Wednesday, August 21, 2013

heavy lifting

in case you've wondered where i've been the last few weeks...i've been working! although my type of work pretty much always includes art, whether it's mine or someone else's.  several weeks ago i drove to loveland, colorado to work a booth at the loveland sculpture invitational.  i spent almost a whole week with the owners of my gallery (where i am the director), joshua and jojo tobey. josh is an amazing wildlife sculpture know for his patina and whimsy.  i also know him for making damn heavy art that i had to lug back and forth from studio to booth, back to studio and on to santa fe.  (i think my muscles are bigger...)

the entire event was amazing to behold, huge tents upon tents filled with sculptors creating wildlife, figures, abstract, bronze, stone, ceramics, etc.  if you ever get a chance to go, i highly recommend it, especially the friday night patron party when the food and beer come out.

my evenings were spent relaxing after the long days with several artists and friends at josh and jojo's house in the mountains.  deer, elk, and turkey kept us company as we drank wine, ate jojo's amazing food, and watched 100s of hummingbirds on the porch feeders. (here is another great bronze artist jim eppler getting some down time)

jojo's cat sunny kept watch in the kitchen, all these people needed a supervisor after all...

the drive home had some amazing clouds and i took every opportunity to pull over and take pictures. driving is one of my favorite things to's my way to relax and i feel so much better after i get to do some exploring.  rather than take the highway, i always prefer the bi-way and got to see a lot more mountains and little towns like south fork, which the show south park was modeled after.

once i got home i jumped right back into gallery work as we prepared for our indian market exhibition and private party.  it's the biggest weekend in santa fe for the whole year as a hundred thousand collectors flood the city.  needless to say, i didn't get much sleep this week either!  but now that's done and i've caught up on sleep and i'm painting for my show next friday the 30th at beals and abbate fine art.  we're calling it 'sara shawger seven' and hanging my 7 newest works.  hope you can come!

i need a vacation... namaste!

Monday, July 1, 2013


working on a series for a small show that i'll be having at Beals & Abbate on August 30th that we're calling 'sara shawger seven'.  the idea is that i will paint away and then ultimately pick 7 of the best works to display.  my focus is on light and shadow and creating three dimensionality while still retaining my brush stroke and the expressionistic feel.  the first piece in this series will also be in the august issue of Southwest Art magazine, i'm excited to see the article, it will come out at the end of july.  

The Storm on the Other Side
30" x 40"
oil on canvas

right now i'm eating throat lozenges like candy and can only talk for a few minutes before breaking out in a coughing fit.  being sick in the summer is not fun.  another good night's sleep and i should be feeling good again.  not to mention monsoon season is starting here in santa fe and i can't wait to spend my evenings chasing storms with my camera and coming back to my studio full of inspiration!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

wanna see something crazy?!

yup, that's me and my huge paintings!  these are two pieces from my senior show at west virginia wesleyan college.  my signature brushstroke is present and the basis of the surface being broken up was to show different times of day, different space, different perspectives all in one painting.  i still rather like those...

next up, my mfa thesis show at james madison university.  these are just a few of the paintings, a good portion of my show was drawings.  these are much more to the abstract side and based on amorphic forms bobbing in and out of the surface.

it's always so fun to do some house cleaning, you find the coolest things!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

do you like to watch.... paint?!  last thursday i set up at the Eldorado Hotel lobby for a private event where i painted while friends and collectors nibbled on appetizers, talked and laughed, and sampled vodka and whiskey from KGB Spirits out of Alcalde, NM. (i have no idea where that is...must google it and make a trip, the vodka was smooth!)

now i don't know why, i guess i'm a bit of a performer, but i paint very well in front of an audience.  several times i was so into working that people had to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention and i jumped ten feet off the floor.  i enjoy talking to people about my work and for them to see how i create.  my actions are fast and i can cover a lot of ground quickly, even with a small brush.  i spend a lot of time going over the same areas in order to get the right shift of color and value.  i usually work from photos of clouds or landscapes, or even from pictures of a color that i found on my walks to work.  sometimes i'm a little more loose and am just going for a feeling, like with my spring piece, "On Your Way".

