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Cape Coral artist’s ‘Awaken’ series work to be featured at the von Liebig Art Center in Naples

By Staff | Sep 18, 2015

When Amanda “MiMi” Stirn and her family moved from Spokane, Wash., to the sunny paradise of the Fort Myers/Cape Coral area, it sparked an inspiration inside her in which she was determined to put onto canvas.

With beautiful, deep colored sunsets and sunrises, along with a bountiful of natural scenes and colors, the Florida landscape motivated Stirn to kick her artist talents into high gear, resulting in a liftoff of exposure for her work.

Her latest progressive step is her acceptance into the Naples Art Association at the von Liebig Art Center, “Your Choice 2015 Exhibition”. Stirn will be showcasing her most popular series, Awaken with “Imagine”, a 2-D mixed media acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.

The Awaken series resulted after developing her talents through trial and error, much like any other artist. She used inspiration from her surroundings to start her artistry career.

“I look at painting as cheaper than therapy,” Stirn laughed. “I always loved painting and I’ve kept up my passion for it, arts and design has always been my escape. When we moved down to Florida, I started doing more of it and I started putting more and more time into it. I did your typical palm tree paintings, but that wasn’t enough for me.”

On her daily morning commute to work, Stirn would see one of the popular burrowing owls which habitat Cape Coral. The animal had such unique features, that Stirn wanted to put her thoughts on the canvas.

“The owls are wonderful, and I saw this owl always sitting on the corner in the morning,” Stirn said. “So I started researching owls and I loved the way they looked. I also wanted to do something abstract and fun, so the owls came into play.”

She basically started painting her owls in an abstract nature as a hobby, but people started noticing the colors and texture of her creations, which then encouraged her to start pursuing showing her art off at fine art shows.

Stirn delved right into her works, working up to 30-35 hours in her studio inside her house, including her regular 40-hour week at her job.

She chose acrylic simply because of some impatient reasons.

“I am an impatient painter, so I don’t usually use oils because it dries too slow,” Stirn said.

The color blue is also a big attraction to Stirn’s eye and after painting several ocean scenes, she moved on.

“Blue is my artist statement,” Stirn said. “I also liked the idea of 2D media. I like the idea of many different layers of color and textures, I want it to be odd. It’s not suppose to be something you’ve seen before.”

The Florida sunrises and sunsets were usually the trigger for one of Stirn’s 2-D media paintings. The vast amount of colors which flow from the skies, is a perfect inspiration for her.

“A lot of my paintings start off when I am driving in my car during a sunset or sunrise,” Stirn said. “I see the peaks of color I want to incorporate them into a painting. I am looking for the lighting and these sunsets and sunrises just flow, it’s like they are poured out of the sky.”

Her Awakening series was aptly named in a literal sense, as well. It happened after a good night’s sleep and she when she awoke, a change had occurred.

“I literally woke up one day and decided I needed to take all the arts I have done and they needed to go into one piece,” Stirn said. “It worked, in fact, it worked out better than I expected.”

The Naples Art Association at the von Liebig Art Center is an important step for Stirn’s name recognition, as she features her painting “Imagine,” which is out of her Awaken series.

The showing and voting for the best among the artists is being held at 585 Park Street, Naples, from Sept. 18 to Oct. 18, from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Members and non-members of the Naples Art Association are welcome to attend, as well.

“You have to have been shown in a major known gallery, for people to see it and to be recognized for your work,” said Stirn of the importance of earning an invite to a fine art gallery. “This is an important series for me, it’s one which I am not breaking away from, it’s my pen. It is what you are known for.”

But Stirn’s challenges are just under way. She has taken on the task of completing 20 additional 2-D mixed media art canvases in the course of the next 10 weeks, for her massive art collation showing at the Artnado Fine Art Show in West Palm, Nov. 14-15.

To help finance her quest, she has established an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for a replacement art show tent and art walls, which was recently destroyed in a windstorm this summer in Sarasota.

Her Indiegogo campaign and more of Stirn’s story can be found at http://igg.me/at/mimistirn/x/11641331.

But even if her funding efforts don’t work out as planned, Stirn will forge on for her love of art and painting, along with her drive to show her work to art lovers.

“You are fully exposed as an artist, your work is out there for all to see,” Stirn said. “But that’s why you do it, because you love it.”

Stirn’s ultimate goal is to open an art gallery within a three to five year time span. She wants to add in a digital media feature to it, such as live streaming art shows, but also to offer new artists a place to show their art.

“I want a gallery which is rocking and unique,” Stirn added. “It will be one different than a traditional gallery and one for emerging artists and a strong rotation.”

From starting as a hobby artist in Washington, to a more established – but learning – 2-D media painter, Stirn is starting to pick up momentum in exposure for her work.

It’s something many hours of work has produced, along with countless Florida sunrises and sunsets which have worked as inspiration for the aspiring and climbing artist.