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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Sarah Luther is Happiest in the Art Studio

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | February 27, 2013

"Art simply makes me happier than almost anything else ever can," is how Sarah Luther describes what her painting means to her.

"Art is simply a way for me to express my feelings in a constructive way. It is a big stress reliever, and it makes me even happier if what I make ends up making someone else happy. If I am not in an art class or do not have much time to devote to art for period of time, there is a perceptible change in my mood."

Sarah has been interested in art since she was very young. She says she can't remember a time when she wasn't drawing little pictures for her parents. She even found a drawing of a daddy-long-legs with a smiley face on it that she drew when she was 3 years old.

"I don't know how it got into my head to draw that, but I pretty much drew anything that came to me, and I drew all the time. I would bring home little drawings or crafts from pre-school almost every day. I was always so enthusiastic about them."

She says the only time she got in trouble in kindergarten was for not wanting to clean up and leave the art room.

"All through elementary school if anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer would always be an artist."

Sarah began to develop her skills in middle school and continues in high school. Her works have been in school art shows, and she received the Sullins Academy "Art Award" twice. She is the art director of Episcopal High School's literary and arts magazine, "The Daemon." She is studying ceramics and painting at her boarding school this year, and says "if I'm not spending a lot of time in the art center I feel lost."

Her interest in ceramics also takes her to her part-time job at Kil "n Time in Bristol, Tenn. "I love working at Kil'n Time and wish I could work there more often. Since I go to boarding school, I can only work when I am home on my breaks. When I do work, I help by checking people out at the register, sorting pieces from the kiln, calling customers and helping with any questions they might have."

In addition to ceramics, Sarah works in many media, but she prefers painting. "I enjoy painting, drawing, ceramics, photography, and I even experimented with fused glass. I do mostly painting, but I really enjoy all of the others too. I am a little bit of a perfectionist, so I get less frustrated with painting because I can cover my mistakes. At the same time, painting takes me a lot longer than photographs or throwing on a potter's wheel. I really just float around the rooms of the art studio and finish a project in one area before moving on to another project in a different medium."

When she is painting, she gravitates toward landscapes or organic objects.

"Even in ceramics, when I decorate a piece I usually paint organic looking patterns or designs on it. I also prefer bright colors and pastels to darker shades. In acrylic paintings, I think it is fun to add texture that can be seen and felt."

A good example of this approach is a painting she gave to her sister, Erin, for her graduation. It is of chandelier with a bird perched on one of the chandelier's arms. (see above)

"The bird was completely textured using a palette knife. I never plan to do that kind of thing, but I usually feel that people looking at the painting would be able to connect more with it if they can see dramatic texture."

Connections are important to Sarah. She plans to combine her interest in connecting with people and in art to become an art therapist. In college, she plans on majoring in studio art and psychology.

In her free time, she likes to spend time with her friends. She also enjoys reading, watching movies, traveling. She says she has played several different sports, "But I am not really good at any of them."

Sarah is 17, and attends Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va. Her parents are David and Becky Luther of Bristol, Tenn.

Chandelier, acrylic on canvas, by Sarah Luther

"Just Keep Swimming" (fused glass) by Sarah Luther