Once you see the ocean, it’s impossible to forget what it looks like, how the waves curl, even the way the sand feels. For artist Amy Hammond, who didn’t grow up near the ocean, experiencing it and then having to move away from it had a deep impact on her art. Living back in her home state of Michigan, Hammond copes with long winters away from the water by creating pastel drawings of ocean landscapes. Here are a few, along with some details about her and her artistic process.
1. Who are your top 3 artistic influencers?
Ron Croci, Heather Brown, Sean Davey.
2. Where do you create your art?
Lately, in my kitchen on a round ikea table littered with art supplies and just enough free space for a sheet of paper. It overlooks a frozen lake covered in two feet of snow! Over the last three months, I was in Wahiawa, Hawaii living and volunteering at a non-profit. We slept about eight to a dorm, so space was of the essence. I’d go out on this little balcony and paint, which overlooked a 24-hour Walgreens. Occasionally I’d paint on the beach, but its difficult to paint in chalk pastel when you’re in the wind.
3. How much time do you typically spend on each piece?
A small 9″x12″ soft pastel painting usually takes 1-3 hours. Larger chalk paintings that are 16×20 or 20×30 take about eight hours. A drawing with Prisma markers and colored pencils takes much longer, probably 12 hours. I’ll just work on it on and off for a week. I usually wake up in the morning and paint while I drink coffee.
4. What mediums do you work in?
Most often, soft pastels (chalks) which I blend using my fingers. Occasionally, I’ll use Prisma markers layered with colored pencils to make a more detailed drawing.
5. Do you have any advice for young artists?
Only what I know from my own personal experience, and that is:
- Start by researching lots of artists and photographers- surfing or non-surfing. Fill your mind with all sorts of imagery- scenes, landscapes, waves, plant life, whatever it is you desire to paint. You’ll be collecting a storing this huge mental database of elements for your art.
- Have a unique style. Use others’ work for inspiration but never copy it.
- Don’t promote or show your art unless you are really pleased with it and love it. If you have a piece you spent 20 hours on but it doesn’t look great – just so so – then don’t show it. Don’t consider it a waste, either. Plan out your piece better for next time, and know that’s part of being an artist. I’ve thrown away a lot of art. It has your name attached to it, so put in 100% effort every time and be proud of every single piece.
- Don’t waste your talent! Even if you haven’t sold any art or received any recognition, continue to perfect your art simply because it is a gift God has given you. Do it because it enriches your life and allows you to express yourself. Share it with people. I give away free art all the time just to stoke people out.
- Get a lot of opinions about your work. Be honest with yourself about the quality of your work. Push yourself to paint something more difficult- from a different angle, different lighting, more dynamic composition, more detailed, etc.
- Never pass up an opportunity to show your art – on a blog, coffee shop, library, etc.
- Have fun. If you aren’t enjoying it, then take some time away come back later with lower expectations of yourself.
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