Artist interview with Sarah Pym

We interviewed artist and mental health professional Sarah Pym, who is exhibiting at The Courthouse from Friday 6th – Friday 20th May. Entry is free, and you can visit the exhibition Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10am – 4pm. Watch an introduction video and read our Q&A below!

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Sarah Pym and I’m based in Thirsk, I moved to North Yorkshire in 2019. I’ve had a very varied life, mainly working in agriculture as a shepherdess, farmer, and agricultural journalist. I retrained in holistic bodywork working on muscles and fascia, and then trained in CBT and Hypnotherapy and now work as Psychotherapist offering CBT and coaching via zoom or in person. I have two websites www.mindbodyfreedom.co.uk and www.sarahpymart.co.uk.

Can you tell us about the exhibition you’re involved in? 

The ‘Can I See My Feelings’ series was initially sparked by a young child asking me if they could see their feelings. That simple question unleashed a torrent of ideas for a book and creativity which started in early January 2020, before Covid. Over the next two years I continued to paint and add to the series. I believe it’s a truly unique perspective for an exhibition combining my two passions art and psychology.

Which mediums do you use/ what’s your process?

I love colour and and I love experimenting. Many of the pieces are mixed media – acrylics with added pastels, or inks, some are oils sticks, others watercolours. I used whatever I felt would convey the emotions to the fullest. With some of the pieces I would choose my pallette first, and then plan and sketch the image; with others I simply picked the colours and intuitively went with the flow. These are not my emotions, they’re how I illustrated them.

How did you first get started as an artist? 

In 2014 – and it sounds almost ridiculous to say a little voice in my ear kept telling me to paint, paint, paint. So I took myself off, partly as a diversion from challenging circumstances, to a painting workshop in Ludlow. After that I was hooked and I’ve carried on ever since. I’ve managed my own art journey with eight years of practice and some online learning. It’s been such fun, and of course I occasionally wish I’d had a formal art education. Life happens for us, not to us and it’s up to us to try new experiences and take the opportunities which are available.

How did you find out about Rural Arts? Have you visited us before? 

As I live in Thirsk I was thrilled to find out about Rural Arts and I have attended several events and exhibitions here.

What are you inspired by? Do you have any artists/themes you’re influenced by?

I’m inspired by colour, nature and life in general. My head is full of ideas for the next series, and I’m looking forward to working on this. It will be completely different, for now the emotions are done.

There are almost too many artists to mention. At school I studied History of Art and we had an incredible teacher called Miss Swaboda. For me it’s not just the art produced by the artists, it’s their mindset which I’m interested in too. For example Jackson Pollock, William Turner, Van Gogh, Georgia O’Keefe. I’m particularly fond of Jean Miller who started painting in later life from her home in Hay on Wye. Her attitude and use of strong colours is something I’ve never forgotten. I’d also like to mention the late Mary Gilkerson from the USA, she sadly died very recently from cancer and she was an incredibly inspirational teacher. Her frequent free 5 day, twenty minute challenges helped me set up my regular practice as an artist and linked together  a huge community of artists across the world. Art is everywhere we just have to open our eyes and really see what’s around us.

What are your links to and thoughts about the arts in North Yorkshire?

Upon moving here I was thrilled to discover such a vibrant art scene in North Yorkshire and learn about the history of Rural Arts. Long may it continue.