Wednesday, December 29, 2010

busy little bee

Red Night
40x16, oil on canvas

8x8, oil on canvas

wooohaw! getting stuff done today! it's great seeing everything happen! website, check. twitter, check. blog, check. facebook page, check. i feel so productive! next step will be that elusive newsletter i've been talking about. with the holidays and my shows, i haven't had much time. today was my first day really delving in. my focus will also be on creating new work and trying to get some new shows. i also want to get a whole new series up at max's restaurant.

my work arrived in temecula safely and my show will be hung tomorrow. i'll post pics if they send any to me. looks like i'll have a little family reunion at my show. my mother from pittsburgh, my aunt from chicago, and some long lost greats and 2nd and 3rd family members that live near temecula will be on hand for my january 22nd artist's reception. very exciting!

so here's the site i worked on all times i was super frustrated and wanting to throw my computer out the window or convincing myself that i should shell out a ton of money to let someone else do it. someday i may still do that so i can have a really funky cool site, but right now it's simple and classy. works for me! so go to and check out my fresh new page!

so while i try to wind down, happy new year and namaste!

Monday, December 13, 2010

blue shadows

one of the first things i fell madly in love with in new mexico was how bright even the slightest sliver of a moon could be. i could take midnight walks without a flashlight, the desert was glowing blue and it was magical. the last few nights the moon has been slowing fattening up. it doesn't have the same effect here in town that it does out in eldorado where every pinion and chamisa has a long blue shadow. we're also right in the high time for the geminid meteor shower. i've seen one so far, but the lights of town drown out all but the brightest of stars. hopefully one night i'll be awake enough and not frantically painting so that i can drive out somewhere quiet and and feel the moon light.

Monday, December 6, 2010

white out

looky at all those pretty white canvases just waitin' to be's a three day painting marathon folks! hootie hooo!

thanks to everyone who came out to my show at miklo's! i had a good crowd (pretty good for a coffee shop opening in my opinion!) and even sold a few pieces. at some point in the next day or two i'll take a painting break and post some pictures from the event as well as images of some of the newest drawings. look for a new facebook page just for sara shawger studios, too.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

winter inspiration

getting ready to hang my show in the morning...still have on drawing to finish, an artist statement and a pricelist to do. here's a new little tiny, 3.5x5.5, which i call "Winter's Message", and a few steps leading up to it.

just got my postcards in for my show in temecula! i'll be sending those out in the next week or two. if you want one, even if you can't come (you can put it on the fridge!!), send me an email with your mailing address.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

who needs sleep anyway

no pictures right now, i still have to photograph the latest work. not to mention, i'm saving them for my show as a surprise! i hang my landscape drawings next wednesday, and then i can shift my focus to my show in temecula. i've got several canvases and plenty of ideas, just lacking in time. i'm even taking a few days off of work so i can spend them in the studio!

so don't forget, my opening for all of you locals is next friday the 3rd from 5 to 7 at miklo's coffee house, 6005 jaguar drive. and if anyone is around the temecula, ca area, i'll be at lorimar winery on the 22nd of january showing my paintings and drawings, a little mix of everything. i'll have postcards for that show to send out next week. please email me if you would like a postcard. once the shows are up i will post pictures of the work and the events. hope to see some of you in the next couple of months! and i hope you all have a great holiday!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

i can't think of a blog title right now

art dork

End of the Road, 24x48, oil on canvas (sold)

end of the road is based on my visits to eldorado checking on my aunt's house. if you take avenida eldorado alllll the way to the end, it turns into a dirt road. a little further ahead is the end of the road with a big warning sign not to go any further. it's kinda hard to with the barbed wire fence and all, but i guess they had to make it clear. this is an awesome spot to watch the sun set in the west over the ortiz and sandia mountains and then turn your gaze skyward and star watch. perfectly peaceful with a touch of coyote howling to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. far enough from the lights of santa fe that you can see the stars all the way down to the mountain top silhouettes. this place will always be a warm reminder of my aunt and a new beginning for me.

