MOORE ON ART: Amy Hillenbrand

By Deva Moore


The world of Amy Hillenbrand is colorful and bright. Her paintings confirm how beautiful the world is and can be. Amy brings a significant joy to those around her and to those who view her art. Her talent has crossed many borders merging her art with her success in everything Amy touches.

As a high school student, Amy painted watercolors in her art class. She loved her ability to capture truth and beauty but did not find direction to painting art as a specific career choice at that time. She is originally from Wisconsin and has traveled in her journey through many beautiful states residing in several and making her mark. She began her adult life by earning her Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. This motivated her to open her own commercial interior design firm at age 26. She began working from a spare room in her home building the 5th largest interior design firm in Indiana when she sold it. During her years as the firm’s owner, they designed space for banks, hospitals, restaurants and many Fortune 500 corporations. Amy’s dream of success had come to fruition but there was still more to come. Being detail oriented is part of her ability to create beautiful realistic paintings enjoyed by all. Her innate ability to use color and composition also influenced creativity and the ability to please even the pickiest interior client.

After 15 years of building her interior design empire, Amy decided the stress and slow loss of joy began to take its toll and she yearned for a change. She decided that her life needed a mental change. Maybe not steering away from design but moving into an artistic approach that would lead to a more self- reflection of her creative art.

Her ability to serve her fellow humans might be best suited for life coaching. She studied at some of the best coaching schools in the country and established her next career goal: life coach!! She sold her design business and moved to California where her next chapter would begin. This was a fulfilling and successful path. But still she felt there was more to do. One morning she woke enjoying the waves outside her home to hear a clear voice tell her “oil painting”. Amy heard it clearly but was not certain of the suggestion but was clear that this was not her normal or expected daily intuitive voice guiding her. She was a bit shocked and uncertain as she had only done 2 paintings and that was in high school. Immediately, she used her computer media to locate an Australian artist nearby who held art classes in her quaint studio near the ocean. Taking advantage of the access and embracing the classes wholeheartedly led to healing she did not know she needed. The more she created with her paintings the more she healed all of the neglect and stresses of the 16 hour days she had survived of the past years.

As she settled into her relaxed and fulfilling life, another road was opened for her. Hearing the call of Texas in her life, Amy got on the road again to the next chapter. One day soon after, she was sitting in the middle of a life coaching seminar planning to move mountains with the seminar’s options when a voice spoke loudly to her again. Yes, again this voice clearly spoke “I already told you-paint!!!” Realizing that this Divine voice was serious about her future, Amy went home and told her husband what she heard and began painting more than ever before.

Amy was confused at the strong urge to paint when she clearly had success being a life coach. She began to work with a life coach and healer of her own. It quickly became apparent that her calling was to combine her healing gifts with her painting gifts and create a healing process for others to gain their own healing and understanding of themselves. Her true purpose in life was to be the instrument through which others can find joy.

Amy was intrigued by shoes. She painted shoes, shoes and more shoes and they became her initial sort of trademark. She found inspiration in high heels, tennis shoes, sandals and more. A shoe could pose quietly and stately or loud and obnoxious but could be tamed in her paintings. The life of the shoe in her paintings could reveal the reality or hint at the mystery surrounding the shoe’s life. Amy enjoyed the life the shoes exhibited and the story they told. But soon shoes were a painting choice of the past when her Mom passed away from uterine cancer. A painting subject was reborn with the loss of her Mom-flowers.
This rebirth was an interesting side note for Amy. It was that her first paintings were of flowers when she was young. Her mother loved flowers and Amy picked her flowers- most always daisies, buttercups or Queen Anne’s lace to brighten her Mom’s day as a child. After growing up and moving away from her Mom, she sent her mom bouquets on Mother’s Day and her birthday. When her mom was diagnosed with cancer Amy sent her flowers every other week for 2 years and after her mom had passed, she knew that flowers were her best subject when painting and her paintings “bloomed”!!

Amy has a studio where she finds the solitude and motivation for painting. She prefers music that is a mellow or instrumental, classical or spa music as her background for inspiration. A sunlit studio where she can relax and allow her creative juices to flow onto the canvas. Amy’s style is realistic and one finds themselves seeing the flowers wave slightly in an imagined breath of air or smell the fragrance as it wafts by one’s nose in the breeze. The colors are vibrant and soothing leaving the subtle radiance in a perceived light. One feels that they can simply reach out and touch the soft petals or firm stalk and pick the flower out of the painting to enjoy briefly in a vase of water but far more important is to know that these paintings can be enjoyed permanently hanging on the wall in view daily. A treasure for a lifetime of enjoyment.

Amy finds healing in her art when she paints them and again when her admirers find joy and their own healing in her artwork. Her greatest joy is when she sees the joy others find in her creations. The art tells a story and is the story and stands as it appears. It may speak to someone of a memory in the past or remind them of beauty in the moment but it speaks to all!

When asked her reason for art, Amy stated that “she paints with intention” to “brighten a room” and “lift people’s lives”. She creates pleasing paintings for herself for those who view them. She attended the class with the Australian painter in California but has no need to take classes currently as she prefers the self- taught method of painting continuously to increase the confidence of her work. In order to get better at something one must increase quantity of time devoted to it. A sort of practice makes perfect, but in Amy Hillenbrand’s case she needs no practice as her art is perfect!

There are workshops that Amy has participated in at times. And she offers classes and workshops from her studio. She is open to the public with appointments. Amy’s art is exhibited in a few galleries. Gallery 195 in Boerne is a convenient option and highly recommended. There one can view or even buy beautiful artwork by Amy and other artists. Gallery 195 is located at 195 S. Main in Boerne. They can reached at 830-331-9904. Amy can be reached at her facebook @amyhillenbrandfineart studios or her website AmyHillenbrandGallery.

Amy does some beautiful commission work or one may own a Hillenbrand masterpiece by visiting her website or her facebook page or visiting a gallery which exhibits her work such as Gallery 195.

As a natural course of direction, she loves plants and enjoys gardening in her spare time or as a therapy outlet other than painting.

Commercial style of painting is not her intent. She has not studied to pursue a particular style but prefers to understand that styles develop from one’s own enjoyment. Studying other painters has enabled her to enjoy their work for the mere enjoyment of art. Inspiration is found in their work as artists for pleasure and appreciation. Amy has participated in many shows and has had her art displayed in numerous public venues such as airports, cafes, churches and libraries.

Amy has always relied on her own intuition in situations and all aspects in her life. She has found this to be instrumental in both negative and positive events.

Artists are always asked what is their favorite work? Amy’s answer was “all of them” but if asked specifically then she leans to 2 large paintings she has done of peonies. One is entitled “Inevitable Potential” and the other is “The Power of Light”. Her most vivid memory of those paintings birth is of the pictures she took of them and thinking these are going to be special!!! And they are!! Amy uses photography to capture some of her subjects for painting. She prefers to paint in her studio where she can set her environment to her preferences rather than to the open air or plain air painting where sometimes the wind, weather and environment can “add” undesirable aspects to one’s painting.

Her portfolio has a wide range of subjects and there really are no limits as her website clearly demonstrates. Paintings of animals, flowers, food and more delight even the most beginning art enthusiast to the most advanced artist.

Visiting a gallery provides many options for artists and this author suggests one visit Gallery 195 and enjoy Amy Hillenbrand’s art. Take a class, research online or visit the gallery it really does not matter but definitely embrace some art and do it soon. We only live once and it may as well be enjoyable, take a moment enjoy some of Amy Hillenbrand’s beautiful art and you may even want to own some of her joy for yourself.