Artist of the Week 64
Creating an original still life painting is a daunting task. The genre has been a favorite with artists for centuries, and, as a result, museums and galleries are filled with paintings of flowers, fruits and other by-now overly familiar objects.
Sadie Valeri’s response to this is to combine traditional subject matter- pitchers, shells bottles- with a contemporary material not normally associated with fine art: wax paper. “I was drawn to the material because I could twist and crush the transparent paper to create dynamic environments for the antique bottles and pitchers I collect,” she says. Valeri has produced a series of works featuring wax paper, for which she’s received impressive critical acclaim.
Sadie Valeri is an internationally recognized oil painter and art instructor based in San Francisco. Valeri’s approach to painting is straightforward.
“I paint realistic light effects supported by a structural analysis of form,” she says. Combining an impressionist’s sensitivity to color with an engineer’s grasp of function allows her to “unlock the beauty of the objects” she paints. The artist does her visual analysis through drawing- her favorite part of the painting process- which allows her to “study every form, reverse-engineer all the shapes and analyze the behavior of the light.”
This close observation is the key to her paintings’ convincing realism.
While Valeri has mastered the methods of alla prima and direct painting techniques, her most captivating works are done in the indirect style. “With indirect painting, I paint many thin layers, about three layers of monochromatic underpainting and as many as four to six more layers of color. This helps me achieve very realistic effects and a very fine level of detail.”
Valeri’s painting process is detailed and time-consuming. A small (9×12″ or 11×14″) still life requires roughly a month of work from initial drawing to finished painting. “When I teach my process to students, they’re sometimes mystified as to why we go through all the different steps and stages; painting directly seems easier to them,” she says. “It’s at the end of the process, when there are ah-has all around the studio as students achieve levels of realism they never thought they were capable of, that they start to understand how powerful this process can be.”
Contact Lily Pad Gallery West for information on pricing and to view additional works by Sadie Valeri.
To learn more about Sadie Valeri and to view her expanded portfolio, visit her website: