Born in Oklahoma and currently residing in Florida, Sarah is an artist and educator who works primarily in mixed media on paper. In 2007, she received an MFA in Studio Art from Parsons School of Design in New York City. Her current work is focused on art making for self-awareness and personal empowerment. She plans to release a new book that explores visual journaling methods in autumn of 2019.
A reference to the zodiac sign of Aries, the “ram” and the “lamb” is about finding balance in my life through painting.
Pattern making has become a form of meditation for me. It can offer soothing regularity or chaotic repetition, and be a map to latent memories or blossoming addictions. My most recent painting series records a year of investigation into the human chakra system. Handwriting serves as the structure for organic patterns; where words overlap and intertwine in a flow of consciousness, I recognize shapes and anchor them with paint. As I work automatically and attempt to suspend conscious planning, the repetitive making process quiets my mind and lets me enter into a flow state. Anger fades, compassion soars, and problems find their own solutions. Because each painting is made in water-soluble materials on heavy paper, I can work for months and in many layers, and the piece is constantly in flux. I watch the materials play, knowing I have little control over how a new layer may reactive an old one, how colors will absorb or shrink as they mix or repel each other, or how a new color wash today might obliterate yesterday’s minute details. As surprising as the developing physical work might be, the inner revelations that arise are the reason I paint them. The paintings act as mandalas that I contemplate long after the work is complete.
I use symbolism, such as the chakras, for anchoring in society’s shared history and the human condition we all experience. Careful, tender rendering of those symbols speaks to each individual. I often see animal symbols emerging in my paintings, and a favorite has always been the monkey. Honest in a way that we humans rarely are, their rawness is allowed expression. We quickly identify with the emotions of our primate relatives, and accept them as a wilder, freer self. Similarly, the fish is psychologically relatable across cultures, most importantly for its environment. Swimming or being suspended in water represents our ability to navigate our own reality as we create it. Our minds are constantly changing and yet inescapable; whether we see that as imprisonment or supportive depends on subconscious residue.