What I seek to express is emotion, mood, and spirit that a camera cannot capture.
I create paintings of wildlife, and strive to highlight the beauty found in the daily rituals and moments that might otherwise seem mundane. I am particularly in love with large wading birds. I would say it is because I have a background in biology, but it is likely the other way around. My passion for the natural world, as well as my desire to understand it are what drove me to my studies. I started my career as a high school science teacher and completed my second masters degree in marine biology at the College of Charleston. A chance experiment with paint led me to painting​, and I have found it to be a much more effective way to convey my emotional connection to the natural world. My recent focus is creating larger-than-life birds on canvas, in motion, flying and preening.
I have traveled the world and collected photographs and experiences that are constant inspiration. I paint acrylic and oil on canvas and employ various media to “loosen” the paint and allow it to flow like water, or to create textures and structure to represent the feathers. ​My brushstrokes are gestural and convey motion. Backgrounds are simple and allow the bird to be the focus, and although the birds are accurate they are also impressionistic. I also use gold and silver leaf as a way to elevate the perceived status of the bird, reminiscent of historic iconography. ​My goal is that these paintings convey those moments in nature that just take my breath away.

Amanda McLenon is a conservationist at heart who started her career teaching high school biology in Michigan, and completed her Masters in marine biology in SC in 2011. Completely unexpectedly, she began painting in 2009, in reverse on glass, and incorporating maps she had collected over the years. Amanda was quickly recognized for her accurate wildlife paintings and unique style, and in 2012 she received the prestigious L​ owcountry Artist of th​ e Year ​award. More recently, Amanda’s passions are reflected in her large scale oil paintings on canvas, and her focus on birds in graceful preening positions. Amanda was part of a 53-day research cruise to Antarctica, and she is an Ambassador to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program. The first 10 years of her career were spent in Charleston, SC where she exhibited at the Charleston Farmers Market, Piccolo Spoleto, and the Southeastern Wildlife Expo. She moved to the mountains of WNC in 2022 and joined NorthLight Studios where she currently exhibits her work.