Happy New Year

"Cat" 14"x14" oil on linen.

I haven’t posted anything on my blog for a while. I changed my job 3 months ago and this transition is seriously cutting into my painting time. I just hope that day comes when I can pursue my dream of being a full time artist instead of switching back and forth between the steady income and my passion for painting, but I’m not ready yet to take this step.
Finally, I’ve finished a few paintings that I had started at the end of a summer. Here is the first one and I’m planning to post the rest of them here next week.

Happy New Year, everyone, and thank you for following my work!

The Poem, The History Of Our Love, is by poet Jan Steckel. As it happens it goes nicely with my collage/painting. Jan is a friend and colleague, and we thought that the two artworks together in some form, perhaps as a broadside, would be a lovely addition to someone's collection.

The History of Our Love

If you were a skeleton,
and I were a skeleton, 
we would weave our bones together
in a death’s head embrace.
I’d be able to get closer to you
than I’ve ever been,
my clavicle bumping up 
against your acromion.
Every one of the twenty-seven 
little bones of my hand
would grab your iliac crest
with equal enthusiasm.
The chalky scrape 
of kneecap against femur,
the click and rattle
of your metacarpals dragging over
my fibula and tibia, 
would drive us to ever-increasing
ecstasies of excitement. 
When you drew your phalanges
over my ribs, I’d sound
like a horny, bony xylophone.
We’d grind, scrape, click and rattle
right through the night, 
and the day, and the night,
wearing ourselves and each other away
until nothing was left
but a happy, exhausted heap
of calcium carbonate,
like a pile of powdered Tums
or crushed Rolaids,
ready to be pressed
into a stick of chalk
for a child to write on the sidewalk
the history of our love.

By Jan Steckel. First appeared in Redwood Coast Review, October 2007.

The art piece is one inspired first by how moved I was by a photo in National Geographic, of a couple who died at the time of the eruption of Vesuvius, in Pompeii. I worked from the moment of my emotions, which reflected a mixture of tragedy at the timing; a moment of love between the two, and a profound feeling of the coincidence surrounding the utmost bliss possible for two humans in love, combining with horrific death in the face of unstoppable forces of nature. 
   At the moment that I saw the photo in old archives of mine, I was working on a series of Adam and Eve inspired artworks. the collaged painting of Adam and Eve is from an old master,  Jan Van Eyck, I believe. I felt in the moments that I was creating the mixed media artwork that all tragic death of humans (and I think it can be said that all death is at some level tragic), is a good metaphor for the casting out from Paradise of Adam and Eve.

evolution of a likeness

I got a Christmas present/portrait commission but had to keep it a secret so I couldn't post about it until after the holidays were over. I really like how it came out, it's quality in person and the color. I used the painting as an excuse to experiment with getting to a likeness. That's always the dilemma when working with photo reference because the photo is "just right" and can be a stumbling block to enjoying the process. So I painted the portrait in three major movements, the first in acrylic and with absolutely no regard for being right, just be fearless and free, slap the paint on, and eyeball it. They say close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but it also counts in painting! I let some time pass and then jumped back on it with some bold moves in the drawing and then went over with opaque oil, forcefully moving the colors to conform to the closer line. Finally when that dried I refined the drawing some more gave it a last coat of paint, and found myself done! It was a pleasing way to go about things because there was never that feeling of constraint that can come with 'likeness'.


I did this painting cooped inside during the recent rains we've had in LA. My studio is under a tent outside so when it rains, it really limits my painting options! Recently online I saw some images of rioting in Europe that moved me to paint them. I want to do it bigger but I was working in my tiny apartment so I did this 12 by 24 'study' or whatever it is, first stab at it. I think the bigger the better for this one! I scratched in the bank logo because frankly aren't they the cause of these riots? call it the blowback from their illegal activities. It's funny, put the logo there and it almost makes it look like an advertisement!


