Saturday, May 21, 2016


Uff dah. It's been a while since I posted to this blog. In an era of online social media, we artists have to wear a lot of hats between web sites, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Earlier this year, I finally jumped into the year 2010 by creating an Instagram presence (@sarahpollockstudio) and I've actually been pretty good about keeping that up-to-date. In fact, if you're looking for the first dibs on my new pieces, Instagram is a great way to peek in at what I'm working on in my studio.

Anyways, rather than talking about my art online, I've been making it in my studio. I've been busy getting ready for my first art show of the season, the Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show in Philadelphia. I'll exhibit my new pastel works at this event during the weekend of June 3-5, 2016, and I recently finished several new pieces in preparation for the show. In this post, I wanted to share a little more with you about the process behind some of these new pieces.

Color motivates my choice of subjects. After more than a decade of working in the pastel medium, I've found a process that allows me to quickly evaluate whether an idea will work successfully. I call it my shorthand, in honor of my Mom who had to learn actual shorthand in high school. Indeed, her first job was as a corporate secretary for a company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All these decades later, when she and I go to the Philadelphia Flower Show each spring, I still catch her writing in a small notepad using shorthand as she jots down ideas and inspiration.

Initial Shorthand for "Please Continue to Pull Forward," an eventual 12 x 24 pastel.

Final Piece: Please Continue to Pull Forward, 12 x 24 pastel.

My "shorthand" is a series of small color studies, some of which I've shared here. I learned this approach from Doug Dawson, a wonderful pastel artist and an outstanding teacher. He emphasized the importance of selecting just the most essential colors and values to convey a composition. And then sticking to them for as long as possible. Eliminate the superfluous and stay with the most essential ingredients.

In these initial studies, I think you'll see how just these tiny dabbles of thinking and planning link to the final, polished piece. Enjoy!

Initial Shorthand for "July Coda," an eventual 16 x 24 pastel.

Final Piece: July Coda, 16 x 24 pastel.


Initial Shorthand for "Capture," an eventual 12 x 18 pastel.

Final Piece: Capture, 12 x 18 pastel.