Sarah Thornton

I am an oil painter with a background in biology and a love for color theory. My subject matter focuses primarily on dogs but I have explored subjects as diverse as motorcycles and landscapes. Dogs interest me because of my college studies of vertebrate biology and because they are a social animal, just like people. I’ve found that I’ve learned much about how we interact by using dogs as a connecting point.

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 grayscale 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.

My technique is to sketch a realistic portrait on the canvas then going back to destroy that realism using swaths of color. The method for choosing these colors is a bit difficult to articulate and certain colors are spontaneous and others are well planned. I tend to be drawn cadmium yellow. There is something about this color that is so rich and natural but at the same time jarring and synthetic. I enjoy that tension.