In the Studio with Sarah Dalton
How did you start making art?
I have always made stuff, most of it not “art”. I made all of my Christmas gifts for over 20 years. I have made my Christmas cards for nearly 30. These were all media, knitting, sewing, working with clay, painting, photography, so on and so on. In high school, I took Photography and sang in the chorus to avoid taking an art class that used my hands. College changed everything, I took drawing and loved it.
I spent 30-plus years in a technical, corporate environment. While I was working and my kids no longer needed my taxi service, I got back into Photography. Most of my “official art” training is in Photography so that was an easy place for me to focus while working. I started to produce a huge amount of work and it became my focus of all my free time. There is no “why”, it just is. If I am to guess, I would say the need to create was a way for my brain to balance my work life. I went after both with a similar intensity. Now that I am retired, I have taken up painting and mixed media. More hands-on work. I sacrifice other life for studio time. I am still driven to make stuff, even though I am not working. I have a busy head and enjoy trying to realize my visions.
My sketchbook has become my most important tool. My sketchbook is multiple books, different sizes and paper types. It is also random drawings on the edge of the crosswords puzzle or on post it notes. I do not take it too seriously. It is not precious, so I just try stuff.
My mat cutter. I use it all the time. It seems like there is always a need to make a clean 90-degree cut. Having a good device means I do not have to fuss with something that can make or break the presentation of your artwork.
As most artists, my least favorite activity in my studio is marketing, selling, bookkeeping, etc. If the question is related directly to making stuff, it is final touches to make a piece sellable such as putting the wire on the back to hang, cleaning of the back of a piece, so on and on.
I like putting the first mark down on a blank canvas. That is easy. Everything after is a reaction to what is there, so it is more complicated. That first mark takes no thinking.