and a disciplined eye.” ~Dorothy Parker
Since I can remember I have been drawing, doodling, painting, decorating and basically in love with color and patterns. Traveling with my Mom around the country for her board meetings and speaking events I had the chance to visit and revisit art museums in New York, D.C., Chicago, Boston, and more. Once we finished wandering the halls of great art we would bee- line it to the gift shop and I usually picked out a post card or a drawing utensil, anything that I could add to my artistic collection. While my Mom was working I would be under a table at a restaurant drawing, or in a back classroom desk doodling. Below, in two of the childhood drawings that are hanging in the hallway of my parent’s house, you can see my earliest signature, a mirror spelled mark of my first name, SABINA was ANIBAS in my young creative and dyslexic brain.
I am most drawn to pastels above other art mediums, I think partly because it was also a preferred medium by one of my favorite artists Edgar Degas and other impressionists, but also because one of my greatest mentors Sam Taylor gave me my first set of pastels. A wooden box filled with broken chalk pieces, used and worn down from his own artist fingers. It was as if he handed me a box of lost treasure filled with jewels and gold.
When I was 13 I had been taking art classes for about a year from an artist my mother had found for private lessons. I couldn’t remember her name but with a little sleuthing from my Mom we found her, Barbara Coleman, click on her name to visit her website and see her incredible work! Barbara encouraged me to keep working long after I thought I was done with a piece, “there is always more work to create in each piece, challenge yourself to keep going,” she would say when my adolescence would cause me to give up and say “I’m done,” which really meant “I’m bored.” It was one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned about creativity, there is always more work to create, creativity is never truly “done.” That September I entered one of my pieces into the youth art category at the New Mexico State Fair and I won 2nd place! That drawing, titled “Celebration,” still hangs above my father’s recliner in the living room.
When I was in college I realized I had a hard time listening to lectures and found that when I would doodle it would help me focus. Something happened to my brain when I would put pen, pencil or marker to paper and fill the margins and corners of my notebooks. Even recently while in virtual rehearsals and meetings I find myself reaching for scrap paper or envelopes to help keep my mind present and alert. Often times I look at the doodles I created and feel an ancient tie to the designs I’ve seen on sacred ruins in Mexico, petroglyphs in New Mexico or aboriginal artwork I’ve seen from Polynesian and Island cultures. There have been a few times during the early days of the pandemic, when I was surrounded by boxes and piles and pieces of my life while getting ready to move back home, that the early warning signs of a panic attack would rear its wild head. My weapon against this anxiety was to grab my art supplies and journal and began to let my hand lead the way out of the darkness.
Last fall while living in NYC, I took myself to a Blick’s art supply store in the Lower East side and bought a set of pastels and charcoal, a small sketch book and a canvas pouch with Frida blessing the front to put it all in. I went to a Mediterranean restaurant that had a live jazz trio playing, sat at the bar, ordered a glass of red wine and began my first pastel drawing in what probably had been about 10 years. Since then I’ve been slowly working on different pieces, inspired by nature and feelings. In the moments when I begin to feel the dread and worry about the future of my acting career, or the panic from the upcoming election and the pandemic, or the intense sorrow and grief from the many lives lost to the virus and violence, I grab my Frida pouch, sketch book and scatter the pastels out and let my hand lead. The feel of the chalk on my fingertips and the deepness of the colors and the intricateness of the designs begin to soothe my heart and freshen my spirit.
After creating a few pieces over my final weeks living in NYC I was invited to share something creative on the theme of hope by my dear friend Jess Goodwin who created the incredible organization The Major Lift. Below is the video I created that captured this wild and disciplined journey I have reignited in my day to day life.
Most recently, after a few conversations with loved ones, who were encouraging and excited about my work, I decided to take a leap and share my art! Just click on the image below to visit my artist shop on the Society6 platform. If you like what you see click on the “follow” tab to keep up to date with my new artwork and maybe order a piece to share with a loved one. Thank you for reading and I hope you like what you see 🙂
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~Edgar Degas