Sarah Ollerenshaw is an artist with a background in fine art restoration. She studied Spanish and History of Art at Birmingham University and then took a postgraduate diploma at Christie's Education which in turn led to an apprenticeship in restoration and conservation. Throughout her studies and restoration work she has always painted and is largely self - taught. Despite her love for restoration it became clear that her passion for paint was moving in to a more personal direction and Sarah welcomed the gradual shift of being able to spend more time in her Wimbledon studio. Whilst concentrating on her own art she also embraced a two-year stint as artist in residence at Kensington Prep where she devised and taught history of art related projects to the children. She now paints full time and is a mother to two wonderful teenagers.
‘There is something very evocative of childhood about a bluebell wood - I think one never forgets the first walk, seeing and smelling a bluebell wood for the first time…my paintings are meant to take you back to experience that delight and wonder one felt on first experiencing the woods in all their glory!
One of my earliest childhood memories is singing, ‘In and out of the dusty bluebells’ whilst holding hands with my grandmother and sister and dancing and weaving through a weeping willow in her garden. Whenever I see bluebells I think of that song; I remember a wonderful grandmother who championed me and I think of that happy memory which though now only fleeting, will always be etched firmly in my mind.
My paintings hopefully resonate and inspire for a moment a spiritual transportation away from the busyness of life to another place where one feels at peace and connected. They recall those with whom we have ‘journeyed’ be they from the past or present and remind us of all that is important in order that we may feel alive, rooted and inspired by creation.’
Sarah’s paintings are worked loosely from photographs in her studio. They are executed with intensity and vigour using painterly bold marks, scratches and a range of palette knives. Her increasing interest is in how paint moves and how, depending on its placement, colour can either sing or disappear. The desired effect is a tension between abstraction yet achieving a photographic edge – something emotionally painterly yet real.
The colourful rhythmic poetry and balance of her work combined with the workmanship results in paintings of artistic integrity that inspire emotional connections between the past and present.