An Uncommon Artist Who Captures the Soul
By Teresa Ambord
“I see beauty in the details,” said pencil artist Sarah Crumpton. That’s part of why her drawings are often mistaken for photographs.
Crumpton’s art stems from her love of animals. While she draws other subjects, including domestic animals, it’s wildlife that really speaks to her. She looks into their eyes and sees “the light of the soul that God has placed there,” she said. Somehow, she’s able to transfer that “glow of life” onto canvas.
Most recently, a collection of her original colored pencil artwork entitled, “Animals of the World” was featured at the North Valley Art League’s Carter House Gallery last spring. Over the years she’s grown accustomed to being asked, “Is that really a drawing? Did you Photoshop that?” The secret is in the details.
The details are also why she uses pencils. While earning her art degree at Shasta College, Crumpton was exposed to a variety of other mediums. But she found pencil work made it possible to achieve the level of detail that causes people to stop and stare.
The Seeds of Talent
Where did her interest in drawing begin? “Art has been a part of my life since I was old enough to pick up a pencil,” said Crumpton. “I have always had a deep love and respect for God’s creations, and I try to capture that in my artwork.” She believes as Ralph Waldo Emerson did, that one should “never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting.”
Crumpton didn’t develop her technique in expensive art classes. Instead, as a child she began watching Mark Kistler’s “Imagination Station” on TV. From Kistler, she learned what she said was a key lesson — how to shade her drawings, giving them a three-dimensional feel. That may explain why, when you look into the eyes of her creations, the connection to the soul of the animal is evident.
How does she decide what to draw next? Some animals she’s drawn many times because they have a special appeal for her. Others present a welcome challenge because she hasn’t attempted them. Once she knows what animals she wants to draw she starts hunting for a suitable reference photo, and then the magic begins.
Occasionally she will do a drawing by special request, such as someone’s beloved pet. Whatever she draws, her passion for the work makes each piece a stand-out, but for her, drawing wildlife is her wheelhouse.
Anyone who follows Sarah Crumpton on Facebook can occasionally see her work in progress. As a new stage is reached, she shares it with her fans, so they can witness the art come to life. Generally, she says, she has several projects in process at once, a clear sign that this artist’s imagination just can’t sit still very long.
Besides enjoying her on Facebook, you can see more of Crumpton’s work by logging onto the North Valley Art League site at http://www.nval.org/Featured_Artist.html. Or better still, follow her blog, the Gunmetal Garden, at http://www.gunmetalgarden.blogspot.com/.