It takes a brave artist to conceive a piece not from a setting or photograph, but from the interior of the self. Consider Mashpee painter Amy Rice. Two years ago, she curated the show, “Out of Their Minds,” in which she and fellow artist Cecilia Capitanio painted strictly from mental or emotional landscapes. “I challenged myself to paint completely out of my head,” says Rice, the owner of Woodruff’s Art Center in Mashpee Commons.
A funny thing happened. Rice got comfortable and discovered that she loved it—loved it so much that she adapted the same technique for a piece she showed in last year’s “Lunar Art Series,” a series of several receptions that were held on full moons, each featuring paintings inspired by the name of that moon. One of those, the “Flower Moon” show, featured her painting, Joy. Perfectly named, it exudes a glowing sense of freedom and growth, with vibrant tufts of yellow, orange, and blue wildflowers stretching toward a radiating sun.
“I’m forever experimenting,” says the self-taught artist, who expresses herself in a variety of mediums, on different-sized canvases, and through impressionistic or abstract styles. “I get bored doing the same thing,” she says. Owning an art supply store helps, bringing her constant inspiration.
In what she calls her “former life,” Rice lived in New Jersey and sold real estate, making a living, but not happily. She had been interested in art, and started experimenting in the early 1980s. A few years later, she and her then-husband, John Woodruff, moved to the Cape and started the gallery. John, a portraitist, was an important inspiration, says Rice.
Moved by the colors and natural wonders of Cape Cod, for a period of time Rice focused mainly on fish. In Catch Me If You Can, composed of acrylic on a background of brilliant blue fibrous rice paper, a striper is captured in a single moment. Seaworthy typifies her current direction: big blocks of brushstrokes, loose and impressionistic, define a brightly mixed white and blue sky above a majestic sailboat.
Whatever comes next is sure to be just as fresh and inspiring. “I’m always looking to try something different,” says Rice. “I’m forever reaching, searching.”
Amy Rice’s work may be seen at Woodruff’s Art Center, located at 1 North Market Street in Mashpee Commons, Mashpee (woodruffsartcenter.com).