Sally was my art teacher when I took a drawing class at the Cherryhill Library through the London Public Library last year. I was really impressed with her patience and skill. Thank you, Sally – for taking some time to answer questions about your art practice and teaching!
From where do you receive your creative inspiration?
Most often my inspiration stems from something which I have seen while travelling. For instance, I produced a series of 11 drawings which I called “Women in Black” inspired by the nomadic women whom I saw in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
When did you first know were going to be an artist?
I always knew (from about age 7), that I wanted to be an artist. Nothing else appealed to me in the same way.
Can you please describe the Toronto arts scene in the textile district when you were printmaking?
I arrived at Open Studio in March of 1984. The studio was at that time located on King St. – just
west of Spadina Ave. If you look here, you will see the doorway of the building now labeled “Allied”.
That was a time of transition in the fashion production in Toronto. Many former garment factories and workrooms were re-locating offshore to the Far East, displacing former garment workers. The studio was in a building whose neighbors produced coats and fur items. But, nearby were a number of artist-run centers such as YYZ, A Space, Stephen Bulger, Toronto Image Works, where we printmakers could go to see the work of other artists producing at that time.
Are there other art forms besides painting that you especially enjoy?
The medium which attracts me the second most strongly is Film. The linkage is obvious . . . the visual.
Can you tell us about your Dancer series?
I like to try and draw the figure in motion. I was inspired by the drawings of Rodin in which he used Cambodian dancers as his models, as well as some recent works by Eric Fischl, the contemporary American painter. I saw a documentary in which he was working in much the same way as I do. This particular series was also inspired by Georgia O'Keefe's referencing her husband Alfred Steiglitz's exhibit in NYC (in the 1920s) of drawings by Rodin of the "Cambodian Dancers".
What are some of the biggest challenges you face when teaching art?
The biggest challenge in teaching – especially when the group is quite varied in backgrounds and in education levels – is to present the material in a comprehensible way and also in an interesting way.
It is my philosophy to give the student the tools and allow them to discover on their own. This is the only way to learn in my view . . . not by following a demonstration and a “recipe” of some type.
Born in Ohio, Sally has been a Canadian resident since 1969, teaching at various post secondary institutions including Ryerson and University of Toronto. She makes oversize drawings on varied subject matter in her home studio in London Ontario.