Introducing Manxman artists: Amy Bourbon

Amy Bourbon will bring to life the heritage of the Island’s landmarks through the medium of oil paint.

  1. What name do you go by for your art business?

My website is, but my business, ‘Amy Bourbon Art’, is reflected in my Instagram handle @amybourbonart.

  1. How long have you been a practicing artist?

I have been an artist for many years, having completed my Bachelors Degree, Masters Degree and PhD in Fine Art, but it is only the past year after relocating to the Island that I have really started to build a portfolio of projects in order to begin the process of building a business from my creative practice.

  1. What media do you work in?

My primary medium is oil paint and not on an inconsiderable scale! I have started to introduce smaller works to my collection, but my most memorable artworks are up to 9 feet by 6 feet in size! I love grand scale with tiny detail. I also produce drawings using traditional media such as pencil/pen and ink, but more recently using digital drawing to create art prints and limited edition works.

4. What medium will you be using for this commission?

I will be collecting source materials using various methods including sketching and photography, but I intend to work in oils to produce the paintings for this project.

5. Where on the Island do you live/what is your connection to the Island?

I live in the north of the Island in The Dhoor, just above Ramsey, having relocated here in summer 2021. I visited the Island many times as a teenager but the pull of the sea was too strong to ignore! The Island has much to commend it but without a doubt, the sea is top of the list!

6. What kind of piece are you producing for this commission?

I intend to delve further into the heritage of the key landmarks and the views of the residents and visitors who interact with them. This community engagement will then inform my art practice. I also intend to complete research through my own experience of the chosen landmarks, collecting source material from the places themselves. This could be through photographs, drawings and experience of the environments. The final artworks will collate the experiences and source materials through paint in order to convey a sense of place to the viewer once the works are completed.

7. What do you consider to be your biggest artistic achievement to date?

My biggest achievement will always be my Doctorate in Fine Art. It was a mammoth task and incredibly hard work for a number of years and I will always be proud of the resulting PhD – it was more intense and challenging than I ever could have imagined! I must also mention one of my ‘Wild in Art’ sculptures selling at auction and raising a whopping £41,000 for charity! Definitely a highlight!

8. Which of your past works might people most easily recognise?

I have been extremely busy this year, working on sculptures across the UK and the Isle of Man for various Wild in Art trails. These public art trails are often in the news and across social media, and I have definitely noticed that people recognise me though these sculptures! My most memorable oil painting would be ‘St Helier Harbour, Jersey’ which is a huge 9 feet by 6 feet rendering of the harbour, and took years to produce! Not a small project!

9. What is your main source of inspiration?             

My doctoral research is central to my continuing painting practice. My investigation provided a redefined understanding of painting with an emphasis on applied energy, gesture and movement. My paintings are inspired by the places that I have encountered. I capture feelings, sights, sounds and details of the places I inhabit, retaining the memory in some way through sketches, photographs, writing, shared thoughts and object collection.  I engage with details within my environment that can be taken for granted or barely noticed.

10. What do you love about the medium you’re using for this commission/why has this medium been selected?

Oil paints are incredibly versatile. Even after using them for so many years and teaching oil painting in adult education, I am still discovering and experimenting! I have developed methods of encouraging the paint to act in certain ways using various thinning media, building layers of paint to create a sense of depth within my canvasses. I’m sure this will be visible in my final artworks for the project. I find that I have what could be described as a conversation (often an argument!) with the canvas surface – really working the paint as a result of how it behaves, encouraging me to engage with the subject and allowing things to emerge within the work.

11. What do you hope to convey to passengers through this piece?

My paintings develop through the rendering of areas of detail, washes, dense colour and brush marks, building areas of depth and intensity and areas of space and flatness. They are neither wholly abstract nor figurative but convey sources that are abstracted to different levels. There are areas that can be identified or guessed at and areas where source information is subtle, remote or obliterated completely. My aim is to convey the experience of being in an environment through interaction with the painting during production, enabling the viewer to glean some sense of my encounter through the finished work.

12. When you travel by Steam Packet ferry, where do you love to visit/what happy memories do you have of visits you’ve made by Steam Packet ferry (perhaps even the feeling of coming home!)?

I especially love the feeling of possibility provided by the Steam Packet. You can embark on a journey with your car, a satnav and a suitcase and drive anywhere! I have found this invaluable this year whilst travelling all over the UK to work in painting spaces for sculpture trails, on one occasion, travelling to Norwich and Ipswich to paint a T-Rex and two owls! The Steam Packet makes these journeys possible for me.

13. Are there any trips you’re yet to take on the Steam Packet which are on your bucket list?

I hope to keep embarking on these adventures in the coming year, and I particularly enjoy the sensation of arriving into Liverpool and feeling like I’m already in the centre of the thriving city! I started work on a new project there in July, and it was amazing recently to travel to take the ferry to see one of my sculptures auctioned for charity! The ferries are definitely a key part of my life and work so it’s very exciting to have the opportunity to have my work onboard the Manxman!

Share 'Introducing Manxman artists: Amy Bourbon'