Australian-born artist Sally Willbanks presents her original and colorful paintings that represent a journey into abstract expressionism. To see more of Sally’s work, please visit her website.
I have always known that I would be an artist. When asked as a small child what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer never varied. “An artist”, I would say emphatically. So, an artist I became. I graduated with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and worked in the States for a further 14 years, as a poster restorer, figurine painter, and portrait artist.
My passion was always abstract art, but I always felt I fell short. So I painted in many different styles, which was fun but never serious. I moved home to Australia, and opened a gallery co-op, dedicating myself to becoming the abstract painter I always wanted to be.
Now abstract art is not a struggle for me – it is sheer pleasure, although I still find that there is a point in every painting where I have to “get over the hump”. I love to see a large, blank white canvas, but it is the first layer that intimidates me the most.
Once I lay the foundation of paint, I usually start to scribble while listening to the cadence of whatever music my mood has chosen. I cover up and reveal, scratch and scribble my way to a finished painting. My work is about frenetic mark making, areas of quiet serenity, and the dichotomy between the two.
Colour has always resonated with me. The palette I choose for each painting is a spontaneous decision with no forethought, and very much reflects the mood I am in at the time of painting. How do I know when a work is complete? I hang it up on a wall in my home and sit with it for several days, and if anything jumps out at me, back to the studio it goes.
In my time when I am not painting, I am running my family business, Canvas River, which is quickly becoming Australia’s premier art reproduction business. We license the artwork of more than 20 artists worldwide, and reproduce it in both hand painted and print form.
I don’t know who I would be if art wasn’t a part of my life. I just wish there were more hours in a day, as I never seem to have enough time to paint all that I want to. When I haven’t been able to get to my studio often enough, I feel built up energy and my right arm actually tingles. I thank my lucky stars for my passion, because what would life be without art?