see what I had not seen before. The same spot was rarely the same the following day. Each day is unique. Through observation, all of nature's subjects share an interchange.
The viewer is looking at moments when I was starstruck, moments I wanted to capture forever. I was touched by something unexplainable. While gathering visual information, I observed and reflected on what I saw; I recognized the newness of nature’s elements and all its layers, facets, numbers, shapes, complexity, forms, colors, and textures.
In the field, I use photography to capture these moments of inspiration. I focus on remembering what I was experiencing and how I felt when I took the photograph. I begin with linework; I use my linework to create a map to my painting. Next, I begin to block in color to build and develop tone, hue, and texture. The object I am painting and the effect I want to convey will guide my color choices in the beginning stages of my work.
My landscape/nature body of work represents the moments nature has been most inspiring to me. Its beauty and wonder has spoken to me on a personal level, a depth that I am unable to convey with words. My practice translates the emotions experienced visually. Prior to experiencing nature on regular basis, I was unaware of its dominance and independence of my world.
-Amy J. Shiffer