There’s something delicately ethereal about Amy Albright’s paintings. Like a gateway into daydreaming, it’s easy to get lost wandering over the many colour and textures she’s created with her unusual techniques. Inspired by all aspects of nature, from the cerulean turquoises of the Isles of Scilly to the excitable volcanic plains of Iceland, Amy takes the colours and senses of nature and puts them into something beautifully tranquil.
Having grown up in Lostwithiel, a fascination with landscapes began at an early age for Amy, “When I was young, I was constantly collecting things when I was outside,” she
explains. “I’d go along the beach and spot patterns in the rocks and come home with pockets full of shells and twigs and such like .”
Art became a prominent hobby in Amy’s life, one that followed her throughout her education. Eventually, the idea of pursuing a career as an artist became one she couldn’t abandon, “I would have studied graphic design if I hadn’t completed an art foundation course. It completely changed things for me. I had an amazing tutor who introduced me to Kurt Jackson when he was just starting out. We also had an artist who came in and demonstrated unusual collage techniques using maps and it just sparked something inside me. I started making small pieces of work that were about walks. I’d get a nautical map of an area and note down what the weather was like, the shipping forecast and what I saw and felt. I’d use the map as a basis for my work, in some cases painting on top of it and making it all about this journey I’d been on. I loved not having a brief and just exploring and experimenting, so I decided graphic design wasn’t for me and I choose to study Fine art.” When looking over Amy’s work it’s clear to see the powerful love she has of the natural world. Her desire to pursue landscape art was rm in her mind, “I studied at Falmouth University. Again I had a fantastic tutor called Mary Mabbutt, she’s a great painter. I discovered oils and Mary got me to work big and limit my colour palette…it just went from there. When I graduated my work was much more abstract, now the landscape is much more prominent. I guess people think of oil paint as being really thick and impasto, but I wanted to use it in a different way that’s much more fun and experimental.”
It’s a surprise to discover Amy’s work in oil based. The textures of her pieces are soft and mist-like as if they’ve been air brushed. In many she uses white spirit to create a stunning dappled effect. Occasionally in some pieces you’ll spot the delicately drawn outline of a bare tree, the blend of a horizon where the land meets the sky. “I can kind of get the paint to do what I want but it does have a mind of its own, I guess that’s part of the whole experience, the happy accidents. It’s exciting if I discover something new I wasn’t expecting.” A love of the earths movements and ever-changing landscapes inspires Amy just as much as where she lives and travels. Passionate about the elements and the evolution of them, the layering techniques used to create her paintings creates a sense of place that embodies a sense of untouched naturalism. A recent trip to Iceland saw her work become flushed with soft browns and pearly, violet whites that represent the active volcanic landscapes. At her studio at Krowji, an impressive large piece of translucent turquoises and glowing blushes of soft white embodying dark threads of deep blues and purples evoke her perceptions of the sea. “Some series of work have been heavily influenced by Cornwall,” she says. “One ongoing series of work really focuses on the Isles of Scilly.
Gallery Tresco invited me to do a residency there and I was very fortunate because I got to stay in this little hill top cabin. I took photos from the helicopter flight looking down at the water. Something struck me about these dense patches of dark seaweed and the light reflecting on the water. These photos have inspired my whole aqua series.” The last two years have been exciting for Amy. Commissioned by P&O cruises to contribute to the largest floating art collection in the world, her iconic ‘aqua’ themed pieces saw her work gain worldwide publicity. From there, she’s been receiving more commissions than ever from as far as Australia to New York City and was recently shortlisted for the National Open painting prize. With shows running across Cornwall and the South West throughout the year and working as a tutor at the St Ives School of Painting, she spends what free time she gets working in her studio on new pieces that continue to give a unique and graceful perspective on the world we live in. If you’d like to get a close- up of Amy’s work, she’ll be at Krowji’s Open Studios from the 1st to the 3rd of December.
Krowji Studios, Redruth, Cornwall TR15 3AJ
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.amyalbright.co.uk Find Amy on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
Photography by Ruaidhri Marshall