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Members in the News: Amy Dose

Updated: Apr 20

"Meet Your Artist" - by Tricia Swenson

Vail Daily dated 01/26/2024


Meet Your Artist: Amy Dose

Get to know your Vail Valley artists


The Vail Daily is showcasing area artists in a series called “Meet Your Artist” so you can learn more about those who create and what inspires them. If you are an area artist and would like to be featured in the series, email Tricia Swenson (tswenson@vaildaily.com).


Q: How long have you lived in the valley and what brought you here?

A: My journey to settle in the Vail area began on a rafting trip on the Bíobío River in Chile in the summer of 1998. In a whirlwind river romance story best told around a campfire, I met my husband. I soon learned that he had agreed to come work for Timberline Tours on a visa. We spent the next six summers here. Our schedule which allowed us to work in the whitewater rafting industry full time went like this: summers in Vail (Colorado and Arkansas River), falls in West Virginia (Gauley and New River), winters in Chile (Futaleufu River), and springs in Austria (Inn River). In 2004, when our daughter was four, we decided to settle down. Vail seemed the most viable location. Though the winters have always been a bit long for me, I am grateful for this community. We have built a beautiful life here with great friends, a lovely home and a thriving business. What more could one ask for?


Q: Where did your passion for art come from?

A: I have always made things. When my brother and I were kids, we often stayed long stints at my grandparent’s farm in Mississippi. Once while playing outside digging around in the dirt, we happened upon some red clay. We made candle holders and vases. No one told us that was possible, we just knew. 


We come from a long line of creators: carpenters, gardeners, tailors, builders, flower arrangers, quilt makers and tinkerers. Being a maker is something of a genetic trait in my family. It’s inescapable. 


So, it was natural that in honor of my sixteenth birthday, my mother and I traveled from my hometown of Memphis to Nashville, Tennessee to see an exhibition of impressionist paintings. I can remember with great vividness how I first felt standing in front of Renoir and Monet paintings. Everything around me disappeared. My chest tightened, my eyes welled up with tears … I couldn’t hear or speak. I was absolutely mesmerized. The power in those paintings was something that I couldn’t define. I have been chasing that experience in my own work ever since. 


Q: Describe your style of art. 

A: My painting technique is most influenced by my study of Japanese calligraphy as a college student. Japanese calligraphy requires mastering the brush-stroke characters as well as noticing oneself and learning to be present. While practicing this, I began to notice the beauty that arrives when one is completely present. It is something more than simple visual beauty. It is more elusive. It is innate. I have continued to practice sitting meditation during my painting sessions.


My style bounces around a bit. Sometimes I create pieces that can be described as contemporary naturalism. Think of a modern twist on landscapes and/or animal paintings. More recently, I’ve been creating abstract pieces influenced by my study of Japanese calligraphy.


Q: Who are your favorite artists?

A: Considering that I’m traveling to Paris to see the Mark Rothko exhibit and I’ve never even been to Paris, Rothko is a given. I am moved by his subtle color transitions and the size of his pieces. There is something deeper going on in his work.


I love the women of abstract expressionism, particularly Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell. Within their balance and stunning compositions is clear emotion. 


The work of the quilters of Gee’s Bend is transformative. Their quilts are magical. There’s also Wolf Kahn (his use of color), Cy Towmbly (those lines), and Bernard (the textures and colors).


My first true love was Marc Chagall. His work was a kind of portal for me to my own work when I was in college. I was able to experience what it felt like to really paint by exploring his work.


Contemporary artists that I find moving and inspiring are Bisa Butler, India Flint, Louise Knowles, Shannon Knowlton, Squeak Carnwath and Patty Carroll. If you don’t know them, they are all worth looking up.


Q: Tell us about one of your favorite pieces that you’ve worked on.

A: Concocted as this may sound, whatever piece I’m working on is my favorite. The act of creating is the gift. I love being in my studio with my hands in paint. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. It’s just the bee’s knees. 


Q: Who has helped you along the way? Who/what inspires you?

A: To be loved is to be seen. I am fortunate to have a family that values individuality. I have always been allowed the space to create. And by space, I mean, I have quite literally taken up space in our house. Before I built my studio, half of my bedroom was turned into a makeshift studio. There was hardly anywhere to walk, but my husband never complained (and before him, my parents) even when my projects would leak over into the rest of the house and we had no room at the kitchen table to eat dinner. By space, I also mean time. This gift allowed me the mental and emotional space needed for creativity. I was allowed the space for art school, the space for weekend workshops, the space on weekends and nights to disappear, the space to daydream. I would not be able to be an artist without the support of my entire immediate family. They continue to hold space for me allowing me to be myself and to create.


I studied painting with Joan Anderson and Robert Spellman as a college student and I have continued to study with them throughout the years. They have become more than just mentors to me and I am grateful for our time cooking, telling jokes, meditating, gardening, philosophizing, resting and painting. If you are interested in a painting retreat, you can find them at MountainWater.space.


Q: If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?

A: I have always wanted to be a pilot. I even took flying lessons when I was 15. I may be one of the few people who still loves to fly: yes, even on commercial flights. All of the shoes on and off and the sitting in the terminal is still worth the climb to me. It’s always exciting. I love the feeling of being above the clouds. It still kind of blows my mind that it’s possible! 


Q: What do you hope people take away from your work?

A: My true purpose is to inspire joy in others. 


I once had a famous European installation artist tell me that painters were self-centered because they worked in a solitary environment and that their work was completely self-aggrandizing. I was young at the time. It really made me question why I was a painter. I have thought long and hard about that statement over the years and realized how wrong he was. It is a gift to others to show up in the world as your true self. It allows others to be themselves as well, and isn’t that what true love is?


More simply, I hope my paintings and the joy that I find in creating them bring some light into this world. 


Q: Where is your work shown (a local gallery) or how/where can people view it? 

A: You can find my work locally at Larissa Wild Fine Art, 150 Cooley Mesa Road units d/e in Gypsum. Additionally, I have pieces for sale on Artsy- Artsy.net/Artist/Amy-Dose and at AmyDose.com To see more of my process and my studio, follow me on Instagram at Instagram.com/Studio.A.Dose.  I have some new work hanging at Larissa Wild Fine Art in Gypsum and will be at the gallery this Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. to chat about the work.





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