sarahWinkler

In the Studio with Sarah Winkler

Re-Posted from The Lovely View by Julia Rymer

Julia Rymer is an abstract painter and writer based in Colorado, where she creates work inspired by nature, science, and color theory. Learn more at juliarymer.com.

 


Golden aspen leaves fluttering in the wind. Water flowing across a granite rock bed. A crystal clear mountain lake reflecting a pure blue sky. The moment of totality during a solar eclipse. Refining these moments in nature down to their core, artist Sarah Winkler then amplifies them in her bold abstract paintings.

 

 Eclipse Shadow Bands, 30x60" on the Easel

Eclipse Shadow Bands, 30x60" on the Easel

 Alpen Glow, 58x58″

Alpen Glow, 58x58″

Winkler’s abstract landscapes offer a contemporary viewpoint of the Western landscape. Her approach to pictorial space references the tradition of American landscape painting, echoing the expansiveness of paintings by artists like Albert Bierstadt. She distills the essence of a landscape’s qualities, or, as she describes it, “Getting down to the basic properties of landscape– that’s what I am trying to simulate.” Though at first glance her pieces appear simplified, they could not be less so; a sophisticated creative process builds intriguing geological textures and layers into each work.

 

 Red Rocks, 48x48"

Red Rocks, 48x48"

Winkler’s process begins with what she describes as “disposable experiments.” Ink and acrylic are manipulated on Mylar and Duralar surfaces with alcohol and solvents to simulate the natural patterns she observes in the environment.

 “Disposable experiments” with ink on duralar to echo the effect of light reflecting through aspen trees.

“Disposable experiments” with ink on duralar to echo the effect of light reflecting through aspen trees.

 Winkler’s extensive library of experiments are kept in flat files in her studio.

Winkler’s extensive library of experiments are kept in flat files in her studio.

 Freshly designed and printed papers waiting for transformation into landscapes of collage   

Freshly designed and printed papers waiting for transformation into landscapes of collage

 

 Miniature Landscapes in collage. Studies for large scale painting

Miniature Landscapes in collage. Studies for large scale painting

She pushes her medium to the limit, translating the spontaneity of paint into the processes and effects of erosion, accretion and reflection. These patterns are then scanned into the computer and printed on to archival paper, which she collages on small panels to build the composition. Once the landscape’s design is finalized, she draws it onto large-scale wood panels, mixes a palette of colors and hand paints each section individually.

 Diamond Ring Effect, Collage with artist-made textural imagery printed on archival paper on painted panel. 10x10"

Diamond Ring Effect, Collage with artist-made textural imagery printed on archival paper on painted panel. 10x10"

 Totality Palette: a specially mixed collection of desaturated colors for the Eclipse Light series.

Totality Palette: a specially mixed collection of desaturated colors for the Eclipse Light series.

 Detail of a recent painting inspired by the Great American Solar Eclipse. Soft, muted grays are tinged with flashes of color to enliven the largely monochromatic palette.   

Detail of a recent painting inspired by the Great American Solar Eclipse. Soft, muted grays are tinged with flashes of color to enliven the largely monochromatic palette.

 

A recent trip to view totality during the Great American Solar Eclipse in Wyoming serves as the subject matter for her latest body of work. Based on her perception of color during the moment of totality, these mostly black and white monochromatic Wyoming landscapes are infused with flashes of color, including yellows, pale blues and greens, browns, and soft pinks.  Winkler challenged herself to create depth and warmth in the textures and color palette of each piece. “From the eclipse I learned how to desaturate, but the color is still there,” she says. “I use a million grays, mixing up or down. ” Bold contrasts of light and dark shapes are balanced by the subtle hues within her multitude of grays.

 

 

 The Black Haus / Winkler Haus

The Black Haus / Winkler Haus

Nestled at a 9k peak in a stunning mountain setting in Morrison, Colorado, Winkler’s home studio overlooks the same grand vistas that inspire her work. She shares her life with husband Jason and an assortment of forest friends and dogs. An avid hiker and swimmer, she exhibits her artwork throughout the Western United States.