Featured Artist Sarah Atlee

Enjoy the delightful portfolio of artist Sarah Atlee, and visit her website to see more of her work.


Tuna Steaks

“Tuna Steaks” acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 30″


Are you a realist or an abstract artist?

Both. I have two bodies of work that I develop concurrently – painterly abstract expressionist pieces, and hyper-real still life paintings (mostly of food and drinks).



“Manhattan” acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 30″


I love switching gears between these two modes. It keeps me from getting bored. I’m always working on multiple pieces, so I never have the excuse of getting stuck on one thing.


Impossible Replacement

“Impossible Replacement” acrylic on canvas, 18″ x 18″


In my abstract work, I use color and texture to explore my deepest memories, in an effort to better understand how they affect my life. I paint from a very emotional place, and allow myself to create things that may not make sense at first.


Go There Got Here

“Go There Got Here” ink and colored pencil on paper, 6.5″ x 6.5″


By contrast, for still life painting, I observe a real-world form, such as a sliced peach, and use paint to capture the way light falls on and around that beautiful object. I compose these paintings in a formal, almost rigidly geometric way, as a counterpoint to my more intuitive process of abstraction.


Peaches and Quilt

“Peaches and Quilt” acrylic on canvas, 12″ x 12″


 What is your technique?

Acrylic paint is my primary tool. I love the versatility of acrylics – they allow me to work thick or thin, opaque or transparent, in infinite combinations. In particular, I like Golden’s Fluid Acrylics for their translucency and high pigment concentration.

I paint layers upon layers in every work, allowing the viewer’s eye to drift down into pools of color and back up again.



“Landlocked” acrylic on canvas, 8″ x 8″


What inspires you?

Chance favors the prepared mind. The creative spark usually hits me from some unexpected direction. For example, in 2013 I taught myself to make friendship bracelets. This act triggered some very vivid childhood memories, and a whole series of paintings grew directly out of that.


Beside the Ironing  Board

“Beside the Ironing Board” acrylic on canvas, 12″ x 12″


In 2013 I moved to Austin, Texas. I can definitely say that the warm, hazy atmosphere here has had a softening influence on my usual color palette.



“Flayed” acrylic on canvas, 18″ x 18″


I keep my eyes and my mind open. I know I might be prompted to creative action by an article I read online, or a picture in a magazine, or some object I find on the sidewalk.


Sarah Atlee invites you to follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Wow, Sarah… having just come back from your web site, I must say that I’m pretty blown away by your tiny format abstract work. You have an amazing palette and the work is incredibly evocative and visceral. I also like the implicit narrative in your titles… they frame the art in such a way that we get to tap into the intimacy of your life while prompting our own set of memories. The art then becomes an intimate dialogue between artist and viewer and that is the what the best art achieves.

    • Thanks for your kind words. The intimacy of experience is what I love about small-scale work. I try and dig into my own visceral energy when creating those abstract works to better enhance the viewer’s potential relationship with the finished product. I’m pleased that you felt a connection. I’m enjoying the visual language of your neo-symbolism work.

  2. Amazing works. Really enjoyed your show in OKC in April. I think I will purchase one for my wife. The Tuna, cutting board and knife look hauntingly familiar. Look forward to seeing more of your talent.

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