THIS WEEK WE SAT DOWN AND HAD A CONVERSATION WITH AMY YEAGER...
Amy primarily uses gouache and colored pencil on paper. She meticulously renders fine details which pull the viewer into a world of micro textures and fine lines. She also dabbles in digital art with her art focusing on the natural world and those within it.
Ground Offerings, gouache and colored pencil on paper, 49"x74", 2023.
This is a drawing of a patch of ground in the ginkgo courtyard outside of the Center for Visual Arts on ISU's campus. I was interested in the entangled sticks and leaves, and the spaces between them.
What would be your dream art job?
Aside from just being an artist full-time, other dream jobs include art professor, entomological illustrator for a natural history museum, graphic novelist, medical illustrator specifically in the 1960s like Frank Netter, or maker of facial prostheses.
Do you have artistic rituals in your practice?
I don't wear shoes in my studio, and I like to listen to the same songs on repeat while I work.
Describe your studio space, what kind of environment do you make art in? music playing? silence? neat and organized? chaotic and messy? etc.
I keep my studio as neat and organized as possible. I have trouble working when things aren't ordered and put away.
Feathered, mixed media on paper, 19x21, 2022
If you have dinner with three artists, past or present who would they be?
Vija Celmins, Josephine Halvorson, and Frank Netter.
Mulberry, gouache and ink on mulberry paper, 12.75x16.5, 2021
A Young Cardinal Flew into a Window, walnut ink and colored pencil on paper, 18x19, 2022
Tell us about an experience making art that changed you as a person or as an artist?
So many of the art experiences I hated at the time turned out to be significant in terms of my development as an artist, especially regarding perfectionism and a fear of making "bad" work. Here are two: My 4th grade art teacher had me draw a piece of burlap with conte and charcoal. I was terrified of "doing it wrong," and ultimately got so frustrated that I cried. She said that it took time to learn and nothing bad would happen if my drawing didn't turn out the way I wanted; that the only thing I had to do was try. It took years for me to finally believe her. I still think of that experience and remind myself that I am always learning, it will take time, and "bad" drawings aren't worth getting upset over. When I was ~11, I had a teacher who would only let us draw with permanent markers. We had to work with the lines we put down. When looking at a finished drawing, I could see all of my mistakes and corrections. I loathed it! But...I kept drawing in pen. I became more confident in my line and less concerned when it went wrong. (I definitely support erasers, though.)
What have you learned from teaching?
Teaching has taught me that there are so many things I forgot how I learned to do, and need to find the language to explain. Breaking down what feels intuitive/automatic into concrete steps for others to learn has been such an important process for myself as an instructor and for my practice in general.
Which do you identify with most? Early Bird , Night Owl, or Sleepy Bear?
Early bird! The earlier the better.
Dog or Cat or Both or Neither?
Love both, but I currently only have a cat.
What was your first art job? first piece of art sold?
My first art job was working as an illustrator in a mycologist's lab in undergrad. I've sold smaller pieces here and there, but the first significant non-commission sale I made was through the amateur show at MCAC.
What are your future plans for your art practice?
I just want to keep it going.
You can currently find Amy at the McLean County Arts Center, as the working Curator and proctoring the Wednesday Evening Painting Class. Amy is also currently teaching at Illinois State University, and is a practicing artist in Bloomington.
If you'd like to take a class with Amy this fall you can enroll in :
-P6-Thursday Evening Painting 1 with Amy Yeager
Thursdays, 5 sessions
Sept. 14, 21, 28 (covered by J.L.), Oct. 5, 12; 6:30-9 pm
-P12-Thursday Evening Painting 2 with Amy Yeager
Thursdays, 6 sessions
Nov. 2, 9, 16, 30 Dec. 7, 14; 6:30-9 pm
*all photos courtesy of the Artist (Amy Yeager)