I've been painting a number of portraits lately, seems like something folks like for the holidays. Here are a few to look at... the painting of the child was a commission over the internet and the other four are 20 minute portraits I did at a holiday party. If you would like me to paint at your event, I'm available for birthdays, weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, bar/bat mitzvas, anywhere, any time, any place! art and fun for the price of a clown! :)

Art for sale

Hello blog readers. I thought I'd let you know I've consigned a bunch of paintings at the Stone Art gallery in Santa Monica. 419 Wilshire Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90401. Or call them at 310-395-6303. If you are a fan of my work, this is a great opportunity to buy some! Great pricing and they make awesome, one of a kind Christmas presents. here are a few of the paintings available: click here, and here, and here! and 15 more paintings you'll have to go to check it out.

Reflection on the Waning Days Approaching Winter Solstice

         Just a quiet reflection on these times we are living through, as the days grow shorter until December 21st, the longest night of the year. After, in incremental minutes and then hours, the days grow longer until the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. This photo of necklaces I make seems somehow appropriate, as we approach the Winter Solstice, perhaps what feels to me to be the holiest time of year.

        Pyrope and Grossular Garnet, Malachite, Fluorite, Pink Opal, Tourmaline, Golden Beryl or Heliador, Carnelian, Amber, Red Aventurine. What other than these names are needed for poetry?

       Click twice on the photo for a treat.

Lee Wesley Gibson

I had the honor today of painting a portrait from life of Lee Wesley Gibson, the oldest surviving Pullman porter. Here's a great link about him from the Los Angeles Times He turned 100 years old this year! He is an amazing person, sharp as a tack and fit as can be for a person one century old! We met and set up inside Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and painted for a little over an hour, he was a great model and it was an exciting place to work. I got to meet two of his daughters and along with Mr. Daymude who arranged the sitting, we all got to have a delicious lunch afterward. Thank you Mr. Gibson! Let's do it again soon!

montecito heights

I was turned onto this part of town in Los Angeles by fellow painter Jose de Juan, what a find! Some of the most beautiful views of downtown LA! I brought my drawing supplies to scout around for some motif and found this spot. I want to find a few more places for some more drawings and paintings... I finished a portrait recently but I can't post pictures of it until after Christmas because it's a gift! I can't wait to blog about it because it turned out quite nice and I got some neat 'work in progress' photos.

Come see me at GLAM!

It's ART Show Time AGAin!!

Come see me at GLAM!!! :) :) :)

Downtown Gainesville, FL at the Thelma Bolton Center.

Mention that you saw this on my blog and get 10% off your ENTIRE purchase from my booth.

See you there!



Last day to register for 21 Secrets!!!

Don’t forget tomorrow (December 1st) is the LAST day to resister for the super awesome online journaling class 21 Secrets!!!! 21 classes for the price of 1! Here’s what just a few of my students are saying about my class:

“LOVE your workshop, Sarah!!!” –Maria S.

“loved all your tips, you put together a great class with wonderful pdf file. thank you so very much… that one tip was probably worth the class fee!” –Morning D.

Thank you so much for this class. I love, love it. I travel to my daughters a lot and sometimes have 2 hrs between flights. I take too much. This class has given me the best information and techniques that I have found so far. The pictures in your journal are awesome and I just love them. Thanks again for being a part of 21 Secrets and I am having a wonderful time.” -Sharon C.

“Hi Sarah, I just loved your video and your idea's…Thanks, like most of the girls who commented, I think this particular tip was more than worth the class fee.” –Ruth M.

“Many thanks for these great videos, a wonderful introduction to this amazing series of workshops!” –Deborah P.

“Sarah, I have just finished your workshop and it was awesome. Thanks so much.” –Susan H.

“This workshop was worth the price of admission, Sarah! What fabulous tips!” –Effy W.

“Sarah, Love this class! I am really excited to put together my travel art kit, this is perfect!”- Penney K.

“Hi, I just finished watching your videos and printing off the pdf. You've shared some great ideas and given me some great inspiration…Thank you so much for teaching this workshop! :)” –Sharon P.

Join us!




A Tweet a Day is retiring.

