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  • Writer's pictureAmber Leilani

Quarantine Update

Hello gentle readers and subscribers! It's been a while.

I hope you all are well and that you and your families are safe.

What a strange 6 months it's been, huh?

And, unfortunately, there are no signs this will be letting up any time soon. Wear a Mask!

My husband and I have been safely social distancing since March 8th. I closed my shop around that time and I have still not reopened it for several reasons. I do not know when , how, or if I will re-open.

I want to give you a little update on what I have been up to and what the future might hold for me, art wise. I can only take it one day at a time right now. That's really all most of us CAN do.


What's been happening, how, & why...

Toward the end of last year I made the very bold decision to abandon making Halloween and Day of the Dead art. I had been feeling a shift coming and for reasons I won't go into here, felt it was time to really pursue my Muse full tilt and try my hand at a style of painting that included a lot of colors and patterns. I took several classes on pattern and surface design, Photoshop, and marketing, but everything that I had been working toward sort of fell apart when the pandemic hit.

I continued to try and paint during the first few months of the lock down...really throwing myself into pattern and surface design. I tried to perfect my watercolor floral patterns and began to experiment in gouache and colored pencil hoping to bring a very textured and mixed media approach to my work.

I painted a lot to keep the sadness and despair at bay. I mean, A LOT.

So much so that I was in pain from looking down all the time and from the position I had to sit in in order to paint flat. I won't bore you with the details, but I have some physical limitations that I deal with daily. I refuse to let them get me down, but as I get older, I am finding that in order to keep creating, I am having to change and adapt constantly.

Then,in May or June...(or July?!)...who knows!! Seriously, the last few months have run together.... a friend of mine said " Hey! Are you going to take this Laura Horn class called The Melting Pot? We should take it together!" .... And so I did.

And here I am several months later, having discovered my love of abstracts--- painting my little heart out in a medium and style that I never thought in a billion years I would even attempt!!

Thankfully, I can now work on an easel so the pain I was experiencing while working flat has let up. Yay! This is me... adapting!

Since that first class I have taken several more abstract painting classes and I have simply fallen in love with intuitive painting.

When we lived in New Orleans, one of the things I loved the most about the city was the history and architecture -- especially the way paint peeled on shutters and doors...revealing decades of color and texture. Wallpaper would show through under layers of paint inside old homes, businesses and apartments..even hundred year old murals would appear as if by magic during renovations. You could smell the history and the culture of the city just by walking down the street. That is a look and a feel I have longed to achieve in my work. I can still smell New Orleans if I close eyes. I want to bring that textured, layered look to life and think I may have finally found a way to do so.


So...what now?

Honestly, I have no idea!!

I am trying to take each day as it comes. To try and plan for an uncertain future, for me, feels slightly frightening. I am just focusing on the here and now...that my family and most of my friends are safe. That my husband and I are together and able to work from home. That we have both been able to keep ourselves safe by listening to the scientists and experts who are working hard to understand this virus.

As far as painting and my business is concerned, I really have no clear plan or path forward.

Right now, I am painting for ME.

My hope, of course, is that my new work is liked and embraced and that I will be able to sell my new paintings through my website and also pick up new galleries as we move forward. It brings me immense joy to see my work in collections around the world, and I truly hope I don't have to give that up just yet.

I am aware that I have made numerous changes to my work over the last several years and it has cost me collectors and followers alike. That being said, as an artist, I have to follow that Muse. I may still love Halloween and long to be an Addams, but my space needs to be full of color and cheer that is what I am choosing to paint. I have longed for the freedom that intuitive painting offers. I have wanted to stretch my wings and pursue other ventures rather than be pigeonholed into one style or one area of interest. I have many interests ranging from Goth to Primitive; Victorian to Mid-Mod; Black and white to color. I personally feel that having so many different interests keeps me from ever really being bored.


So, this is where I am ...

So I guess that is a little life update: Quarantine edition. I know that most of you signed up for my newsletter when I was still making Halloween art, and I am aware that many of you will not wish to receive news about my new ventures. I completely understand. Just know that I appreciate each and every one of you for following as my road has become winding and for each purchase you have made over the years.

I know that I, along with my work, will continue to change and evolve. I have to. If I don't, I will loose my will to keep going.

I have always been creative. I've wanted to be "an artist" since I was 8 years old and won our third grade art contest featuring scenes from the Pipi Longstocking movie we had seen on a field trip. I've made jewelry, sculpted dolls and shadow boxes, painted mixed media portraits, watercolor and gouache patterns and portraits, and now I am enjoying exploring abstracts and intuitive painting at its fullest. I can't NOT make things. Even when I break down in tears and tell my husband I am quitting....about 3 days later I'm back in my studio, putting some new weird idea to paper or canvas. I don't think many of us, in our wildest imaginings or worst nightmares would have ever envisioned going through a global pandemic. Joseph and I had just gotten married in November, after 15 wonderful years together (and 5 horrific years in Miami while he got his doctorate)...we were finally happy here in Raleigh.... and then this hit. We have lost people. We know people who have lost people. We can't visit our family or friends. We are utterly alone and have no one to rely on. Thankfully we have each other and we have our jobs and interests that keep us grounded and give us something to focus on. For me, that is painting.

So, that's what I'm doing: painting. Painting. Painting. Painting. I don't know what life is going to look like on the other side of this thing. I don't know if there will be an other side of this, or if this is what life will look like from now on. I try not to think too hard on it because, honestly, it freaks me out. I just try and focus on the textures, patterns, and colors that make me feel a little more grounded and connected to the universe as a whole.

I want to thank you if you have read this far. If you have continued to follow my work -- the likes and comments are always welcomed and appreciated. I want to wish you all the very best in everything you do and again, I hope you and your families are all safe. If you have lost loved ones during this time, know that my heart is with you. I know exactly how you feel. And I hope, I hope, I hope, that we can all come out of this with more empathy and understanding than maybe we went into it with.

Keep creating!

All my best,


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