I discovered my love for painting unexpectedly, when inspired to pursue new avenues of creative expression as a means for healing and connection. As I explain in Gutless & Grateful, “I had suddenly found a means to express things that were too complicated, painful and overwhelming to put into words.” Soon, I created hundreds of mixed-media, acrylic, and collage paintings.
See galleries here.
As a former patient, I know the healing power of art. Creativity was my roadmap where there was none, my anchor when times felt uncertain, my lifeline back to myself, and an empowering tool to feel as though I were co-creating my circumstances along with the universe.
My working process is intuitive and instinctive. Visual art comes naturally to me, as an effective way to express myself after surviving a coma and 27 surgeries. I tend to work with a lot of layering and mixed media materials – anything from tissue paper to fabric, buttons, papers, or toilet paper – whatever I found in hospitals as I recovered. I love playing with textures, colors and shapes and allowing them to transform sadness, joy and gratitude.
Most importantly, I paint whatever I feel from the heart. I love experimenting with acrylics, painting my world of trees, birds, flight, girls dancing, and tear drops. I found art accidentally on my way to healing physically, emotionally and spiritually and have learned that it is one of the most rewarding, forgiving, beautiful ways to find my way through the darkness and into the light.
Creativity is an essential mindset. Painting allowed me to express things that were too painful, complicated and overwhelming for words. Good feelings overwhelmed the bad because I could control the euphoric, fantastic world portrayed on my canvases with what my subconscious chose to create. Now, I’ve taken the lessons I’ve learned from my canvases and have applied them to every day life.
I continue to celebrate life each day through my art.
My working process is intuitive and instinctive. Visual art comes naturally to me, as an effective way to express myself after surviving a coma and 27 surgeries. I tend to work with a lot of layering and mixed media materials – anything from tissue paper to fabric, buttons, papers, or toilet paper (I created much art in hospitals and was very limited with materials!). The process really depends on what I am sensing within. I love playing with textures, colors and shapes and allowing them to form the sadness, frustration, joy, or whatever inspiration I am feeling at that moment.For many of my mixed media collages, I start by covering the entire canvas with magazine pictures. I don’t mind if certain layers are not seen in the final picture. It’s the process that matters to me.
Then I cover the canvas with clear gesso or matte medium, and after that, it’s a free-for-all – anything goes, such as tissue paper, decoupage napkins, doilies and anything I can get my hands on.When I feel like I’ve done enough layering, the meaning behind the piece usually emerges. Then I paint whimsical shapes with a paintbrush and acrylics.
Sometimes I use a brayer for added background colors. I may embellish the finished piece with anything from buttons, charms, lace, old scraps of clothes, my mother’s vintage jewelry, clay, letters cut out from magazines, and puff-paint. My working process has been described as “beautifully obsessive.” When I work, I am under its spell, working for hours and feeling such a warm feeling in my whole body when it is completed.
Most importantly, I paint whatever I feel from the heart. I love experimenting with acrylics, painting my world of trees, birds, flight, girls dancing, and tear drops. These are recurrent symbols that appear in my paintings. I’ve also experimented with altering books (ah, the wonders of gesso!), using mixed media techniques. I found art accidentally on my way to healing physically, emotionally and spiritually and have learned that it is one of the most rewarding, forgiving, beautiful ways to find my way through the darkness and into the light.I have trained all of my life for musical theatre and two days before I fell into a coma, I was about to send my acceptance letter to one of the top musical theatre colleges in the country. With those hopes put on hold, I am fortunate that I can still express my creative spirit through art, which has positively changed my life. I feel strongly that other people would be inspired by my story.
My blog, describing my adventures in painting and cooking – most of which took place when I was not allowed to eat or drink anything. I coped with my hunger by preoccupying myself with it and creating excellent dishes! Then when the aromas and beautiful sights of food became too much, I would distract myself with creating art in my studio.
In August 2015, I finally transferred my beloved Allspice and Acrylics Blog over to amyoes.com. You can learn about what inspired me to blog in my article for Beyond Your Blog.
Looking back, these are some of my favorite posts:
Amy Oestreicher is a twenty-eight year old artist, actress, musician, orator and writer residing in Westport, CT. Amy specializes in acrylics, mixed media and collage. Her first solo art exhibit in 2011, Journey Into Daylight (Westport Women’s Club) featured over 70 original works spreading her message of hope in the darkest of times, and the celebration of life. Since then, Oestreicher has mounted solo exhibits Discovery Museum, Temple Shalom, Picture This Gallery, Ridgefield Tusk and Cup Fine Coffee and several other venues. She has also participated in juried exhibitions at Blue Lemon, Beechwood Arts Gallery, City Lights Gallery, G & B Cultural Center, Carriage Barn’s Art in the Windows, and Ridgefield Art Walk. and her show “Coming hoME, Finding heART honored the grand opening of the Prescott Tavern in Amherst, MA. Her work has also been featured in various boutiques such as Palooza in Fairfield CT, Hazel Daze Boutique and featured on NBC’s Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda. Oestreicher’s work is currently for sale on her personal website www.amyoes.com and her Etsy Shop, AllspiceAndAcrylics. She is currently studying abstract painting, art education and expressive Arts Therapies at Hampshire College.