Artist Interview: Amaris Meza
ColorByFeliks has always been about you, the artists. My paintings are a good entry point for people into this community, but at the end of the day, our community is about providing inspiration and resources to any and all people who love making art, regardless of their skill level.
As time goes on and our community grows, I am always trying to find even more ways to support and encourage artists, whether that’s through acrylic painting tutorials or by sharing my platform with cool artists who I think you should know about. So in that spirit, I would love to introduce you to another artist whom I recently had the pleasure of speaking with.
Amaris Meza (@amaris_meza on Instagram) reached out to me after I painted my recent series of dreams that I received from God. Some people loved those paintings, while others were confused or even angered by them. As always, I welcome all reactions to my work, and I believe strongly in everything I post. Still, it was nice to hear Amaris offer me encouragement that she enjoyed them and that she had similarly done paintings inspired by what God was teaching her in her life.
As we got to chatting, I realized that Amaris was the kind of artist who could really inspire others creatively with her story, so I asked if I could interview her for this blog. I absolutely love hearing about peoples’ creative processes, what inspires them, and what keeps them going. I think as artists, hearing those stories strengthens all of us, as we realize we are not alone. I know you’ll enjoy hearing from Amaris as much as I did. Without further ado, here is our interview!
You mentioned that your paintings are inspired by messages from God. Can you elaborate on that?
My great grandma, grandma, and mom all loved art and could paint beautifully. Since I was a kid, art was always a way that I knew to express myself. It was something that came naturally to me and one of the few things I would get lost in. As I neared my late teen years, I realized that art was becoming a healing and personal thing for me. If I had a feeling, I would put it on a blank canvas. As I matured, so did my relationship with God, and I found myself expressing a lot of what He was teaching me in the form of art. Some sing, some play an instrument, and some preach… I paint. For me, my paintings are a form of worship.
This painting series I have been doing in 2021 have become markers and testimonies of all that God has done for me. Inspiration to paint from God usually begins weeks before I ever pick up a brush. The best way I can explain a painting is this: The revelation I’m receiving is so healing and life changing that I NEED to put it on a canvas to mark the moment. The initial idea for my paintings usually are inspired as I’m sitting in church listening to a preaching or reading the Bible.
If something resonates with me deeply, I usually tend to linger on the idea, and then my thoughts race with different visuals that may represent the feeling I’m experiencing. I always see my painting very clearly in my head before it becomes real. I keep a note tab in my phone to scribble all the random paintings only I have seen in my head. For weeks following that first thought, God really challenges me in that area. I see it played out in my life and I receive context for the thing I’m about to express via paint.
My experience has not always been this personal; this has more recently happened this past year. I feel like I’ve discovered a new connection to God by letting Him speak to me through my craft. This is why I call it worship! I discover God’s character the more I worship Him in this way.
How did you first get into art and what mediums did you try? What made you want to try acrylic later on?
I grew up loving art. As a kid, I remember using everything from charcoal to chalk to graphite to watercolor to oil pastels to oil paints. For as long as I can remember though, I never tried acrylic paint. For some odd reason, I always thought it was children’s paint (hahah!). In 2020, I found @colorbyfeliks on my explore page; you were painting clouds with acrylic painting and 1) I looooove clouds and 2) the colors mesmerized me!
I saved the video and would often go back to watch it. I eventually followed your page and saw that you were using acrylic paint to create so many different styles of paintings! I decided I’d give it a try, and went to Hobby Lobby to buy acrylic paints. I recreated one of your cloud paintings and fell in love with the medium.
It’s funny to think back to that moment because I remember using a foam plate as my palette and a plastic spoon as my spatula! Since then, every painting I’ve made has been with acrylic. It’s been fun to branch out and explore this medium; I’ll always appreciate the @colorbyfeliks page for giving me the extra nudge to try it and have fun with it.
What mindset keeps you courageous about sharing your work? What advice would you have for artists who are worried about being judged or misunderstood when they share their work?
