My art making journey has taken many forms, beginning with an early discovery of mixed media figurative drawings using a technique I created during University: a combination of water, dye, conte, ink and graphite, progressing to colourful paintings and later murals. I would sometimes place the female figure on the ground over a cross or in a birthing position, suggesting the cycle of life. At this time, (1991) I travelled to 13 European countries, documenting the trip with watercolour sketches. This fascination with the human figure later emerged in paintings and drawings which portray a personal journey out of an abusive marriage, synthesizing male dominance and male sexual addiction. It led to an interest in human trafficking, being sensitive to victims across the globe. I began my journey toward painting by incorporating impressionistic techniques such as pointillism and colour induction then applied traditional Dutch and Italian methods of glazing to convey realism and depth. I replayed my interest in music, by cropping musical instruments in interesting ways, abstracting them and painting them brightly for effect. These paintings formed a band or orchestra and often creep up in my subject matter from time to time. Later on, as the work progressed, I began combining sexual imagery into the musical instruments. I have also been able to apply my painting ability to exterior murals where time, weather, physical strength, management and creativity become necessary. Scale is something I have always enjoyed. I like painting big and bold, with bright colours on a large canvas or wall in complete abandon. Since I minored in history, murals have been a natural fit for me. I love going into a community, digging through archives and designing a mural to reflect the past, present and future.
I have been creating art for 31 years. I was born and raised in Burlington, Ontario attended Holy Rosary Catholic Elementary School and Assumption High School. I have spent 21 years art making in Manitoba and 10 years in Hamilton, Ontario. Passion motivates me, my Christian beliefs focus me and a strong work ethic keeps me going. I began producing art on a numerous scale once I let things that infuriate me, come out onto the canvas. I also made it my goal to create one body of work annually and I rented a gallery, invited guests and promoted the event at my expense. I used the canvas as a sounding board, depicting things I did not understand. When I worked things out on the canvas, I was much more driven to find answers. My Christian beliefs are strong and God has kept me and my children through this entire process. A passion for prayer and worship has helped me approach God in the midst of uncertainty, building on the ruins, appreciating God’s provision, faithfulness and those around me.
I would say that the one female artist who has been the most influential to me has been Diana Thorneycroft. Her content and manner of dealing with subject matter is very inspiring to me. Her camouflage series of photographs (exhibited at the National Gallery in Ottawa) mixed the female form with male anatomy, dolls, armoury supplies and ‘stuff’. It seemed to me that it was layered with imagery (memories) and it made me think of containment, innocence and confusion. I related to the complexity of the work. It was the first time I saw a woman deal with her life in such an honest way. Diana’s photographs made me reflect on my own experiences and make parallels to my own work. It helped me embrace my past, the things that ailed me and put them on canvas. Shawna Jackson-Osatchuk of Osoyoos, British Columbia wrote in 2011, after viewing an exhibition of my paintings at the Cre8ery Gallery in Winnipeg; “You are so talented … but so much more. The pain you have endured in your life and the subsequent healing which you have allowed in your life, really shows on the canvas. Your work is so brave and vulnerable. Your art is so powerful and tells so many empowering and healing stories. You are opening people’s eyes to reality and demanding change.” Bill Shwaluk, owner of Casa Bed and Breakfast in Brandon, Manitoba wrote in 2010 after seeing KISS; an exhibition of musical paintings, “ Art and music are very important in my life. Yet never in my life was I ever overcome by such strong emotions while viewing paintings as what happened yesterday. My heart really went out to a real human person not just an artist. Her work tore so deeply into my life’s hardships and successes I did not know was possible.”
Photo by Mike Latschislaw [cropped]
Sarah Collard is a Canadian artist in mid-career, painting murals mostly in Manitoba and Ontario, extending to other provinces. She enjoyed the productivity birthed from her studios located on James Street North in Hamilton, Blinc Studios in Toronto, the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, a home based studio in Millgrove, Ontario and currently in Morris, Manitoba. For 25 years, Collard has exhibited at various galleries in Ontario and Manitoba. She is a graduate from the University of Waterloo (BFA), Nipissing University (BED) and Sheridan College (Computer Graphics). She draws, paints and teaches. Sarah has been the recipient of various awards; The Murals of Winnipeg, Mural of the Year Award in 2009, 2010 and 2015, two Judges Choice Awards (Burlington Fine Arts Association) and a Manitoba Arts Council Grant. Collard began selling her artwork at the Green Brier Art Gallery in the Swan River Valley, Manitoba and it has been great to watch her progress into Winnipeg, Toronto, Hamilton and Quebec. She worked as an Artist in the Schools with Manitoba Arts Council and gained experience as a visual arts educator, teaching for many public and private schools in Manitoba. Collard began studying towards a Masters in Education at the University of Manitoba. She has served on the Manitoba Association of Arts Education and the Burlington Fine Arts Association. Sarah Collard is a prolific artist. Over the past eight years, she has produced over 100 drawings, 100 paintings and 50 murals throughout Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Collard is a mother of two and she is having a grand time mentoring them; passing art-making onto the next generation, travelling, singing and listening to music!