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About Sarah

Into every work of art, I pour my heart and soul. Whether small or large, each piece has a story, a connection with nature and a tap into the unplugged natural world. As a life-long hiker, backpacker, and outdoor explorer, I’ve experienced incredible beauty in natural landscapes and ecosystems. I draw from these experiences as inspiration for my work.

I paint on substances that lower my impact on the environment, typically using recycled board or recycled acrylic sheeting, both products lending a smooth, durable substrate for enduring paintings.

I create a heavily textured surface on the substrate, building layers of gesso and paper collage. In the final gesso layer, I imprint with produce netting or various found objects, and use palette knives, rubber scrapers, or employ any other item to build up a compelling texture that adds to the painting’s story. I’ve even used ponderosa needles, flower petals, and branches to create texture.

Once the texture is dry, I pour watercolor and gouache into the random surface pattern, allowing it to find its own path in the surface impressions. After the paint finds its way across the surface, it begins to suggest natural forms. I further define those forms, using a variety of tools, such as scrapers, sponges, brushes, plastic wrap, and cloth. Fine lines are formed using watercolor pencils or pastels. I prefer using a neutral palette with strong pops of saturated color, enforcing calm peace that I find in nature, combined with the power and strength of its healing properties.

As I work with the painting, I begin to incorporate sentences or words from my backpacking sketchbook. In the final painting, parts of the sentences will appear or disappear, allowing my viewers to experience the wilderness impressions as I did. Geometric shapes in the gesso surface symbolize elements of nature. For example, circles represent bird songs, and squares represent tangible landscape forms such as rocks, plants, trees, and even clouds. Vertical lines represent stability, strength, and freedom.

When I’m not painting, hiking, or traveling from my Pacific Northwest home and studio, I teach watercolor and painting techniques in Oregon, nationally and abroad. In 2016, I began Art Adventures, where I provide art retreats to varying locations. During these retreats, I teach daily art lessons as we experience local culture and food, enjoy shopping, hiking, adventure, friendship, art immersion, and the spirituality of the local land.

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