In defining the effects of daydreaming in art: the haze that clouds the memory, engulfing one’s introspection of self, love and verses of poetic ruminations, the trance that comforts one’s soul, a flash of psychedelic yearning and reminiscence, the journey that traverses the expanse of realism, a breakage from the boundaries of the present occurrences. The act itself encapsulates a voyage to artistry and the arrival on the safest shore, the sanctuary and rekindled zone of self. Amy Sol affirms the prowess of daydreaming as the genesis of her craft, allowing her mind to wander to the infinite universe, to come up with visions that echo her reflections, to maintain the state of flow in her craftsmanship, and to stay there and rediscover herself.
In Fall 2020, Amy Sol exhibited eleven art pieces with Thinkspace Projects at Brand Library. Forest Dream, the anthology’s title, manifests the forms of meditation and inner peace the artist was searching for at the time of its creation. “The portraits are focused on medicinal plants I have in my studio as references, compelling my mind to wander and relax. I had to look inwards to find calm during times when I could not find it in the outside world. It was my goal to communicate this in each painting”, says Sol.
The eclipsed shade of pink pervades in the aura of two paintings. The lush serenity of tenderness, calm, acceptance and love trickles from the imagery; the fitting escort to the dark brown and green hues that materialize the silhouettes, linings and finishing details of the art. In Where Redwoods Meet the Sea, the persona looks out in the sea of pink river, sky, clouds and moon, her sloth of bears, entangled among the nook of evergreens, crouches behind her to protect her serene meditation at a night of stillness.
I painted this with the intent to create a peaceful scene that shows the magnitude of trees and their towering scale and during a major wildfire in 2020 where Redwood forests burned along the coast, just South of The Bay Area where I lived at the time. On most days of the summer and fall, I saw the sky color and pink sun. This is also about letting go, moving on, and acceptance as a tinge of melancholy lingers.
Such melancholy continues as it unravels in the artist herself. In Leaf of Love, Amy Sol cradled sadness while creating the piece and yearned to comfort herself through a paintbrush and canvas. The outcome carves out a depiction of a space and objects that heal, a vision of a self-care practice. The protagonist, almost a resemblance to the artist herself, sits before a small pond, lays her head on her knees, drapes her arms around her legs and closes her eyes, the metaphor of one’s self-comfort, while a fish floats in the air among the transparent bubbles and a leaf sprouts from the lady’s head, covering a part of her face, an agency of protection.
“I often sketch and doodle. My ideas start out as rough and abstract scribbles, the ground where I start to grow ideas. I also take photos of anything that captures my eyes such as clouds, trees, plants, people and animals. I will use these as references for future paintings.”
In Fireflies, a lady stands on the grassland, the purple flowers blossoming beneath her feet, and outside of the dark forest ahead. The sun has set, illuminating the sky with pink and purple haze that has started to darken its hues. No matter how haunting it seems, the fireflies that surround the lady, glowing in green light, guide the character towards safety in what lies ahead and protect her from the spirits and beings of evil that creep in the realm. The pink and purple color anthems switch into earth shades as Amy Sol’s anthology soldiers on.
In Solari II, gray, beige, cream and white cast a patchwork of shades that evoke wistfulness with a tinge of weariness. In Sol’s words, the piece depicts losing oneself in the appreciation of the plant life and the minutiae of nature along its lines, curves and facets. To surrender to the calmness it exudes becomes the focal message the painting envisions to convey.
I use a relatively broad range of mediums. For painting, I sometimes use acrylic on canvas, gouache on paper, or oil on wood panels. The medium will help to shape the look of the piece and the pace I work at. Generally, I use muted tones, but every so often I will use a saturated color. It all depends on the mood I am going for.
In Wind Poppy, the weight of emotions one nurses echoes. The protagonist faces sideways, her head slightly bowed and her eyes closed, while a strand of wind poppy grows and blooms beside her and in the foreground of the piece, its stems crawling across her shoulders to console her from her blues.
“Wind poppy is a flower species that seeds rarely and usually only after fires. I found this to be an engrossing metaphor for a heartbreak and starting over. Sometimes, we need to burn down in order to initiate a fresh start and heal again. This flower evolves to survive and thrive after a destructive event. I mixed ashes into the oil paint which had blown into my neighborhood during a fire. It was a sentimental act initially, but it made the colors a bit milky and grainy, and unexpectedly suitable for the piece.”
Throughout the compendium, nature synchronizes with the lurking doctrines in the artworks, use of palettes and strokes of brushes since the outdoors holds a dear space in Sol’s heart. In Las Vegas, her birth city, she spent her time at home and in solitude which has harnessed her ability to focus inward, to be attuned with her emotions and ponderings, free from distractions. In her early childhood, she lived in South Korea for a stint, the cultural nuances, folk arts and textiles in the county have shaped her aesthetics. In Oakland, California, her present home, territories of trees and forestry enclave her vision and space, which have long piqued her interest to paint more on nature since living here. Her studio, a cozy space drenched in minimalism, good lighting, low distractions and plants to induce positivity, nestles in the area too.
When Sol works on an art piece, she focuses on what lies before her with the soft tune of music, audiobooks or podcasts in the background to accompany her creative pursuits.
If I feel stuck, hesitant or bored, I know it is time to take a break to reset my mind. Ideally, when I come back to the painting, I can see it with fresh eyes and know what to do next. I can feel when I’m getting close to finishing a painting. When there is nothing more I want to say, to add, or to change, I know it is done. After a painting is completed, I usually have to let it dry and/or varnish and scan it, or send it to be photographed, if it is large. Then, I usually send off the piece. Sending art away to a gallery or home is always a good feeling, as I do not like holding onto my own artwork.
Almost a year after the COVID-19 snaked through humanity, Sol has noticed a postponement in her art routine, inclusive of its social and travelling facets, as she recognizes the pandemic’s effect on her and those around her. Her life has transformed for better and worse as she navigates through making the best out of the situation. “I am unraveling the emotions and the events I experienced last year. I think the art I will be making in the year ahead will reflect these. All that I am making from the moment on is untangling what occurred, the ideas I sketched then, but did not have the capacity to be painted during the time.”
Indulging in daydreams, the manifestation of Amy Sol’s frame of mind onto her canvas at the time of her curation rather than a self-representation. Whether she draws on the blank slate with a hybridized character based on an individual she knows or imagines her rendition of an animal, person or event that has occurred, she poetizes each imagery with a narrative that tethers on one’s soul and translates their sentiments and beliefs into paintings.