Simply Talented Sara ~ Etsian Feature

I follow a wonderful blog here in Blogland called Simply Sarafina Paintings. It's one of my favorite blogs to follow, full of fun, beautiful sneak peeks at paintings, inspirational quotes and great music. I always settle in for a good read when Sara gets to a new post! Awhile back she showed us a new painting of hers slotted for viewing/sale at a local wine gallery. But... then I spied it, and feel in love. I just had to find out more about this lovely, talented woman, and so here is what I uncovered... enjoy! :)

Two Birds Far Far Away
 Please give me at least 5 words or phrases that describe you best
Artsy, passionate, free thinking, impatient, inspired

Have you always been an artist, or is this a more recent passion? Did you take classes, or are you one of those naturally talented gals that always make me jealous? ;) I’ve been surrounded by creativity my whole life… my grandma, mom, and sister are all extremely artistic, and I’ve been making/creating things since I was little, so I'm going to unintentionally make you jealous and say it's natural :). I haven’t taken any art classes (other than in high school), I just learn as I go. I’ve been painting for years on and off but I started painting on a regular basis a little over a year ago. I learn more about painting and myself with every canvas I paint

 Between taking classes, working, and volunteering, when and where do you find time to paint?
I am currently enrolled at Oklahoma City Community College fulltime and I am majoring in Graphic Communications with an emphasis in Multimedia. I want to eventually work for a non-profit as a web/graphic designer so that I can use my degree to give back to the community. I just started working for the school as an HR Assistant partime. I also have been volunteering at a non-profit called The Plaza District Association, located in Oklahoma City. The Plaza District is a fun funky neighborhood made up of locally owned shops, like a coffee shop, dance studio, tattoo shop, art gallery, dance studio and irish pub, and they have monthly art walks featuring local artists and musicians. This takes up quite a bit of my time but I still find time to paint early in the morning, in between classes or before bed. I have a hard time just doing one thing, so rather than just watch TV, I’ll paint while I listen to the TV. Multi-tasking helps me squeeze in more time to be creative.

All You Need Is Heart
 Do you hope to one day make a living off of your paintings, or are you content to leave it as a creative outlet?
I have a dream of living in a simple little cottage with a beautiful view and a porch, where I can sit and paint all day while listening to old records. I know, I know… not realistic, but it would be nice ☺ Eventually I hope to work as a designer part-time so I would have plenty of time to paint, but I love painting so much I would keep doing it even if I never sold another painting. I never really thought about selling them until a year ago when I discovered Etsy and was encouraged by my friends… before then I’d give them away as presents or hang them in my house. The whole process, from that first brush of paint on a blank canvas to the tiny details that only a close observant eye would notice, is beautiful and watching it transform, realizing the possibilities for each canvas are endless, is absolutely magical and I’m captivated by it.

Recently I purchased a painting of yours. What was the inspiration behind it? I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and I think I should do that more often because I’m so happy with how it turned out. I typically stick with neutrals like, browns and grays, or color. I stay away from black because I always thought of it as very harsh but I decided to try it. I loved the way the various shades of blue popped with black as the background and to add a little more contrast, I coated them with an acrylic gloss and outlined them in white. I had already chosen the quote and wanted a very serene and hopeful vibe… the floating blue circles are simple… they add to the painting but don’t steal the show from the quote, which is the main focus.

Sold... to me!! :)
 Why did you choose that particular quote? I’m constantly searching for quotes and lyrics that are powerful, yet simple. When I came across this quote I knew it was perfect because it’s very simply stated and makes the concept of peace easy to grasp, yet it is beautiful at the same time… I found myself wide-eyed and nodding as I read it. It made me see a glimmer of hope in the future, despite all the chaos going on in the world right now. I painted the words freehand… I wanted them to have that simple handwritten feel because it’s so much softer than a bold type and so much more real than a fancy cursive script.

How long did it take you to complete? I am horrible at keeping track of how long a painting takes me to complete… mostly because I paint in spurts and usually work on more than one paintings at a time, so I have something to paint while the other is drying. But I’d say from the first brush stroke to the final protective spray about 7 hours. I put a lot of layers of black to make the color deeper and even. The circles took quite a few layers to get the color right and the letters, too. Plus using smaller brushes to get fine lines and detail takes a steady slow hand.

Is it hard to let go of a painting after investing so much time and energy into it? It does but I’m slowly getting used to it. I get very attached after pouring all my attention and ideas into a canvas, and then watching my original vision slowly emerge in a painted form is really amazing. Sometimes I surprise myself and I always learn something, so each painting is like a stepping-stone in my journey as a painter. They’re hard to part with but when I think that maybe someone else gets that same feeling while looking at them that I did painting them… that makes it all worth it.

Who are your biggest sources of support?
I consider myself very lucky to have as much support as I do. My boyfriend puts up with half-finished canvases on every wall of our house, paint brushes on the counter near every sink, and paint splatters all over his leather furniture and carpet… which I’m thankful for because it’s so hard to not be messy when painting! My friends are amazing and give me great feedback and are so encouraging, plus most of them have my paintings hanging in their homes. My local friends all showed up to support me when I recently painted live at a wine tasting for the first time. Just having them in the room instantly made me calm and I cannot even put into words how much it meant to me that they all cared enough to be there. My out of state friends are just as wonderful. They are always asking what I’m working on and giving me great feedback on finished pieces. My friends Jill & Jesse actually were married in January and asked me to paint a tree on canvas for them to use instead of a guest book. Each guest put their thumbprint in green ink on a branch and signed their names and it turned out absolutely beautiful. Without all this love and support I would have never had the courage to display my work in public or even think about selling it.

Well, Sara, I guess you can sonsider me crazy/unrealistic too, because some day I will have that little cottage in the woods... surrounded by peace and nature. :) And wasn't that a great idea to use in place of a guest book? I'd love for that idea to spread! So thanks so much Sara for this sneak peek into your life ~ I wish you much success with your paintings, not that I think you'll need it! :)

Other places you can find Sara~

Peace ~ Melinda