ABOUT ART: 'It feeds my soul'
She is one of the sweetest and most talented artists one could ever meet. Conklin is featured in the book ‘From Land and Sea, Nova Scotia Contemporary Landscape Artists' by Truro author Dee Appleby (Nimbus publishing, 2009), and her paintings are full of vitality, much like her personality.
This artist creates motion and mystique through deliberate entanglements of brushstrokes, rich colour contrast, the chance effect of impasto, and the innate luminosity of oil paint. Each of her paintings exudes it's own energy and excitement.
How did you start making art?
Being creative has always been part of who I am. In the early 1990s, I was fortunate to be an ‘at-home' mother. In the evenings when my husband came home from work, I took the opportunity to take community art classes. I started out with drawing, then slowly made my way through all the mediums, watercolour, acrylic and oils. Now I've settled on water-soluble oils and it's part of my passion to discover something new about them everyday.
Why do you make art?
I paint because it feeds my soul. It's my happy place.
What role does the artist have in society?
Artists are an integral part of our society, from the houses we live in to the buildings we work in to the clothes we wear. How we each live our lives is a reflection of our own creativity. To stifle that, is to stifle individuality. Everything we touch that is manmade, has had creative input.
Which artist has inspired you the most?
Tom Thompson, Helen Galloway McNicoll and Jeanie Edmonds Hancock.
What work do you most enjoy doing?
I most enjoy doing waterscapes. Recently I've dabbled into little birds. I'm having fun with those!
What do you like about your work?
I like that viewers feel that they can imagine themselves in my paintings and can escape for a brief moment into my world.
What was your favourite or most inspirational place?
I love any place near water. I grew up next to a river in Newfoundland. I lived and currently live in places built around water. I'm drawn to it wherever I go.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
In my humble opinion, the most successful ‘paintings' come down to four elements which are line, shape, colour and value. They begin as strong abstracts. We are drawn to subject matters that excite us, but what usually draws us to a painting is the impact of ‘lights' and ‘darks' and how they are arranged on the canvass-the composition. Once that has sparked our attention, it's only then that we see the ‘image'.
Is there something you can't live without in your studio?
I could not paint without my mirror. I have a 4x6 foot mirror behind me that I refer to throughout the painting process. The mirror provides a sense of distance and perspective that I cannot get up close. I see elements more objectively.
Where do you sell your work?
Currently, I'm represented by the Teichert Gallery, Halifax (formerly Nova Scotia Art Sales and Rental) The Sweetest Little Gallery at the Wellington Bakery, in Wellington, and the Peter Lewis Gallery in St. John's, Newfoundland. My studio is always open to visitors by appointment.
Where else can we find you?
Facebook: Sarah Jane Conklin Fine Art
Janice Guinan is a local artist who passionately believes in the importance of visual art. Her About Art column appears each week in the Truro Daily News. Guinan also writes a weekly column for the Colchester Weekly News. Both can be viewed online at www.trurodaily.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.