in Montebello, a small suburb of L.A., Amy Stoner grew up with
either a crayon or a paintbrush in her hand. Her parents moved
the family to Beaverton, Ore., when Amy was 12. After five years
of college in Eugene, Ore., then two years in Seattle, she returned
to the Portland area in 2000. Amy lives and paints in the University
Park neighborhood of North Portland.
The images in Amy Stoner's art come from her imagination rather
than photographs or models. They're her interpretation of the
object, so she tries not to get caught up in how it's supposed
to look. Instead, Amy focuses on her feelings about the subject
and her memories from a lifetime of looking at things.
Shows Me The Way," acrylic on recycled wood board.
"I really strive to be a positive person and to focus on the positive
in life through my art," she said. "I create works that speak for
me of my feelings and dreams and musings, though it's often hidden
deep within the work and not something easily 'read' on the surface."
Amy is drawn to both the human form and the shapes and lines found
in nature. Her pieces celebrate the seasons or tell a story of time
"I have always been fascinated with the human body and celebrating
it as beauty rather than erotic taboo," she said. "And where some
artists create a piece that captures 'the whole,' I enjoy focusing
on a specific area."
"They're almost like icons for our age, some images so readily
recognizable, yet still beautiful and unique in their variances,"
she said. "I like to weave in the associations we have with these
iconic images from the ever-present female nude to those
referring to celestial bodies and the passing of time."
Line by line
Amy prefers acrylics to oils because they're water based and dry
acrylic on canvas.
"When I paint, it's all about the moment and the mood, so I'm not
in a position to let something dry for a week before working on
it more, or not to accidentally drop some sort of solvent all over
my apron," she said.
"Acrylics are so versatile you can get thick impastos or thin watery
glazes from one paint."
Color is also important to Amy in that it has the power to set
a mood and express emotion. Her examples include: the lines of color
of a Van Gogh, the emotion of a Frida Kahlo painting, and the movement
and moodiness of Toulouse-Lautrec's pieces focusing on the nightlife
of the Moulin Rouge.
Moon," acrylic on recycled formica board.
"And linear art! I think that grabs me even more than the perfectly
shaded and modeled shape," she said. "I fell in love at a young
age with the lines and graphic quality of Alphonse Mucha. Also,
the sketches of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.
"That expressive line indicating shape and volume in a simple mark
is what gets me weak in the knees!"
Amy's first artistic undertaking involved a small box of watercolors
and the decorative white rocks surrounding her mother's garden.
"I must have thought those rocks looked pretty bland, because I
would spend hours outside painting them different colors," she said.
"I was always so upset when the rain would wash it all off."
Amy's parents lavished their only child with creative attention.
Her mother would sit with Amy and color and play with Play-Doh for
hours; her dad was always there to help with the Legos.
"My dad is a woodworker and creates some great pieces of unique
furniture for friends and family," she said. "Mom is like me
she has so many creative hobbies it's hard to keep track of them
Desert Valley," acrylic on recycled wood.
This positive, nurturing environment is where Amy believes she
got her drive to finally embrace art as her focus.
She took years of voice lessons and was planning to study music
at the University of Oregon with the intent of becoming a professional
classical vocalist until she actually went to college
and her passion for singing disappeared.
"I dropped the music major and went on to costume design in the
theatre department since it was more creative and hands-on," she
It wasn't until Amy was almost finished with her degree that she
realized she'd been putting off the inevitable. She stayed an additional
year to double major in theatre and fine art.
"Though it took a while to get there, it was the best decision
I made," she said. "I only wish I could have focused on art all
Amy studied graphic art and drawing. She started painting just
a few years ago, and though her basic design courses in college
helped a tremendous amount, she's entirely self-taught when it comes
"I've also been pursuing printmaking along with my painting and
I find that they complement each other nicely," she said. "I'm especially
fond of relief printing and monotypes."
First Flight," linoleum block cutting print.
Trash to treasure
Amy is participating in the Southeast
Area Artwalk March 5-6. She'll be showing with two other artists
at 2337 SE Brooklyn, between Powell and Clinton.
"I'll have a selection of my original work along with limited edition
prints and some new pieces of printmaking that I've been working
on," she said.
"I've been doing some relief printmaking and monotypes as well.
This will be my first time showing some of that work."
In August Amy will have a solo show at Keystone Gallery on Northeast
Alberta. The show, put on by the School
and Community Reuse Action Project (SCRAP), will focus on pieces
she's done using recycled materials, like paintings on wood and
printmaking using recycled objects.
Amy is an art director on SCRAP's board of directors. SCRAP is
a non-profit that collects reusable items from local businesses
and distributes them to educators, artists, families and kids.
"We work with creating new things out of recycled materials," she
said. "It's a great resource for artists who are looking to incorporate
recycled objects into their work, and a wonderful asset to the creative
community in Portland. I love every moment I spend there!"
acrylic and mixed media on canvas.
Amy's studio is in her home. She doesn't have set hours for visitors,
but welcomes appointments any time. Her work can also be seen on
"I have a new project called 'image of the week,' where I upload
a finished painting, a rough sketch from a notebook or another creative
project," she said. "I use it as an opportunity to share another
side of me, a not-so-finished, professional side, but something
fresh and fun and in varying steps of completeness."
Amy went from a full-time job to a part-time position in order to
focus on her art and creativity. She's never been happier.
"I feel more complete and grounded and connected with the earth
and the natural world when I make art," she said.
Her biggest goal with her artwork is to be able to keep making
it for the rest of her life.
Crowd Gathers," acrylic on canvas.
"If I can manage that and still be able to live well and pay my
bills, then I consider it success!" she said.
When selling her work at First Thursday in the Pearl District,
Last Thursday on Alberta or other art festivals, Amy especially
likes the interaction with people.
"I enjoy seeing young children reveling in their creativity or
a young couple buying something they love to grace their first home
with," she said.
"I hope that with each painting I create and sell, I can share
a bit of myself and my joy with the world."
ATTENTION ARTISTS: Portland Open Studios is accepting applications
and slides for the 2005 October tour. Ninety-six metro-area artists
will be chosen to open their studios to the public. Applications
due March 15. Check out www.portlandopenstudios.com.