"I have been painting for over twenty years. My paintings are autobiographical narratives. They describe life experiences, physically and emotionally. I paint looking out from within and back inside from my own particular place in the world. My aim is to be honest and straightforward in the subject matter I choose and in how I paint it, to make the personal universal.
"At home in the
studio I work in egg tempera on gessoed wood panels. This is a very old
medium. It was used in Italy during the Renaissance and in Egypt on sarcofogi
as early as 200 AD. Traditionally, it involves a lot of crosshatching
with very fine brushes. I like to make small marks, but I also do a lot
of slapping on of paint, especially in the beginning.
"I make traditional gesso, spending an entire day preparing many panels. After they dry for 48 hours, I spend the good part of another day sanding them. To make my paint, I mix egg yolks with a few drops of white vinegar as a preservative, dry pigment, and water. To begin a painting, I tend to slap it on with large soft brushes. I paint many layers, and I really enjoy that aspect. They can be translucent or opaque. I use anything from loose washes to very controlled small marks to get what I want. I make lots of decisions during the process, letting the painting tell me what to do.
"I also travel and paint for extended periods of time. These journeys have taken me all over the United States, East Africa, Europe, and most recently Thailand. During these journeys, I paint on gouache on paper and carry the materials I need in a day pack. I always start the paintings on site, sometimes finishing them later from memory. These paintings become a sort of visual diary. They are as autobiographical as my interior scenes with figures."
-- Sarah McEneaney