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Inspiration Comes and Goes in Waves
interview with Sally Trace by @SchulmanArt, Miriam Schulman
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How long have you been an artist?
Sally Trace: I sold my first drawing in 1971 or 1972. It was a surrealist/erotica sort of thing. In my memory it was really good drawing, but I was just a kid living at a friend’s apartment. Ten bucks bought a lot of food back then.
I studied from books in my teens and 20’s…particularly Bridgeman’s Anatomy. I bought bodybuilder magazines to study anatomy and sketched from them. At 28, I enrolled in my local Community College to get some formal training in fine art. I was very fortunate to live in Bucks County because their art department had amazing professors who taught at a university level. I went part-time for 6 or 7 years to get that degree; it was a great time, I really loved it. Although I wasn’t able to continue in a degreed program, I’ve continued to take classes and workshops when the schedule permits. Last summer I took a weekend workshop in color field abstraction (Professor Kassem Amoudi) at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philly. It was awesome. It turned my working process upside down for a few months afterword. I’m still coming out the other end of that experience.
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How do you get inspired?
ST: Crank up the music and drink something caffeinated. Lay out some fresh canvases on the painting table. Or, in more meditative moods I just sit by my open window with the sounds of the trees and birds and squirrels, and paint quietly at the easel.
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Describe a typical day for you.
ST: I like to arise at my leisure, get a cup of tea and fool around on the computer a bit. Then off to the basement for some exercise and laundry…always with the ipod; I listen to Abraham-Hicks incessantly. I have an inversion table and hanging there is just glorious. But some days the studio comes first…I love to finish a painting or create a new one before breakfast. So it’s always different. I like to go out for a walk in the fresh air when the weather is nice. My painting usually culminates in the afternoon and into the evening. A nice dinner with my amazing husband and some TV. I do my photography and videos and create the listings and pages for my website, etsy, ebay, etc. often well into the night. Sometimes we have a painting party at night with a cocktail or two and the music turned up loud.
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What is your studio space like?
ST: The view from my window is all leaves right now; they just burst into full bloom. I’m on the second floor and we have big maple trees out back. I’m so fortunate to have the entire second story of our house for studio. What used to be my son’s bedroom is where I paint…the finished landing area is my studio office with a beast of a computer that he built. What used to be the attic is for photography, shipping and storage. My commute is climbing the stairs. Sometimes I go for days without leaving the house.
I have a big easel and a bigger painting table that I made from canvas and furring strips. I have a work flow that consists of painting layers, drying, painting, photographing, varnishing, hanging for more photography and videos, making the listings and webpages, packing for storage, selling and shipping. And emailing with collectors. Sometimes phone calls with collectors; that is always a treat. I usually have about 4 paintings going at a time. Inspiration comes and goes in waves.
Mentioned in this article: @sallytrace