Hi guys,

As most of you know, over the past year I have been doing "a tweet a day" Soul Journaling prompt via Twitter. I have so loved seeing your pages inspired by these tweets and hearing how you have enjoyed them. Lately it has been harder for me to keep up, and as we have more than 365 days of journaling ideas, I think it's time to finally retire the daily tweets. My Soul Journaling Yahoo Group moderator Toni and I have been working on archiving all of the past year's prompts and are posting them in the "files" section of our group. There are several months worth of prompts there already. So if you are a member of our group or would like to be a member of our group those will always be there for you. You can join by going here:

I will continue to post journaling prompts from time to time and give you updates on my online classes and daily adventures via twitter. Only now it won't be a daily thing. Thank you so much for your understanding.

And a huge thank you to everyone who participated in this project and made it such a success! :) See you soon!



back at Jumbo's

I have completely painted and re-painted this one 4 times now but I finally feel happy with it. I liked the composition from the start so the search was mainly for the color. I want to go back to the place and see how the painting feels versus actually being there again. Maybe try sketching from a different part of the room. I took it to class today and one of the models recognized it as Jumbo's so it does have a specific likeness to the place to go along with all the crazy paint strokes! That was what I wanted to keep the most, the energetic application of paint and strong color. acrylic on canvas, 24 by 48

Street Painting Live, Via Colori Houston

Check out www.livestreetpainting.com this Sunday for the Via Colori 'Art of Sound' Collaborative project. We are working hard to complete it by mid day November 21st.


At 1,800 square feet, it will take a team of eight artists three
days to complete the crown jewel of this year's Houston Via Colori,
The Street Painting Festival. The Center for Hearing and Speech is
celebrating the event's fifth anniversary by featuring a collaborative
mural, The Art of Sound, on the back courtyard of the Downtown Houston
Public Library.

Via Colori's 2009's featured artist, Melanie Stimmell Van Latum, has
returned to contribute her artistic talent to the design of the record-
breaking mural. The largest street painting mural ever produced in the
United States, The Art of Sound was created to illustrate a hearing-
impaired child's journey to sound.

Artistic Director
Melanie Stimmell Van Latum

Panel Artists
Genna Panzarella, Lysa Ashley, Anat Ronen, Jessica Bennett, Lilibeth Andre,
Iris Vanessa De la Cruz.

Border Team Artists
KIPP Houston lead by Rebekah Tee

In Honor of National Stand Up to Bullies Day---Two Stories

      The first is a simpler story of the playground in elementary school. It is a tale of triumph. The second can 
can be found in the last photo, if you click on it to enlarge. It is from my book published for my exhibition in 2004, Insomnia (Awakening), about human on human cruelty. This story as well, 
 although a story of greater terror and longer term consequences, has in it an element of triumph, in that certain intentions were thwarted.

          A word about the text on the page of the book: I wrote the first draft of all text in the book in pencil. I wrote second drafts in ball-point pen. Third drafts were written with black sharpies. I then typed several drafts on transparent paper on an old typewriter. It was a first book, with myself as editor, and no computer. I read from the book at poetry open mics in the year following it's publication by Meridian PressWorks, a limited edition of 100 in color, 100 in black and white. Each page of text is accompanied by a photo of my art work. As I read aloud to the public in that year each time (five times I was feature reader) I used the same copy to read from, each time I edited further. It was a first stab at writing for me, and was intended at first as a catalog for the show.  How I wish I had not been in such a hurry to publish; while the text itself is art, clearly further editing was needed. Even with this blog I have the luxury of amending again and again, and I do.

            When I was nine, I had a classmate named Mary Ellen Weingarten (not her real name). She made fun of the "clodhoppers" I wore to school--- practical, all white oxfords---saddle shoes without the saddle, far from the fashion of the day. I had no choice, these were the shoes my mother chose for me. Mary Ellen was twice my height. I was the better athlete, small but wiry, and I was very fast. One day while the class played in a softball game, I was able to hit a few home runs, and  I was able to tag several members of the opposite team on which Mary Ellen played with the ball, before they got to various bases. I tagged Mary Ellen for the second time before she got to first base. She lost her temper. She ran at me, grabbed my hands fast and hard, interlaced her fingers in mine, and before I could protest, my fingers were being bent back, torturously slow. I thought my fingers would break. I was in pain.

