“To be of means to be in. To have traded endless possibility for something specific. It means that over the slow recess of time, you become part of the land that temporarily abides in human form.”
Dr. Martin Shaw, Scatterlings: Getting Claimed in the Age of Amnesia
“Sketchbooks are a pleasure object to get to know a place.”
The joyful and lighthearted Amy Talluto shows up in each of her sketchbooks. She’s authentic,
and so are they. Talluto keeps two styles of sketchbooks: one informs her landscape paintings
and the other allows her to branch beyond the work she makes. Both reflect what she sees,
how she sees it, and what she thinks.
Her landscape sketches and sketchbook are observational and direct. The landscapes of her
travels are not only the distant locations of residencies and family vacations but local drives and
hikes. Sites nearer to home offer the chance for frequent drive-bys, building a sense of
anticipation before she makes the actual pilgrimage.
Talluto sketches nature “to understand, honor, and bond deeply with a place, and move past a
superficial connection.” In order to move past the surface, she’ll start by visiting and spending time at a location’s popular destinations and “hot spots.” Once that is out of her system, she’s able to head off trail and begin to “spend deep time” by looking slowly and thoughtfully. She’s free to discover the next character in the landscape that she hopes may take the leading role on a future canvas. Amy is seeking the unusual, the peculiar, the weird, the bizarre, and the quirky.
Once she finds the character, she’ll sketch it repeatedly, teasing out its unique eccentricities.
Amy admittedly “geeks out on the form.”
“Trees are characters. Their environment is the stage.” The composition of the main character
is carefully blocked into position through continual sketching. Literally, there can be 100s of
location sketches! After sketching, she’ll paint several gouaches, make oil studies, and then a
The second style of sketchbook is pocket-sized and commutes with her daily. It functions as a
place-marker for, as Amy puts it, “everything going on in my brain. Sometimes, everything in
life.” Sketches, a quickly brushed watercolor, rest-stop observations, ideas for titles, ‘zine
concepts, quotes, thoughts, notes, fun, happiness and sometimes sadness and hardship. These
pages are genuine and uncensored. “I like the idea it can be a record of my thoughts about the work I’ve made so I don’t forget, and also an outlet for all my other interests.”
Both kinds of sketchbooks “are low pressure.” The process is familiar, like visiting with a
longtime friend. Comfortable. Casual. No pretense. “They’re real and reflect a deep moment.”
Would you like to know more about Amy and her work? Visit her at amytalluto.com
@spacesforthinking is made possible by Shout Out Saugerties' Susana Meyer Creative Arts Award. Thank you!!