Accidental artist is peoples' choice
Plein Air winner hadnt planned on painting career
It was an economic disaster that started Amanda Houston on the road to artistic triumph, including her recent Peoples Choice win at the Plein Air competition in Hillsboro.
Ten years ago, the Cornelius resident was merchandise director for nike.com when the e-commerce industry hit a rough spot. I had a marketing budget that was $1 million that went to zero overnight, Houston said.
With her second child on the way, Houston took a years severance package, thinking shed eventually go back to Nike. But during that time I started to paint.
Outside of the usual K-12 art classes, shed never painted before. I always thought I would paint when I retired, Houston said. Instead, she started taking painting workshops and sold her first oil painting to a fellow student for $300.
It just paid for the class, she said.
Then a Realtor bought one of her pastels for $2,000.
It was a hobby that turned into a small business, Houston said.
Now represented in seven galleries along the West Coast, from Washington to California, Houston paints part-time, while raising her two children (10 and 13) and managing some property on the side.
Houston, who lives south of Cornelius on a 30-acre property with panoramic views, usually paints landscapes, not structures. But at the Plein Air (outdoor painting) competition, she was drawn to a particular property on Sixth Street not for its 100-year-old historic home but for the big, huge black locust tree in front.
Houstons biggest challenge during the competition came from the rain. There was a lot of downpour that day. I had to huddle under the hatchback of my car and paint under the back door. She attached a little umbrella to her easel as well.
Somehow it worked. The scene ended up winning second place (and Peoples Choice) in the City Scene category of the recent Plein Air contest and is now on display at the Walters Cultural Arts Center, along with other winners.
The contest gave artists two days to paint a scene from one of three Hillsboro locations Rood Bridge Park, the Saturday farmers market or a downtown neighborhood.
Shes an amazing artist, said Melissa Moore, cultural arts facility supervisor for the Hillsboro Arts and Culture Council, which hosted the contest. This year she had a conflict on Friday and only had time to paint Saturday and she still won!Add a comment