Canadian artist Sally Clark shares a portfolio of expressive portraits and landscapes that make a magical human connection with the viewer. See more art on her website.
I was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. I have vivid childhood memories of visiting remote and beautiful places in British Columbia. From these trips, I developed a deep love of its rugged landscape. I’ve been painting in oils since I was twelve.
I was sitting in the woods, painting a tree when I had this strange revelation. At first, I saw the tree as it conformed to my expectations. But suddenly I was jolted out of my preconceived ideas and saw something else, something astonishing. I call it the moment of dissolve when what you are looking at reveals itself to you.
My job as an artist is to communicate what I receive to others.
The two main subjects in my painting are landscapes and people. I remember being in the Titian room at the National Gallery and locking eyes with this painted male portrait. It was as if he was alive and speaking to me.
Painting is a form of magic; a means of connecting with another being through time and space.
I completed my BFA degree at York University in Toronto and stayed for thirty years. I worked in the evenings at the local art school and took classes or painted at home during the day. During those years, I painted many portraits “in situ” of my friends.
My other passion is the theatre. I’ve written several plays, which have been produced nationally and internationally. I’ve worked as a playwright-in-residence at many theatres across Canada. One of my favourite residencies was in Whitehorse. The Yukon landscape is breathtaking. I lived in the Yukon for several years before moving back to Vancouver in 2003.
I painted a series of large (36″ by 30″) close-up portraits of women, some of whom I knew well. I focused on the area between the chin and just above the eyebrows. Are these portraits? Yes and no.
My friends’ faces are the starting point for an investigation into the mystery of what it is to be human. They are themselves and they are the “more” of themselves. I named the series Goddesses.
My painting, “The Goddess of Old Age,” was a finalist for the Kingston Portrait Prize in 2017. I had a solo exhibition of the Goddesses at the Lipont Gallery in Richmond, British Columbia. I was thrilled to watch people interact with the Goddesses.