Artist Interview: Sally Lawson

Posted by Jenni Kirby - October 16 2022


Q. What inspired you to get into the arts?

A. I was a late bloomer; I didn’t find myself until my forties. I worked as a Nurse for many years and when I had my children, I spent most of my time raising them. My creative outlets were sewing, floral arranging and interior design, but I never studied art. I feel like the Lord used all these steps to push me in this direction.

My oldest child was going to college soon, and I started to think about what I wanted to do. Finally, by my forties I felt like I had matured and could pursue art. I started painting and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Q. Tell me about your creative process / How do you approach new projects?

A. With my paintings, I normally work from a photograph or memory. I like to paint from memory because it allows more freedom. I will often start with a light sketch and go with what speaks to me. Sometimes I will exaggerate the colors because I love bright colors and I just want to paint the colors I want to paint. When I’m painting, I want to enjoy the process - I’m all about having fun and using bright colors. 

Q. Who and/or what are your biggest inspirations and how do they influence your work?

A. Color, I love color. If I see something that I think is beautiful and has fabulous colors, I will paint it. Whether in nature or seeing another artist’s work, I find inspiration and motivation in many places. I am grateful to have great teachers that teach me different things to focus on. You learn just by trying new techniques and keep applying what you know.  

Q. What is your favorite subject matter to focus on and why?

A. I probably paint more landscapes than anything else. If I get tired of that I will switch to flowers and still lifes. I often switch between two styles – Realistic Impressionism and what I call my “whimsey style”, which is freer, lighter, and more fun. I bounce between the two to have some excitement and stretch myself. The colors make you feel something, I have to have color. 

Q. What are you working on now?

A. I just finished a commission of a dog that had passed away. I loved painting it because I knew it would mean a lot to that person. I am always working; I paint every day. I will work on a landscape or something whimsical. It’s always a mixture, but it's constant. I have to paint, it’s like breathing. 

Q. If you had a motto, for your art and life, what would it be?

A. There’s a verse that says to focus on the unseen and not the seen. Focus on eternal things, all the things in this world are temporary. If we dwell too much on the temporary it becomes too important to us, when really, we should look at the eternal things. My paintings may not last forever, but the feeling I can give people like encouragement, joy, or peace, is what will matter in the long run. It’s so easy to get caught up in this world.