Artist Sarah Graham creates bright and colourful paintings of food that could be described as ‘still life’, however many of her paintings focus on wrappers, sweets and desserts.
Sarah Graham is a British painter, born in 1977. Her artwork is often painted on a large scale using oil paint, giving her beautiful paintings a rich, deep and vivid finish.
Sarah Graham often chooses compositions (layouts) that show a small section of the subject (sweets, wrappers etc.) in focus, with the background out of focus. Why do you think this is? What effect does blurring the background give the work?
If you look very carefully at Sarah Graham’s paintings, you will notice a huge range of tones. There are a lot of very dark and very light, almost white colours. The use of tints and shades in her work makes them seem more realistic.
She tries to capture all of the crinkles, creases and reflections in the wrappers. Adding all of these details and textures to her paintings also makes them more realistic; they could be described as hyper-realistic.
How many reflections and textures can you see in the painting ‘Candy Carnival’ above?
I have shared art lessons for observational drawing (sweet wrappers) here – enjoy!
Sweets, cakes and desserts are bright and colourful to make them look more attractive – so the subjects Sarah Graham chooses to paint allow her to use bright, radiant and intensely coloured oil paints. Oil paints give a real depth of colour, as you can see in her work. They are very good for blending from one colour to another and they create a bold, luminous finish.
What materials do you need to create artwork like Sarah Graham?
Painting like Sarah Graham takes a lot of practise – so get going! I recommend using high quality oil paints for rich, deep colours. A good set of brushes with different tips will allow you to get crisp edges and blend tones. A good linseed oil is essential if you want to blend colours smoothly.
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DOWNLOAD this page below, for free, as an Artist Research handout to use in your lesson. It includes all of the facts and images, and has questions for students to answer.
Sarah Graham has a lot of great videos on her YouTube channel, check them out!
What do you think of Sarah Graham’s artwork? How could you describe it? Does it make you hungry? Let me know in the comments!