Sally Lancaster is a Devon-based artist who specialises in figurative art. She is largely self-taught, and her paintings focus on movement, muscle, motion and tone.
She recently appeared on the global TV show Colour in your Life, which takes an in-depth look at her paintings and shows Sally at work in her studio. The programme also looks at how artists, in general, manage the ongoing process of selling their work.
One thing that’s made clear in the show is that great painting takes time and patience. So, looking at Sally’s art in a bit more detail, we show you what’s involved when artists go through the creative and artistic process.
Having started her career painting pet portraits, Sally moved on to focus on equestrian art - predominantly studies of racing, dressage and polo horses that were captured in motion to highlight muscle tone and light and shade.
In recent years, however, she has moved away from equine art to focus more on figurative studies, which includes dancers. Again, like horses, the human body enables her to capture motion and form, as well as light and shade.
To enhance the figurative form, Sally captures bodies in ‘stretched’ or elongated poses, which really enhances their build and highlights the detail and honed musculature of the subject’s body. Not only that, but the fact that Sally portrays figures mid-movement really makes the viewer want to imagine what they’re going to do next.
In order to capture the movement and muscle of her subjects, Sally holds a photoshoot in a local theatre hall and, through the use of blackout blinds, she puts the space into darkness in order to control the light source and enhance the variations between light and shade.
Sally then directs the model to move into positions and angles that will make for strong and compelling subject matter. Once the shoot is done, she then sorts through the images to create a portfolio, or shortlist, of potential paintings.
The creative process
Once Sally has chosen an image from the shoot, she then gets to work on creating her art. As you can imagine, this much detail doesn’t come out on the canvas overnight, so, on average, her paintings take over a month to produce.
The reason for this is because not only does she have to draw and paint the figure, but also work on the intricacies involved in light and shade, which can be very complex. And there’s a lot more to light and shade than black and white.
In fact, there are many shades, well, in shade. For example, if the subject is placed against a blue backdrop, then these colours will manifest themselves in various tones on the figure or surrounding areas.
To help capture this and help her gauge colours, Sally works alongside a large monitor with the photo of the subject on display. This enables her to zoom in and out of detail and clearly pick-up these tonal shades.
You can see this detail in ‘Fragile Transparency’ where the dancer is shrouded by a veil, so not only does Sally have to capture the dancer’s form, but also the light and shade in the folds of the veil. Trust us, this is not an easy task!
As is common practice with most artists, Sally looks to exhibit her paintings wherever possible. She currently has her work on display at Lympstone Manor, which is owned by Michelin starred chef, Michael Caines.
If you’re thinking of buying one of Sally’s paintings and you’re in the Devon area – or you’re even going to stay at the Manor - then this is a great opportunity to see how her paintings look from an interiors perspective.
As you can see in the photo, the copper tones and creams of the bar area really help make the painting stand out and be a striking focal point in the room. It’s also positioned in a way to make a great talking point while at the bar.
Seeing a painting in real-life, or in situ, can really help with the decision-making process and help you see it from a different perspective as well, so getting to see an artist’s work ‘in the flesh’, or using a room visualiser, can make all the difference.
With this much detail and skill, Sally’s paintings start from around £2,000 and up into the £5,000 price range. Our premier Artists are carefully selected and are noted for their outstanding work and reputation, so their work is priced accordingly. All Sally’s paintings are sold with frames, which does save on the additional cost of having to go to a framer.
Sally’s reputation is growing year on year, and she is a highly respected and regarded artist. With that in mind, purchasing her work could be viewed as a long-term investment. Not to mention that the subject matter will always be of interest to people and it’s hard to tire of looking at her work.
There are ways you can invest and own one of her paintings, however, such as the Own Art scheme, which can help you make those dream purchases with interest-free monthly instalments.
We are proud to say we are part of the scheme, so if you’re thinking of buying one of Sally’s paintings, then get in contact and let’s see how we can help.
Final note. Calling all male dancers!
Currently, Sally uses a female dancer for her paintings, but she is also keen to focus on figurative studies of the male form. If anybody knows a male dancer that would be happy to pose, then get in contact. They will be captured permanently on canvas and become a work of art, an amazing opportunity!