sara zimmerman, tahoe artist Featured Artisan Sara Zimmerman
   

Our Artisans - Sara Zimmerman

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picture of tahoe artist, Sara ZimmermanBorn and raised in Oakland, California I grew in a very creative family and began drawing at a young age. I knew from the start that I always wanted to be an artist. My early instruction was from my parents and my grandmother, Rosalie Ritz, who is an oil painter and Associated Press courtroom artist. I drew in pen and ink regularly until I moved to Santa Cruz, CA to attend UC Santa Cruz and to surf. I attended education abroad to Fiji and New Zealand, and independently traveled to Australia, Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii. At this time, I was very influenced by my surf travels and by my passion of surfing, incorporating surf-related scenery into my art. I mainly worked in watercolors to mimic the colors of the ocean. I volunteered for the Surfrider Foundation and became president of the non-profit organization Association of Women Surfers, from 1996-1998. During this time I decided to take a break from school and started Paradise Surf Shop with 3 friends. Though I surfed up to 3 times a day and worked long hours, I still made time to draw and to explore watercolors.

I knew it was important to return to school so I returned to UCSC. I worked as an environmental restoration subcontractor (and continued to teach surfing), changing from an anthropology major to environmental studies major. Part of the curriculum introduced me to science illustration techniques. I eventually took more drawing, watercolor, and science illustration classes from UCSC and Cabrillo College. I received my BA from UCSC in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on environmental interpretation through art. For additional work, I started creating clip art and other surf-related illustrations, as well as science illustrations, graphic design, and greeting card illustrations.

Rock climbing began to replace my days at the beach with trips to the Sierras. Soon my heart was won over. My husband and I moved to the Sierras and I began to focus on acrylic painting techniques of natural subjects and graphic design. After permanently settling into Truckee, California, I became involved with North Tahoe Arts. I now am on the Board of Directors as the chair of marketing and public relations and help with their graphic design work. Additionally, when not painting, I help with marketing and sales for Moonshine Ink, an independent Tahoe publication and do graphic design.

I continually participate in ARTour Open Studio Tour in North Lake Tahoe and consistently show my work around North Lake Tahoe.

I am an acrylic painter who depicts vast landscapes with extreme close-ups. My work encompasses contemporary modernism and science illustration, depicting stark, contrasting colors and curvaceous scenes of flowers, leaves, fish, etc. soaring above Tahoe, the Southwest, and other natural landscapes. I paint because painting is my passion in life. It allows me to express my optimism and joy as well as the beauty I see in the world around me. I use my art as a way to express this to others as a suggestion for others to be joyful and to slow down so they can focus on small and large aspects of the natural world that usually go unseen.

I draw on my skills as a science illustrator to examine my subject, observing the mixture of colors and shapes. Then I change what I see and add my own flavor through over-emphasized curves and brightened colors and hues. Georgia O'Keeffe's curves and blending methods additionally influence how I over-exaggerate twists, turns, and color. I work small only when I can't find a large venue for my work. Otherwise, my preference is working on large canvases so that I can get my entire body into each stroke.
All of my large new works are created on homemade stretcher bars and hand-stretched canvas so I can create the perfect canvas for each piece. After gessoing, each piece takes me between 15 and 40 hours to complete, including research time. I work in acrylic so that I can work in layers and I can keep the windows of my Tahoe studio closed to keep the heat in. All of my canvas works are painted on their sides to bring about a sense of dimension to the content in the paintings.

There is nothing subtle about my work. Many people enjoy my work because it is colorful and lively. Each piece carries its own punch, making viewers stop to enjoy. My larger pieces pop out from the decor making them a nice edition to a wall filled with art and a welcomed edition to an undecorated or dark house. Overall, most collectors appreciate the liveliness exuded through the bright colors and stark contrast.
I am on the Board of Directors at North Tahoe Arts and when not volunteering, I work in my studio at least 4 days a week.

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