Ms. Amanda Putnam joins the MacDuffie Arts Department


Amanda Putnam

Potato, Ms. Putnam’s guinea pig, showing his MacDuffie spirit! Photo provided by Amanda Putnam

Emily Parnicky, Editor

MacDuffie has a new faculty member in the art department, Ms. Amanda Putnam! With the sudden departure of Ms. McNerney, MacDuffie’s art department had room for another individual to spread the love of art.

Ms. Putnam is a children’s book and fantasy illustrator, with an inclination towards watercolor. In an interview, when asked about her art preferences she said “Watercolor hands down! I consider myself a watercolorist. I taught myself how to use it mostly until I went into my Master’s degree, where I took a formal class in it.” As for her education, she got her MFA in children’s book illustration at The Academy of Art in San Francisco, and her BA in Art Education at Westfield State University. 

She loves to draw horses, powerful female warriors, dragons. On the note of dragons, she enjoys Dungeons & Dragons and is thinking about possibly bringing back the D&D club to MacDuffie. As a fun fact, her favorite food is sushi.

As a creative, she continues to practice art a lot, but she also thoroughly enjoys hiking in her free time. She said “Once the weather gets better and I am able to drive the vans, I would love to take students on hiking adventures in the Western Mass Area. There is a plethora of little parks, trails, and recreational areas that are just little gems to hike through!”

She was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, and has a guinea pig named Potato, and recently parted with a cat named Tucker after 16 years. She hopes that she can introduce everyone to Potato in her online classes. She previously “worked at Forest Park Middle School in Springfield, and two elementary schools for Agawam Public schools. Both as the art teacher.” 

As a kid, she looked up to the fantasy illustrator, John Howe. She admires him because “He is an amazing artist and well-rounded person and I’ve admired his way of life and work for so long.”

When asked to give advice to aspiring artists, Ms. Putnam said that she suggests they “ realize that consistent success takes time to build. Your art journey is your own, it does not have to reflect other artists you look up to who have ‘gotten lucky’ and became a success right out of school, or had that magical opportunity fall into their lap. You will go through experiences that will help mold your being and balance that will lead you in the creative direction you are destined to be on.” She also added, “don’t stress out too much. As long as you are doing SOMETHING, you are doing enough!”

She finds that the faculty and staff welcomed her amazingly and made her feel right at home. Speaking about her favorite part about MacDuffie so far, she said “It will have to be the faculty and students. You all have been so kind and welcoming and supportive that I am grateful to be part of the MacDuffie family”