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Sarah Lamb: Discovering Hidden Beauty

Sarah Lamb, a contemporary realist, focuses on still life, trompe l’oeil and game, and landscapes. She captures timeless beauty and drama in her depictions of everyday objects.

Contemporary artist Sarah Lamb

Born in Petersburg, Virginia, Sarah started painting when she was around seven years old. She recalls having long pigtails and would sometimes paint with the ends of them. As an only child, Sarah was encouraged by her mother and grandparents to pursue creative endeavors. Painting became a good way to spend her time. She began her art training with private art classes in the 10th grade, studying with well-known Atlanta wildlife and portrait artist Sarah Brown. In a class of mostly adults, Brown took Sarah under her wing and urged her to draw from life while most of the older students were copying photographs.

In 1993 Sarah graduated from Brenau Women’s College with a Studio Art degree. Later Sarah took a two-week portrait painting workshop with Jacob Collins who encouraged her to study with his mentor, Ted Seth Jacobs. Sarah left New York and went to France. She studied with Ted for almost two years before returning to New York City to study again with Jacob. “Jacob was a wonderful mentor and still is. He showed me that you can make a living from painting what you love to paint – and encouraged me to pursue the galleries that he was showing in.” Sarah said her teachers gave her the skill-set she needed to hone her own style over the years.

Sarah has been influenced by many artists, ranging from Sargent, Zorn, and Emil Carlsen to Andrew Wyeth and Wayne Thiebaud. She is fortunate that she rarely feels a lack of inspiration, finding her subject matter everywhere -- in Antique stores, farmers markets, and friends’ houses. Her close friends have an amazing collection of 19th-century weathervanes which she frequently paints. She is currently working on a large antique grasshopper weathervane with a copper and gold leaf patina. She describes her approach as not so much painting the form but as copying wonderful patches of color, and she likens it to piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. “One of the things I love about the weathervanes is their patina. Some have been gilded over the years and the flakes of gold chipping off with the copper verdigris coming through is exquisite and fun to paint!” Sarah also loves to paint the various textures of fruits, berries and vegetables with their leaves as well as the iridescent and chromatic feathers from birds.

Banged Tail Horse and Rider- Antique Weathervane, oil, 35 x 40”

Sarah explained that the best part of being a painter is being able to wake up and do what you love every day. She started showing in galleries in the mid- to late-90’s, a time when the galleries were thriving. She got swept up in a new wave of enthusiasm about realism which was in demand in the galleries.

Since then, Sarah has watched the art world evolve, and over the years several galleries that once represented her have closed. She said, “Artists now must be more creative and hustle themselves. Social media has changed everything – and artists have their own websites which compromise the galleries. It will be interesting to see where the market goes.”

She currently shows her work in several galleries including Meredith Long Gallery in Houston, TX, John Pence Gallery in San Francisco, CA as well as Spanierman Gallery in New York where she recently had a sold-out solo show. Sarah is currently preparing for a show with Ted Seth Jacobs. Also, Sarah recently published her book, Sarah Lamb Still Life and Landscape, with beautiful reproductions of her paintings which she hopes will reach the many fans of her work.

Old Trike, oil, 34 x 32”

I asked Sarah what advice she would give to emerging artists about a career in art. She suggested for someone starting out in the art world to be true to themselves and to paint what they love. “Don’t copy others, and don’t try to figure out what the market wants. Just paint honestly and from the heart. It can be challenging to differentiate yourself from the other realist artists out there – of which there are many now! So many art schools are producing lots of talented artists, and some of the work can tend to look like they were from the same hand. I try not to look at what my contemporaries are doing because I don’t want to be influenced by them.”

Through her love of art, Sarah also met her husband Dave Larned, a talented painter. She met Dave through her teacher Edward Minoff who introduced them while they were both studying at the Florence Academy. It wasn’t long after they met that they became good friends and later married. Both artists also studied in New York under Jacob Collins. Sarah’s and Dave’s works complement each other nicely, and they one day dream of having studios in Rome. In the future, Sarah wants to continue painting and doing what she loves.

Visit to view more of her paintings and to purchase her book.

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