Today’s blog is a local artist spotlight featuring Amber Bailey, who paints with vibrant intensity and captures motion and emotion working together through still portraits.
Dangerous Women and Art Collectors
Having art that is beautiful and endowed with personal significance is important. I have been working on a collection I hope to one day display in my forever home. I’m inspired by certain female art collectors who began with a hobby that one day became a museum. Ninah Cummer is a Jacksonville treasure whose personal art collection and gardens came to be known the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Far, far from the North Florida coast, there was another remarkable woman who had an eye for preserving beauty. Her name is Peggy.
Peggy Guggenheim’s collection is now available to see at Palazzo Venier dei Leon, an unfinished 18th century palace on the grand canal in Venice. From what I’ve read and seen, these women seem to be a bit dangerous and possess a wild love for art. Both seemed to look beyond the years in which they were living and have a timeless love for a sophisticated form of glamour. I have begun a slow process of curating paintings that I hope will last me a lifetime – and beyond.
I recently added a painting by Jacksonville artist Amber Bailey too my collection. I really enjoy her work. Amber’s pieces make me think of a range of other artists. I’m reminded of the the energetic martinis by Michael Godard and the angst captured by Van Gogh’s brush strokes. The color Amber uses adds textured stories to the skin, clothing and backdrops she paints. Something about shapes, hues and women’s faces makes me think of ballerinas (specifically those by, I think, Renoir or Degas?). Amber blends a modern sensibility and fierce femininity with the complexities of impressionism. You can visit her website to get a larger sampling of her work.
“Wicked Pink” is a painting of a woman that seems undeniably feminine and dangerous. The strokes of paint vary from the soft colors and blending of the pink lightly hued cheeks to the bolder strokes of the purple background. The painting is full of energy with bold lines and the angular features of the face. The pronounced lips are the focal point of the painting. They have a Lichtenstein quality. The stark red seems to betray the lips as a body part that reflects power and vulnerability.
Another attention getting point in this piece is the fixed gaze and almost glowing quality of the eyes. The subject holds an evocative expression, demanding a response from the viewer. The emotions displayed seems to confront the object of the subject’s gaze, and perhaps seduce or invite.
The painting is a wonderful addition to my living room that currently features soft pink accents and a gray and purple feminine decor.
To share a little more about this artist with my readers, I interviewed Jacksonville painter Amber Bailey to learn more about her experience and interest in painting.
Meet Artist Amber Bailey:
What got you interested in painting?
Amber: I discovered painting while in my second year of college. I was focused on advertising, but had a studio art minor. I knew I loved to draw, but at first I didn’t like painting. Once I let go and just started to paint freely, I decided I loved painting. Now it’s very rare that I sit and just draw, I mostly paint when I feel creative.
Where did you go to school and what is your degree in?
Amber: I started at Florida State College at Jacksonville (when it was still FCCJ), I completed my 2-year degree and transferred to UNF. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications in 2005. Eight years later I went to JU for my Master of Fine Arts degree.
Who influenced you as an artist? Amber: Honestly, I would have to say my first painting professor, Larry Davis. He influenced my expressive style, and painting that “looks like painting.”
Who influenced you as an artist?
Amber: Honestly, I would have to say my first painting professor, Larry Davis. He influenced my expressive style, and painting that “looks like painting.”
Is there a certain message or theme you continually return to in your art?
Definitely. The human figure and portrait. I take breaks and paint other things from time to time, but always return to the figure or portrait. This feels the most natural and fun for me.
Any favorite paintings?
Amber: Of mine? Yes, I did one painting that almost painted itself, every brush stroke just made sense the first time I laid it down. That painting is called “Lady in Scarlet” and it’s framed and hanging over my couch. Of other artists work, it’s hard to name favorite paintings, but I can easily name favorite artists. Currently I love Malcom Liepke and Michael Carson. They paint expressive interpretations of mostly female figures, and they’re amazing. Also, fashion illustrator Maxim Sergeev! His work is “#goals” for me. haha
Do you like painting people or nature more? Why?
I see people as the truest expression of life and emotion. I am always curious what drives a person to act and feel the way they do.
Amber: People. I’ve always gravitated toward drawing and painting people, even when I was a kid. I’m not overly sure why I enjoy it so much, but I see people as the truest expression of life and emotion. I am always curious what drives a person to act and feel the way they do.
What is your least favorite type of art?
Amber: As far as painting, cubism was never a favorite of mine. Not sure why, but while studying anxiety and disjointed perspectives for my MFA thesis, I learned to appreciate it a little more.
What are your goals as an artist?
Amber: Currently, I have no set goals. That’s not a good thing, but I’m somewhat in the middle about what career move to make next.
Any recommendations for new artists who are trying to get better?
Amber: Practice, and I say that because I need to practice more too. I don’t paint nearly as often as I should. But also, most importantly, don’t be afraid of the paint or of “messing up.” My best paintings have happened when I stopped trying too hard. Spend more time seeing, and then make decisions on the canvas that reflect that.
Describe a favorite painting in your home.
Amber: The painting I mentioned earlier called “Lady in Scarlet.” It’s a bold expressive portrait of a young woman. She has a mischievous smile on her face and intriguing eyes.
If you had to describe your style, what would it be?
Amber: I would say my style is expressive figurative painting.
What’s the name of your blog?
Amber: My blog is Amber L. Bailey Paintings – amberlbailey-art.blogspot.com website: www.amberlbailey.com