Fine artist Sally McLean loves beautiful things. Through pastels and oil she captures the very essence of nature, especially seascapes, portraits and animals.“ The beauty of the world around me gives me pleasure from panoramic ocean views; pelicans gliding over the water; or the way light shines on rain drop covered leaves making them look as if they are covered in tiny crystals.
This aside, I have had an affinity with animals for as long as I can remember and from a very young age it was my ambition to become a vet. Well I never became a vet but I have married a love of animals with a passion for art by producing quality pet portraiture.” Sally developed a passion for working with pastels in her final year of high school. However, it wasn’t until 2005, some 25 years later that she decided to explore and nurture her artistic capability to develop it to its fullest potential.
After leaving school she channelled her creativity into her career as an engineering draftsperson and undertook a few classes at the Brisbane Institute of Art in the early 1980s.In 2005, with her family now grown, Sally felt it was time to nurture and re-connect with her latent artistic spirit. Under the tutelage of distinguished artist Janet Ann Skinner she honed her experience of working with oil, pastels and charcoal attending weekly classes for two years.
Her oil painting skills were further enhanced by attending a workshop run by award winning artist Graham W Smith. Sally continued to refine her skills through attending life drawing classes and a painting group and took up watercolour classes with artist Maria Field in 2010. She has also attended photography classes at the Brisbane College of Photography and Art and has completed a Masterclass Portraiture workshop at Brisbane Artists Academe run by Archibald 2008 finalist Fu Hong and a Seascapes and Boats pastel workshop run by artist Regina Hona in 2009.
With a fast developing reputation for quality animal portraiture, Sally also paints people, florals, and other works by commission. Sally’s style is strong, realistic and evokes emotion through assiduous application of colour and tone. Her work now hangs in private collections throughout Australia.
We share our beautiful planet with a host of other very beautiful creatures. Because they cannot speak, because we cannot communicate with them we usually treat them like things, like objects without feelings and needs and fears and hurts and joys. This blindness is a curse.
I paint and draw animals accurately and without enhancement as an expression of love. I choose not to use false colors or busy backgrounds because that would take us into the realm of imagination and I think we need to see animals for what they really are - glorious, beautiful expressions of the growing sentience of the universe.
To achieve this realism, I use materials and media best suited to the purpose and my skills - pencil, watercolor, and most of all, pastels. With pencil I achieve definition and contrast, whilst pastels allow more nuance and subtlety.
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