Amanda Stratford has put together a portfolio of work to date which reflects her love of walking and travelling as well as her sense of humour, leading to unusual, insightful and often quirky images.
Amanda studied Shop and Store Display and Interior/Exhibition Design at Medway College of Design in Rochester. She has worked in both the interior (commercial and domestic) and exhibition design industries for more than 25 years, as well as creating watercolour visuals for architects and developers.
In 1991, a love of sailing inspired Amanda and a friend to set sail from Faversham in Kent in a 37’ boat, making the 6000 n.mile [6900 miles] transatlantic crossing to Grenada in the West Indies. She worked in the charter industry for a year, enabling her to explore the many islands, before settling on the Dutch/French Island of Sint Maarten/St Martin where she built up a successful design business.
The vibrancy and colour of the West Indies stayed with her after her return to England seven years later, when she moved into the world of themed exhibitions, designing colourful, sculptural sets into which storylines were carefully woven. These displays inspired the seed of the idea for her portraits; each one designed to tell a story – to reveal glimpses of the personality as well as the face you know so well.
Amanda gradually began to devote more time to her painting, enjoying the freedom it allowed – so different from the constraints of the design industry. She wanted to find a technique that moved away from the precision of her design work. As a self-taught artist she chose acrylic as a medium and quickly moved from brushes to palette knife.
Painting to a larger format is an important part of the process for Amanda and, with her strong sense of design and colour, she is able to mix vibrant colours directly on the canvas, laying on heavy texture to build up the image. Her sketching is minimal, with the image and colour developing as the painting emerges.