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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sarah Yeoman. Interview

Sarah Yeoman is an award-wining American watercolor artist and a signature member of the Philadelphia Water Color Society. Her mastery of reflections, unique surface layers, and unusual perspective clearly sets her apart from the crowd.

How have you become so devoted as a watercolor artist?
I have a lifelong passion for the medium and a driving curiosity and determination to understand the pigment and it’s endless possibilities.

Sara Yeoman. Crow Caucus. 22'x30'

Do you have a favorite paper size for painting?
The bigger the better for me though my preferred size is 22x30.

Sarah Yeoman. Lost Pond Adirondack Paddler. 16x20'

You have a big variety of subjects in your painting works. How do you get the inspiration?

My inspiration comes from my daily experiences.I am equally at home in lush garden settings as I am in the architectural and human vibrations of east coast cities. I also have a deep love and fascination with the wilderness mountain landscape of upstate New York. I have been faulted for not having a “look”, an identifiable “Sarah Yeoman” painting style but I find that approach very limiting and truthfully quite suffocating to my creativity.

Sarah Yeoman. Loews Hotel 33rd Floor Looking East. 30x22'

Do you work more in studio or on location?
I mostly work in the studio because I am often wetting and re-wetting the painting to build up multiple layers of paint to get the saturated transparent darks that I love so much.

Sarah Yeoman. The Thinker. Baltomore Museum Of Art. 24x20'

What is more important for your painting – a color or a tonal value?
I would say that a tonal value is more important in my work though they are so intertwined it is impossible to separate them.

Sarah Yeoman. Totems. 22x30'

Do you use opaque white or masking fluid?
I very rarely use a white paint. I do use masking fluid when I have a particularly intricate light and shadow pattern that I am trying to replicate.

Sarah Yeoman. Surface Dance. 20x16'

Your works have many various approaches. Do you like experiments?
I love experimenting with watercolor. I have no interest in repeating the same techniques again and again so I continue to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Without experimentation there is no growth. It seems that so many watercolorists today are painting with the same technique and it is often hard to tell one artist from another.

Sarah Yeoman. Towards The Delaware. 22x30'

Do you have some favorite brands in materials?
I use mostly Winsor Newton watercolors with a couple of Holbeins.My palette today has Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Brown Madder, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Neutral Tint, Verditer Blue (Holbein), Lavender (Holbein),Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Turquoise and Perylene Green. My favorite brushes are my Escodas 10 and 12 and my Robert Simmons Skyflow 1 1/2 inch flat.

Sarah Yeoman. Bellwether. 22x18'

What paper do you use?
Arches 140lb cold-press and Saunders 140lb rough. I have also been playing around with Ampersand Aquaboard, which is a very exciting surface to paint on.

Sarah Yeoman. Winter Of The White Pines. 22x17'

When you teach, do you focus on technical or creative side of painting?
I definitely focus on the creative side so my students can quickly experience the magical and mysterious quality of watercolor.


  1. Ooooo! Surface Dance is my favorite - what beautiful paintings, what a wonderfully talented artist!

  2. I can attest to the fact that Sarah definitely has a way of extracting the creativity from her students. I took one of her workshop courses a few years back. Experimentation was never so much fun!