Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The blue boat - La barca azul

Photograph © Brent Kollock

At dawn, the north wind blew the waves strongly, beating its foamy arms with fervor until a boat was wrecked on the beach. Its blue color had faded in parts where the sea had taken its due when navigating its waters. A sign on the side in scarlet letters read Palom r. The letter a had been erased and a grayish shadow remained in its place.

The sun's rays rushed down and the light peeked out between my toes. Because of my exhaustion, I couldn't lift my eyes any longer. So I slept a while. I was hungry and thirsty.  I had to get to town before the downpour fell.  

I tried to rush my sleep. My bare chest, dry with sand, reminded me of the luck of my escape from my husband's house. I ran out into the night when he tried to lock me in a room under a padlock. I managed to shake off his anger by throwing a wooden jewelry box at the window. The cracks in the glass were my door of freedom and I ran in the moonlight until I reached the beach.

I walked towards the blue boat. Its whale-like figure had an empty skeleton belly. I 
found a rope and a fishing net. I climbed in and hid. I tried to stop the wind with my fingers. The boat rocked and the waves spoke sweetly to her.  She moved until she was stuck in a rocky corner where white flowers grew. The flowers gave off a scent of honey-pollen and the bees buzzed quickly, intoxicated by their feeding. The coarse grain of the sand was like white sugar that melts with water. I imagined eating the sand with honey and thus I calmed the anguish of my hunger.

Photograph © Brent Kollock

Thick, heavy drops began to appear. I thought it would be a light drizzle, but then it gained strength and jets of water moved the boat from its place.  Bubbles and foam from the sea crashed in and turned my refuge into a heavy belly. I abandoned the boat.

I came upon a thatched shack at a fisherman's wharf. A toothless lady dressed in a stained apron bellowed at me, "Dirty!" When they smell a strange presence, the skinny, mangy dogs come out to bark, dripping saliva. The uproar summoned people to lean out the door to take a look.  Another lady with broad shoulders and a bent forehead offered me a scratchy cloth to cover my nakedness. Her hands with luminous scales that had stuck dry to her hands smelled of guts and fish. But I felt her motherhood in her eyes and she offered me lodging in her hut.

She comforted me, “Tomorrow will dawn a clear day pronounced by the mouth of God. Come on girl, sleep. The journey is long and we women are of dominion and power. "

Written by Leticia Alaniz

© 2021

Photograph © Brent Kollock



Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Amber Day Scott - An Ephemeral Eclipse

Amber Day Scott - Artist
© Leticia Alaniz
Every so often, you come across an artist that has a burning inner fire ravishingly creative, that gold embellishments adorn her artwork like streaks of pre-Earth supernovae and star collisions.  In essence, gold found on Earth came from the debris of dead stars.  Several thousand years later, flecks of pure sparkly gold made their way onto the art of Amber Day Scott.    

Attracted to the Modern Art Period and Art Deco, Day Scott journeyed into lifelong learning and expressiveness.  Natural wonders, Earth’s rotation, Solar and Lunar Eclipses, and the symbolism of cosmic events became the core inspiration for her work.

Amber Day Scott was born and raised in Wichita Falls, Texas where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Midwestern State University in 2001.  As a young dreamer and nature observer, in search of the wonders of celestial bodies, she embarked on a road trip in 2017 to witness eclipse totality which had a profound effect on her creative thought process.  Careful planning gave way to be at the right place, at the right time.  Witnessing the breathtaking sight was well worth every second.  She became a seeker of truth and decided that experience rather than explanation would be the focus of her art. 

Cosmic events, extreme weather, and animal behavior, especially when darkness falls during a total eclipse and the stars fill the sky, are a source of natural poetry and inspiration for one of Day Scott’s most current body of work.  In her words, “I’m inspired by both the toxicity of the human ego, and the idea that we are all just stardust.”

Ingrained in her memories is a life-changing tornado that fiercely tore through her beloved Wichita Falls in 1979.  Her displaced family among hundreds of others were moved to FEMA housing in a public park, which was also home to a large prairie dog colony.  She learned to commune in a society beaten by trauma and fear.  Among the chaos after the storm, under her feet were villages of resilient subterranean rodents who proved to be extremely charismatic and social.  When the horizon flushed with the colors of the sunset, it was prime observational time for Day Scott.  The experience was greatly moving.  Naturally, the peeking eyes of the prairie dogs were to become immortalized in her work. 

The displacement left an indelible mark on Day Scott, which she purposefully expresses in her art.  Rather than focusing on the trauma, an understanding of given circumstances enlightened her artistic purpose.  She chose to recognize the lyricism in the imagery of the prairie dogs’ survival and social behavior.

Inexhaustible Lamp (2020)
© Amber Day Scott

In the piece Inexhaustible Lamp (2020), Amber quotes scientist and poet Carl Sagan in a mixed media depiction that encompasses the cosmic sentiment tied to the artist’s work.  A prairie dog holds a golden moon while a fiery sunset sets the stage for the darkening sky of an eclipse, which on close observation seems eternally liquified on its silent gravitation. The moon partly covered, comes full circle with beaming light in golden tonalities reflected in the eyes of the onlooking prairie dog.  It serves as a reminder that we’re a granular element.  Our presence may even be ephemeral - a flash of luminescence in a great dark ocean.  The sun is an omnipresent force on the landscape, one that the prairie dogs cannot escape.    

