Featured Artist Sara Jane Parsons

Artist Sara Jane Parsons paints watercolors filled with translucent layers of color and light. Learn more about this fascinating artist by visiting her website.


Watercolor portrait of an elderly woman in a hat by Sara Jane Parsons

“Helen” Watercolor, 18″ x 13.5″


Our everyday world is becoming more technological every day. The fact that I am alive today is due to technology. I was rear-ended in a car accident when I was twenty, which left me paralyzed from the shoulders down. I use a motorized wheelchair to get around, a computer for all my writing, an electronic door opener to get in and out of my home and a van converted to accommodate my wheelchair.


Watercolor painting of purple irises by Sara Jane Parsons

“Purple Iris” Watercolor, 14″ x 17″


All very useful, and yet, I feel that is why I am drawn to the simplicity of watercolor. There are no batteries, no electronics, nothing that can break—simply paper, water, pigment and brushes. I take my brush in my mouth, and paint.


Watercolor painting of a yellow and purple daisy by Sara Jane Parsons

“Texas Spring” Watercolor, 15″ x 8.5″


Watercolor is a natural medium for me, being a mouth painter. I work quite closely to my easel. Watercolor allows this closeness without the potential toxins or smells that come with other media. It’s lightweight and fluid; and once set up, I don’t worry about my colors drying up.


Watercolor portrait of an elderly man by Sara Jane Parsons

“Karel” Watercolor, 13″ x 15″


I can come and go from my work and it’s always ready for me. I can work independently in a way that is not possible in most other aspects of my life.


Watercolor portrait of a black woiman smoking by Sara Jane Parsons

“Still Runnin'” Watercolor, 17″ x 14″


Further, watercolor lends itself well to the delicate translucence in the subject matter I enjoy painting. Skin, petals, light shining through trees or glowing on snow; it can all happen with just water, color and paper.


Watercolor portrait of a man smoking and resting by Sara Jane Parsons

“Work Day Done” Watercolor, 15″ x 18.5″


The translucent nature of the paint also allows for layering and the constant creation of new and interesting colors that I could never create on my own. It’s a conversation with color, a sculpture on paper, as I layer, lift and layer some more.


Watercolor painting collage of eyes by Sara Jane Parsons

“The Eye Cannot See Itself” Watercolor, 30″ x 30″


Always visually observant, I was the child chastised for staring. People, flowers, animals and landscapes inspire me. My work starts with a simple graphite drawing derived from life and unstaged photos. I constantly refine the drawing as I paint, searching for what feels right. Because of this constantly evolving process, I do not typically work on more than one piece at a time.


Watercolor painting of pink tulips by Sara Jane Parsons

“Tulips!” Watercolor, 17″ x 14″


The simple backgrounds in my work minimize distraction and allow the viewer to create their own context and narrative in which to place the subject. Ultimately, I arrive at a deeper understanding of the subject.


Watercolor portrait of a young girl by Sara Jane Parsons

“Gracie” Watercolor, 18.5″ x 13.5″


Discovering I could create art after the car accident profoundly changed my life. It felt as if suddenly there was light in what had been a long, dark tunnel stretching before me.


Artist Sara Jane Parsons at work in her studio

Artist Sara Jane Parsons at work in her studio


Ten years ago, I was honored to become a member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, MFPA. With the support of the MFPA, I strive to accomplish my goals to constantly improve my painting skills, and eventually support myself as an artist. Despite my physical limitations, I continue to explore what it means to be human.


Artist Sara Jane Parsons invites you to follow her on Facebook, Instagram and the MFPA Website.


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