in the other picture, if you look through the dorky artist wielding her brushes, you can see the piece in progress. hmmm, maybe for my next painting i'll take pics all the way through and post them in order so you can watch how it comes to be?! sounds fun doesn't it?! anywho, this piece is actually going to my biggest collector, so if you want to see it in person you'll have to go visit my brother in maryland.

also, i've set the date for my artist's reception at the lorimar winery shop in temecula, ca. it will be on saturday, january 22nd. i'll get more details up later.

back to work for me! namaste.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

the eighth day of the week

Monsoon Study
12x12 oil on board

Day's Done
10x8 oil on board

oh i have so much to do! i need that eighth day of the week just to spend more time in the studio. i've been asked several times about a newsletter so i started a mailing list (sign up is on the right side of the page) and i'm going to work on a newsletter, hopefully this weekend. the newsletter will be to update you on upcoming shows, new work and the latest blog posts. very exciting, no?! (edit...the first line is email, second is first name and third is last name...i'll have to figure out how to fix that!)

here are two new works i did this past weekend. both are smaller works done on treated board instead of canvas. i rather like the hard surface to paint on and it leaves my edges with a nice clean wood surface. there's not the give that a canvas has. instead of the satisfying drumbeat of canvas when the brush hits it, there's an equally satisfying solid thud.

alright, back to the gallery to cover for a few hours and then tonight i'll hit the canvas and/or paper. cheers!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

back in the fe!

i'm back! freshly inspired to start up my landscape drawings and get ready for my show at miklos coffee shop. i'll be hanging the show on december 1st and the artist's reception will be friday the 3rd from 5 to 7pm. i'm working on some postcards it weird that i really enjoy making the postcards and doing the design work?!

this is my latest drawing, 'an artist's morning', nupastel on paper, 15"x10". i'm enjoying the sunrise/sunset colors and especially the blending. with nupastels, sometimes you can see the marking from where you first put the color down and it won't be covered or disguised. each layer has to be put down in soft strokes and overlapping and then carefully blended. i use my fingers to blend and often each finger is assigned a color so as not to pollute. these are a lot different than the abstract drawings which can be messy and can get mixed. i came up with a few new ideas for that series while i was in yoga. some of my best ideas come out of yoga!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

a show, a drawing and a vacation

i received some good news this week, looks like i'll be showing my work at a winery shop in temecula, california for the month of january! they want to show all three of my styles, so that makes it a little easier on me as far as creating new work. so there are two shows on the horizon, including one at miklos cafe showing my landscape drawings in december. boy i've got a lot of work to do! i need a bigger studio and more days in the week!

i'm going to lose a week as it is on a vacation. finally, a real vacation! i'm headed home to pittsburgh to visit the fam, then south to morgantown, wv to visit my crew, and then finally to harrisburg to spend quality time with one of my bffs. until then, i only have one free night to create and no days off from work. i'll have to become a hermit once i get back. which, oddly, is something i've always wanted to do... disappear for awhile from the world and throw myself into my work. it's easy to immerse yourself in art when you're in college or grad school. for the most part that's all you have to do...stay up in the studio till all hours of the morning and sleep until one of your afternoon art history classes. once i become a full time artist (cross your fingers everyone), i know i'll revert to my natural night owl schedule. it's quiet at night and i can get lost in my head and into music and this american life podcasts. too bad i have to actually sleep....

above is a piece i did tonight with NuPastel on paper. it goes back to my idea of the inner language and space. through a lot of layers, i've ghosted my mark making in and out of the surface. i've used some graphite pencil which doesn't show up quite as well in pictures. i usually do these in series as i hate trying to come up with names that don't get too personal or hold too much power. this is the first of the Infatuation series. it's 10x8 but i think i'd like to do some larger ones as well. this one isn't necessarily color focused, whereas i plan to do some that you can pinpoint the overall color when you look at it from a distance. as usual with these drawings, when you get close, there is every color in the box weaving through the surface, pushing and pulling in and out of the depth.

and now i'm toast. the last two yoga classes beat me up a bit. i feel great, but tired. namaste!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

if i could bottle it

the studio wall, the paint rag, the blank canvas brush wipings. some of my favorite parts of the studio! they are an art form in and of themselves. totally subconscious, not on purpose, happy accidents. sometimes i like how they turn out even better. even in school, my 'accidental' paintings got so much attention that i tried to replicate them....without success. it is impossible for them to come out of purpose. they are built out of no thoughts, a truly playful gathering of moments in time.

the other pieces are color studies and things i do on the myriad of smaller half-used canvases that i have. gotta keep the momentum going and get some ideas out of my head and onto the canvas so i can see if they're actually good.

on a fun note, i found a friend to work on my website, an actual place to show my work cleanly and professionally. stay tuned!


