What Makes an Artist: Sarah Daly, her Inspiration and Workspace

Sarah Daly is an Australian artist living in Brisbane, who creates art for the love of the process. Her curiosity for the end result, feel of the paint as a physical thing, and discovering new techniques inspires her to express her work in unique ways. She loves every bit of an artist’s life, “it’s like diving into colour,” exclaims Sarah. “When I’m headed out to dinner and someone points out to a smear of blue paint on the back of my leg… that little bit of evidence of my day makes me grin.”

Sarah in studioSarah Daly in her studio

Sarah has a small but charming studio, full of natural light overlooking the high slopes of a hill in Brisbane. There is a sliding door onto a slightly wobbly balcony that she keeps open in rain, hail or shine. Her room is at the branch level of a giant poinsettia tree. “I sometimes get kookaburras cackling away in the branches,” says Sarah describing what seems like not a workspace but a scene from a classic novel. She always has a few plants around and at least one in-progress painting on the easel. Her dog, Harry, who is a black Labrador cross Ridgeback, is normally her shadow.

Harry in the studioSarah’s dog, Harry

Sarah’s work is full of bright, popping colour. It is predominantly abstract. It sometimes resembles aerial landscapes, maps, seascapes or forests, however, she doesn’t always start from that inspiration. “It’s rather immersive, like diving into a kaleidoscope, especially in the huge canvasses,” explains Sarah.

Sarah Daly PaintingsSarah’s paintings; ‘Blue River City‘, ‘Yellow Summer II‘, ‘Cubism in Orange, Mint and Ochre‘, ‘Coastal Topography I

Sarah loves the role of light in art. Renaissance artists began to use light and shadow to describe their work. Artists went from drawing what they thought was there, like a caricature, to really looking at the subject. If one compared Giotto’s portraits and landscapes to Michelangelo’s, one might get the idea.

Also a big fan of impressionists, Sarah likes the way light reflected off what a person was looking at rather than the actual thing. “There was a whole lot of confusion over what impressionists were doing from the critics, the pieces looked ‘unfinished’. But their beauty held out,” says Sarah.

Studio with Craven Mitchell Commission (Copy)Artworks in-progress at Sarah’s studio

Sarah admires the works of the Chinese artist, Zhan Wang. In an exhibition in Beijing about 3 years ago, Zhan had hung 7,000 stainless steel boulders from the ceiling. They were spinning slowly in minimal light. “I could walk among them and in between them. It was like moving through a meteor shower,” describes Sarah in awe. Zhan called it ‘My Personal Universe’.

Collage_1Zhan Wang “My Personal Universe” Exhibition, Beijing

We asked Sarah what her future as an artist looked like. “I’d love to collaborate with Marimekko, a Finnish design company,” she admits. After an innovation conference in Helsinki she found their flagship store. She brought home some gorgeous fabrics and a desire to have her own designs with them.

Sarah Daly in BarcelonaSarah Daly in Europe

Sarah admires people who drive their dreams into reality. The want for someone to be the best version of themselves is an inspiration to her. We hope she keeps being inspired and continues creating beautiful artworks.

Support Australian Artists, buy Sarah Daly’s paintings online here.

Keep up to date with the Australian and international art scene and discover new artists by signing up to our newsletter here.

2016 Archibald Prize “impossible to second guess”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *