A light from the back of the bike store shines into the showroom, gleaming on the metal spokes and handles.
From outside the shop window, artist Sarah Yeoman takes a mental picture of it and heads back to her studio, Crow Hollow in Ashland, to paint. She captures such moments and then spends hours painting them into still lifes, abstracts, and landscapes.
“It’s what I explore the most,” Yeoman said, commenting on why she chose painting over the other outlets of expression she’s used. She tried being a singer/songwriter, sculptor, and a jeweler before she found her calling in watercolor. Yeoman attended Kutztown University, and she also studied art, music, metalsmithing and painting and Penland Craft School in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
For her, painting is the most expressive method of showing her true colors.
“As soon as I picked up the brush and watercolor, I felt like I really understood the medium,” she said. “But it depends on the day of the week and what I’m working on.”
Sometimes, she needs just a small amount of time to create. The painting “Last Magnolias Standing,” which Yeoman executed with acrylics, was finished in 40 minutes and posted to her blog.
“Whenever you come into the studio, you have your fingers crossed,” Yeoman said. “You have good days and bad days. I just dive in, and have to beat it with a stick.”
But not all of her time is spent with her own work. She teaches small painting classes at her studio, demonstrating before the entire class and then working with each person individually.
“Some people listen and you see them glow,” Yeoman said. “I try to be very supportive but not sugarcoat stuff. I found people struggle with painting.”
Some days, she’ll paint based on who has influenced her, such as Georgia O’Keefe for flower paintings and abstracts and Winslow Homer for watercolors. Other days, she’ll do something interesting with other people. Last November, she invited other painters and a photographer to “Meditations on the Lotus.” There, she asked people to paint based on a meditative quality of artists’ interpretation.
She also makes time to work with other painters without instructors or instructing and recently returned from a sojourn painting in the peaceful Adirondacks region.
“I just got back from an event I did for Plein Air magazine, which was the Publisher’s Invitational Paint Out for Adirondacks on June 20,” she said. “It’s just wonderful watching other people paint.” She plans to return to the Adirondacks in July to give a week-long workshop. But Yeoman prefers to work in her own studio.
“The studio is a very telling place,” she says.