Sarah Still, a Canadian Wildlife Artist, has been creating outstanding animal paintings that are so realistic that they look like photography. Residing on Canada’s west coast, the artist draws her inspiration from British Columbia’s wilderness and creates paintings in the hope of arousing emotional connections to nature through art.
Formerly a makeup artist working in the film and television production, Sarah has transferred her acquired skills and talent from the faces of celebrities to the canvas. As something that she had been performing on the side, the Canadian artist moved to painting animals portrait full-time in 2016. Sarah Still is now establishing herself as a renowned painter with her breathtaking animal portrait paintings.
Her previous work had not only given her an opportunity to perfect her attention to detail, but also provided her with a level of intimacy that develops between an artist and their subject. It’s by tapping into this connection that she has gained the ability to execute incredibly detailed portraits that marvelously capture the essence of the subject.
Despite her source of inspiration being from the vibrant wildlife, Sarah Still has chosen to eliminate any kind of distraction in relation to color and produces her paintings in black and white medium. In doing so, she wants to elicitate a deeper emotion from her oil painting masterpieces. Using a limited grayscale color palette, her series of black-and-white paintings allow the audience to pay attention to the realistic details that the artist includes in her works, such as the texture of fur, whiskers, and feathers.
As well, the focus is brought to the subjects’ features as the artist positions most of her subjects close to the viewer, with only a touch of the background showing behind them. Black and white images have more of a nostalgic and sometimes dramatic feel to them, as compared to paintings full of vibrant colors. Bearing this in mind, Still incorporates some remarkably detailed features in the subjects, highlighting the majesty of the animals and making them seem to pop out of the canvas.
The attention of an image is naturally directed to other compositional features with the absence of striking colors. An image in black and white has the capacity to portray deeper emotions without the type of predetermined emotions that come with colors, as it reveals more contrast than colorful images.
Each one of Sarah Still’s paintings magnificently captures the beauty of each species depicted, through the texture, tone and the composition. For instance, the owl painting immediately directs one’s attention on the bird’s huge glassy eyes, while the viewer takes notice of the reflection of the scene in front of it. In some of her artworks, the artist includes a delicate bright patch of color to bring the subject to life. Some examples of these are the blue-eyed jaguar, the wolf with the yellow eyes, and the yellow-beaked owl.
Although Sarah Still had created other works portraying people, flowers and rocks, she is mostly committed to painting animals and also has no intention of painting anything else – for now. As she rightly puts it herself, “My work may evolve to include other subjects one day, but for now, I’m finding joy in the beauty of wildlife and reminding my audience that our world is shared.”
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