Behind the SketchbookSally Barr
Sally is a UK based artist who has diverse passions. In this interview she shares her experience of suffering loss that resulted in her having 10 years away from making and the belief she would never have a career in art. Read the interview to find out what happened the time she woke in the middle of the night when everything changed.
How did you get into art and making?
What art do you like to make?
What materials do you use?
How would you describe yourself?
What or who inspires and influences your work?
How have you and your work changed over time?
What challenges have you faced along the way?
I couldn’t find time before my creative block and there was no money for materials. When I did have the money later on I found I was always working and then trying to have enough energy to be mum to a teenager. I had a very bad few years personally. I suffered losses that were hard to come back from and I was in a very controlled situation and my creative block arrived. It took 10 years to escape both. Until that moment in the middle of the night when I did that first painting after 10 years and then found the virtual art studio I had given up on ever having art as something I could have as a career or for fun. I have a 4 year old now and although as you would imagine time is hard to come by it is still doable. I believe strongly that it is all about timing. I tried many times over the years to get onto an art course or find a job after my graphics HND only to fail and just work to pay the bills. I have found you can do both cover your bills with a 9-5 and make money making people happy with your art.
What has been your biggest achievement/s so far? No matter how big or small?
How did it feel to experience this achievement?
I cried a little bit 🙂 I’m not afraid to tell you. It meant so much on so many different levels. It is validation but more than that it was all I ever wanted to have someone buy my work. It meant that they saw something I made and loved it enough to buy it. As all artists know when you create you are not just making a picture or whatever it may be. You are spending hours thinking, feeling putting your energy into the work. An artist knows when they have made an aesthetically pleasing bit of work the payment is not about the money but the commitment of the buyer to own something you have made if that makes sense. It is wonderful to see a buyer smile and be delighted that they are taking home your work.
What difficulties, doubts or fears did you face and how did you overcome them?
I had given up on a career and didn’t even find the time to do it for fun. A couple of months ago I was happy with the progress I was making but felt like this was all it was ever going to be. Ok fine I thought, but I want other people to see what I can do. I also wanted a challenge. I jumped on my facebook and announced I was going to do a giveaway. The prize; any picture painted on a canvas and posted free of charge to the winner. (Brave right?) to win this giveaway I asked people to share my post and like my facebook art page and their name would be entered into a hat. Then it just sat there for hours with no one responding. Suddenly one person did then the next. I kept telling myself don’t worry if your painting isn’t up to scratch its free they can’t complain. I then got a message from someone who had seen a previous post of a couple of paintings I did. The post had been ignored so I didn’t think people were very interested but she had seen it and loved them. It turns out she was scared to message me about them but my post prompted her to ask if they were for sale.
What or who has helped you in your journey?
If someone could wave a magic wand and make amazing things happen for you, what would be your dream?
What is your biggest piece of advice for other artists?
Do it for the love of it and watch the universe for signs. As I said it’s all about timing. Technique is refined by doing it again and again and give yourself pushes out of your comfort zone every once in awhile. Nothing bad will happen but something great might.