Artist Spotlight: Sarah Kinn

Artist Spotlight: Sarah Kinn






How would you describe your art? My abstract paintings are mainly about color.  I rarely use paint straight out of the tube.  I mix lots of subtle colors in green for example, like medium yellow, yellow bronze, brown umber, and white to get a bright but earthy green.  I love putting colors next to each other on a canvas that feel unique and sophisticated; bright Moroccan blue with shades of yellow, or midnight blue with pink magenta.

Who or what influences you/your work? Where do you draw your inspiration? Textiles and patterns from Indonesia, Morocco, and India inspire me.  Being outdoors and witnessing the landscape also play a part in my work – the grasses, hills, trails.  And because one can feel the energy from artwork done by abstract expressionists, Joan Mitchell, Phillip Guston, and Mark Rothko are also inspiring to me.

Describe the process of creating your art? How do you begin? How long does it typically take to complete a piece? How do you know when something is done? It’s hard to look at a blank white canvas and know where to begin.  I start by watering down some paint and brushing it freely and haphazardly on a canvas.  Then I spray it with a squirt bottle and let the colors run together.  The next day after it’s dry, even though most of this watered down paint gets covered up by new paint, I have a place to start and maybe a composition with which to work.  Paintings can take weeks because I work on several at a time.  Or if a painting isn’t working, I leave it alone for a few days and come back to it.  A painting is done when the composition feels worthy, the colors are working for me, and intuitively it feels done.  But it’s truly done when a viewer sees it, responds, and brings a new/different meaning to the work.

Which of your pieces are you exceptionally happy with/proud of? Why? I’m proud of my flower pieces because people respond so positively to them.  I’m also proud of my abstracts because I know the amount of work and courage that goes into them.  They are completely coming from my imagination and feel daring because not everyone wants an intense pink, red, orange and gold painting hanging in their living room.

What are your goals for this year? The next 5 years? My goal for this year is to keep doing what I’m doing.  I’ve figured out how to be disciplined and get in my studio at the same time every day to work.  My work would translate well into fabric so in the next 5 years, I would like to be designing textiles.

What is your favorite part of being an artist? Least favorite? My favorite part of being an artist is having a tangible place to put my feelings.  Sometimes life is unbelievably beautiful or tragic, sometimes it is mundane.  When I feel any emotion, I can try to express it.  My least favorite part of being an artist is not having a 401k, good health insurance, or a regular paycheck.

Fill in the blank: I wouldn’t be caught dead putting ___ on my walls? I wouldn’t be caught dead putting a George W. Bush painting on my wall.  Actually I would, he’s done some really cute dog paintings in his retirement from president.  So I guess I wouldn’t put anything on my walls that looks like safe, mass-produced hotel art.

What contemporary artists do you admire? Julie Maren, Sally King, Jerry Wingren, and Ana Maria Hernando. They are my favorite Boulder artists.

What are some of your other interests/hobbies? Snorkeling, cross country skiing, dogs, word games, drinking wine and yoga.

In a fantasy world where ALL of the world’s art was available and price was no issue, what piece would you like to own? Nate Lowman’s piece ‘humble, all too humble’. It’s a bunch of smiley faces mocking the notion of a constant happy mood and making reference to the free spirit of skaters and surfers.