Blank Slate: New Thoughts, works by Sara Vanderkleed
October 5, 2018 – February 10, 2019
Sara Vanderkleed was born and raised in Morrison, Illinois and was artistic from a young age. She recalls loving crafts and would sometimes get in trouble for “wasting paper” with her drawings. She was also given a watercolor set as a child but never knew how to paint with them until she took a class in her thirties. Vanderkleed focussed on business in college, graduating from Trinity Christian College near Chicago with a degree in business administration, but it was during her time in college where she began to feel the need to formally explore her creativity. Vanderkleed found herself taking art classes between accounting and management courses.
Vanderkleed left school with these experiences in her back pocket as she moved to Lafayette, Indiana to raise a family. Upon seeing an ad for a watercolor class at a local community center, her artistic journey truly began. “I was a busy homeschooling mom of four at the time,” explains Vanderkleed. “Looking back, I’m not sure what came over me to take that class, but perhaps I needed an outlet that took me out of the house. I invited a friend to join me and we loved it!” She began painting watercolor landscapes and florals reminiscent of the Indiana countryside that surrounded her studio. Her growth over time led her back to an abstract style in acrylic, to which she always innately gravitated. She employs techniques that involve layering and scratching the acrylic paint. She builds paint up and then works back through the painting by taking paint away. She also utilizes both subtle and vivid colors, and loves how one mark could change the composition entirely.
Vanderkleed’s work has earned acclaim, reaching international and public collectors. She was awarded the 2001 Purchase Award at theHoosier Salon Annual Exhibit show, the 2007 WVWS third place award, and the Best of Category in the 2010 Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff. As a part of the Celebration of Hoosier Women Artists’, Vanderkleed’s work was chosen to hang in the office of the Indiana Lt. Governor’s’ Office for two separate years.
Vanderkleed remains dedicated and passionate about her artistic work.For her, it’s about inspiring others and getting people to stop and look.Vanderkleed’s work invites the viewer to take a moment out of life and time to get lost in a painting.“I think this quote by Paul Klee says it well,” explains Vanderkleed, “‘The painter should not paint what he sees, but what will be seen.’”
I’m pleased to share this new body of work with the Lafayette area. This is my first local exhibit since I left Artists’ Own in April 2017 to pursue other opportunities and spend time with my grandkids. Since then, I have begun exploring color to design a new palette. This exhibition features that lighter and fresher palette.
My process begins with building up a very light/neutral background with layers on the boards (blank slate) and then adding color a little at a time. Some titles are inspired by nature. The orange orb shapes in “The Sun Makes Its Circuit” reminds me of the motion of the sun throughout the day, and the warm glow of the morning or evening sun.
“New Thoughts” share some of my emotional and spiritual approach to living life. For example, “Faded Mercies” is about how I appreciate/recognize a mercy as a gift. A mercy might be a tangible or intangible generosity from God, a friend, or even a stranger. But over time the value of that mercy fades. I’d like to think I won’t forget or take it for granted, but I do.
I hope you enjoy the exhibit and thank you for coming.