BD would like to introduce you to the very talented Amber Moran, the next feature in our Artist Spotlight.
Q:Where do you live?
A:I reside in a beautiful small town called Hobe Sound on Florida’s Treasure Coast.
Q:What mediums do you work in and what is your favorite?
A:I previously have worked with many different mediums such as acrylics, oils, charcoal and pastels. I also have always thought it was fun to create books out of handmade paper and found objects using various binding methods.
Currently, I work with watercolor and ink on watercolor paper and mat board.
I have enjoyed illustrating since a young girl. While I was in undergrad, I wasn’t fond of using watercolor paints. I found them very difficult to work with and I wasn’t comfortable with the fact that I couldn’t control them. About five years or so later, after having our two boys, I was feeling creative one day when they were napping. I hadn’t really had a chance to illustrate or paint in a long time. I found some old watercolor paints that I had in college in our closet and brought them out. I tried working with them again. For some reason this time, it just clicked and it felt right. I think that maybe it was because I had more patience (after having our boys) and didn’t care about having control.
I really enjoy combining both watercolors and ink. This way, I can combine both my loves of watercolors and illustration to create my own style.
Q:What are your other hobbies, and are they related to your artwork?
A:I started running a few years ago and really enjoy it. I had always been more of a short distance runner and thought that people who ran marathons were crazy! I have many family members who are runners and/or marathon runners and make it look so easy. I decided that I had to step up. I like challenges and wanted to get in shape so I start running. As time went on I found that I really did enjoy it and that it was good for me. It is a time where I can think about everyday life things and think about what I would like to paint next. I am very lucky and live in a beautiful coastal town.
I run down a road lined with banyan trees that leads to a small bridge over the intercostal, through more banyans, straight to the beach. It’s such a beautiful run that I can’t help but come up with ideas along the way. I also can’t help but love to run when I know the beach is my halfway mark!
I’m running my first half marathon this November. I don’t care how long it takes; I just want to follow through and finish it! It will be a great accomplishment for me.
Q:How did you get started and what was the evolution of your style?
A:Well, I illustrated a lot for my husband, boyfriend at the time, in college. Since I was a student I didn’t have much money so on birthdays and what not, I would illustrate posters for him. Our favorite musicians and bands were mostly the main subject matter. My goal was always to impress him and so I would illustrate something and wouldn’t want to stop. I wanted it as detailed as possible. I eventually would mat them and still didn’t want to stop so would carry the illustration on to the mat. And, that’s basically what I do today with my marine and wildlife art.
Our oldest was probably around the age of two and bumped me at one point when I was working on a commissioned piece. And I was almost finished!!! Instead of being upset about it I decided to go along with it and make it work. It kind of fit in with my feeling of not wanting to be so controlling when I paint. It just ended up working out. Now Conlan likes to remind me every chance he gets that it was his idea!
A little background; My passion for art and nature started at a young age on our family dairy farm in upstate New York. I loved to study different colors and textures in nature and drew whatever I could, including trees, farm animals, birds, fish and frogs that I found in the surrounding woods. I enjoyed drawing for my family and remember giving many drawings to my grandfather, some of which still hang in his office today.
I received my Degree in Computer Art and Design from Alfred State College, my Studio Art degree from the University at Buffalo, and then went on to Elmira College and received my MS in General Education. As a Graduate Assistant and Assistant Coordinator of the Encore program of Elmira College I educated students in the exposure, exploration, and appreciation of the arts.
My husband and I were transferred to South Florida with his employer in 2004. I worked as a college administrator until we had our oldest son and then I decided to stay home with him and began my own business, Amber M. Moran Custom Artwork, LLC. I started exhibiting my artwork in various fine art shows and galleries in Florida and began creating custom designs for sport-fishing tournaments. I started creating artwork and designs for small mom and pop businesses up to large corporations and foundations.
I think I have evolved a lot since starting my business. Each year I learn more, my work matures and I have more opportunities to share it. I have been lucky enough to have been published in Marlin Magazine’s Marine Art Gallery a couple times, I have been named the 2015 Billfish Foundation Artist of the Year, I was a finalist in The Next BEALL’S Florida Artist 2015 Competition, which was a lot of fun, and I illustrated my first book Seaweed Noodle Soup, written by Author Lyn Warner, which just released this year.
Q:What goals do you have for your artwork, what does the future hold?
A:Just to keep going and go day by day.
Q:Is there a message or theme behind your artwork?
A:My passion for marine life not only enhances my artwork but I hope to inspire our two young boys to have a love for coastal conservation. I believe that caring about a healthy marine environment is taught and that we all need to be good role models for our younger generations. Around our home in Martin County, my husband, I and our boys participate in several conservation events each year.
Q:What or who inspires you?
A:My family most definitely inspire me and are very supportive of me. After putting in many long hours at work, my husband helps me set up and prep my booth for shows. I could not do it without him. Our boys are my biggest fans and salesmen. I’m very lucky and fortunate. We also have great friends who we call our “Florida Family” who inspire me and have taught me a lot. We are out on the water many weekends swimming, fishing and snorkeling.
I enjoy painting and illustrating marine and wildlife, and am heavily influenced and inspired by the South Florida tropical environment.
I’m drawn to the bright and vibrant colors and transparent elements that exist in Florida’s beautiful setting which I think I can portray using watercolor paints. Water is included in almost every aspect of Florida life so I love that I can bring watercolors into my work to make it look and feel more fluid-like. I want the viewer to be drawn into the painting. I paint what I know. I am in love with the vastness of the ocean, the mystery of Florida canals and rivers and the peacefulness of the bush where the only sound is of the palms blowing in the wind and the flapping of bird wings.
Q:What has been the hardest project, or what is the hardest aspect of you art?
A:I think that the hardest aspect for me at this time in my life is that I can’t just work on a project when a creative feeling hits me. We (our kids) have such a crazy schedule. And, I can’t paint all night long if I feel like it as I did before children. I guess that technically I could, but I wouldn’t function very well during the week.
Q:What brings you the most satisfaction or sense of accomplishment?
A:When I am exhibiting at a show and a boat captain or angler gives my artwork a compliment. Knowing that my artwork hangs in many homes and businesses globally. It’s so awesome to think about. Or when a child comes into my booth and is blown away and asks me how I did it.
I love to see their facial expressions as I do my own boys. Or, when my husband says that he is proud of me out of the blue. That is the best feeling ever.
You can check out more of Amber’s work or contact her at her links below. Thanks for sharing your passion with us!