Forgot password?
Just another THE WHOLE 9 weblog

Amy Bernays is an artist living and working in Los Angeles, California. Bernays graduated with a BA (honors) in Fine Art from Central St Martins, London in 2001. Her paintings are landscapes of personal interaction; poems to the love of line. Amy is a prolific and engaging anthropologist and mother whose work is gaining momentum.

The Internet Issue

If I make an artwork with images of my children and post it on the internet, do I face the same dangers as posting photos of them?

Does that change when it is a drawing?

“Hope for the Future” 7×7” 2012

A painting?

Copyright Jenny Saville, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Mike Bruce

‘The Mothers,’ by Jenny Saville and inspired by her own motherhood, at her new show


I’ll probably get lynched by the many adoring moms (and dads) for saying this, but yeah, seems a little kitschy and self-indulgent. Not quite on par with your other artwork. But, hey, you’re being honest to what you’re feeling and what you want to express right now, so if I were you I wouldn’t give a hoot what I or others think or say.

I Had a Baby

last Monday we were joined by Vivienne Bernays Kluck.

Gosh it is hard.

I wanted to get this out, I can use my computer as my studio and paint in my delirious mind at 3 am feedings

My husband thinks it is Vivienne asking to join the drumming circle


OMIGOD!!! So wonderful and congratulations!! Beautiful. Look forward to the photos and love this piece of art!!

Congratulations!!! A blessed day indeed~

LOVE the name! And as much as adorable pictures would be appreciated, I would definitely advise against posting pictures of your child on the internet, for safety’s sake! Congratulations!


To get the accuracy in the pier sketch above, the correct perspective and spacing and such, I used my projector as a light box and traced the photo. Is this cheating?

Kind of.

But it is also a contemporary tilt that affects the way the final image looks. Photography in painting creates very different images from non-photographic or drawn images.

The water below was all me; sketched in with loose remembering of that cold evening by the side of the river.

I chose to orange the top because otherwise it was boring. Like wanting to die my hair, or ware a fashion item that I know will go out of style in a year, I wanted this painting to have a little more back bone than the typical waterscape.


Lovely painting! Dig it.

The Ram King

This is a painting of the sheep heard on a private island off the coast of Main. It is special for me as I used to work with livestock. I like the relationship of the industrial looking building behind and the majesty of the small flock on the rocky hillock.

The canvas has a textured medium that compliments the glowing fleece of the sheep and the brooding sky behind.

It is one of my personal favorites.


What is it with religion, it keeps popping up


It’s from a memory, it was late and the forest gobbled up my light.

So many lines, lost, shifting perspectives, clear but confusing. I painted a cross in the light on the left, to help find my way.

And the Power House changed again…

Big Change

I know it’s not, but i think it make all the difference in the world (top right)


Contrast? Width and curve in the distant ’shoreline’? Which is your favored one and just what do you mean by, “makes all the difference in the word”? What “word”?? or do you mean, “world”? (in which case I would still love to know what all the difference adds up to in your judgement.)

yes, sorry, typo

It makes the difference because it sets the tone.

The organic undulating line in the back was fighting with the strict strait line on which the birds sit. Making that back line strait I thought joins the two lines, the foreground and the background.

In tone I thought it set up a man verses nature theme. Man being the diagonal geometric shapes of these lines cutting through the nature of the waves and the birds.

I liked the dynamic contrast between the curved shoreline and the straight line on which the birds are perched, to some extent for the very reason you pointed out, but I interpret the foreground diagonal band(s) as a road. The wide, black band particularly makes me think of paved tarmac. Then again, the straighter distant line actually seems more accurate and organic than the curved line that comes across as somewhat unnatural and manipulated, like the painting of a rat’s tail rather than the far side of a bay. In that sense, the straighter background line makes for a better composition.

First Lines

I wanted something about the viewer and viewed: knowledge and innocence, old and young, knowing and not knowing.

This is all complex lines and fine control of the pencil and mark making, knowing the undulations and pen control

And pencil is the most rudimentary of drawing mediums.

And this is a page torn out of the pad he was scribbling on.

Self-Plagiarism or Simply Improvement?

The Bridges of Glendale 36×48x2 2010

I painted this.

Then I sold it, which is great. But I missed it.

I liked it as an object to hang in my house. The colors seemed to help tie together all the rooms I hung it in. I like the message, that even freeways and municipal water management systems have their beauty. I liked hanging a portrait of my neighborhood.

So I painted it again. Is that self plagiarism? Is there such a thing as self-plagiarism or is that simply self-improvement? Is it okay?

The Freeways of Glendale 24×36 2011

sales USA

sales UK


Aside from the fact that you can’t, by definition, plagiarize yourself, this is clearly a completely different painting. Is there some subtext to your question?


But the lower reflection seemed much more alive, which is funny as the source image was unclear in that section and most of it is guess work. So I painted in the orange, adding what I thought was a little life in an otherwise traditional painting.

I then sold the piece to someone who had seen it as it was originally! When I told them about the orange, the sale fell through. gurr!!

I am however happy with the fished work. It is a lot more interesting than it was before, more fun. I like the conversation between the loose yet realistic handling of the green blue reflection, and the pop of the contrasting orange. I like that it is more hip, more vibrant, and I think that it adds a little contemporary color to an otherwise placid scene.


The Magic of Mistakes

So this is how I did it…

To get the accuracy in the pier sketch below, the correct perspective and spacing and such, I used my projector as a light box and traced the photo. Is this cheating?

Kind of.

But it is also a contemporary tilt that affects the way the final image looks. Photography in painting creates very different images from non-photographic, or drawn images.

There are great, memorable and important paintings made with the use of the camera. The whole Pop Art Photorealism movement of the 1960’s was based on this premise.

At New Blood Art there a bunch of paintings like that, which owe a debt to photographs. Like this one by Tina Gibbard or the work by KT

or more famously, Ralph Goings or Richard Estes from the pop art movement.

A few days after tracing the pier from a photograph and painting the projected image onto the canvas, I was struck by the composition of my studio. I sketched it with the drawing board perched on my knee.

In my mind I was tracing the outlines of the various objects on the table. It was like my mind had been trained to copy outlines from all the previous tracing. It is ironic that the studio sketch above shows the projector as it was really drawn from life.

Inevitably, one makes mistakes when freehand drawing. For example, the scale of the paint brushes in the foreground got a little too large to fit into the space on the paper where the foreground is supposed to go. It is the skill of the drawer to adjust the image to accommodate for those mistakes.

I contend that it is those mistakes that make an artwork uniquely human. It is the mistakes in the image that makes the magic: that over exaggerated curve in the painting of a woman’s neck that really speaks out to us about her state of mind.

The mistakes make the rhyme of creative bent. The drawer’s inaccuracies take the visage away from just image and turns into a signpost for your heart; that turns the image away from the original source and into Art.
amy at