Hampstead artist Sara Davis is an abstract expressionist. Born and raised in Texas, she was home-schooled from kindergarten through graduation of high school. At various points growing up, she and her parents had the chance to travel for her father's work which afforded her a chance to gain a colorful and varied experience of life. Her father worked for various companies in the oil field and aircraft fields.
"As a child, I was always encouraged to think, question, create, believe in dreams, pursue the beautiful,” Davis recalled. “My mom is a very talented miniaturist and artist and my father could draw incredibly well. ... I was very lucky to be surrounded by the creative."
In 2003, when Davis was 15 years old, she began to paint in the abstract expressionist style. While feeling the need for new ideas and ways of thought, Davis happened upon a song titled "Drops of Jupiter" by Train. Its lyrics inspired her and soon she discovered Jackson Pollock, Basquiat, and Willem de Kooning. She has been painting ever since.
Abstract expressionism is an American art movement focusing on spontaneous creation that expressed emotions and universal themes. The paintings are devoid of identifiable images. Clyfford Still, the first artist to work in the abstract expressionist style in the 1940s, retired to New Windsor.
Davis uses acrylics for her paintings, preferring how they blend and can be given texture.
“It can be shaped into anything you want, at least for me in abstract. It's adaptable and fluid,” she explained.
Although Davis did not take any formal art classes, she was inspired by a visit she made in 2005 to the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. She lets the paint be her teacher.
“I have always taken an organic approach to my artwork. I try to let the colors have a voice. I'm there to give them motion. I don't think there can be a right and wrong in abstract art, it's very subjective,” she said.
Davis is most often motivated by whim while painting, although she finds a link between spirituality and abstract art.
“There are certain messages I'm hoping to get across with my art — the idea we're all connected, from the smallest insect to humans and beyond. We should treat each other with nothing but love. If we're all connected, why not love? There would no longer be boundaries between us as humans," Davis said.
For example, one of her paintings is titled "The Everything and the Nothing." The piece is an acrylic painting on gallery wrapped canvas. Its design is similar to patchwork.
“My spiritual master is Avatar Meher Baba,” Davis said. “He said that the one real reality is that we are one collective soul encompassing all of life. Our goal as humans is to realize this consciously, which we're all destined to accomplish. It's just that our minds get hung up on focusing on the material, the fleeting, that we end up veiling ourselves from who and what we truly are.
“We just think there are boundaries between us, but they're only an illusion. The patchwork represents the layers of illusion through which we get caught. There is a base of black on the canvas, under the patchwork. The black represents the true reality — all colors blended as one."
Music also plays an inspiration for art. Another piece, titled “We're All Forgiven,” was created while she was listening to The Who, a band she often plays as the soundtrack to her creative process.
Davis and her husband Mark are both musicians who enjoy writing and recording at home. She enjoys dabbling in all instruments and has a website with her music available online. Sara Davis plays the penny whistle, which was the first instrument she learned. The penny whistle is an Irish wind instrument, called so because they could once be purchased for a penny. She's currently focusing on piano and drums as her instruments of choice.
Currently, four of her paintings are being displayed for sale at The KarmaFest Trading Post in Hampstead.
"My hope for my art is to simply inspire — go out and love endlessly, help people if you can, protect animals, care for the Earth. Art can unite us, and it can be thought-provoking, so those are the thoughts I hope people will dig," Davis said.