Amber Nicole Bormann

While sitting easy under the shade of spanning live oak branches, surrounded by the illusion of fading blue hills, and feeling the breath of early spring gently blowing on my face, I took in a delightful afternoon at one of Amber’s musical events.

Some of the beauty I experienced was seeing my own daughter interact with her friend (Amber), laughing with Amber’s mom over the silliness of life, taking in the goodness of some tasty wine (Bending Branch Winery), seeing my wife move to tears over the sound of a familiar song, and observing others’ enjoyment of Amber’s beautiful music.

I took special notice of a man sitting with three others. His way of leaning into the music was a delight all its own. And, his expression to those around him seemed to say… “do you hear that?” And, of course, his smile and applause was very special to me.

I believe all this personal enjoyment began several months prior. Shortly into the preceding summer months, I discovered (at the last minute) that Amber was to perform a gig in Comfort, Texas—an event Arts Drive had invited me to paint. My youngest daughter and I set out to enjoy that early summer evening together.

Arriving a little late and with only one hour to paint, I blocked in basic shapes and colors. The rest was completed in my studio.

Believe it or not, one of the most challenging aspects of painting a person’s likeness at this size (her face is 2” tall on the canvas) is keeping shapes simple. In other words, avoiding the trap of too much detail. (It’s so fascinating how simplicity leads to the essence of reality.)

I’ve known Amber for several years, and I’m so excited for her artistic future. She’s embarking on so many exciting things: high school graduation (2019), college, and a recording project. Find her work here: