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My oil painting technique derives from my training in vertebrate biology and my love for color theory. I draw the subject on the canvas with precision then alter that realism with oil paint. Some colors are spontaneous and others are well planned. I am occasionally asked if I use a computer program to create my images. I do not! My approach is very low-tech: Lots of practice, a dash of obsession, and access to art materials.

My style is inspired by marquetry, the woodworking technique that uses pieces of veneer to form patterns, designs or pictures. My first step when exploring this style was gray scale but by adding color, I have found another dimension of communicating characteristics of the subject’s mood, personality, history, and setting.

I’m inspired by Franz Marc’s color choices and slight exaggeration in shapes, Chuck Close’s blocking of an image creating an abstraction when viewed up- close, and the movement created in local artist Megan Bell’s large scale abstractions.


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Sarah Thornton takes commissions.

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