Sara Noel

Sara Noel was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She attended California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland during a turbulent time in American culture. In the 1960’s California was an incubator for the Free Speech movement and the accompanying explosion of the musical, literary and visual arts. This included Abstract Expressionism which is a pure American art form, emerging in the early 1940’s from a loosely affiliated group of young artists in New York and beyond who created a stylistically diverse body of work. Sara connected with this radical new direction, and with the work of Joan Mitchell, Elaine DeKooning Grace Hartigan, Georgia O’Keefe, Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, Gerhardt Richter, Cy Twombly, Willem DeKooning among others.

Sara values the very essence of Abstract Expressionism, which to her is spontaneity and improvisation, tapping into the collective consciousness. She feels her painting is an adventure into the unknown, getting lost and found, using color, bold brushwork and layers of paint. As Sara remarked in a recent interview, “Especially now, in these times of pervasive technology, I sense we need and want connections that include play, self-expression and spontaneity.”

Sara enjoys working on large canvases (90 “ x 90”) using both oils and water-based pigments and Venetian plasters. She uses brushes of all sizes and various tools such as squeeGees and trowels. 

Sara: I start by making a sketch or an outline of an idea. Then I begin filling the canvas with as much bold or primary color as I can. I then apply random layers of paint using a completely different color palate, making markings through the paint. This is what I call “getting lost”. I do this until I find the feeling or thing I was looking for, or something I’m surprised to find. 

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing, does the painter do good things”

Edgar Degas, remark on “Getting Lost”


Currently Featured, Saks Gallery, Denver

Jury Award, Space Gallery Art and Soul, 2015