Sunday, October 3, 2010


i'm into experimenting more with my colors. my tendency is always toward a cool palette. i kinda knew that, but then my friend pointed it out to me during our artwalk through santa fe on friday. we played the old 'if you could buy one piece of art in this gallery, what would it be game' and apparently all of my choices were of the blue variety. i don't know if it's a mood or comfort thing, but i need to shake it up a bit. truly, one of my favorite colors is red and my ipod is orange. they're powerful colors...maybe it's more intimidating to use them for that very reason. so here's my attempt, Sunstorm, 24x12, oil on canvas. this was promptly purchased by a very good friend.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

brushes of fury

Orienting, 36"x24", oil on canvas

Night Revelry, 40"x16", oil on canvas

A Peaceful Place, 24"x18", oil on canvas

from the last post, you saw orienting during the process. the interesting dilemma i had with this painting is that i wanted it to feel angled, therefore i couldn't work with the canvas sitting perfectly upright or my brushstrokes wouldn't match the directional pull. i had to prop the canvas up on one side, so it was actually painted while perched on one corner.
night revelry was a fun piece. i used my my smallest brush and thinner paint in order to layer my brushstrokes and colors like i do in my drawings. this one is full of color and when you look really close it is quite intricate and suprising. it takes a lot longer to cover the white canvas when using such a small brush, but i really like the effect of it. this one also verges on abstract, which is something i like to do as i feel my real subject matter is space rather than landscape.
a peaceful place, so named by a facebook poll, is an attempt for variety in landscape with more foreground and somewhat more structure with the road. a road is a great device to show depth and lead the viewer into the distance. i had also intended on using telephone poles, which was a favorite subject during my college days, but i want to do that on a larger piece on a horizontal canvas.
next up, i have two large canvases and four smaller ones. unfortunately i'm already running out of room for all of this in my apartment as i switch them out with work at the restaurant. i've already started using my friends' walls as storage, although they seem quite happy with the arrangement!
i had a great trip to aspen, colorado last week. i was in dire need of a road trip as i have an almost unquenchable wonderlust. i get rather cranky if i don't get to go out and explore every once in awhile. driving independence pass was one of the most beautiful things i've ever experienced. the leaves were starting to turn in the mountains and it was just warm enough to have my top down on the jeep. i ended up sunburnt, but very satisfied. it was a little heartbreaking when i turned off of 82 and started my journey home. but then it's beautiful here, too, so i can't complain!
be back soon! namaste. :-)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

fresh air

ahhh, my day off! it's so nice out that i decided to move my studio outside. so with my indie rock on the itunes radio i flew out of my head and my instincts started painting. a few days ago i had an idea to play with the vantage point and angle of my paintings. one of my favorite painters up in maine, dozier bell, often does landscape as if it's scene through a lens or airplane scope. the land is tilted and navigational marks put you in the pilot's seat. the piece in process here has that diagonal landscape and the viewer is forced to turn their head. i'll probably call it orienting, as if we are willing it to get back on course.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

oops, i painted my cat...

i was told to paint more, so here we go. i went out today and bought 4 larger canvases and last week i bought some smaller ones and restocked some favorite colors. ($$ouch!!) what are my favorite paint colors you ask? i love prussian blue, burnt umber, alizarion crimson, and yellow ochre. if they are not obviously present in a painting, they are mixed in somewhere.

i've been working on two paintings, one has more foreground with a road leading into the distance and the other verges on pure abstraction with a movement from a yellow base to a deep blue top. to me it's the sunrise...or probably more appropriately the sunset as i rarely ever actually see the sunrise. i am a creative vampire. i'm thinking of calling this one 'night time revelry' due to the fact that when you look at it closely, i've used small busy brushes for the whole thing and many colors weave throughout the painting.

and i love getting my hands dirty.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

El Dorado

i'm excited to say that my show went wonderfully! there was a great turnout and many good friends came to support me. by the end of the night i had sold half of my show! needless to say, i had to get to work painting, drawing and framing in order to fill the holes on max's walls!

