Sally Arnold

As an artist I am a light holder, reflecting what contemporary society

is dealing with: significant imbalances in Nature, the destruction of natural connections.*

I did not set out to be an ‘artist’, and often struggle to position my gift of seeing the outer world differently. Artisanship, however, is a clear way of living and being, engaging tactilely, physically with the world. The verdant slopes of the Eastern Cape’s Amathola mountains and vast dry expanses of the Great Karoo were childhood inspirations urging me to draw, model and paint. Above our farm garden-oasis: a vast crystalline blue sky sometimes bursting with indigo, cumulusheaded thunderstorms of spectacular drama. Dusty earth and shimmering skies – primal textures, scents and light.

Nature’s forms and vibrating colours are my guides. Specifically: the powerful sculptural qualities of a blossom. Drawing attention to these exquisite metaphors for our own, transient, Earth presence is imperative in the face of man’s exploitation of nature. I focus on rare, often endangered flowers living on our planet, magnifying fascinating details of tiny blossoms. Aided by photographs, I portray these on canvas in translucent oil glazes or on paper in watercolour and powdery coloured pencil. I adore thick, luxurious, handcrafted paper or fine linen canvas made in traditional mills. Using pure, organic materials, cured during natural drying processes, my painted oil surfaces develop a supple luminance resisting crackling. Varnishes are satin/matt or dammar/glossy.

My work is based on drawing, is slow and artisanal, uses the very best materials and strives for technical mastery. I care about beauty, detail and excellence.

As an ordinary person wanting to do extraordinary things, my artistic purpose is to develop a powerful body of work that leaves a lasting impact on those who view it. I attempt a poetic, drawn commentary on the originality of natural forms. Current drawings investigate the movement of plants and blossoms, rare inflorescences, and the ephemeral language of plants.