in other news, the allergies are a tiny bit better, the asthma is still killing me every time i walk outside, but i'm going on vacation to palm springs, ca next week so hopefully i'll get a breather (ha, get it, i can breathe?!) and a little refresh so i can come home and start another new group of paintings.  i'll leave you with this beauty shot of one of my small works, "Setting," skillfully captured by Beals & Abbate's photographer, Alex.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


i can't believe how busy i'm getting!  so much going on lately, the energy is adding to my paintings and things are flowing faster and better.  finishing up some things now before my reception at the Eldorado Hotel on thursday.  there will be wine and food and me, painting and chatting with people from 4:30-6:30.  if you're local and want to hang out, please come by, the more the merrier! (and the more popular i look!)  

it's a rough time of year for me.  as much as i love the idea of spring and warmer weather, in santa fe spring is kinda deadly for me.  i'm severely allergic to juniper pollen.  just walking from my apartment door to my jeep about 15 feet away sends me into an asthma/sneezing attack.  i'm on allergy meds, a steroid shot, eye drops, a face mask, and an inhaler and still pretty miserable.  is there some kind of artist exchange program that i can start every spring that will send me to a nice, juniper-less place where i can actually breathe?!  

this week i stopped and dropped two paintings off at SmithKlein in boulder, colorado and i'll have at least 6 new pieces for the event on thursday.  i'll also start something new tomorrow night that i'll be working on during the event.  it's a good chance to see me work my signature brushstroke!  

looking forward to a good year ahead!


oil on canvas

any title ideas?!  i usually get it from music, will have to think on it...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

the edge of sanity

let's talk edges.  there are several ways that artists can finish their edges.  you can use a frame, in which you usually want to use canvas with thinner stretcher bars so they fit in pre-made frames or the less expensive frame choices at the frame shop.  if you paint on thicker canvases like i do, you have to use deeper, more expensive frames which look sharp with some spacing but add size and weight to the entire piece.  i don't believe that frames work well with my work because of the range of values and color, no one style of frame will work and it's important to keep everything unified.  if i used all black frames it contrasts with lighter pieces and darkens the dark pieces.  i also don't like the sharp wall, or stopping point on my open, active brushstroke.

another option is to nix the frame and paint the edges all one color, usually black or a color that matches the painting.  i've seen this done successfully and i've seen this done very sloppily and it looked unfinished.  you have to make sure your edges are precise and clean and evenly painted otherwise it doesn't look professional.  

what you're used to seeing with my work is the gallery wrap, or wraparound technique where you just continue the painting around the edges.  i like the look of this for my work, it keeps the space flowing and looks very finished and whole, less like a painting and more like 3-dimensional windows into my little cloudy worlds.  the only problem with this type of edging is if you don't do it while working on the front body of the painting (which is easy to do when your caught up in the energy of a new piece), you have to go back later hoping you have enough matching paint.  many times this process can take longer than the actual painting itself!  in fact, this blog was prompted by a large chunk of my night working on edges and the pain in my neck from painting with my head cocked to the side.  and this ladies and gentlemen is what we call #artistproblems. (if you twitter, search the hashtag, it's rather amusing)  time for a little yoga stretch break...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

thank goodness that's over...

2013?!  really?!  wow, ok, well it's starting out good so far.  i've got a new energy, i'm hunkering down in the studio drawing and painting, and i'm focusing on making this a great year for my art.  i had a little blip there where i couldn't paint...nothing i tried worked and i was really frustrated and down.  i guess all artists go through that and i hope it never happens again!  thanks to the support of friends and collectors and a lot of yoga, i've been working again and looking towards the future.  and a shout out to an amazing artist and friend Sandy Keller and her hubby, Jerry, they have been so supportive of me and half of the supplies i have are because of their generosity!

just finished this piece, 30x10, oil on canvas. i'm calling it "Go" because i'm having a little wanderlust and need to plan a trip asap.

i'm also playing with color canvas/gesso and painted this piece black before starting it.  i almost don't want to paint it...there's something so vacant and atmospheric about a window to some other world sitting on my studio wall.  nah, i'll paint it!

happy new year everyone!