Tea and art have been a regular part of our life. While my husband is the typical Great Plains ice tea drinker, I have always loved hot drinks. I'm definitely a coffee drinker and love hot cocoa, but I also enjoy a good cup of hot tea. As our girls came along and got big enough, tea parties became a regular part of our lives, especially when company came over. I have one friend who still looks for the teapot when she comes into our home. There's just something refreshing about a cup of tea.
For me, cookies and craft projects just seem to fit together with tea parties. When we had "extras" visiting, our dining room table would notoriously be covered in art and craft supplies, along with the teapot and pretty cups.
I'm super excited to have a new friend who understands this connection at a deep level!
Sally has a refreshing attitude that art is not just for the gifted, but can be taught incrementally like any other subject. Seeing first hand how traditional teaching methods can be detrimental, especially in art studies, she now shares her passion with young and old to ignite their own love of creating art.
What's your favorite medium to work with?
That is a really tough question. It is like asking a chef to pick one food item. Each medium has its own unique characteristics. I love watercolor, acrylic and anything 3D. Those would be my top 3 but that could change at any time depending on what I am working on. When working on a project or course it is like falling in love again. That medium is my favorite at that moment in time.
Who are your favorite artists &/or pieces of art?
This is another tough question. There are so many! One of my favorite group of artists would be the Newlyn Group. About 50 artists set up a colony in the late 1800's near Pennzance Cornwall in England. If you have seen the Poldark series you will have seen that amazing Cornish seascapes that are so magnificent. The work from that group centered around the sea and the local inhabitants. Living in another country draws me to love their paintings even more because it is a distinct connection to my homeland.
The Art of the 1920's is another of my favorites. The textiles of William Morris and other Art Nouveau artists. This list could go on and on. The Impressionists would have to be included but I had better stop there.
Sally's inspiration comes from her children, something that doesn't surprise me at all. Watching them grow, she would take photos of them to use in her art. She also enjoys "borrowing" the children of her friends now that hers are older.
Social media has been a fabulous source because my friends take lots of pictures. I am always messaging them asking for permission to use their images for my work. I love anything to do with plants. I cannot grow them myself. My husband calls me "herbicide" because I kill everything. Longwood gardens in PA is my favorite garden to visit in the USA but there are too many to list in the homeland. Brits are supposed to be able to grow beautiful gardens, I have to just visit them. Any place by the sea makes me want to get my paints and brushes out.
Sally also boasts a eclectic personality. A lot of artists are also musical. Even though Sally enjoys several genres, she finds music a distraction when she's working, unless it's classical. Her husband plays guitar and is as passionate about music as she is about art.
Is there a connection between your art and your other work or hobbies?
My art is intricately tied to my life and hobbies. My 8 children have been my subjects since they were born. Thrifting has also been part of my vocabulary since I was a small child. My mother discovered rummage sales ( called jumble sales in England) because my father almost died of Rheumatic fever. He was a painter and decorator and could not work for many months. Someone suggested that she look for some used items and she went to a jumble sale to find a dress. The clothing section was ignored when her eyes met the oozing buffet of household items. Instead of a dress she went home with a crystal decanter and a silver rimmed bowl. She had fallen in love with thrifting. I was her protege and every Saturday I would be at her side looking for interesting objects. This was well before the days of the Antiques Roadshow. These events were filled with interesting objects that I would collect. When I moved to the USA I discovered garage sales. My home is filled with "treasures" that have a story. At one town wide garage sale I saw 2 large black garbage bags on the ground with fabric popping out of the top. The owner said they were displays from an interior design store that had closed down. I bought the two bags for $7. The bags contained 3 huge 12ft long designer made curtains that were fully lined and weighted. When we moved to our current home 3 1/3 years ago a friend took me under her wing and renovated the formal dining room for me as a gift. The house was a foreclosure. It had good bones but was dated and the people had color taste that insulted every bone in my body. The dining room had a very large picture window and two of the panels were placed either side of it. I was instructed to cut up the third panel to make a tablecloth and recover the dining chairs. When I cut the curtain a name appeared on the seam. Morris and Co. London England. My curtains were William Morris fabric. One of his original designs that was still being reproduced. I had no idea when I bought them, but I loved the design. My house is filled with stories like this.
What is your dream project?
My dream project would be to make some large and unique ceramic pieces to put in my garden for the plants that I will eventually forget to water. I had made some planters in my final year at college and would love to have the time and facilities to pick up that baton again.
I use them to process my thoughts and ideas on paper. For some reason they help me focus more when I am trying to get an idea out. That might seem weird to some people but I am very visual. What something looks like even in the idea phase is very important to me.
What advice would you have for parents of young aspiring artists?
I made a little video on the website about this. As a parent we want our children to produce something we are proud of. We want to show them off. Our pride can be very detrimental to our young artists. The only thing that matters is what the actual artists thinks about their work. Your opinion, granny's opinion etc is irrelevant. The young artist needs to hear words of life and encouragement. Speak those words. Creative souls are very fragile. We are stifled by criticism. Let them learn techniques and practice their skills but never ever tell them that they did something wrong and that they should paint something how you think it should look.
What encouragement would you give young aspiring artists?
Never stop playing. Never stop learning. Art should be fun. If it is fun you will keep doing it and you will grow as an artist. Only your opinion matters. Always remember that!
If art is something you'd like to learn more yourself or you need help teaching your children, I HIGHLY encourage you to join the free 14 day trial of the Beyond the Stick Figure course. This course is for ANY age. With all the stress in the world today, the timing of this course is perfect. Art is an ultimate 'self-care' stress relief.
If you'd like to see some ideas and little projects from Sally, check out her YouTube channel too.