YOUR STORY: Sara Dreshcher Braswell

This is a really exciting "Your Story" post because it's my first time to "meet" and interview a local painter! I admire and respect Sara so much and I dream to someday be a painter full time like she is! I've heard her name so many times and seen her beautiful art in local shows and today I can't wait for you to hear her story! Enjoy!

1. Sara, your paintings are incredible! How did you get into painting?  
I have been painting and drawing since I was little.  I have this innate desire to be creative. I believe I have been given a gift and I love to use it!

2. When did you know you'd make painting into a career? Were you scared or excited?  
My parents always supported my art, but in High School I debated among several career ideas because I didn’t know if I could really make a living being an artist.  I just didn’t feel passionate about anything but art in the end, so I studied art in college and got my BFA from the University of North Texas.  I went in wanting to be a professional artist, but I was definitely nervous.  They didn’t teach us how to make a career out of being an artist.  I listened carefully to how the professors talked about dealing with galleries, etc.  At one point I started down the graphic design track since it seemed more likely to get me a job, but my heart was in the studio so I switched back.
When I graduated, I took a design job with a company that made quilts and wrought iron furniture.  Weird, huh?  They ended up sending me all over the US doing trade shows and selling.  I am NOT a sales person and although I was successful, I was really unhappy.  So, I called my parents and told them I wanted to quit and paint.  They have always been very supportive of my work and told me they had my back!  So, I took some time to create an inventory of paintings.  When my lease was up in Dallas, I moved back to Midland.  At that time, the cost of living was very low and I had a lot of contacts here.  I started doing portraits, murals, and teaching kids and never looked back!

3. What goes into each painting? (Inspiration to Sale!)  
Well, the idea is key.  Sometimes, I use a series to dictate the direction of the work(for example The Armor of God or the Seven Deadly Sins).  If I don’t have a clear series, I am inspired by an idea, scripture or image.  When I have my idea, I sketch it out to get the composition and rendering the way I want it. Then, I transfer my sketch to watercolor paper or canvas.  People often ask me how long a painting takes.  It really depends.  I can spend weeks or months on it depending on how much time I have to devote to it and how detailed it is.  I also like to step away from a painting especially if I think it’s finished.  Giving my eyes and mind a break from a painting allows me to have fresh perspective and see things I hadn’t seen before, to fix something, or determine that it really is finished.  I photograph each work myself to get a high resolution image that I use for my portfolio, website and to make reproductions. Writing a little about each work is the finishing touch for each work.    I sell my paintings from my website, email newsletters, and at exhibitions and art festivals.  I have an art festival coming up in March in Ft. Worth, TX

4. Describe "a day in the life"....  
I am so blessed to get to work from home!!  I start my day with breakfast and some Bible study time.  Then, I get on social media and try to post on Facebook and Twitter or write a blog post.  I update my website and the artist coop website.  I usually have a couple of errands to run like mailing something for a client, a client meeting, picking up some supplies or making a delivery.  Then, it’s just spending as much time in the studio as I can.  For most of the year, I teach after school art lessons for kids about 3 times a week, so I am also preparing curriculum and setting up for that.  In the evenings, I love to unwind with TV and movies.  If I have free time, I am at Barnes and Noble, a used bookstore, the library or an antique mall.

5. What advice would you give a painter who is hoping to someday become a full-time artist? (like me!)  
You must have confidence in what you are doing and also be business savvy.  Find something you can do that people want; I do a lot of portraits to pay the bills.  Also, talk to other artists and get as much training and education you can.  It will show in your work.  Be able to talk about your work and why you create what you create.  Also, make sure you have a good range of offerings for people interested in your work like note cards, reproductions and originals. Not everyone can afford an original but they love your work and want to support what you do.  Also when a popular original sells, it can have a new life in reproductions.

6. Your paintings are full of beautiful symbolism, tell us about that...
Thank you!  I started using symbolism in college and it soon started reflecting my spiritual life.  I feel like I was given an artistic gift and I am so thrilled that I can incorporate my faith and my art.  Frequently at shows, people are touched by my paintings.  There is no better feeling!

7. Do you ever have a painting disaster? If so, what do you do? How do you keep going after feeling discouraged?  
Oh, yes!  Usually, it’s because I was forcing a painting.  What I mean is that I was trying to create a painting without having my heart into it.  Another way I might have  a disaster is the nature of the medium I love.  Watercolor is cruel and unforgiving sometimes.  Once you paint that color on the paper, there is no going back.  With acrylic and oil, you can paint over an area and fix the problem.  Not so with watercolor.  That is why I draw out my painting first.  I have had to tear up many a painting.  Sometimes I start over and try again (if I have saved my initial sketch) and sometimes I just chalk it up to a learning experience.  I mourn the time lost more than the painting.

8. If someone wants to request a painting or buy a print, how can they contact you?  
You can contact me through my website: www.artbysaradb.com , email: sara(at)artbysaradb.com and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtbySaraDB

Thanks again Sara!!!

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