“Painting is something I have enjoyed for as long as I can remember. I began selling my art as a teenager and maintained commission work throughout college. In 2007, I graduated from The University of Mississippi where I attained a BFA in painting. Anxious to continue working towards a career in art, I chose to move back to my hometown, Mobile, AL, where I had begun establishing myself as a working artist. I opened a studio in a high traffic area and taught art lessons in addition to painting. Years later but just up the road, my home studio in Mobile is where I am painting almost daily. My husband and I have two young children who became an unpredictable influence on my art. I am in the throes of motherhood while holding on to an embedded fixation for painting. The balance of these two worlds is the basis for my current art, both aesthetically and conceptually.

Sarah Otts posing with her paintings

As an artist and a mother, I have found a fulfilling way to let my two most impassioned roles coexist and thrive from each other. Never before have I felt this compelled to wake up everyday and make art. On the same note, painting, for me, has become a lucid retreat for clarity in a hectic and competitive world. What keeps me ambitious about art is still the notion that there are endless ways to create and express. However, I have come to understand that the fuel to the fire is nothing more than hard work in the studio and commitment to painting on a regular basis. And, in addition to that, experience has taught me that artistic discoveries happen when I do what I love wholeheartedly. Whether I am painting or spending time with my family, I am always keeping tabs on emotional reactions that can influence my art.

Sarah Ott's son having fun painting for the gallery

Throughout my process, I use a variety of tools to make gestural, reactive and impulsive marks encouraging me to create without inhibitions. In addition to energetic line work, I focus on building layers to establish rich depth and dynamic fluctuations between tonal value, color and texture. With paint and concept, I refer to the delicate balance between contrasting elements. I seek out unpredictable combinations, but create ways for one element to enhance the other.

Nap time at Sarah Ott's Studio

Originality in art has become a topic that I feel very strongly about. I believe in creating original work by finding inspiration from within my own heart. Essentially, my process comes down to allowing my hand and heart to work together, avoiding the restrictions of analysis and fear. The way I see it, no two individuals have the same emotions, experiences, passions or even the same handwriting. When you look at it this way, we are all equipped to create artwork that is as unique and as one-of-a-kind as each person on the planet. Therefore, I work hard to generate art that is free of wrongful influences, false pretenses or anything less than true and real. My paintings reflect what is behind my consciousness and reproduce the emotions that my mind cannot articulate. Understanding who I am and what makes me unique starts with being honest with myself. Knowing how I truly feel allows me to grasp those obscure, fleeting feelings, and turn them into something physical; a painting that is emotionally and visually stimulating.”

Sarah at work in her studio.

Getting the perfect shot in natural light.

When you’re wired with a heighten visual sense; design obsessions are everywhere! I’m totally captivated by the expressiveness of high fashion! Whether I’m painting or pulling an outfit together- I’m really into mixing unpredictable combinations that create something completely unique. I’ve never been one to blend in.

The lady that started it all! Beth Compton was my high school art teacher who looked me in the eye at age 15 and told me I would be a professional artist one day and people would know my name. I’ll never forget that moment. After that, I never thought twice about the career I had planned. She tearfully reminded me that I am living my dream every day, and we laughed about how ridiculously obsessed I was with art- even back then when boys and parties are the top of the priority list. (Not that I wasn’t into that too). Thank you Mrs Compton for your many years devoted to teaching and the passion you managed to instill in stubborn teenagers!”

Sarah reunites with her high school art teacher!

A wide selection of Sarah Ott’s original works of art are available at Gallery Vibe in Naples, Florida throughout the year.