MOBILE, Alabama — The paint will barely be dry on the door to her new gallery when it opens, but Amber Ivey Bostwick is ready for visitors to come to an open house she’s hosting today from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dozens of the Mobile artists’ paintings are carefully hung and beautifully displayed in the 1,900-square-foot space that offers a gallery for visitors as well as work space for her.
Amber Ivey Fine Art at The Corner Studio, located at 3607 Old Shell Road, is literally in the corner of the collection of shops anchored by MaGhee’s Grill on the Hill, at the I-65 service road in Spring Hill.
Bostwick — who uses her maiden name, Ivey, on her paintings, and is also known as Amber Ivey Lane, her name from a previous marriage — has been painting for a living since 1999, she said. She started out painting murals, specializing in children’s nurseries, until in the early 2000s she started selling her work on commission and through decorators around Mobile.
Her large abstract paintings are now in demand as focal points in homes in the Mobile area as well as all over the country, thanks to the fact that she’s represented by Alexander & Victor Fine Art and the John-Richard Showroom in High Point, N.C.
Locally, in addition to being available at her new gallery, her work is sold at the Lyons Share Gallery in Fairhope, Room Service Mobile, Sarah B. Atchison’s and the St. Paul’s Campus Store.
Bostwick has spent the past couple of years at home with her third child, and in that time her career “has taken off,” she said. But after her sunroom became an at-home studio, she decided she needed a dedicated space—and “The Corner Studio” became available when a decorator moved out.
At her new gallery, paintings range from 4-by-4-inch squares to a large, 48-by-72 inch canvas. “I paint with mostly oil and wax and use a blowtorch, which gives it a transparent, layered effect,” she said. “And I like to create a lot of movement.”
A painting from one of her favorite series, “At the Bar,” an impressionistic take on two figures sitting on barstools, occupies a prominent position on one wall. She was commissioned to paint another “At the Bar” scene, highlighted with eye-catching copper leaf and gold leaf, for Legacy Bar & Grill in Mobile. “Have you ever not had fun at a bar?” she said, laughing.
Another popular line of paintings features subtle outlines of dancers. “They’re full of life,” she said, pointing to a painting she particularly likes that illustrates her “fun and laid-back” outlook. “I think life is so serious all the time. We should celebrate it,” she said.
Much of her work reflects a trend in home design toward neutral palettes. Interior designers love her delicate, textured flowers, she said. Her latest series, “Torn,” features boldly colored strips and coordinates well with neutrals as well as more colorful rooms, she said.
Amber’s paintings range from $35 to $3,500.
The work of two other artists will be featured at the open house, which will focus on Father’s Day and celebrating the Gulf Coast, Amber said. Lala Courtney, who is known for her natural-light photography (www.lalaportraits.com), will show photos of the Mobile skyline, sunsets and sea life at today’s opening. And Bill Kraus will display and sell his hand-made picture-frame boxes made of reclaimed wood from Mobile.
Bostwick looks forward to welcoming visitors to her new studio and gallery. “I’m thankful to do this for a living,” she said.