SARAH GRAHAM

Quay Gallery

History & Background.

I remember staring out from the front gate as a child watching the other children playing in the street wondering where my future would take me. Since graduating in 2000 I have been practising my art as a full time career, and I am now beginning to realise that the dream of spending my life painting has become a reality.

I was extremely conscientious at school, always trying my hardest and as a result doing well in most subjects. Art was no exception, but it was different, it came naturally to me. I didn't need to try, and more importantly I loved it. At home my sister and I were constantly painting, drawing, or making something, the desire to create was a driving force in me that's hard to explain. Fortunately our dad spotted this passion in us at an early age, and would buy us endless art supplies. We were a working class family, with little spare money to spend on expensive past times and holidays, so days were dominated by art and creativity.     

Ideas & Inspirations.

I am entirely motivated by colour, and as a realist painter, along with being a big kid at heart, this inevitably lead to the subject matter of toys and sweets. It allows me to explore extremely vivid colour, and at the same time manipulate the structure and form of an image. Having trawled sweetshops, markets, eBay, and my mum's attic, to find my subject.

I start by taking a staged photograph in my studio. Although I enjoy photography, painting is my first love, and I may take as many as 200 photos of a subject before I'm happy with one. This has been made possible thanks to my digital SLR camera, and my Mac (which along with my easel are my best friends in the studio!)

I begin the painting process by translating the image onto canvas by lightly sketching it in yellow paint, followed by a more detailed under painting which acts as a map for the final painting. During this process, subtle changes naturally occur, as I do not want the painting to look overly photo real; it is important to me that in my paintings you can see it has been hand crafted. There is one other reason I paint these subjects, and it's quite simply that they are fun and put a smile on my face!
     
From Palette to Picture.

My dad bought me my first oil paints when I was about 8 years old, and I fell in love with them. Throughout school and university I explored other media, but was always drawn back to oils. It was the consistency, and buttery feel of the paint, but most importantly the brilliant colour (that attracted me to always return to using oils). When mixed with a medium, oil becomes even more malleable, and allows me to blend with large, soft brushes, imitating the blurred areas of the photograph I'm working from, these being usually backgrounds. With bigger pieces, this can actually become a very physical and frenzied process, sweeping the paint back and forth in broad strokes until it is sufficiently blended in, wiping away excess paint from the brush each time it leaves the canvas. The more dramatic sections in focus are created using precision brushes, a steady hand, and a lot of patience!