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Empty the mind, fill the canvas

Caramie Schnell
cschnell@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
Daily file photo/Dominique Taylor
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The smell of fresh cut grass while running through the sprinkler. Hearing a child’s laughter from the other room. Summer peach juice dripping from your chin.

These are happy memories for Eagle artist Amy Dose. They are also the titles of some of her recent paintings, on display at the Alpine Arts Center in Edwards through the end of the month. A reception for the exhibit, titled “Finding Joy,” is set for tonight.

“I love the titles,” said Lauren Merrill, owner of the Alpine Arts Center. “They add a new dimension to each painting. The pieces are all abstract but the titles are really very realistic. It’s fun to see what she was thinking when she painted them.”

From ‘blue’ to bright

Dose started the series of paintings – there are 14 in all – about a month ago, at a point when the weather was prompting plenty of local residents to wonder if they might have a case of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

“I got kind of blue,” Dose said during a phone interview this week. “That’s when I started. I can see the progression in my paintings from darkness to joy, just as I can feel it in my heart.”

“The series is really very unique,” Merrill said. “She has paintings up on one wall that are really bright and colorful. On the other wall, they’re slightly more muted.”

Halfway through the series it became clear to Dose that she’d call the series “Finding Joy.” Dose said it was a “gift” to be able to spend a month straight in her studio, working on the pieces.

“Some of the pieces are darker, but even those feel good,” she said. “They’re dark in a way that’s like when it’s raining outside and you’re curled up on the sofa with a good book. Kind of cozy like. They progress to really bright, vibrant colors.”

‘It’s about being present’

When Dose begins a piece, she empties her head, she said, and often times meditates before beginning.

“The way I paint is not with an idea already in mind,” she said. “It’s about being present.”

Nearly all of the paintings have multiple layers.

“I start with a color wash, then texture over the wash, then apply another wash, then things start coming out,” she said.

People who see Dose’s paintings often times come up with their own theories about the symbolism at work on the canvas.

“It’s different for every person,” she said. “Often times it will remind someone of something in their own lives. People tell me stories about my paintings a lot, and I love that.”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.


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