Who: Sarah Helen More is a Bend visual artist known for her colorful, elaborately patterned, made from gouache on paper or oils on canvas. More, who holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and BFA in textile design from the Rhode Island School of Design, is currently serving as The Suttle Lodge’s Cabin 8 Artist-in-Residence. The two-week residencies culminate in a public presentation, and More’s takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday. The event is free and open to the public. The lodge is located west of Sisters at 13300 U.S. Highway 20. Contact: thesuttlelodge.com or sarahhelenmore.com.
Q: What are you working on while you’re there?
A: The project that I proposed to them — sometimes when you propose a project for stuff, it kind of changes. I applied to this back at the end of May, and amazingly, what I wanted to work on is still stuck in my head. I’m compiling a catalog. It’s a sketchbook, but it’s a catalog of textures and color palettes, shapes and compositional ideas that I can then take back to my home studio and have stuff to work on for the whole year, is sort of the plan.
Q: That’s cool. Yeah, I was reading your bio on the Suttle Lodge site, and I guess I didn’t realize you started drawing geometric patterns back in — was it in high school?
A: Yeah, so I have a very clear memory of being in the fourth grade and making these geometric coloring pages for myself when the teacher would read to us. And then I did a little bit of geometric abstraction work when I was in college, and then abandoned it for a while. I did the same kind of work when I was in grad school, and then at the tail end of my grad school experience, I abandoned it again, you know, trying to push myself in other directions. But strangely, I just always come back to this, so I sort of figure OK, maybe there’s something there.
Q: What else do you have going on this year?
A: A couple of things that I can’t quite talk about.
Q: Those are always the best ones!
A: Yeah, I’ll keep you posted once I have more clarity. And then I work with an agency in Seattle that licenses my work, so I have a quota that I have to get to them every year, so part of what I’m working on here is going to turn into stuff for them.
Q: What do they in turn do with it?
A: They photograph everything for me — which is awesome — and then they sell high-end reproductions to hotels and restaurants. They have relationships with developers and architects and interior designers. And so I get a percentage of that, which is great. And in exchange all I have to do is paint. I don’t have to do all the selling, which is the part that is not — it’s way out of my comfort zone to do that. That’s been great, but it really keeps me super, super busy because the quota is, it’s not crazy, but considering that I have a full-time day job, getting them 10 paintings a year is a lot.
Q: What is your full-time day job?
A: I am the production manager at Silipint. … I’ve been there for maybe 2½ years. I love it. I love being there. This has been a nice break, but it’s been really hard for me to disconnect, I’m not going to lie (laughs).
Q: What do you plan to present? Are you going to show the sketchbook at the public event?
A: They (Suttle Lodge) have been so amazing. In the lodge, there’s this big, green, wooden table. … I’m going to lay out my sketchbook so that people can go through it, and all the photos that I’ve taken. I’m putting together a small group of painting studies that people will be able to see the connection between the photographs and kind of the abstracted version of what I’m trying to do. I’m hoping that there will be enough stuff to cover the entire table (laughs), so that people kind of have stuff to pick up and look at. I’ve been hiking the lake as much as I can, and just picking up pine cones and doing studies from those. So a lot of that stuff will be there, the tools I’ve been using.
Q: So you’re looking at kind of patterns in nature when you (hike)?
Q: Do you think there’s a perfect pattern or something you’re trying to discover?
A: Maybe! Yeah, who knows. Who knows what it will look like when I’m, like, 80 years old.
— David Jasper, The Bulletin