• By: Sofia Donato

Amanda Petrie’s journey through the arts

Art is often described to be limitless and full of possibilities. From the plentiful connections made through art, being an artist offers various opportunities. For Amanda Petrie, art has been offering her the benefits of relaxation and joy as well as connecting her to a new community of people with a common interest. For Amanda Petrie, art is endless.

Amanda Petrie

Introduced and encouraged by her mother, Petrie has shown an interest in drawing and painting. Her mother fueled this passion by showing her the basics.

Petrie explains how her mother has always been artistic. “I can remember being completely captivated as she drew for me when I was a small child. My mother nurtured my creativity by helping me build with Play Doh and Lego and showing me the basics of how to draw,” says Petrie.

The 22 year old artist has been in the field for seven years, improving her drawing and painting abilities tremendously over the past years. Working primarily in sketchbooks, Petrie completes approximately a 140 paged book in a few months.

Though Petrie only first started getting into the arts when she was just 15, Petrie explains “art was my favourite subject and I would skip recess to work on whatever project we were doing in art class. When I was 10, it actually became a problem because I would spend all class time doodling and drawing in my books,”

Art has many benefits for one’s health due to its therapeutic qualities. For Amanda Petrie, drawing was a way of relaxation, “I had been struggling for several years and found drawing to be like a kind of meditation,” she says. “It helped me a lot with focusing my energy into something positive and productive,”

Though at the time, Petrie did not have any formal training in the arts; she had a passion and desire to create that finally became a reality in her life. Over time, she developed her skills and eventually, art became a key aspect in her life.

Many students are not sure where their lives will take them. Amanda Petrie was one of those students. She knew she had a strong love of the arts but, school constantly was a struggle. The thought of applying for a four year program terrified her.

In the end, Petrie enrolled in a year long Art Fundamentals program at Sheridan College to explore her interests. Despite the fact that Petrie enjoyed learning new techniques, meeting people with similar views, and improving her art skills, she decided that she did not want to continue formal art education. The stresses from school slowly made her art projects turn into work rather than her passion.

Petrie explains how she worried “that art would become mundane and feel like work rather than being the joyful, passion filled, uplifting hobby that it had become for me. I decided that keeping art at the forefront of how I spend my free time, while keeping school and work separate was the best choice for me,”

There are various forms of visual arts, from acrylics and charcoal sketches to pen and ink, giving artists a vast range of styles to experiment with.

Petrie loves the limitless possibilities with abstract art, as it's freeing and endless, something in which she does not experience with other styles of art. As well, Petrie experiments by combining portions of realism with abstract in the same piece, creating unique results.

“The journey and process of creating something unique and straight from the soul is almost always more important to me than the finished product or what people will think about it,” says Amanda Petrie.

The mediums Petrie uses the most include pen, ink, watercolour and acrylic paint, but many of her pieces tend to become mixed media at some point. Recently, Petrie has dabbled in acrylic pouring, an entirely different process than her past works. “After you pick and mix the colours you give up almost all control of how the final product will look, but it is super addictive and fun,” Petrie explains.

Though Petrie does not officially have a business, she has sold many pieces over the years through Instagram and different art shows. Petrie started selling her art around 2015. While selling numerous art pieces, for Petrie, art is not a job but a well loved hobby or passion.

To avoid losing inspiration and keep a steady flow of artwork production, Petrie relies on various artists, such as; Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo and Yayoi Kusama. When Petrie is out of ideas, “I immerse myself in other people's artwork and am always left feeling rejuvenated and inspired. I also love Pinterest because you can go off on tangents of new ideas that all come back to that original piece that caught your eye. I never tire of bringing new ideas into my art or finding new ways of looking at the world thanks to others artists,” says Petrie.

Unfortunately, the arts, just like any career, comes with hardships. As a part time artist, Petrie struggles to find the time to do the right amount of art she desires, whether it be finished pieces or just testing things out in her sketchbook. Though difficult, Petrie explains that if she “really puts her mind to it” she can find time to create.

“Another struggle, I have encountered in the past is feeling like the stuff I'm producing is adequate and worthy of my time. However, I have gotten past this by realizing that the benefits that making art brings to my life are irreplaceable,” explains Petrie.

Fortunately, her family are proud supporters of Petrie and her works. Her mother, the woman who fueled Petrie’s passion for the arts, almost went into graphic design and has always been proud of her daughter’s interest in the arts. Though her dad “doesn’t have an artistic bone in his body,'' it is more the reason for him to love and admire his daughter’s creations and abilities.

Over the past few years, Petrie has partaken in several art shows, with her work on display alongside classmates and fellow artists. I love selecting pieces to display and then getting to see people's reactions to my art as they walk by, I have also sold art this way in direct face to face sales.

Petrie values the endless possibilities of the arts and how it shapes her life. For Petrie, art isn’t for profit but for enjoyment, as it offers her a creative outlet when times are tough. The process of creating the art, is relaxing in itself and brings joy to Petrie. According to Amanda Petrie, art is about the journey, not the end result.