      I bent my right leg at the knee, raising it and my leg as high as I could behind me. With all the desperate furious adrenaline fueled strength of my tiny but fierce little body I could call forth. I let her have it with the full force of my clodhopper clad foot: a lightening fast kick aimed and landed square in the center of her bare shin (we all wore dresses to school back then).

           Soon enough I was being called into the principal's office. Mary Ellen was in there with Mr. Reid. She was crying, a huge red welt obvious on her shin. He looked at me sternly, inquired if I had done this to poor little giant Mary Ellen. One arm's elbow akimbo, teapot style, other hand gesticulating my sense of justice, I explained the situation in no uncertain terms to Mr. Reid. His jaw dropped to witness such articulate power in a very small girl. He dismissed us both, no punishment to either meted out. My first political battle won, I had successfully stood up to two bullies in one day!

          While you may notice I used no actual names in this story, except for the name of the principal, it is a testament to the terror that is still in me over the Insomnia story, that although I know the names, they are not used. That is the triumph of the even greater brutality that that narrative portrays. In some measure, there is always some degree of silence. The best and only way to fight sometimes is to break the silence.

vista hermosa park

I went out yesterday with fellow plein air painter Jose de Juan for some plein air at a favorite spot of mine, Vista Hermosa Park. It could not have been a more perfect day for a perfect view. Here's my stab at it, a 30 by 24 oil on canvas.

adventures in web traffic

wow! I am a fan of Max Keiser, I think he's funny and right on about the present global economic disaster we are in. I once heard him use the term 'suicide banker' and for fun I quickly made a satirical humorous image inspired by this and sent it to him, it's Lloyd Blankfein as a crazed economic terrorist. He liked it and posted a link on his site of our exchange and I'm getting hits from all over the place. so welcome! buy silver and buy art! ahahah! I'm a perfect "buy low/sell high" opportunity because I am still as yet "undiscovered", I have a proven track record of consistent painting output of high quality and imagination, a great exhibition history, lots of stories and yet since the light of the 'art world' has not yet shone upon me, prices are very affordable! it's all for sale, make me an offer. :)

Live 3D Street Painting at University of Arizona!

Catch me here...10am -6pm all 3 days.

This exhibition explores the basic math and design principles that artists have utilized for centuries. It is designed to help the layperson develop a vocabulary to approach unfamiliar works of art. By learning about the basic elements of art and seeing how the application of these elements enhances a work of art, the visitor will be able to recognize these principles and perhaps have some insight into art that otherwise seems incomprehensible.

The exhibition starts with line, space, shape, and value -- and then moves on to more complicated principles such as time, balance, movement, perspective, golden ratios, tessellations, fractals, color and optics. Illustrative examples from the UAMA's own collection make these concepts come alive. Along the way, visitors will experience spinning a color wheel, drawing with a camera obscura, watching colors separate into different depths with Chromadepth © glasses, and learning how light affects the color of an object.
On opening weekend (November 12-14), the maestra Madonnara (street artist) Melanie Stimmell will create a 3-d anamorphic work in extreme perspective on the Museum floor that will remain on view throughout the exhibition.


I've been working on an image for my friend Nick Griffin's next comedy cd titled Bring Out the Monkey. This is a real multi-media piece, and it was fun to make! I wanted the image to walk a line between cute and crazy, right and wrong, for the monkey to be a haphazard tumble of brushstrokes defined and sort of compressed by the contour. I'm pleased with the result! By the way if you click Nick's link you'll see a portrait I did for him a little while back.

Street Painting In-Flight

So, this post is long overdue. I've been so busy that I haven't had a chance to blog but I figure it'd be nice to have it online regardless of how late. Continental In-Flight Magazine interviewed me for their October 2010 issue. I have full page article and photo in their 'Advance' section.
They sent a wonderful photographer named Lisa Wyatt to my house and she took some great shots of me on the asphalt and in studio.

