If you’re a regular with our blog, you know that we’re all unabashed Francophiles and the very mention of Paris is enough to send us to cloud nine. We’re not the only ones – when Paris inspires, it does it on a grand scale. It is (and has been for centuries) a beacon of inspiration for writers, painters and creative types the world over. What is it about Paris? Is it the magical light? The extraordinary architecture? Its centuries of fascinating political, military and governmental history? We say oui, oui, oui to all those but we also add (among many others) a glorious culture that celebrates all things beautiful and a healthy fascination for food, wine and art.
Even here in Atlanta – under our own little gallery roof – we feel the inspiration of Paris. Many of our artists have succumbed to its spell and how can we blame them? It’s mesmerizing.
Sarah Robertson, who joined us in 2016, paints oils that capture the mood and light of Paris in the most charming way.
We recently sat down with her to hear what makes her tick:
HHFA: let’s start by finding out a little bit about you. Tell us where you’re from and where did you go to school?
SR: Oxford, Mississippi is my hometown and I graduated from Mississippi State University.
HHFA: When did you begin to paint and what was your inspiration was to become a painter.
SR: I began painting for myself soon after college. I found it difficult to find art that I liked so I decided to paint my own. My inspiration to become an artist goes back to family. My mother and sister are painters – obviously that was very much an influence and support for me. It still is – it’s nice to have somebody to call me and ask “Did you paint today?”
HHFA: we love the palette of your work. Tell us a little bit about your technique and or medium.
SR: I paint in acrylics using painting knife and brush. Multiple layers of thin glazes are loosely applied to reveal a muted colored, textured canvas.
HHFA: How would you say your has your work evolved over time?
SR: I have been painting daily now for 10 years. I paint what I know so my subject matter has evolved through my life experiences. Picasso said it best: “painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”
HHFA: Describe your studio.
SR: I paint in my home studio. It has wonderful northern light and the location has been perfect while raising my three sons.
HHFA: You seem to have a love affair with Paris (and so do we!) When and how did that start? How much time have you spent there? What is it that you love about Paris?
My fascination with France – and Paris in particular – began years ago with my love for french antiques and design. Louis XV and Louis XVI chairs and settees, encrusted with patina, are timeless and I love using them as subjects for my art. (HHFA: yes, they make the most irresistible subjects with their leggy legs and curvy curves.)
My paternal grandfather moved to the U.S. from the Pyrenees so I have always been fascinated with France. When I visit Paris, I always find that the architecture, the gardens, the public spaces – and especially the River Seine – always speak to me. I find the inspiration to be endless. I guess what I love most about Paris is the attention to detail that has been given to everything (whether practical or not!) and how the French take the ordinary and present it in the most extraordinary way. (HHFA: we couldn’t agree more.) What a gift it is to get to paint what I love.
And speaking of settees, here are Sarah’s quirky and leggy subjects. We adore these.
HHFA: What is your paint day like? Do you listen to music as you paint? Are you on a schedule? Do you have a favorite time to paint? How do you get started every day?)
SR: My paint day varies depending on my boys activities but usually begins with a walk, coffee and finding the right music for my mood. (classical, country, alternative) On Mondays, I plan for the week and prep canvases. By Wednesday, I’m heavy into the painting process, which can go late each evening.
HHFA: Tell us about your favorites:
Place to travel – the beach
City – New York City. We lived there for a time with my husband’s work and loved the energy and the chance to be outside as much as we could.
Hotel – Any front-row house at Seaside, Florida.
Museum – Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Artist – At the moment, it’s the Spanish painter, Joaquin Sorolla. The light!
Go-to room – My garden.
Best way to unwind – listening to pool fountain and enjoying nature.
Happiest when – hanging out with family and friends.
Sarah’s not the only Huff Harrington Fine Art painter to fall under Paris’ spell. Take a look at a few other paintings inspired by all things Paris:
Is Paris is whispering your name? We can help with that. Just join us on one of our trips to France and we’ll make sure you tap into your inner Francophile – baguettes, berets and all. How’s that for inspiration?