Based in Redding, California, Amy Donaldson creates large-scale abstract paintings with bright colors and energetic strokes, which often result in a calm, natural visual. Read on for our chat with Amy, and learn more about her artistic process, inspiration, and take a peek inside her beautiful studio and gallery!
How would you describe your work?
By building up buttery layers of paint, my work becomes a colorful expression of my heart, sharing the deep love and joy of my Father in Heaven. Each piece is like a song with a melody of color harmonizing together.
How did you get started with your style of art?
I was formally trained in Impressionism, but found so much freedom and a new creative language when I began expressing my artwork from my heart working abstractly over 20 years ago.
Where do you work and what do you need in order to do your best work?
I work out of my spacious studio/gallery in Redding, California. The area was hit pretty hard with fires a year and a half ago, and my home studio was damaged (though thankfully my home was saved)! Since then, I’ve been remodeling and designing an off-site studio, and we just had our grand opening last weekend! I love a clean, white aesthetic. This space has high ceilings (it actually used to be a church!), and I’ve designed it to feel like a lounge space with modern lighting, vibrant plants, and minimalist but cozy furniture.
Though the studio is minimalist and bright, my workbench is a wild place that may look chaotic to others, but to me is a playground. A place to get really messy and enjoy my process. I tell people not to come near it unless they’re prepared to get paint on themselves!
But the real key to creating my best work is listening to the right music. I love listening to Steffany Gretzinger, Jenn Johnson, and Maverick City Music when I paint. It inspires me and helps me to connect with my beautiful Creator as the color overflows from me as worship and communion onto the canvas.
What is your artistic process? What goes in to creating a piece or series?
My process starts with going to the lumberyard and hand-picking every single piece of wood that will be used to build each frame. Once my carpenter has build the frame and the raw canvas has been hand-stretched and primed, I begin each piece with a colorful wash.
Then I let my intuition lead. I use a lot of spray paint, scraping tools, different shapes of brushes, and my hands to achieve a diversity of textures and layers. I then hang a piece up and live with it for a couple weeks before either completely changing it or deciding it is finished.
Who are your favorite artists?
I draw inspiration from the classic Impressionists, but also from abstract painters like Cy Twombly and of course Rothko, Kandinsky and de Kooning.
To whom or what/where do you look for inspiration?
Being a visual artist, I can’t help but soak in aesthetics and color everywhere I travel, from an old wall with worn graffiti to a plush fabric. Beauty surrounds us, and I’m grateful to create from this world.
In 5 words or less, what is your goal as an artist?
To impact hearts through art.
I have two dogs who sometimes get to hang with me in the studio as I paint. But I have to watch my two-year old puppy, Kayla, really closely because she has been known to steal my tubes of oil paint! When it gets too quiet, I know she’s up to something.
See more of Amy's work here.
Plus: Watch Amy in action creating a VERY large-scale painting outdoors!