• Ft Hills Artists Gallery

Interview with Artist Sally Atchinson aka SAWBA

What is your medium and why did you chose it?

Alcohol Ink paintings are the newest of the art mediums I've enjoyed. I also currently do a lot of watercolor paintings which I show in my home studio by appointment. Inks are so vibrant and the inks blend smoothly. I paint primarily on tile, aluminum plate or wood and I finish each piece with a clear coat of resin for protection as well as enhancement.

I also work with colored pencil and love it.

How long have you been making art?

I have been drawing or painting since I was in elementary school and won a poster contest for Veterans Day. Once that was published in our local paper I was hooked. Throughout my life whenever I could find space and time my chosen pursuit was creative. I’ve taught porcelain painting classes and participated in four galleries.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Currently my inspiration comes from the surrounding beauty of the desert or high country of the Southwest, Arizona particularly of course. I migrate between a home in Fountain Hills and a log cabin in Hunter Creek. Despite the short distance between homes (85 miles) the elevation change makes the terrain completely different. I love and paint both the desert and Ponderosa Pine forests and lakes.

My watercolors are predominantly botanical. I work to capture the intricacy of desert and garden blossoms. I am fascinated by the variety and distinct difference in the natural world and like to magnify the detail. I also do Southwest scenery because I am thrilled and privileged to live in gorgeous surroundings.

What does your studio look like?

My home is arranged to accommodate my art passion. I have a variety of specific areas for painting, pouring resin and adding finishing hardware. I can do watercolor in the midst of my home gallery but need a well ventilated space for alcohol ink and resin.

What is your favorite time of day to make art?

I am a morning person so most of my creative time is early in the day although I’m very adaptive about painting. I'll work even in the middle of the night if I suddenly need to capture a vision while its fresh.

Do you listen to music or have complete silence when you work?

I usually work in silence and love when the weather allows doors and windows open to the sounds of nature are the backdrop. Occasionally I listen to music which would be smooth jazz or soft instrumentals.

Describe your creative process.

All the alcohol ink pieces in the gallery are painted with alcohol ink using brushes, straws, stilus, markers or pens. After allowing the painting to cure I mix and pour resin coat over the painting and allow that to harden for a minimum of 24 hours. Then I can frame or add a wooden backing and hanging hardware. Many of my pieces are finished to be able to display either on a shelf or on the wall and my smallest tiles are sold with an easel.

What else would you like people to know about you or your art?

I moved into Fountain Hills the night before the electricity was turned on, Nov. 12, 1972. It has been an adventure to be part of this town’s beginnings and needless to say I still love it. While some people purchase my art to own something created by Fountain HIlls’ first resident, most of my work is purchased to carry back home as a reminder of a special experience or of time spent in the fabulous Southwest. I sign my work SAWBA which is an acronym of my full name.

I've won awards for my art yet I don't mention it often, it feels awkward to do so.


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