El Dorado is my largest piece in awhile, a 4 foot tall by 3 foot wide oil on canvas. i've also hung 7 new drawings at the restaurant. all of my work will be hanging until the end of september.

maybe i should have a closing that time it will be all new work!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

a new space

well, it's smaller, but at least it's temperature controlled! now that i've moved into a small apartment i have less room, but my studio is constantly staring me in the face! after installing my show at max's, i felt inspired to unwrap my large canvas and do a bit of underpainting. for some reason, my kitties seem very intrigued by this 4 feet of space i have to work in and take up residence there most of the night. don't be surprised if my latest work is a little furry....

Friday, July 2, 2010


here's a sneak peak at one of my favorite sets of drawings from my show. i call it the OCD series because of the compulsive mark making and repetition of line, loose boxes and rectangles. each piece is 6"x 9" and hangs separately.

mark your calendars, saturday, august 14th from 2:30 to 5:30!

tides are turning

so sorry to have been MIA from my dear blog, but it looks like things are back on track. thursday night i hung 16 paintings and drawings at Max's restaurant in downtown Santa Fe! i won't be having an opening until august 14th when it's busier and their new kitchen staff have gotten all the wrinkles smoothed out. but there was a soft opening last night and let me tell you...the food is FIO (food induced orgasm)! i spent a lot of time framing all my work and picking what i wanted to put in. most of it was done in this past year, but there are some drawings from several years ago that i've always wanted to get framed and display. i'll put some more photos up soon once i get them off of my camera. oooh, and i also got a pretty new camera. it's a canon T1i. i love it! it's amazing how much better my photos are with a DSLR.

i've been rather busy with my aunt's house, getting it ready for the market, having a yard sale, entertaining the fam when they came to visit. and then i moved into town, which has been the best thing for me. i love being within walking distance to work, downtown and the farmer's market. i feel free again and the juices are flowing. and now that i have an empty living room/studio, looks like i'll be painting again very soon! i inspired myself after seeing all of my work on the wall and i want to paint an even larger piece for the restaurant. lots of ideas!

also, i've been working on the side doing print/marketing work for clients. i can do business cards, flyers, brochures, logos, etc. feel free to contact me if you need any graphics work done. you can reach me at sarashawger78 at


Sunday, April 18, 2010

paint under the fingernails

i think my head has been clearing. a lot has happened this year already. after almost two years of fighting, my aunt passed away in mid january. the months leading up to her death were a total nightmare for me. as much as i usually used art as a means to cope with my feelings, i was frozen. i think i was in shock at the realities of life...or actually, the reality of death. i'm still stunned every time i remember that she's gone. now, the clean up. meetings with realtors, lawyers and CPAs, oh my. i've spent the last week getting the house ready for showings. i live in a sterile environment and i'm now happily parked in the only place in the house that i can still make a mess and it's a studio! we're finally warmed up in santa fe and my garage studio is at a bearable temperature.

i started with a piece that i promised to do for a habitat for humanity charity auction...on a shovel. i wish i had done a lighter scene, but i've been wanting to work on my night scenes. of course, the deadline was on the i will take a semi-wet painted shovel to habitat on tuesday and hope it's not too late!

once i get my hands dirty, i am very willing to keep getting dirty. i had a vision of a raven painting in my head. i picture a lot of movement, almost feathery. so tonight is my first attempt at a figure in a painting. i usually do landscapes and abstract pieces that focus on value and color. the background is my brushstroke style and there is some of it in the body of the bird. there are more ravens in my head with different colors, looser brushwork and a closer cropping of the head. it's good to be back!