The Article also talks about the upcoming Via Colori street painting festival in Houston, TX for which I will have designed an XL Collaborative piece titled the Art of Sound. The 30 x 60 foot painting will illustrate a child's first moments of experiencing sound & will be painted by a team of 8 artists, including myself, Genna Panzarella, Lysa Ashley, and 5 female artists from the Houston area.

Part of my proposal for this project included the collaboration between children as well as professional artists. So, the Art of Sound will be finished with a beautiful border designed and painted by young artists from KIPP, Houston.

Stay tuned for an update in the next day or so....Something cool will be happening!!!

Jumbo's Clown Room

I was live painting at Hangar 1018 on Friday where there was a costume party with music, dancing, painting good times and I used the energy of the event as an excuse to block in a painting based on my composition from Jumbos. The costumes were awesome, people really got into it, (I was a zombie Bob Ross) the music was great and it was fun to dance and paint! I used acrylic which I've really gotten into lately, but I use them like I use oils alla prima so you can't really tell the difference, which is nice because I can make a seamless transition to oils when I want! The speed of the acrylic drying makes experimenting with glazes and transparent paint fun too. There's a little more "stuff" to bring with acrylic, but it's kinda worth it. with this painting at this stage I'm most interested in getting the canvas covered and establishing the overall "grand scheme" value structure so everything is "approximately right on" which you can see when comparing the first digital sketch and the painting so far. From my first sketch, I could go and get models, pose people in just the right place and angle and eyeline, take photos and reference shots for the figures and details in the composition and head in the direction of painting ever more realistically... but I feel like who cares? How is that going to make it better? I like a certain amount of 'rightness', especially in the feeling of light, and I absolutely love to paint/draw/compose from life, but I just can't give up my love for and pursuit of physical expression through paint and painterliness itself. This seems to condemn me to a life of broke fascination! hahahaha! Here's the painting at the moment, 24 by 48

super saturated kitten power

I was asked to paint something for a cat theme show and at first I thought I was going to take some photos of friends or neighbors cats but it didn't pan out, I'm not the best photographer, so I went to the internet for inspiration instead. I started searching for kittens, cute, painting, etc and picked my favorite image to emulate and do my own version of. I went for the most intense colors I could manage, it's two layers of thick opaque painterly acrylic establishing the overall composition and then a rich oil glaze layer to boost the color saturation to the max. I had an old frame that I'd never used and was taking up space in my garage so I cut it down to fit this canvas, I think it's a perfect super-saturated addition to a cute-juice concentrate painting... mixed media on canvas, 22 by 28

live painting at the mezz

Last night I was at the Mezz inside the Alexandria Hotel in downtown Los Angeles painting 20 minute portraits for an event called Clusterfunk. I found four folks willing to put up with my nonsense, had a nice crowd of people watching and lots of fans. I used acrylic on these which is it's own challenge but the upside is they were dry by the end of the night. actually the difference between acrylic and oil, when painting alla prima and very impasto, is very slight... it's the same bicycle! acrylic on panel, 12 by 9

jumbo's clown room

I was at Jumbo's for a birthday party and brought my sketchbook so of course I had to doodle. You can't have cameras in there so this is a composite of drawings with digitally painted lighting. I drew the interior of the bar on one page, and then filled another page with gestures of the girls dancing knowing I could add the best one in photoshop later. It was challenging to get a sketch that made any sense of the girls in motion. Hey, they said Delacroix could draw someone falling from a third story building before they hit the ground, so anything is possible! It's a nice moody piece, I like how it came out!


I've been doing a lot of random things lately, and some drawing, I thought I'd post a few things for the internet to see... I'm trying to get my drawing a little more in my painting... chocolate in my peanut butter! I want to do a series of paintings of burning buildings for some reason, so here's a start to that. Also I'm in a cat theme show so that explains the kitties!

"Red Hook -IV"

"Red Hook -IV" 8x10 Oil on hardboard.
This is a second painting with Red Hook - Brooklyn NY and the photo I took and used as a reference for this painting.

Red Hook, Brooklyn - New York City. August 2010

"Red Hook-III"

"Red Hook-III"
8"x10" Oil on hardboard

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