We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Charlton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, what inspires you?
I am inspired by the world around me, the world within me, and the pursuit of expressing the two in a connective way that inspires others.
I often feel overwhelmed by the issues that plague our modern, human society and feel powerless to make any huge impact on systems that are much larger than myself. I am a pretty emotional person and find it difficult to separate myself from the pain that humans seem to cause one another on such a regular basis whenever I catch up on national and international news.
Art provides me an opportunity to retreat, rediscover, and reframe my reality and perspective. There is so much beauty around us, all of the time. My art has taught me so much about mindfulness: the awareness of the intricate details, patterns and movement in our surroundings. I have learned to seek out the interconnection of shadows and how important they are in enhancing the vibrancy of an entire painting. I hope that my work inspires others to look a little closer, search a little harder for something beautiful in the “mundane.”
I am perpetually inspired by Mother Nature and every single nonhuman animal whose path crosses with mine… hence why my paintings feature so many landscapes and wildlife. I think it is important that we try to take lessons from other species — each of them has something magnificent to offer us, if we only slow down and take the time to observe.
I am inspired by my love for our world, and a dream to see more beauty in it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a lifelong horsewoman and nature lover based out of South Fork, Colorado. My work with horses, grounded by energetic connection and flow, deeply inspires the intuitive, creative process behind my art. I am an avid ultra-marathon runner and endurance horseback rider, and hope that my passion for movement in nature is readily apparent through my work.
I was born in Long Island, New York, and studied Philosophy at New York University before making the move out West when I was 22 years old. I have never looked back. My love of working with horses in a mountainous landscape has brought me through Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. In 2017, I rode 28 feral Mongolian horses 630 miles across Mongolia in the world’s longest horse race — the Mongol Derby. Following this experience, I began experimenting boldly with color in my art and expanded my subject matter. I also subsequently developed a passion for endurance horseback riding and dream to one day compete with my Nevada Mustangs in the 100 mile divisions. Until then, I continue to drink daily inspiration in from the great outdoors while exploring with my horses or running long distances on my own two feet.
I strive to communicate the deep emotional undertones that pervade Mother Nature from a highly subjective, human perspective: though my subjects stand apart from human influence, my hope is that it is impossible not to relate with them and see ourselves within their expression. My work is intended to serve as a consolation for others—that, despite deep contrasting colors and strong opposing forms, harmony, balance and connection are ever-present to provide a source of beauty between the lines. I strive to to guide the viewer’s eye through my work by means of strategically placed contrasts and patterns… I want your eyes to dance, bringing the energy from within my work right into your very experience.
Art is a means of communication for me when words simply aren’t enough, and I believe this exploratory, creative process to be deeply beneficial for the human psyche. Art is a realm that exists for many reasons—one of which being to help us approach our insecurities and fears, work with them, and turn them into something beautiful. I hope that my work will remind humans of their soulful connection to other species, planet Earth, and one another… and that I might inspire anyone who is willing to run towards their lifelong dreams.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
South Fork, Colorado is literally heaven on Earth. We are about 30 minutes southeast of Creede, Colorado which has an incredible arts scene so yes, we would definitely check out *all* of the galleries (and maybe see a show at the Creede Repertory Theatre)! It is incredible how many renowned artists call this area home. South Fork has endless trails to discover so I’d probably throw my friend up on one of our ponies and take a ride right out our back door. Candie’s Firehouse Grille has the best burger in town and the Gaslamp Tavern right across the street has the best cocktails [after a day of riding with me, most people need a drink] so we’d easily have both delicious grub and libations covered. The next day, we’d have to float down the Rio Grande and have some fly-fishing poles in our packs for when we stop for lunch alongside the river. I am not a huge mountain biker [I trust horses more than bikes], but my husband is — he loves all of the trails over at Stone Quarry and would take us all on an adventure! Then, we’d have to have dinner over at the Windsor Hotel in Del Norte — by far, some of the best cuisine in the San Luis Valley. Bistro Barbara, the bar that is attached to the Windsor, has a great menu and phenomenal drinks for reasonable prices. Suffice it to say, as long as who’s visiting loves adventuring outside, eating delicious food and drinking delicious whiskey, we’d have endless fun during our week together.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are countless individuals who have motivated me to chase my dreams, work my butt off, and never give up — every single person who has ever added one of my prints or paintings to their collection of art certainly falls into this category. I am lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband who constantly encourages me to create and send my work out into the world. My mama [her name is Nancy — but you can call her Nanners, it’s cool] has been my perpetual cheerleader since I first picked up a pencil. I have an amazing community of entrepreneurial women in my small town of South Fork, Colorado and am so incredibly thankful for their support and “Hell yeah!” attitudes.
Last but definitely not least, Vincent Van Gogh has been my largest inspiration when it comes to dedicating oneself to their art, no matter how the rest of the world appreciates their work. Vincent’s work ethic was like nothing else in this world and I remind myself of this every time I find myself searching for some reason to avoid the easel. His impact on me expands far past this, which also reminds me that we can never be fully aware of the positive affect we may have on another simply by committing ourselves to our passion.
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