In this season of my life, I paint for two reasons: 1) To mark important moments in my life, so that I would remember them always, and 2) To hopefully encourage someone else. My paintings hang on my wall and each one has a story. Some hold pain behind them, others share a story of overcoming hardships, and all of them hold testimonies of the goodness of God.
I share my paintings on my personal IG because I hope that they will encourage someone the way they encourage me daily. I used to stress about whether or not people would truly understand the full sentiment behind every brush stroke, but the truth is that rarely will anyone ever fully understand your art the way you do. The state in which you created it may have been a vulnerable experience. It may have been personal. And no one lives the same life as you do. So, when I prepare a post to share my art, I pray this: “God I did my part… You do yours.”
God speaks to the parts of my audience’s heart that I will not be able to, BUT my art can become a visual for that to take place. My art can capture people to stop and sit. The same way I worship through my art, I believe God can move through it, not to elevate me and my skill, but to reach another’s heart.
For any artist who is worried about being judged or understood, I would say that there is freedom when you truly understand what you’re called to. Whether you paint as a hobby or paint to sell, they require different parts of us. I share my art freely now because I’ve come to understand that my job is to paint, and God’s job is to speak through it. If 3 people judge the work you make, it hurts, yes, but it’s often worth it when even just 1 person found an ounce of hope they needed.
What process do you usually follow when making a piece, from getting the idea to how you actually paint it?
I explained a bit of this in the first question! Ideas start in my head (I visualize them mentally) and then I often sketch them on paper first. Sometimes, it takes weeks for me to actually paint it, but with time, I’ll usually note the colors I’d like to use for that specific painting.
To further explain my recent series, I’ll talk about the “Empathy” one. This painting I saw in my head while driving to work. As soon as I parked, I wrote it out in my notes tab. Here is the exact note I put in my phone that day: “Empathize - scribbles connecting to blobs.” That’s what it started as, and here is a part of the caption, explaining what the piece came to be:
“If you’ve ever said “I’m not empathetic”, let me prove you wrong. For every painful experience you’ve had and every dark season you’ve survived, you’ve walked out with a gift of empathy. That past hurt opens a door for you to meet a broken person where they’re at.
The left side of this painting (representing a person who is in a season of suffering) is made up of darker colors and it’s surrounded by black lines that represent pain. The right side of the painting (representing a person who is not in a season of suffering) is made up of brighter colors, and a couple black lines are nestled in a small pocket of that side. But even that very small pocket of pain is enough to form a connection with the other side. That small pocket of pain is enough to practice empathy.”
What are your long-term goals for your art?
Long-term, I hope that my art can continue to grow as I grow. I am open to it evolving as I find myself more and more each day. I would be so happy to know that my art encouraged someone and gave them an ounce of hope, so any way that I can continue to do that, I will. I would also be so happy to know that along with me, people are seeing new sides of God’s character through my art. It’s a very personal and vulnerable thing for me to share my art and painting has become the easiest way for me to do that. I express myself easiest through art, and I want to keep growing that craft!
Do you have any advice for beginner artists, or even artists at any stage in their journey?
Keep a notes section in your phone specific to your art. Or carry around a small notebook! We can find inspiration anywhere we look, and those golden moments can often disappear quickly if we don’t write them down!
Sometimes the thing you’re visualizing in your head won’t come onto your paper/canvas at your first attempt. Keep going though, it will get there.
Lastly, don’t forget to paint for YOU sometimes. Before this year, everything I made was for other people. I would either gift it or sell it. I fell in love with art even more when I made the decisions to take a break from that and paint for me. It took me back to my true love for art all over again!
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Amaris! I got some valuable encouragement myself about art being a spiritual and healing practice, and how we should remember to make art for ourselves, not just to sell!
I love being a part of a community full of passionate artists like Amaris, each with their own story to tell and encouragement to offer. Please pay a visit to Amaris’s IG page @amaris_meza and check out the cool videos she’s made of her art.
And until next time, remember to be kind to yourself when creating and to enjoy every moment. Let’s continue to support and learn from one another; as artists, we’re stronger together!