440 Gallery | Brooklyn NY

Shop talk, answers to your FAQs, and a peek behind the scenes of an artist-run fine art gallery in Park Slope

Intuition is My Ally: Spontaneity and Structure in the Work of Amy Weil

I was always drawing when I was younger, ever since I can remember.  I especially loved drawing horses as a child.   Now I am a painter, focusing on the medium of encaustic, a wax-based paint medium.  When I decided to pursue painting as a career I first studied at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.   However I felt constricted by its traditional methodology and left.  After a few years of working at various jobs I applied to Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and graduated in 1990.  I was very lucky to have studied with Stan Whitney, Margo Margolis and Robert Storr, and learned a great deal about myself as a painter.


I mostly painted in oils in those early days.  I didn’t actually start painting with encaustic until years later when I began to feel stuck and wanted to try another medium.  I found that the act of creating a painting by fusing, scraping and incising into the wax became a form of meditation.  I love the process because it allows me to explore abstraction in a very direct and intuitive way.


The encaustic process has endless possibilities in that it allows me to create work that is both opaque and translucent.  I build up many layers of encaustic paint and often embed paper and fabric into my paintings allowing the patterns to emerge in unexpected ways. It is a tricky medium because you have to work very quickly or the paint will dry on your brush.  It is important that you do not over-fuse the wax.  I use a torch and a heat gun to fuse the layers.  The torch works very well for me because I can work quickly.  The great thing about the encaustic process is you can use almost any tool to carve into the wax.  I use razor blades to scrape the paint layers down and any sharp object, such as a nail or hard pencil to incise into the wax.


Knowing when a painting is done has always been a challenge for me and sometimes I will over work it, which is very frustrating.  Often though, there is a kind of “Aha” moment when a painting is done.  The painting will have a certain rhythm with color, line and composition that feels right.  My process is very intuitive so things get worked out as I progress with the painting.  My color palette tends to be on the cool side and I am very drawn to blues and greens.  I think that is because I grew up on the Jersey shore and loved spending time on the beach and in the ocean.

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I often start with the grid as a way to invite the viewer into my paintings.  I think I am very drawn to the grid because It reminds of an urban landscape.  Sometimes I will paint the grid playing with color and mark-making, but often times the grid will break down as the circular and organic shapes challenge the geometry of the grid.  It often feels playful and almost childlike.

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My intuitive process leads to abstract paintings that allow viewers to “plug in” their own idiosyncratic meaning or interpretation into my paintings.  I enjoy participating in that process, where a sense of  play and spontaneity leads to paintings with multiple levels of readings and, hopefully, enjoyment.

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This entry was posted on August 2, 2018 by in art, Artist news, Collecting, From our studios, What's up @ 440 and tagged , , , , , .


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