Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Van Beckum.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve been doodling and creating my whole life. I began screen printing and painting stylized botanicals thirty years ago. These paper pieces were sold to designers and art consultants through my art agent for many years. The market was country-wide, and my work found its way overseas as well. Six years ago, after a three-month refresh and renew sabbatical to the south of France, I returned home determined to create a new and different body of work. This led to a new style that I call Abstract Narrative. There are some elements in these paintings that are suggestive of objects but are open to interpretation by the individual viewer. I think my work steps forward and away from pure abstract expressionism, which seeks to express meaning and emotion rather than reality, and that makes them unique.
Has it been a smooth road?
The struggles are twofold. First is the struggle to get a painting right which means to my liking. At times I paint a canvas quickly and intuitively. It’s a gift when that ‘happens.’ Then there are the times when I agonize over the work, painting and repainting, fretting and wallowing, covering over and uncovering areas on the canvas. Those can succeed as well but cause a bit more angst in the making. Again expressionism is, after all, centered in emotion and meaning.
It is important to love the art for art’s sake. An artist must be driven to create, regardless of the cost or consequence. But there is also the issue of making a living. There are choices to make between fine art and what sells. Even the historic masters recognized this. When making a shift from what the buying public wants to that which the artist desires to create a financial risk is taken. You never know when the next sale will occur. One must be an artist as well as a businesswoman, planning carefully, and treating your production like a project.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Sarah Van Beckum, Artist story. Tell us more about the business.
I paint with acrylics, oil pastels, and other mixed media on canvas and wood paneI, in sizes ranging from 20X20 inches to over 6 feet. I think what sets my art apart is the emotion that is portrayed in the paintings as well as the color combinations used. People who like and buy my art are very passionate about it. Aside from the thrill of creating, it is deeply satisfying to connect with a client who loves the work. This wondrous communication with a creation’s new owner adds to the emotional satisfaction of creating the art.
I have also been successful in painting with children, guiding them to create large scale abstract paintings that make a statement. It’s an intriguing process that involves coaching kids to let go and paint with abandon, but also pulling them away from the canvas and redirecting them to other areas so as not to overdo it and muddy the work. Orchestrating all of this can be frenetic but children are natural artists, and the results have been really wonderful.
I can paint a series for just so long and then it’s time to reinvent and keep myself excited by starting anew, accessing another part of my creative self, and creating new art with a different vibe. I think in the end it all shows my personal style. I always look forward to the new year and a fresh start. I believe 2020 may well be the beginning of my third act.
Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
Say yes to opportunities. What might not yield a positive result or an immediate sale often produces a sale or an additional opportunity later on down the road. Try to create something different that sets you apart from the herd.
You must stay positive and engaged; it’s a fluid process. Being a professional artist is hard but satisfying work. Stay true to your own vision, but consider a secondary line of work that has crowd appeal if your work is not as salable.
- Artwork can be purchased directly from me. See my website sarahvanbeckum.com
- Artwork can be seen at Town showroom in The Denver Design Center
Artwork is also available through Slate Gray Gallery in Telluride. slategraygallery.com
- Online at artworknetwork.com
- Elements for design elementsfordesign.net
- Website: sarahvanbeckum.com
- Phone: 303.503.8194
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: svb_art
- Facebook: Sarah Van Beckum
Photos by Sarah Van Beckum and Matt Biscan