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Artist Statement

Art has enwrapped me later in life.  I studied textile design as an undergraduate, however,  my graduate education and professional career were spent in  health care and in health policy and research.  At midlife I find myself captured by the simpler life, and I am fortunate to be able to surround myself with animals and paint. 

Returning to the studio, I find that animals follow me.  Their color, personality, and wisdom are what I want to capture in my Animal Squares.  My other art pieces are further inspired by the farm, I find interest in the forms created in nature, and I enjoy bringing color to those forms.  My Barn Series was inspired by our barn in Michigan and  the surrounding pastures. Now residing in North Carolina I am finding inspiration from the many old farms and beautiful structures that transform into colors and shapes on the painted surface.

 For me, art is feeling and emotion, and I wish to extend that pleasure beyond the creative process to the viewer.

Artist Bio

In 2016 Amy Wilson-Stronks found herself living on a 40-acre farm in Southwest Michigan with her husband, four horses, eight goats, two emus, many chickens, two ducks, two bunnies, four cats, the occasional donkey and always at least two dogs. Having spent her early professional career in healthcare advocacy, policy and research, the move to Michigan was a significant life transition having retired from that.  Her self-described "Midlife Cowgirl" life phase included a return to painting.  She set up a studio and gallery in the farm’s big red barn and found inspiration from the animals housed within and the pastures surrounding it.  


"Animals are amazing.  Nothing beautiful in any of their images is made up.  Each one of the animals I have had the pleasure to represent in art is an amazing and beautiful creature with a brilliant personality.  All animals have something interesting to say.  We just have to listen."     

                  -Amy Wilson-Stronks, Artist


Amy's work is solidly driven by the farm and nature. Her two most popular series of work are the subjects of "Barn" and "Animal Squares." Animal Squares started as quick portraits of the animals on the Michigan farm, with mind bubbles showing exactly what was on each animal's mind. Animal Squares were popular with the guests who stayed at the Farm Stay Bed and Breakfast Amy and her husband operated. Then friends wanted portraits of their own horses or dogs, and they wanted to know in the mind bubbles what their animals were saying.  Amy was able to figure it out!

The “Barn” series began as an assignment while Amy was studying at the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph MI.  Barn 2017 was completed as a hardline abstraction and shown in some local displays.  Amy found the process of hardline abstraction enjoyable and decided to do another barn painting in the same style, but with a different color palette.  Then she decided to paint a third barn in the style using oils.  She then wanted to add a fence to the composition.  And so on.  The barns are all renditions of their Michigan barn, though no two are the same.  She has expanded modifications to the series to include Mixed Media, loosening the hardline abstraction and incorporating Fauvist style to the work.

Amy’s other work reflects her love of color and respect for nature and animals.  Her background in Textile Design comes out in some of her abstractions.  She loves pattern and movement.  Her earliest work was simply patterns of color swirls across a large canvas.  Finding interesting forms in nature and abstracting forms from images is something that inspires some of her work.

Amy was born in Chicago, Illinois, but grew up in Upstate New York in the Finger Lakes Region.  She grew up playing in the woods, using her imagination to create stories of adventure among the trees and along the stream that ran behind her childhood home. Her parents were supporters of the arts and engaged in several arts-related activities such as macrame, natural fabric dyeing, sewing, and basket weaving.  Growing up she remembers learning these crafts.  Living in the woods, her family took advantage of the natural resources available to create from scratch.  Amy attributes her interest in nature and her scavenger spirit to her parents and their influence.

As an undergraduate Amy began a Liberal Arts tract and took a creative arts elective.  She discovered Textile Design and decided to pursue it as a degree.  What she appreciated most about the coursework was the variety- from Surface Pattern Design (a favorite) to Interior Design Basics to Fabric Science.  After graduating from college, Amy moved to Chicago.  A volunteer experience at a local hospital sparked her passion for improving healthcare.  She went on to graduate school in Public Policy leaving Textile Design behind.   Amy spent more than twenty years working in the healthcare industry, most notably as a healthcare policy researcher, advocate, and consultant.  Art was always in the background as a hobby, but until her decision to embrace life on the farm in Michigan, it was never a serious endeavor. 

In addition to her university training, Amy studied painting and drawing under several artists beginning in 2014.  She tested the waters with watercolor (pun intended) under artist Julia Holmaas (  Watercolor is not her medium of choice, but the classes ignited her interest in continuing her formal training.  After moving to Michigan in 2016 Amy joined the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph and began studying under painters David Baker ( and Lea Bult (  Under their guidance she expanded her understanding of the complexities of fine art painting and drawing, learning as much about what she didn’t know as well as refining skills and abilities she had.  During her time in Michigan she participated in several local art shows organized through local arts centers, and joined an additional open studio acrylics class led by artist Sharon Ott ( 

In Michigan Amy sold her work at her private gallery located on her farm.  She and her husband operated a bed and breakfast on the farm and had a regular source of viewers for her art.  Many guests purchased Amy’s art to remember their time on the farm.  Animal Squares were particularly popular for guests who had a favorite farm animal they wanted to remember.  She has collectors across the U.S. and Canada.  Her collectors appreciate the vibrant colors of her paintings, and the attention paid to consideration of color choice.  Her paintings also tend to create a mood of joy, which is what Amy feels on the farm.  Amy enjoys sharing the stories behind each painting, being conscious to allow viewers to create their own interpretation.

Amy now resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where the more temperate climate allows her to engage in her passions with greater freedom.  The farm and its animals still inspire her art, and she now boards her horses at a 200-acre farm with miles of hiking trails.  She brings forms of nature observed during hikes with her horses into her designs.  She often stops to take pictures of interesting trees, rocks, mushrooms, and other natural wonders while on the trail. Since her style tends toward the abstract, her trail photos become valuable sources of inspiration for her art.

Amy joined the D’Art Shop in June 2023 which is a group of artists organized by artist Debi Drew (  They meet monthly to engage in mini lessons, network, share their work, and learn from each other.   Amy finds this form of artistic group meeting to be the most effective source of information and way of learning new techniques to be incorporated into her work.  For Amy art is creative therapy. The therapeutic value is heightened with positive social interactions that occur through the art- during the process of creating and while viewing the piece.  Painting helps bring her clarity while also provoking thought.  She prefers abstract style as it allows more room for interpretation.   Putting the paint on the surface is a mental release, and the color evokes movement and emotion.  As she states, “Abstractions can reveal unexpected beauty in what is common or heighten the beauty of what we already deem lovely.  For me, art is feeling and emotion.  I love the color in the world, and I try to bring it forward in my work.  I also imagine a better world.  Sometimes the canvas (or the window glass or wood panel on which I work) allows me to paint a prettier picture than that which is in front of me.  I like my artistic license."   

Being new to the area, Amy is still learning about what resources are available to artists, and she is enjoying the process.  She eventually wants to find gallery and/ or retail representation for her work.  Currently her work can be seen on her website   or contact Amy for an up-to date digital portfolio with pricing at

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