This week Brighton Journal spoke to local painter Sarah Weedon. Sarah works directly on site or en plein air, immersing herself in the landscape whilst drawing and sketching in oils. This presence in nature enables Sarah to create a personal response and convey feeling in her landscape paintings. She is currently working on a collection of large pieces based on Brighton’s incredible evening skies. We discussed Sarah’s inspirations, her favourite local gallery and the skies she’s painted from her window during lockdown. Keep reading to find out more about Sarah and her wonderful work.
What are you doing today?
Tidying my studio! I’m a really messy painter and I need a couple of days off after to tidy up. This also allows me the time to think about what I’ve painted and to look at it again with fresh eyes.
Describe where you do most of your creative work.
On site drawing or painting en plein air in the landscape. My direct response to nature is always the best to work from – filtering down what to paint or draw that is the hardest thing.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve worked on?
My current collection is keeping me very busy. I usually paint quite small on site as it’s less time consuming and more practical. However, these sketches are now being scaled up to bigger pieces which is a new exciting prospect for me.
What made you decide to become an artist?
I have always had a career in the arts, whether it’s designing magazines or painting and I can’t imagine doing anything else that would be as fulfilling.
What are you currently working on?
My current collection is based on the incredible evening skies we have in Brighton. The turn from day to night and the difference each day brings.
What are the key themes in your work?
I try just simply to distil the view, and react to the landscape conveying the feeling and often joy that being immersed in the environment brings.
What would you like people to notice about your work?
I often get told that my paintings are uplifting, and this is something that I specifically work on.
What attracts you to the medium you work in?
The depth of colour and glazing technique that you can get with oils is a continual delight.
What equipment could you not do without?
My pochard – a little wooden box that hold two boards and my oil paints. I often go to Brighton beach sitting there painting the sky, or the view to the west. Oh and baby wipes as I always end up with a blue face – again I’m really messy.
Who or what inspires you?
The sky, clouds, skylarks, being in the landscape.
How is your work affected by living in this area?
During lockdown when we couldn’t leave our house I would go to the top floor and paint the sky from the window. Luckily I live on top of a hill facing west so it was a perfect vantage point.
What’s your favourite thing to do locally?
Walk my dog.
What’s your favourite gallery or place to see/experience art?
Pallant House Gallery in Chichester. Its permanent collection is staggeringly good with all kinds of work from different genres, and it often hosts really interesting exhibitions. The Ivon Hitchens and David Bomberg especially were so inspiring. The bookshop there is one of the best I’ve ever been to.
If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be and why?
The Scottish artist Joan Eardley. Her raw energy and unashamedly expressive application of paint are continually inspiring for me. She was often found on the shoreline of her Scottish village with huge canvases painting the land and the sea directly from source whatever the weather.
What’s your favourite colour?
The turquoise blue of the sea when the hot sun hits a shallow spot.