Saturday, March 31, 2018

Green Shadow

green shadow, 8x10 inches, oil on canvas by sarah sedwick
 "Green Shadow"
8 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

I painted this alongside a lovely group of workshop students last weekend, walking them through the steps of planning a successful still life. Thumbnail sketch, Notan, 5-value study, underpainting, color! 

These steps are great tools  - I don't do them all, for every one of my paintings, of course. You loyal readers have seen many black and white studies from me, but over time, the other steps have become mental - I look through a viewfinder and try out different compositions in my head instead of doing thumbnail sketches. I think about the Notan, the overall light/dark effect I'm creating. Then I launch right into the value study.

The step I'm leaving out is really preliminary - setting up the still life! Always fun, always challenging. And that's the part that my students don't have to worry about when they're in a workshop with me! I take care of that. ;)

Friday, March 23, 2018


papaya painting art still life sarah sedwick
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

My first-ever papaya painting! It was so worth it to spend the $5 on this beauty, to get to delve into all those peachy oranges. I love the subtle contrast with the pink of the napkin.  

Here's my palette for this one: split-primary with bonus yellow ochre. 
You can click on the image to see it bigger, and read the color names on the tubes.

Sketch to finish - I ended up going for more papaya and less knife: 

 Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Room For Two

 "Room For Two"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

Lots of teaching lately! I started this one yesterday with a private student, and finished it up this afternoon. This bowl makes me pretty happy.  That dark rim is so satisfying to paint. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lemon Geometry

 "Lemon Geometry"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

I spend a lot of time on still life setup - and as you see below, that enables me to really rely on perception as I'm painting. I like to call it "slavishly copying the world," with tongue firmly in cheek.

If you're interested in learning more about my techniques for still life setup - or just want to paint one of them - I've got two workshops coming up! One is March 24-25th, in Eugene, and the other is April 6-8, on Bainbridge Island, WA. There are a couple of spaces open in both - join me! :)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Opening to the Light

"Opening to the Light" 10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas by Sarah Sedwick
"Opening to the Light"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

When I walked into the studio yesterday morning, I was immediately captivated by these daffodils - the way the blooms move from almost closed to completely open. I knew that was not going to last long once I turned the spotlight on them! So I painted the flowers first, and by the time I'd finished the rest of the painting, quite a bit later in the day, they were all wide open.

Friday, March 9, 2018


"Thirsty" 8 x 10 inches, oil painting on canvas by Sarah Sedwick
8 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

These flowers were only thirsty for a little while - I popped them into the glass once I finished this painting, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Color Swoon

"Color Swoon"
10 x 10 inches, oil on canvas

My eyes pretty much want to live inside the color of this ribbon all the time. It's like the feeling of exhaling a deep breath - your body relaxes. 

That's how my eyes feel when they're full of this color.

Monday, March 5, 2018

A New Painting of Some Oranges...With Videos!

"One Turned Away"
8 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

This was the painting demonstration for my online art mentorship students at our monthly group session in Februray. It's a fun little piece! I love composing with cast shadows, and this is an excellent example of why. 

I just published a full-length video of this demo on YouTube - walking through my 3-step process for alla prima painting. Here's a clip!

(If you're reading this in your email - thanks for being a subscriber! You may need to click this link to watch, though. ;))

Friday, March 2, 2018


"Hope" floral daffodil tarot art oil painting still life by sarah sedwick 9x12 inches
9 x 12 inches, oil on canvas

I thought I would counter yesterday's sorrow with some of the antidote. A quietly sunny spring painting. 
The Tarot card in this piece is also a hopeful one - the Ten of Cups, symbolizing emotional fulfillment. Not sure how it works when it's sideways - I'll leave that to the experts! :)

Thursday, March 1, 2018


"Sorrow (Three of Swords)" 14x18 oil on canvas by Sarah Sedwick
 "Sorrow (Three of Swords)" 
14 x 18 inches, oil on canvas

I'm loving learning about Tarot by researching each card as I use them in my paintings. This one, the Three of Swords, when it's in the upright position, is kind of a bummer - but not entirely without sunshine. Yes, the card represents a painful episode in life, but pain can be seen as an opportunity to grow stronger, to change the direction of your life. While the pain may cloud your vision for a certain period, it will eventually allow you to see clearly and to put the past behind you. 

If you let them, the Swords cards can rid you of your denial and teach you valuable lessons.

...And if you paint them, they can teach you valuable lessons about color mixing and edges!
tarot card three of swords oil painting by sarah sedwick

As always with a piece this large, I began with a black and white study. This one has already gone to a collector who saw it on Instagram, but you can see a lot more of these oil studies in my Etsy shop.

Black and white studies really help me plan my paintings - specifically, the way my big value shapes will affect the composition. What shape and gesture do the darkest darks make on the canvas? How dark are my cast shadows, really? And where is my area of strongest contrast? I keep the study close to me while I'm painting the color version, to remind myself of my intentions.