Working with acrylics, Sarah Richardson’s eclectic and vibrant portfolio covers Landscapes and Hayfields, Sea and Sky, and Abstract, all of which share the same commonality; her use of colour.
“I absolutely love colour; the brighter the better!” she told the Bucks, Berks and Oxfordshire Guardian. “There is something about colour that I find very playful and I am a passionate believer in the importance and power of play in our day-to-day lives.”
“Through my art, I create a style of painting that not only allows myself a chance to play with colour, texture, form etc., but also invites the viewer to participate and engage in this sense of fun and childlike abandon.”
Despite no formal art training, Sarah has always enjoyed experimenting with her creativity and has developed a unique and distinct style wholly her own.
“I only began painting full time around five years ago as a result of having more time and space along with my discovery of acrylic paints which are very user-friendly, come in a wide variety of vibrant colours and mix well with other mediums.”
“Though I’m not traditionally trained, I see this as a positive as I am fearless – anything is possible!”
Inspiration is taken from her natural surroundings on Dartmoor and her particular love of the Cornish Coastline.
“I like to immerse myself in the atmosphere of a place then back in the studio, using photographs as a reference, I paint intuitively, building layers of colour and texture on the canvas. I enjoy the freedom to paint a variety of different themes and usually have a landscape or hayfield on the go at the same time as something watery AND an abstract. This keeps me from becoming too ‘tight’ or ’fussy’ in my application of the paint, and allows my imagination to run free.”
Sarah’s collection of Hayfield paintings were inspired by annual picnics with her daughter in a neighbour’s hayfield.
“I remember lying there and looking up at the clouds, realising this would be a great perspective to paint from.”
“My paintings are bright, innocent and hopefully uplifting. Some are more representational, others are more abstract– sometimes it’s good to suspend reality a little and enter a magical world. When painting the grasses and flowers, I prefer to create stylised versions rather than strictly botanical, painting them not with a paintbrush but a pipette, as can be found in ‘Blue Summer Hayfield,” Sarah explained.
Sarah often finds herself drawn to water and light and the interaction between the two.
“With paintings, like ‘Wave Energy’, I try to convey the raw power of the sea through the sweep of colours and finally throwing paint onto the canvas.”
Abstract is a passion of Sarah’s
“It offers me total freedom and release combined with an adrenaline rush when the colours smash out of the canvas and play tricks with your eyes! ‘Tumbling Leaves’ was produced entirely with a plasterer’s tool, layering the colours one after another. I’d stand back and look at the canvas to see where the next colour would go to keep the balance within the picture, but the real secret was knowing when to stop!”
Using other tools alongside paintbrushes is a big part of Sarah’s art, drawing on the DIY section of hardware stores and pipettes from science labs and of course, her hands, to create unique and interesting textures.
“The painting ‘Exmoor Mist’ allowed me to collage with paint , applying colour and then rubbing it back, building layer after layer to create a real depth. ‘Reflections at Hembury’ was produced entirely with a palette knife resulting in a very textual abstract version of the landscape, giving an impression of the scene rather than a realistic interpretation of it.”
Exhibitions and Workshops
Sarah does accept commissions but prefers clients to choose from her extensive collection. She also runs Workshops from her Dartmoor home.
“My goal is to share the fun that I get from painting. I don’t set myself up as a ‘teacher’ but rather a facilitator to encourage the creativity within us all and to show there is no ‘wrong way’ to paint, a message sadly lodged in many peoples’ memory of art classes at school!”
Sarah exhibits her work regularly and many pieces are on semi-permanent display in various West Country Hotels. So far this year she has exhibitions booked in the South Devon town of Ashburton from Easter Monday, and again at The Boston Tea Party in Exeter in July, as well as taking part in the popular Devon Open Studios event in September, where all are welcome to visit her studio and view her art.
2013 SPRING EXHIBITION OF ABSTRACT WORKS
It’s incredibly rare these days to see a piece of artwork that refreshes you, energises you, and stimulates your senses without challenging you or asking anything of you at all. Rarer still to find an artist that has the power to do this with every piece they produce!
Sarah Richardson’s artwork is all of this and more. The vibrancy of the colour utilised is breathtaking, presenting a simple, playful energy that cannot be overlooked and will not be forgotten. To see her work in person is a true delight: it’s lively, warm and childlike in its expression, yet perfectly presented; artistry such as this takes years to master, and Richardson has undoubtedly done just that.
What’s more, there is an underlying subtlety in her application that often tricks the casual eye, with many seeing things within her abstract work beyond bold blocks or washes of colour. Words jump out of her squares and figures present themselves to their admirer in the most gentle of ways, drawing the viewer into the realms of their own imagination.
Undoubtedly one of the best modern artists this country has to offer, Richardson’s artwork is consistently pressure-free, pleasure-filled and centre-piece-worthy. Brightening every room and bringing a smile to every face, this is abstract art at its very best.
Art Critic – HEB Media Resolutions
Press Critique on the Spring 2012 Exhibition
The joy and exuberance of colour is the most striking quality in the paintings by artist Sarah Richardson. All of her paintings communicate a sense of life bursting out of its confines into something bigger and brighter and, where they hang, whether it be in an office or a sitting room, the space they inhabit adds a sense of freedom and abundance. Those who already know her work are also aware of the quality of playfulness which is a central theme of Richardson’s paintings.
The critic who famously said of her work ‘These are happy, colourful paintings that do not have to be thought about’ hit the nail on the head according to Richardson, though others feel that it is important not to underestimate the skill involved in this particular act of playing. The brilliant use of colour adds to the quality of life for all of us and that is precisely the message these paintings convey. Whereas some artists’ paintings draw you in, Richardson’s come out to greet you.
Her fascination with colour and texture has been present throughout her life and she has learned much about both from the different areas of interest and responsibility through which she has travelled. As a keen horticulturist living on the Southern slopes of Dartmoor she frequently turns to fabrics, food, ceramics and her environment for inspiration, not only for the obvious, but also for the secret corners which bring with them surprising layers especially in her work with collage.
‘Collage is a marvellous way of building layers of contrasting planes and surfaces using paint and cloth to achieve the final textural finish and the subtlest of blendings. It is a very hands-on process in which I use varied objects to create the required effect including builders’ tools, syringes and my hands!’.
Her love of St Ives in Cornwall inspired her ‘Harbour’ series, and the pure joy of playing with paint and collage has culminated in her ‘Squares’ and ‘Silk Screen’ series, while picnics in hayfields with her daughters encourages continued exploration of her ‘Hayfield’ paintings.