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Sarah Siltala


The Story of 





Stillness and moments of quiet are the ephemeral influences in my work.  Just as a bird alights only for a moment and then is gone, I try to capture that brief moment where the world stops for an instant and we are fully aware.  Whether a still life or landscape, I am interested in capturing the most feeling with the least amount of busy mark making to communicate my vision.  I prefer smooth surfaces and empty space to showcase the small details I want the viewer to focus on.  I spend several weeks on each painting, patiently layering thin veils of oil paint to reveal a depth of color and luminosity that makes each work unique.  This draws the viewer in to look more closely at its hidden complexity.  I try to find balance in quiet, contemporary composition and harmonious color and texture.


My work is a reflection of the vulnerability a living creature feels outside it's natural environment.  I feel a connection when I observe these shy creatures in their natural habitat, and I hope that connection is captured in my oil paintings.  By juxtaposing their innocent nature with a man-made and composed interior still-life setting, I hope to emphasize the fragility of nature in our world.  With the decline of birds in the world, and ongoing threat of becoming endangered or extinct due to human interference and presence, I hope to share the beauty and joy birds bring to daily life.  By showcasing nature in a clearly human oriented and manipulated environment I can also concentrate viewers attention to the broader context of our connection to all life on this planet.


Sarah Siltala paints utilizing a classical indirect layering technique in which transparent colors are thinly built upon each other like layers of stained glass.  Influenced by Flemish and Venetian methods, this process produces a myriad of rich gem-like tones and a depth unattainable compared to the more common technique of direct, or alla prima, style painting.  To paint in this manner requires the utmost patience, as each layer must dry completely before the next can be applied.  As her paint layers build over time the play of light and shadow evolve, and the distinct personality of her subject matter begins to emerge.  The result is an artwork with vibrant, luminous color, subtle texture, and a meditative quality.  Sarah's paintings have an old-world elegance, yet the colors and compositions are quite contemporary. 




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