You could say Amanda Brooks is inspired by nature, but that would be far too simplistic.
Her artwork isn’t just pretty paintings of birds and flowers, animals and landscapes. Absolutely not. It is layer on layer of colourful hues that have the ability to brighten your day and bring a smile to your face. Her brush strokes speak to you, ask you to dig deeper and really feel something about the nature you see springing forth from the canvas.
Amanda isn’t just inspired by nature; she brings it to life.
“When one is in touch with nature no season passes unnoticed,” she smiles as she recites this quote.
“So, I am absolutely inspired by nature yes, but also by light, movement, surprising colour combinations, textures, and I like to use a combination of acrylics, ink washes and oils to really create layers and depth; give life to every piece.
“You could say that my goal is to portray a balance of realism with loose painterly abstraction, causing one to complement the other.”
Born and raised in South Africa, and hailing from a family of creatives, Amanda has had a love of art for as long as she can remember.
“All of my aunts and uncles, my dad, they’ve all painted and been quite musical, so I grew up being encouraged to explore my creative side and always enjoyed drawing and painting, arranging flowers, that sort of thing,” she says.
“When I left school I studied graphic design, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, we had to do a very rushed emigration out of South Africa to Australia and ended up in beautiful Noosa. My mother is Australian and Noosa is where my grandmother lived, so it worked for us to move here.
“At the time I didn’t have sort of any job opportunities as a graphic designer, and this was in 1996, so I got into floristry and then taught art classes. I also found myself working in a little gallery in Hastings Street painting tiny watercolours. Turned out Noosa was just the perfect place to be inspired by art.
“The little paintings I was doing sold really well and really quickly and I got so busy painting in the shop that the owners told me to just go home and paint full-time, so I did, and the rest is history, as they say.”
Amanda’s unique work reflects the contemporary, casual and colour-filled lifestyle of the picturesque Sunshine Coast she calls home, from whimsical birds and animals to abstract florals, ocean pools and Australian landscapes.
“I really do paint such a unique and different range of subjects because it forces me out of my comfort zone,” she tells salt. “I’m a very visual person, I’m not practical at all, and everything is about what I see.
“My brain is constantly ticking as I think to myself, ‘oh, I really must put that on a canvas’. I love experimenting and trying new things which is why my work is so diverse.
“Florals were always my favourite. More recently though, I find myself loving the landscapes, and especially Australian landscapes. They really allow me to escape to that place I’m painting whether I have physically been there before or not.
“I have visited a lot of the Italian scenes I paint, but mostly someone will send a photo reference and I paint from that.
“One day I would absolutely love to do a bit of touring to central Australia and get to see these incredible landscapes in real life, then paint them in a way they haven’t been painted before.
“[I’d like to] bring these iconic Australian scenes to life in my own style without being too cliché.”
And with Amanda’s work being so beautifully curated with attention to detail, interesting layers, textures, and stunning colours, one could just imagine how she would bring the heart of Australia to life.
While her highly prized work has been sold and celebrated across the world, with pieces being represented in private collections throughout Southeast Asia, Europe, the United States and Australia, she now paints from her stunning hinterland home, and opens her studio for interested buyers.
“I pinch myself every single day that this is now how I enjoy my time,” she laughs.
“I am so grateful to the collectors who invest in my paintings. And I suppose I chose to self-promote my work rather than go through galleries because I enjoy the interaction with followers and buyers.
“I love to deal directly with people and have that almost intimate interaction, you know, and help them choose the right artwork for them.”
“Occasionally I do joint exhibitions, but I also don’t want the stress of a solo exhibit.
“I much prefer to just paint as I go and sell as I go. Everyone is welcome to book in and come up to the studio to have a look or talk about a commission.
“I am also very active on social media, and I have a lot of people commenting that they get a daily surprise every time they log on and see something pretty and joyful on my page.”
Amanda describes her process as self-taught and always evolving.
“I used to paint only with watercolours on paper but got to a point where I felt the paper wasn’t big enough, so I had to move onto larger canvases and transfer the technique using acrylic. Even looking back a few years I can see just how far my work has come and how differently I paint compared to previous years,” she says.
“I think you just develop and learn along the way. Even if you’ve painted for 26 years, you still learn new skills by experimenting daily.”