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