Amber Moshin – Artist Profile

Amber Moshin in the Tasting Room

Serendipity plays a huge role in many lives but there are those rare few that make their chances a true adventure.   Did Amber Cartwright ever imagine while working in her Orange County coffee shop that she would one day be traveling in Burgundy sampling the greatest wines in the world with her talented husband, Rick Moshin?  Did she picture that as she was establishing herself as a vital partner in one of the acclaimed wineries of Sonoma County, the building that housed her coffee shop would one day be a wine shop?  She certainly never planned to be a successful photographer of plants, landscape and architecture.

I met Amber Moshin when she first displayed her photographs at Moshin Winery on Westside Road outside of Forestville in December of 2009.  The images were lovely and needed to be shared with a broader audience than her husband and cats who were privileged to see them as they cycled on her computer screen.  Rick insisted that Amber’s photography be in the rotation of local art seen at the winery.  Once pictures were selected, The Lab in Santa Rosa did the printing, Rick made the frames from barn wood left over from the construction of the winery and Frame Of Mind in Forestville cut the glass  –  the finished product was displayed.  The response was encouraging and we now have the second show on display until July 8.

Amber was always looking for a creative outlet from an early age – ceramics, music, drawing, painting.  After high school she attended Fullerton College and received her AA in Liberal Studies with an emphasis on music and creative writing.  But she struggled to find a focus.  Her mother moved from Southern California to Sonoma County.  She stayed in Orange County searching for direction.  Each visit to with her mother in the north left her with a melancholy on her return.  As a mother, I am certain that missing her mother had something to do with the change in mood but in Amber’s thinking the major factor was overall experience of a calmer life and stunning beauty of Sonoma County.  In 1997 she packed up and made the move.   Here is Sonoma County, Amber found love in life and the focus for her creativity.  This is a column on artists – their art – not their love life so I will just mention that Amber Moshin appears to be very happy in her farmhouse that she shares with Rick Moshin.

Only in recent years has Amber discovered the medium of digital photography.  She acquired a digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera from a friend prior to a tour in Europe.  She took pictures and took pictures.  The experience was fascinating.  Upon her return to home, she enrolled in one of John Sappington’s classes at SRJC.   The pictures piled up in her computer.  When the winery opened in 2005, Amber took on responsibilities in advertising, marketing and labels.  Amber returned to SRJC to learn Photoshop.  The process of discovery continues.  The abundant talent that resides in Sonoma County is a treasure trove of ideas.  Two local photographers, Robert Janover and Peter Krohn, provide ongoing challenges to discover new techniques.  Many readers know Robert from his ever popular calendar of Sonoma County Landscape.  Amber became aware of Peter’s work when visiting Leslie Zumwalt at Frame Of Mind and seeing a photograph while it was being framed.  She knew that the photo was meant to be hers when it came up at a Face to Face auction at the Mary Agatha Furth Center.  The seed is planted to expand into scanart.

The future is full of excitement for Amber Moshin and her photography.  From her first show to the current exhibition, she has expanded into staging photographs instead of drawing solely on what nature provides.  She watches videos on the lives and work of photographers to glean nuggets of inspiration.  She studies cameras to know how to get every ounce of beauty from her efforts.  She is a woman with a mission and we are the benefiters.

Amber has displayed her photography at Bola Hair Salon in Occidental, Divine Affair in Healdsburg and Mosaic Restaurant (sadly no longer serving us wonderful food in a terrific setting) in Forestville.  Her show at Moshin Winery is available for viewing until July 8.  Her next venue is Rochioli Winery Tasting Room on Westside Road – another circle of life as this was the location of Amber’s first job in a winery.   Take advantage of these opportunities to taste some great local wines while feasting your eyes on beautiful photography.

This article was published in the Sonoma County Gazette, July 2011.

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