When we look for uplifting or emotionally sustaining inspiration, a great many people turn their attention and position to the outdoors. Communing with the water, soils and air of the great outside has an organic power that Amanda Hartman seeks out for personal renewal as well as artistic stimulation.
Hartman’s latest collection of paintings is titled Finding Joy and it is on display now at the Quesnel Art Gallery.
“What started as a young love for watercolour painting has since moved on to working with acrylics, mixed media, and some play in the textile arts,” said Hartman, whose exhibition opened June 14 with a reception at the gallery.
Hartman said these paintings are an extension of a previous body of work she called 30 Days of Sunshine.
“It is all about finding small moments of joy in things we may have taken for granted,” Hartman said. “As we walk through life, we often pass by the same thing day after day and not fully see what it is. We often look at roadside flowers as weeds. But really, if you take a moment to stop and reflect, these flowers/weeds are not only full of insight, healing, and nutrients that have been forgotten about, but but also quite beautiful. And sometimes they are just that splash of colour that puts a smile on your face.”
Her self-description centres on a love for the outdoors and adventuring outside.
“It’s the love of the outdoors that can be seen in a lot of my work…I love to capture these rich colour blends in such a way that can freeze a moment in time, have the brush dance across the canvas, and reveal an impression of that moment, time, or place and bring it home to you.”
Hartman looked back at the pandemic lockdowns as a time of personal reinvestment in her personal spaces. The Terrace painter pointed out that those events “kept most of us local” for an extended period of time, and she challenged herself to “re-explore local trails that I haven’t been on for numbers of years. On these hikes and bike rides I started to notice all the little beauties that sprung up all around my hometown.”
Hartman has studied at the Victoria College of Art & Design, Northwest Community College, Dordt College and others.
Finding Joy will be on display at the Quesnel Art Gallery until July 7. The show is located at 500 North Star Road, open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.