Montana artist Amanda Bielby fulfilled her dream of becoming an artist through learning techniques in the building trades.
Some would say that I was fooled at a young age by my athletic ability, a talent for fine detail and a learning disability that pulled me from school, steering me towards the building trades at a young age. I learned how to use a trowel, handle a paintbrush and finish a piece of wood.
I saw art in everything, like wooden boards, or the swirls of trowel marks on a cement floor. Throughout the workday, I daydreamed of how I could incorporate what I was experiencing into a work of art.
My artistic sensibility responded to house painting, especially when I discovered faux painting. I was on cloud nine and felt I had found my dream job.
I opened Amanda Paints LLC, and found myself doing some of the most exciting jobs in Missoula, Montana. I was restoring the ornamental painting in Missoula’s historic buildings. Completely swept away, I was hard at work. I canceled family weekends to meet deadlines. I concealed my developing arthritis through my back and shoulders, and consequently became grouchy due to the pain. My ability to think was fuzzy, and I started to suffer from panic attacks. My body was weakening.
Then I looked around, and saw that people I loved and admired in the trades were suffering as well from lung conditions, brain injuries, bad backs and other medical issues. I felt cornered.
Hope! I saw my childhood dream staring me in the face. Everything I needed was there, and I didn’t even have to buy an artist’s brush. I quit calling my paint shop a shop and started calling it a studio.
I believe craftsmen in the building trades develop and practice their own fine art. Due to always facing competition for contracts, we tend to forfeit our bodies and personal lives to get the job done. My art is my way of escaping that same fate. Yet, I still fulfill my passion for dirty hands and fine detail.
I love to create abstract impressionistic images. My inspiration emerges from the mountains, valleys and rivers of Montana. I try to express the moments and the existence of life and the seasons. These abstracts reflect the rocks of our rivers, the grain of wood, and layers of paint from my years spent in the building trades.
My background has motivated me to incorporate bits of building materials which would otherwise end up in the landfill. I fell in love with historic paint and plaster techniques that are usually used in a cathedral-like setting. I twist them around, add some modern mixes, and place them on some kind of portable substrate. This gives my collectors an opportunity to have a piece of the cathedral to add to their home or business.
Who would have thought that the very career that pulled me away from my dreams and pinned me down actually enabled me to go back to my life long dream of being an established artist?
Link to Carolyn’s original article here.back