Abstract works are therapy for artist

Published 2:45 am Saturday, January 5, 2019

Amy Findley Bowers’ first recollection of art as therapy is from her childhood.

“My mom and grandmother began passing on their love of handmade things when I was a child,” she said. “Aside from handing me a book, the best way to keep me occupied involved crayons or a craft project. One of my favorites was when Mom would make large scribbles for me to fill in with different colors. I called them balloons and they were much more appealing than a coloring book.

“I can still remember the little thrill I felt when I first looked at the possibilities on each piece of paper,” she said. “ Mom had to do the scribbles back then because mine were just boring. I am happiest now when I am making my own scribbles and turning them into a character, scene or an abstract painting.”

Her “scribbles” are being shown by the LAAC this month. A reception set for 5 until 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8, is the official opening, but the show will remain open through January.

Bowers said she has never taken art classes, but after watching online videos in 2015, began a nightly practice of art journaling to help deal with anxiety and insomnia.

“That unlocked the door to the world of mixed media where there are no rules and mistakes are no big deal and I could begin to pull away from the paralyzing fears of failure, judgment and the circular prison of perfectionism,” she said. “Art is therapy, expression and mood management for me.”

Bowers experiments with the themes of identity the concept of home and the embodiment of an emotion or an ideal in figurative form in her work.

“My paintings often contain many layers of paint and all sorts of watersoluble drawing media and collage,” she said. “It is a very public way of expressing very private feelings in an acceptable way. I stay safe and hidden but can still say what I need to in a piece that may not even communicate clearly but will resonate on some level with the right viewer. “

The LAAC show includes many of her abstract portraits and figures along with some purely abstract pieces. All work is for sale with prices ranging from

$50 to $500. There will be 12-inch paintings and canvases up to four feet tall.

Her favorite of the pieces on display is called “The Bath.”

“It is the first large figure I every attempted – the first true figure I tried to draw really,” she said. “It marked the first time I just let go and tried without worrying about the outcome. It is a woman seated holding a baby about to enter the bath and a few hours after I started working on it, my oldest step-daughter called to tell me that she was pregnant with our first grandchild. While every piece means something to me, that one will always be special.”

Bowers is an Andalusia native and a graduate of the AHS class of 1988. She also is a former reporter for The Star-News and The Opp News. She now makes her home near Elba.