Vancouver-based artist Amy Stewart has created art since she was a child when, in and around her log house in northern British Columbia, she created perfumes from her own garden, or built houses for friendly snakes and bugs, or fashioned hideouts for Ewoks and the other Star Wars characters that inspired her imagination.
That first northern home continues to dominate much of Amy’s current artistic world. The smell of a wood fireplace, the feel of log walls, the motion of rolling and kneading bread—these smells, memories, and sensations shape her adult imagination, and they are reflected in her paintings’ rich textures and vibrant tones.
Exploring emotion and experience with multiple layers of paint, her works suggest depth and mood through the vivid interplay of dimension, shade, and light. Her pieces are often inspired by nature and the feelings that come from being surrounded by the natural world. “I paint how I feel and who I am,” Stewart explains. And that sense of humanity—the private experiences of suffering and celebration—are evoked by her canvases’ unique explorations of colour, which range from exuberant bursts of brightness to contemplative reflections on darkness.
A lifelong passion, painting became more central to Amy’s life while she worked with children and youth in crisis. While using art to help her young clients process difficult experiences, she found that it also helped her cope with an emotionally draining career.
Amy now works as an artist full-time, and is happiest when she is creating—in solitude, or alongside her daughter, whose discovery of art is a constant source of joy. Amy currently holds a residency at Vancouver’s Beaumont Studios, where you can find her surrounded by vibrant colours.