Artist Interview - Sarah Coey

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Sarah Coey and I am a Fine Artist based in Scotland! I create colourful, happy, and bright abstracts full of energy and joy to ignite happiness in those who view my work.

Why do you do what you do?

I love the freedom of creative expression. As a creative person, I love the use of paint and mixed media as a form of self-expression and communication. I also love hearing how my work has impacted my collectors and viewers in a positive way. This act of creating and sharing happiness through art is wonderful for me.


What inspires your art?

I am inspired by so many things! I believe inspiration comes from many different things rather than one idea, place, etc. I am inspired by beautiful views, music, poetry, books and fairy tales, a lush countryside view, cosy cuppas while it rains outside… anything! I live in Scotland which has some of the most dramatic and moody scenery in the world, and whilst it is absolutely breathtaking, the colours here can be dark, desolate, moody, wild. This is why I think I naturally gravitate towards brighter colours; to inject some colour into my world!


How and when did you get into art?

I have always been creative and studied Fine Art at university in Dundee which I loved! I continued my practice when I graduated and built it up on the side of a full-time job until it was a viable full-time option to be an artist.

How has your practice changed over time?

Would you believe I used to do very big black and white sculptural drawings on wood? I loved building sculptured drawings and I explored a lot of my creative practice in black and white for a few years. I found that this was not the best method of self-expression for me though. The sculptures were fun to make, but was I really representing my true self in black and white linear drawings when I’m such a colour loving person? My art was not aligning with how I saw myself and that’s when I decided I needed to go back to painting and explore my world in colour again.


What’s your favorite piece of art that you’ve created? Why?

I think it was this piece called “Touch the Sky” - I love the colours and there is a depth within the piece that felt so magical!


What’s the best piece of art advice you’ve been given?

To create for yourself and for nobody else! It’s hard when creating because we naturally want our work to be well received and liked. However, there is the concern that we might end up creating what others like instead of what our truth is in creating, and that can be really stifling and detrimental as an artist. The advice of creating for ourselves is one I always try to hold at the forefront of my mind - it’s so important to be true to ourselves when we create as this is our form of self-expression!


What’s one art tip/technique you can share with us that you find really helpful?


Don’t always mix your colours until they are a flat shade! There is magic in the marbling of paint and it adds so much lovely depth to your work!

Do you have any secret tips or techniques you use to salvage a piece when you make a mistake?

I find if I’m making mistakes it’s because I’m being too precious and deliberate about what I want the piece to look like. I find the best thing to do then is to stop working on the piece for a few days but leave it somewhere you can see it. I take these pieces and hang them upside down in my living room near the TV. Hanging the piece upside down shows us a new perspective so will show us very quickly where the problem areas lie, in a way that hanging it the right way round does not. Having it outside my studio and near the TV means I will glance at it many times without needing to stare at it to figure out what needs to be changed. I find that my subconscious mind will turn over the problem and all of a sudden I can look at the art and know what I need to change and where to correct the problem!

It sounds wacky but it really helps!


What is your favorite Strathmore paper? Why?

400 series for acrylic paint! The weight of the paper is fab and doesn’t warp under layers of paint. I also like the fact that it’s a linen finish which leaves the paper feeling really luxe.

What art materials could you not live without?

My brushes! I have SO MANY brushes and favour the square-tipped kind! I’m really tough on my brushes and have so many in all sizes and states. My fave are the deco patch brushes you get at the kid’s section of the craft store: perfect for those scribbly markings!


What types of colors are you drawn to for your art and why?

I don’t have a favoured palette… unless we can count the rainbow into it! I struggle to pare back my colour choices and am a firm believer that more is more! I do love a turquoise blue and a hot pink though! And sunshine yellow. And emerald green… aaaah I can never choose! There are too many amazing combinations waiting to be discovered so I like to play with them all!

Who are your biggest influences (or who were when you started doing art)?

I absolutely love Van Gogh - he was such a dreamer, wasn’t he? I also love Klimt; he created the most magical pieces.


What’s the most common art-related question you get from your followers?

I’m often asked about how to create my specific colour combinations! I have a few magic recipes which are the Sarah Coey secret magic but often share paint recipe videos online so I can show others how to create a specific colour! These are so much fun to create and I love passing on these little snippets of knowledge to others.

Website/social media links:

Website: www.sarahcoeyartwork.com (currently under reconstruction)

Insta: @sarahcoeyart

Tiktok: Sarah Coey Art

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