An Interview With Texas Artist Amy Hillenbrand

How old were you when you realized you were an “artist”?
I only started painting 9 years ago when I had a very distinct voice the spoke
to me that said two words “oil painting”. That very day I looked for a oil
painting class, found one and started on my journey. I think the little
kindergartner knew though; she colored every single day. It feels so good to
go back to my first love of making art that makes people smile.
Who or what inspired you as you to make art in the beginning?
My Mother was a school teacher and was very keen in realizing children’s
talents and strengths. She always was supportive and encouraging in her
own unique way. The phrase I heard as a child and continued until she died
was “ you could do that, you could make that” She knew I was an artist before
I did.

What is your background in art?
I have a degree in Interior Design. One of the required courses Interior
Design majors had to take was color theory in the art department. In the
course we need to paint a picture every week to demonstrate different color
theories. The professor was very critical of my pieces each week, although I
understood the theory she hated my compositions. Very discouraging for a
young college student. I did not pick up a brush for about 23 years.

Do you have a vision or a reason for the art you create?
I know it sounds clichée, but I create art to uplift people. Sometimes I wonder
if that is a valid reason, but then of think of music. I definitely listen to music
for enjoyment and to have it uplift me. So I deduce from that, that my
paintings can do the same for others.

What part of you do you see in your artwork?
At an exhibit I was having recently, I was listening to the comments of the
onlookers who did not know I was listening and did not know I was the artist.
Some of the adjectives they were using were: calming, peaceful, fun and
happy. These are the exact words people have used to describe me, funny
how that works. It is not something I tried to achieve on my canvas, but the
expression of me came out anyway.

How do you know when your art if complete or finished?
I know my art is complete when I put additional strokes on the piece and
instead of enhancing it, it starts to make it worse. I stop!
Do you have a favorite piece of art?

Do you find the artistic Life lonely? How do you counteract the solitude?
The solitude of the artists life is a conundrum for me. On one hand I love
solitude and being alone to think and create; on the other I love connecting
with people. I try to make sure I spend time with friends and family to
connect, help and caretake. Then I hurry back to the studio to recharge and
find my center again.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to an artist just getting
The best piece advice I would have for a beginning artist is to not try to find
your style, but allow your style to evolve.

How long have you lived in Texas?
8 years

Where in Texas do you live now?
Eight years ago I moved from San Diego, California to Austin. Just this
April I moved to San Antonio, still enjoying hill country views. I grew up in
Wisconsin and would have never guessed I would have landed in Texas. When
you live in Wisconsin, Texas feels like it is half way around the world.

What color is your bedroom?

What book are you reading this week?
The One Thing

Do you have a favorite television show or movie?
My favorite two movies are Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind

What is your favorite color? What color do you avoid?
Can I have two? I love yellow and purple. I tend to avoid browns and reds.

What are you most proud of in your life?
Building a Commercial Interior Design and Architectural firm from my spare
bedroom to the fifth largest in Indiana, starting at the age 26.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
Interior Designer, Life Coach, Real Estate House Flipper

Do you have a passion or hobby other than painting? What is it?
I love flowers and gardening. It isn’t surprising that I love painting flowers.

Share something with us that few people know about you.
I have never seen most of the Disney classics, apparently my Mother didn’t
think that was important.

Name something you love and why.
I love taking a walk in trees by myself. It is so magical among the trees,
my heart burst open with joy and I tingle all over. It feels like the trees are
wise old souls that are infusing me with positive energy and taking away any
bad juju.

Describe yourself in one word.