Known and Unknown (2020)
© Amber Day Scott

We live in an extraordinary place in the universe where total solar eclipses are possible.  Day Scott applies her observations of this magical phenomenon in Known and Unknown (2020).  A total solar eclipse is mirrored underground of a hill.  A prairie dog rests on the hill, looking out observing his surroundings, almost in gravitational suspense of the eclipse.  Hues of soft and creamy pastels radiate glowing energy from the life-giving sun.  A golden aura majestically forms a shimmering ring of darkness, void of the fragility of light.  Its a perfect example of how the artist has applied flecks of gold from the collided stars in her artistic universe.

In an astonishing burst of energy, in the piece Denier (2020), a prairie dog has come out of its tunneling city perhaps communicating to its brethren the day’s activities.  Golden embroidery stitches mark a balanced sky as dawn approaches.  Wispy touches of light remaining from the night’s twilight fall on the land.  The prairie dog’s dark, quiet eyes become amused as he stares along the horizon marking the underground road of his home as he listens intently for the rhythms of his kin.


Denier (2020)
© Amber Day Scott      

The artist must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world.  Adhering to this belief, Day Scott focused on the present and let go of fears and worries.  Gratefulness and the ability to change and grow opened the door for new experiences.  In the piece titled It’s in order for a Reason (2020), Day Scott found appreciation in the landscape of the prairie that had been decimated by a tornado.  She assumed a stream of consciousness in a dreamlike quality.  An upright prairie dog stands still in a ring that defines the origin of the word: Cosmos.  Quoting Carl Sagan it reads, “Cosmos is a Greek word for the order of the universe.  It is in a way, the opposite of Chaos.  It implies the deep interconnectedness of all things.”  Day Scott invites the viewer to look into the ring, to read the quote, and to think.  It makes the viewer feel as if we are part of the story and the stillness creates a sense that we are witnessing a kind of heightened reality.  The landscape painted in hues of blues and dotted with soft, fluffy clouds of white reminds the inhabitants that our landscape is green, lush, and full of life.

It's in order for a Reason (2020)
© Amber Day Scott

Experiencing difficulties in life in her formative years' involved engagement in reading voraciously.  It was the one thing that a person can do to create a very personal world.  Day Scott loved the magical power of books and their escape from reality.  

“I realize in retrospect that I was quite disappointed in my reality, and preferred to escape into a dream world of someone else’s story.   I have evolved over the years and no longer crave escape.  I savor each precious moment and not race ahead to the next adventure.  I now read to grow, rather than read to avoid.” - Day Scott

Day Scott is currently working on two bodies of work that encompasses an exploration of spiritual identity and interconnectivity.  A personal disconnect from her birth religion led to a journey towards something new and indefinable.  In the first collection, in utter concentration and true to her own beliefs, Day Scott interprets her personal experiences in a series that continues to grow and evolve.  

The second body of work is a collaboration with artist partner Simon Welch.  It is an effort that has taken over two years in a process that gathers force in a variety of topics such as the current political climate, general Whiteness: White culture, White privilege, White saviors according to western beliefs, and cultural appropriation.  It is an honest examination that attempts to go deep into personal culture and history.  The collection is scheduled to debut for public viewing in the summer of 2021.  

Day Scott’s diligent perseverance and attention to detail sum up the majority of her creative process.  Pre-work and research are extensive.  Working in a series of five to ten pieces at a time paired with meticulous planning of the creative outcome is essential before commencing any work with materials.  Day Scott enjoys working on her art in the evenings.  Sometimes on weekends, she works ten to twelve continuous hours.  Coffee, nuts, and cheese are favorite snacks to keep the energy going.  Benjamin Biolay or Nouvelle Vague are favorite musical artists she likes to stream to set the tone while working.  Day Scott commits to total concentration in a near-spiritual experience elevating her art to a meditative state.  Time-lapse videos are another enraptured layer that records her work in progress which illustrates the artistic visual storytelling of her pieces.           

With strong formative influences including those from a string of survival jobs, Day Scott achieved her artistic endeavors little by little before becoming a full-time artist.  Important mentors had a grateful and meaningful impact on her work.  Mark McDowell, a professional artist in Scottsdale, Arizona gave her guidance and perspective in professional opportunities.  Margie Johnson Reese (Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture) taught her how to foster public interest in the arts in ways that increase opportunities for all, rather than being motivated by individual pursuits.  Becky Rake and Linda Deason, gallerists and owners of 9th Street Studios, have mentored with tender care through the value of community.  Their agenda is to welcome many artists by “leaving the door open” and by helping people feel connected to artistic pursuits.  

In addition to Day Scott’s creative work and exhibitions, she is director and curator of the 9th Street Studio Gallery and is an administrative assistant for the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture.  Her work has been featured in the Juanita Harvey Gallery at MSU, the Kemp Center for the Arts, the Tulsa Nude Art Show, and the Homage juried exhibition in Rosendale, New York.  Solo exhibitions include the Pedroche Gallery in Dallas and the Cattle Track Art Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.  The most current body of work titled: Something Bigger had an impressive and profound presence at the Whiteside Museum of Natural History in Seymour, Texas.  The exhibition opened in mid-November 2020.  Due to the positive audience response, the exhibition was extended through the end of January 2021.                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Seeking knowledge of the universe Amber Day Scott adheres to the following personal philosophy, “We keep what we have by giving it away.”  

For more on Amber Day Scott please visit: 

Wichita Fallas Alliance for the Arts & Culture: 

9th Street Studios:

Whiteside Museum of Natural History: 

Amber Day Scott at LinkedIn: