Self-Taught Painter Has Easel, Will Travel

Strangers might think that artist Amber Poteat’s interests are a tad conflicting.

The mother of three loves flowers, explaining that they remind her of a childhood spent tending to them in her grandmother’s garden.

She also digs serial killer documentaries, cannot watch enough CSI: Crime Scene Investigation shows, and spent a year studying surgical technology – during which she sterilized and handed medical instruments to surgeons as they were performing operations – before going in another career direction.

Artist Amber Poteat in her environment.

Unsurprisingly, Ms. Poteat’s greatly varying interests are reflected and captured in many of her paintings.

Skulls and flowers, along with the occasional landscape scene and Native American headdress – she offers that her great-great-great grandmother was allegedly 100-percent Cherokee, though Ms. Poteat is reserving her opinion until she sees DNA test results confirming as much – often dominate her paintings.

Amber Poteat loves painting skulls, flowers and Native American headdresses.

“It’s a weird combo, but they go really good together,” she says, referring specifically to skulls and flowers. “People love them together.”

She picked up the hobby as a way to relax shortly after she started bartending at East Coast Wings + Grill in Kannapolis in 2010. She spent the next few years finding her groove and eventually began sharing her acrylic creations with friends and customers.

Pretty soon, some of those interested in her paintings asked if she could teach them, and others, how to make them.

“I just decided that I wanted to do something for myself as a hobby, something fun that I could relax doing and felt like I got something out of it,” Ms. Poteat says. “People were kind of impressed by what I was doing.”

Back In Business

She soon began teaching group art classes at parties held inside people’s homes, as well as at a small art studio that she operated in China Grove for about a year.

The Concord resident – Ms. Poteat has been mixing cocktails at the East Coast Wings + Grill in Harrisburg for the past 18 months – recently made a promise to herself to pull out all the stops in pursuing her passion.

The result is Amber Canvases, a private business that offers group art classes.

She soon began scheduling more group sessions, and now offers monthly painting classes at Percent Tap House at Town Center in Harrisburg, where she was the featured artist for the month of August. She sold five of 17 paintings on display that month, and also hosted two art classes there.

Amber Poteat at a recent Paint Night.

“She has a lot of talent and our customers love her energy,” says Carl-Jay Castaneda, one of the owners of Percent Tap House. 

Her next class, in which individuals can paint a pair of Halloween-themed panels, will be offered at the tap house on Tuesday, October 8, from 6 to 7 p.m. Registration costs $25, though it can be split between one or two people. The fee covers all supplies and materials.

Interested parties can sign up at Percent Tap House, reach out to Amber via Facebook (at Amber Hastings Poteat), or call or text her at 704-224-2427.

“It’s a fun night,” she says. “They can come and learn how to paint while enjoying a beer or a glass of wine.”

Most of her other group classes, and private painting parties, cost $20 per person, and also includes required paints, brushes and canvases. At least five people must be interested to book one of her parties/lessons.

Though she has set designs, Ms. Poteat encourages those organizing the parties to offer suggestions on what they would like their guests to paint. As part of their lesson, attendees learn how to paint backgrounds before using chalk to lightly draw in shapes.

She only works in acrylics, explaining that it best suits her personality, as well as the needs of her clients, most of whom are testing their painting skills for the first time.

“It’s the easiest to work with and it dries quickly, so you can fix anything you don’t like and not have to wait too long,” Ms. Poteat says. “I’m not patient enough to wait for things to dry.”

Tapping Their Artistic Side

Ms. Poteat loves painting, and enjoys sharing her passion with others. She especially likes hearing when those who have taken one of her classes is still experimenting with painting or, even better, teaching it to others.

“People don’t express themselves artistically anymore,” says Ms. Poteat, whose sons are 3, 5, and 15 years old. “They just go to work, come home, and get up and do it all again the next day. You have to tell yourself that you are doing something for yourself, and then go and do it.”

In terms of personal favorites, Ms. Poteat enjoys painting Native American headdresses and flowers, two items that, for whatever reason, go great together when put to canvas.

She also stresses that nothing is out of reach, so long as one is willing to invest the time and energy to learn a new hobby.

“I think everyone should just find something that they are passionate about, and that should be their dream and what they do with their lives,” says Ms. Poteat, who eventually wants to open another art studio.

“I enjoy painting and I get to share it with everybody—that’s what I love about what I do,” she adds.


  • Owner: Amber Poteat
  • Phone: 704-224-2427
  • Facebook: Amber Hastings Poteat
  • Instagram: @ambercanvases

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