Photograph by George Etheredge
Today we're talking to Amy Lincoln, a New York-based artist who makes imaginative, intensely hued paintings of the natural world. Her latest work —a series of imaginary seascapes featuring intensely hued ocean waves, rays of sunlight, tumultuous clouds and starry nights— is currently on exhibit at Sperone Westwater Gallery in New York City.
We caught up with Amy to learn more about her process for preparing her work, her inspiration and the biggest influences in her life.
Tell us about your latest exhibition at Sperone Westwater.
The show includes 10 seascape paintings from this year. Each one is an exploration of color, whether a particular color (burnt orange, mauve) or a combination (I always limit myself to 3 paint colors plus white). The imagery is depicted in a somewhat flat, symbolic way, as opposed to naturalistically, with elements getting smaller in the distance to create space and depth.
Your latest work of seascapes is a departure from the landscapes in your early work, what inspired this change?
I loved how painting plants allowed me to paint lots of different colors and intricate details. But in recent years I found myself drawn to a more minimal aesthetic. I like that the seascapes are somewhat empty, but still give me an opportunity to depict lots of details. I am enjoying the limitation I set for myself, of depicting the same kind of imagery over and over again, finding a new way to paint it each time.
Artwork: Ursa Major and Milky Way
The use of colour in your work is so inspiring, how do you go about choosing shades?
I often see a particular color in clothing, or an interior design blog, and get interested in exploring different shades of that color. In addition, I always limit myself to three paint colors, and see what kinds of unexpected combinations they can create together.
What is the process of create your artwork? Where do you begin?
The idea for a new painting often comes from a question that arises with the previous painting. Or sometimes an idea will come to me in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. I then create a study, which is a small painting on paper to figure out the color and the imagery. Then when I have a study I like or an idea I want to investigate further, I move to the larger painting. Often the final painting needs to change somewhat from the study, sometimes quite dramatically.
One of your paintings was inspired by our own dusky pink, Sulking Room Pink. Could you tell us more about that?
Yes! I saw that color on an interior design blog, and was so taken by it. I’ve been exploring dusty shades of pink lately, and I like that this one doesn’t really feel like pink anymore, but is somewhere between pink, mauve, lavender, beige and grey.
Amy's current exhibiton at Sperone Westwater
What have been some of the biggest influences on your life and your work thus far?
I grew up in Oregon going to the beach a lot, which is pretty cold and gray, but still very beautiful. I also think living in New York for the last 15 years has given me a longing for nature, which I express in my work. One of the best ways I have found to feel enveloped by nature here in the city is to go to Jacob Riis Park beach in Queens and float in the ocean.
What’s next for you?
I’ll have some work in Sperone Westwater’s booth at The ADAA Art Show, opening this week in New York City. Then I’ll be preparing for my solo show with Taymour Grahne in London next spring.