Sara Midda: My Inspiration
My Number One Inspirational Source For Producing Art
I am wild over Sara Midda's work. In and Out of the Garden and Sara Midda's South of France: A Sketchbook now sit proudly on my livingroom side table. These are two of the books that profile her whimsical line drawings, watercolour paintings, and masterful scans of collaged items.
My dream is to one-day produce books filled with my own works of art and whimsy. There is something so lighthearted about Sara's work, as you will see, and I can only hope to reflect that sense of wonder in the little things of the world. I believe it takes a special perspective to be able to see the quirky side of a pod of peas.
This image is from Workman Publishing. The rest of the images on this site are copyright by me - Teapixie! :)
Who Is Sara Midda?
Born in Brighton, East Sussex, England, Sara Midda published with Workman Publishing. An artist and author, she published In and Out of the Garden and Sara Midda's South of France: A Sketchbook to best-seller acclaim.
She has put brush to paper since she was a wee tot of 2 years old, and her years of work have culminated in published books and stationery, gallery showings in London. Images that she has created even adorn products in Japan. Her work is mentioned alongside the work of Laura Stoddart, another renown British illustrator whose works you can see on Crabtree and Evelyn, and Kate Spade products.
My First Two Sara Midda Books
Do you want to join in my adventure into Sara Midda's quirky world? These books will help get you there.
This was my very first, ever, introduction to Sara Midda's work. In this book she presents an earthy sensibility that reflects a respect for the gems produced in a garden. It is from her work in this book that I first began to realize the close relationship between scientific observation and artistic observation. Pick this book up when you want to feel good.
I already wanted to go to France, before picking up this book. After I bought this book I wanted to go to France with all of my painting and drawing supplies. I want to rent a small space in a tiny village and have the opportunity to discover it's beauty and reflect it in my work. This is another feel-good publication.
How Has My Work Been Influnced?
One of the elements that I appreciate in Sara Midda's work is her light hand. What I mean by this is that she takes a very simple approach to producing her work. A combination of her simple drawings and the feather-light watercolour tints creates a sense of air in her work - it means that there is room for the viewer to breathe while also being slowly enveloped by the curiosity her tiny lines and carefully crafted typography evokes.
In my own work, a piece you can see above, I can say that I am now giving myself permission to create work that breathes. For many years I was only painting in acrylics, employing the Old Masters technique. While I produced paintings that I love and hang on my own walls, they feel very heavy to me now. Perhaps it is a combination of years of learning and years of living that have brought me to a place where I would like to produce lightness. It is Sara's work that inspires me to move further in this direction. I am still producing acrylic paintings, but my focus is on Air, Sky, Ocean, and Land.
Books & Stationery For New Parents
Perhaps it is the combination of writing, typography, and artwork that Sara produces which drew me to her work. I have had a love for words and art since I was quite young. My Mom and I made up words, which turned into our own little language. I have to admit, it made many people crazy to converse with us because they couldn't stand the wonky words we made up. But Mom also introduced me to art. I remember her being asked to draw larger than life models on 8 foot high sheets for a local fashion show; she picked up charcoal and just began to draw. It was exceptional. She had always been creative and imaginative, but I had never seen her translate her skills into something so tangible. It inspired me to explore art.
I can see my work developing further to reflect my love of languages, my interest in typography, and my joy in creating art.
More Sara Midda!
I guess I just love her perspective.
The piece you see here is really quite simple. I developed it, and all of the other images in this article, for use in etching on metal to create bracelets. It was so exciting to take my very first etching class and to learn about the chemical processes involved to etch my hand drawn images onto metal. It feels so permanent to see my artwork transformed in this way.
I have the joy of painting and creating with others, and sometimes even sharing and receiving a piece of advice or two. What I think this little piece of work above represents is the idea that ANYONE can create art. The greatest gift I have given myself is the permission to create without limitations. There is no right or wrong, no good line or bad line. But there is the opportunity to express and communicate.
I believe that the real reason I am so inspired by Sara Midda is that her work represents the whimsical world of a child, where lines on paper happen because they just do, and art is not something that you learn - you just do. Many people do not understand just how simple it really is to create. Personal limitations are just that, personal, and we have the choice to let them slip away....
Do a Little Calligraphy Yourself
I am dedicated to my calligraphy pen. I used it to create all of the images in this article.
Travel Water Colour Paints: Find Your Special Colour
I travel everywhere with my water colour paints. There is nothing like being able to catch that incredible blue of the sky on your latest landscape. I have discovered that there are a wide variety of versions of water colour paints and I have yet to use one that was unsatisfactory.
If you have never painted with water colours, my first word of guidance is this: think about what does not need to be painted. White is drawn from the water colour paper, not from white paint, when painting with water colour paints. It took me a few years to really understand how to express the essence of air in a water colour painting and using the background to your advantage before you even start painting is crucial. Secondly, you can remove water colour paint from your paper using water and a dry paintbrush.
So many people tell me that they hate watercolours because they feel they are inflexible. I beg to differ. I have had enormous success with removing mountains of mistakes when using watercolours. Yes - lots of mistakes. And that is probably the third thing I want you to think about: how to use mistakes to your advantage. This is not a self-help note, although I suppose it could be, but an opportunity to give yourself permission to make mistakes and permission to turn those mistakes into opportunities on your canvas.
In the end, it is just paint on paper. Why beat yourself up so much? Water colour paints are quite easy to use - just add water - and just remove your self-criticism. In the end, you cannot link your self-esteem to paint on paper. It just isn't fair! Instead, look at painting with water colours as a form of exploration, exploration of the freedom to express without limits. Imagine - painting with a cheap, tiny palette of paints can give you insight into stress-free living!
Paper, Paper, Paper
It's no good to have pen and paints if you don't have any paper. I like taking along small books of great paper. I end up writing notes, making grocery lists, and even doing calligraphy and painting. Go figure? :)
The world of water colour paper can seem intimidating, when standing in front of shelves of paper of different sizes, different weights, and created using different processes. Do you use hot or cold? Do you buy small in your pocket or massive books? Does the poundage really matter? If you are really worried about all those things, I suggest you get involved in a water colour painting course - there are many different courses, at different levels, available at community centres. If you just want to get your paint on paper...buy the cheapest stuff available. I am not picky about my paper, unless I am aiming to create a particular type of feel to my painting. I will even create my own paper - it's pretty easy:
- Rip up a mix of old paper - news paper, writing paper, computer paper, tissue, etc.
- Put it into a blender (one that you will never use for food) with twice as much water as paper
- Add a tablespoon of cornstarch to 7 cups of water/paper mush
- Once it has been blended, consider adding things like flower petals, fine threads - actually, at this point, add anything that won't go bad, so don't add food!
- Pour the mush into a wide, flat bucket
- Add additional water
- Make a screen using a fine mesh (like the stuff for screen doors) stapled to a picture frame that is smaller than the flat bucket. Run the screen through the water, picking up an even amount of paper mush.
- Place the frame on a tea towel and soak out the water
- Once the paper has had about 70% of the water removed, lift it off of the screen and hang it to dry using clothes pegs on a line.
- It is best to do this outside on a sunny day!
Tell us all about your passion and where it comes from. I'd love to hear about it - maybe it will be a new influence in my life or in the lives of others who will read what you write. Thank you so much for dropping by.