Amanda Arbeter paints large-scale abstract art. The artist uses acrylic paint on canvas to create energetic brushstrokes that evoke emotion, tell stories and create meaning for people. As life sometimes gets in the way, Amanda stepped away from painting in her current style for many years. However, her mother’s 70th birthday inspired the fine artist’s return to large-scale abstract painting. We recently sat down with Amanda to learn more about her work.
Artisan Joy: How did you get started creating your art?
Amanda Arbeter: Art has been a passion since I was a child, and I always dabbled in crafts. I created my first pieces in an independent study art class in college, which set my painting in motion. Two of the pieces hang in my home today. After two careers, two young children and 17 years since my first piece, I revisited painting in this style and scale. I painted a gift for my mother’s 70th birthday which organically spiraled into selling my works.
AJ: When did you realize that you could turn your craft into a side business or full-time occupation?
AA: In the past, friends often asked me to paint artwork for them, but I never believed I was worthy of getting paid for the pieces. Once I really saw that people were willing to pay for my work, I realized I could turn it into a business.
AJ: Can you tell us a bit about working with color on a significant scale?
AA: The color palette I use in each piece is purposeful and creates balance and a dramatic effect. I prefer to work largescale to allow for greater movement within the brushstrokes.
AJ: Where do you find inspiration for your creations?
AA: Color is my main inspiration. I am always amazed by nature and love to seek out colorful flowers, trees and skyscapes in my surroundings and travels. I also find inspiration in all materials, patterns and colorways I see in everyday life, such as a fabric, a piece of marble or another form of art where the colorway speaks to me.
AJ: How do you apply that inspiration to your work?
AA: I find that many times my inspirations subconsciously come out in my work. Other times I often look back at photos of colorways that I find inspiring and exciting, and I combine the brushstrokes of color to make it my own. Or I may have one color in mind from a flower, for example, that I want to incorporate, and I make that color my focus and add complimenting colors to work with it.
AJ: What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
AA: I only felt comfortable with the idea of calling myself an artist this year or that I love frogs, insects and bugs.
AJ: As creatives, we can be continuously creating and refining our art. How do you handle perfectionism?
AA: I find that once I have created a piece, sometimes it is best to let it sit for a while and come back to it in a few days. At that point, it tends to grow on me versus when I end up adding too many layers or strokes on the spot. Then I need to go backward and paint over a section because I overthought it.
AJ: What advice would you give to someone interested in putting their art out into the world but feels vulnerable about it?
AA: I would say give it a try. Instagram is an amazing platform to get feedback and see if your work will sell. Also, if someone other than a close friend or family member purchases a piece, you have a shot at moving forward with it because they’re not obligated to buy your art.
AJ: Has someone ever criticized your artwork? How did you handle it?
AA: If and when this happens, I try to stay true to what I find visually pleasing. Sometimes I take some of their advice, but other times I stick with what I had in mind visually because I am confident that my method is why my art sells. I know that everyone has different tastes when it comes to art, food, clothes and partners, so I try to hold that close to home when interacting with people who are critical or uninterested in my art.
AJ: What brings you joy?
AA: Finishing a work and being proud of the piece really brings me joy—like the kind when you want to dance around the room when no one is watching. My two children, Alivia, age 6, and Julian, age 9, my husband and my extended family also bring joy. I love spending time with my family and being outdoors.
This interview has been edited slightly for clarity.