Grace notes (Submitted photo)

Motion. Movement. Space.

Amy O. Woodbury was once a contemporary dancer and choreographer where her milieu was motion, movement and space. While in the studio inventing movement, she would sometimes envision images and concepts that she thought would be better expressed as a piece of visual art rather than a dance. Today, as a two-dimensional visual artist, she is tapping into her choreography experience as a way to create motion, movement, and space on canvas.

Interlopers (Submitted photo)

Woodbury settles in daily in her spatially challenged studio, formerly a screened-in porch, purposely minimizing distractions of sound and sight. Her prompts and inspirations come from her nature walks near Lake Michigan here in Evanston, and the shapes, patterns, and contours of the red rocks in Southern Utah where she visits regularly. Also, from her keen observation of other art. And when there is no specific inspiration, she finds that if she starts creating movement on the canvas, “moving off the spot” as she puts it, those initial marks will evolve into a satisfying finished piece of art. Some pieces are done in a single flow, while others may continue to be enhanced for weeks or even months. In every case, motion must be present in the art to be complete.

Demolition (Submitted photo)

Currently Woodbury has two small fantasy themed canvases in progress. Often her works may be in stark contrast with one another: one will be comprised of numerous, small brush strokes and detail work followed by one that allows for larger, more expansive moves and marks of the brush. This balance of movement and scale acts like a “palette cleanser.” And creating more than one thing keeps things engaging and stimulating.

Woodbury is not constrained to one particular medium and creates with acrylic, oil pastels, chalk, watercolor pencils and collage. When an idea “…comes to me” she “…can’t wait” to move to her studio and work it out.

Fall festival (Submitted photo)
Artist Amy O. Woodbury (Photo by Joerg Metzner)

“I’m jazzed by the burgeoning art scene in Evanston, the support and encouragement; I want to be a part of it. And I have been fortunate in that I have built a healthy client base here in town; I am able to sell my work.”

Her future direction in art will include an assortment of canvases and alternative surfaces. Inspired by the majestic vista of Lake Michigan to the east, she would also like to get back to tackling large-scale works, which would enable her to further explore those elements of choreography: the human figure, movement and space.

To see Woodbury’s work, visit her website. And quite uniquely, she hosts a very community-oriented event: Amy O. Woodbury’s Annual Front Yard Art Sale. Visit her show and sale Labor Day weekend at 1931 Colfax Street in north central Evanston. You will find an array of galleries of her canvases, drawings and notecards. This 20-year plus tradition is one way Woodbury shares her art, helping to create a community of good will and art appreciation in our wonderful city of Evanston.

This article first appeared on the Evanston Made website.

Jean Cunningham retired from the business world and is now enjoying the next phase, including writing about local artists to increase awareness of Evanston’s amazing art community.