Today I'd like to share an interview with Sarah Leondard. Sarah is an artist, blogger, and creativity coach living in the UK. We met through the Facebook group for students of Kelly Rae Roberts' business e-book Flying Lessons. From my interactions with Sarah I can tell that she is a strong creative force with the desire to encourage others to lead creative lives. Thank you, Sarah, for giving us insight into your creative life!
K.L. What’s your art background?
S.L. I don't really have an art background as such to be honest. When I was at school I was convinced I wasn't good enough at art to do anything with it. I was always drawn towards it but never had any confidence in my abilities. I was (and am still) a keen musician so I channeled all of my energy towards that. It's only in recent years that I have allowed myself to make art. It began with a painting holiday in Spain, then an adult education class locally and it has grown from there.
K.L. How would you describe the type(s) of art that you make?
S.L. I would describe my work as coloufully whimsical with a touch of minimalism. I love to draw faceless girls and anything kitty related.
K.L. What part of your process do you enjoy most?
S.L. I love all of it! I love the planning and the idea gathering but I also love just getting on with it and getting started drawing and sketching away.
K.L. Is your process structured or do you jump right into making without a plan?
S.L. Mostly I just jump right in. If I am working on a custom item that requires a little more planning but mostly I just go for it!
K.L. Do you have any rituals around your creative process?
S.L. I always light a candle, then put on lipgloss and hand cream before I begin. It seems indulgent and it leaves me feeling valued and loved before I begin. I also make sure to have a drink of some kind on hand (most often a cup of tea) to keep me nourished whilst I create. Although I have to confess it often goes cold before I remember to drink it. I get a little carried away!
K.L. Do you pursue any specific themes in your work?
S.L. I would say I follow the theme of whimsy and delight in all of my work. I am focused on uplifting and inspiring others pretty much at all times. I also have the feline theme too which works it's way into almost everything!
K.L. How has your practice changed over time?
S.L. Over time I have become more trusting of myself and more forgiving. I am also much more open to experimenting and trying new things. This is often where the best ideas come from in the first place - the unknown. I try not to get too caught up with the end product any more and just allow things to happen and unfold more naturally.
K.L. What do you do when you feel stuck creatively?
S.L. To be honest, pretty much never! I always seem to have more ideas than I have the time to make them!
K.L. Where do your ideas come from? Or do you know?
S.L. I sometimes get inspiration from other artists in community groups I am a member of. I take online classes with inspirational artists too. Often my ideas though just seem to appear as I go. I might start out with one idea and end up with something different. I've learned (and am still learning) to trust that process.
K.L. Where do you find inspiration?
S.L. Facebook communities, instagram, favourite blogs. Mostly online sources.
K.L. Name three artists whose work inspires you
S.L. Kelly Rae Roberts, Tamara LaPorte and Bonnie Christine.
K.L. Do you remember when you first became interested in art? What is your earliest memory of making art (any kind)?
S.L. I was always interested in art (as I mentioned above) but lacked confidence. I used to spend hours colouring and imagining fairy worlds as a young girl. I had a whole set of fairies who lived in flowers, trees and mushrooms all with matching colourful clothes.
K.L. Are their other artists in your family? If yes, who are they and what do they do?
S.L. No artists in the family I'm afraid. My younger sister is a keen photographer though.
K.L. Do you feel like you worry about your art being liked by others?
S.L. I do sometimes. The hardest thing I find is being noticed. Online sites and sales pages are such a crowded resource, it can be really hard to have anyone notice you at all. I have found that local fairs are much the same too - so many people trying to be noticed by a smaller and smaller group of potential customers. I think we often equate people liking our art with whether they might purchase it, which isn't always a valid thought. People may love your art work but their budget just doesn't allow for it.
K.L. Is there a type of art that you would like to pursue but haven’t yet?
S.L. I am looking to get into wool weaving. That will be my September project.
K.L. Anything else you’d like to say about art or anything or everything?
S.L. I think my over-riding message about art is to have a go. Try things. Experiment. Make a mess. Ruin lots of pictures. That is the surest way to finding your own style and making your own way in the world.
I couldn't live without art in my life now, as I find it a healing process and a wonderful way to express myself and be more creative.