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Reading/Signing/Art Show

March 25, 2022

Wild Lark Books
513 Broadway
Lubbock, Texas

It was spring 2021, and I had been in a slump, in all the ways. But mostly in art. I had felt the need to move away from flowers, and that hit me hard. Very hard. It was almost like flowers had been an identity for me. A crutch. My thing. So, I played with faces for awhile. And I rested. And I was lazy. And I worked on house projects. And I waited, patiently, for that pull. And when I couldn’t stand it anymore, I put down on paper the things I had in my heart. It was a prayer, in a way. Show me, Lord, if this is the direction you want me to move in. I put it out on paper for You…. Just tell me!

Andy Wilkinson called me not long after that. I was sitting in my backyard in one of my red Adirondack chairs, watching the daughter play in what was left of the leaves. Amanda! he said. Whatcha workin on?! I told him I hadn’t been working much on art, but that I had been chewing on some things for awhile. He asked for specifics. I knew this phonecall had a purpose, and I gave him the answer. Just what I was hoping for! he said. I have this project….

And that was the start of Llanero. His memoir. That we pushed out into the world a few weeks back. 

We had many phonecalls after that. I remember the second one vividly. Amanda! he said. I want you to paint more than just the cover. Here’s a draft of the book! I had no words for a moment. Andy! I said. Why on earth would you ask an artist who has never painted a landscape in her life to paint landscapes for your very important book?! But Andy knows things I don’t know. And he sees things I don’t see. He trusts me. He trusted my process, my energy, my passion. And I trusted that I would do my very best for him.

He handed over his precious memories. I poured over it. Anytime I felt a pull to a certain sentence or thought, it got highlighted. By the end of that first read-through, I knew the places that needed my attention. They called to me. There is no other way to describe the feeling other than that. A calling. A need. A pull. 

The next four or five months of painting were some of my hardest. I fought with those pieces. They fought back. A few I thought I would just leave out of the book, but the way that I felt about those areas of text…. I knew that really wasn’t an option.

Andy trusted me the whole way through. He offered insight and advice. He was patient as I texted him incessantly about certain pieces. But mostly Andy left me to my own devices. His trust in me pushed me to create art I never would have otherwise. And I’m a better and different painter because of it.

So, it’s my honor to officially release the artwork from Llanero : a boyhood on the 360-of-180. Out of this last 6 months came 8 original pieces that are published in the book. 4 are offered as prints (which I promise to someday add to this website. Promise.)