Interview with Sally Ann Rowland

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Visual Artist

Jessica: Sally, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to do an interview for TSM. It’s truly 
wonderful having you in the launch issue. 🙂

Sally: Thanks Jessica. It’s quite an honour for me to be part of this launch. I have been so looking forward to seeing the first issue and so am excited to be included.

Jessica: At what age did you get into art? And what inspired you to become an artist?

Sally: I have always loved to draw, paint, doodle, or just create from a very young age. Birthday and Christmas gifts were usually arts and craft related. Even at school I paid way more attention to having my projects look artistic than I did the actual written content. It probably wasn’t until my early teens that the creative side came out more and I thoroughly embraced all art classes offered at school – photography, enameling, wood work, lino cutting, wood block printing etc. I have some nice scars from some of those classes! I think the need to create has always been there but like with some others, life got in the way, and it wasn’t really until I moved to Canada permanently in 2003 that I got the chance to sit back and say, now is the time. I was unable to work so threw myself into my art. I guess I am a bit of a late bloomer.

Jessica: What is your background in art?

Sally: I have no formal training at all, and so am totally self-taught. I’m one of those people who loves to be creative, but my background is in Accounting and Tourism. I’d love to do some courses as teaching myself has probably made it a much longer journey. However learning by trial and error has taught me a lot about pushing myself to constantly learn and do better. I have art work in several countries including the UK, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand. Mostly commissioned work, but also sales and some work donated to Charity Auctions as well as, of course, gifts. I have also been selling greeting cards online with some rather surprising results, however commission selling is not something I want to spend too much time on.

Jessica: I know you work with a variety of of mediums – pencil, acrylic, oil and digital. Do you have a 
preferred medium? If yes, which one and why?

Sally: I would have to say my preferred medium is oil. It is quite forgiving and makes it easier to correct mistakes or simply enjoy them as if you’ve suddenly discovered something new. While I am enjoying learning digital painting, there is just something very relaxing about painting with real paints and brushes, and the fun of mixing just the right shade you are looking for. I also tend to be a bit messy, so having paints, brushes and rags surrounding me when I work seems to put me in a more creative mood.

Jessica: What are your favorite subjects to draw/paint?

Sally: I have to say that people are my favourite subjects. I find that no matter which medium I try out, it always comes back to people, particularly portraits. This is definitely an area I would like to pursue with some proper courses at some time in the near future. I think I am still finding my own style so I tend to try everything I can. I really need to find the discipline to stick to one thing, although I find that a bit limiting in some ways.

Jessica: What is your process for creating a piece of work?

Sally: I am rather disorganized when it comes to art. I have an idea and then rush headlong into it with gusto. I put on my favourite music and just lose myself in the work and it takes on it’s own life. This has often led to something being totally changed from it’s original idea – sometimes not in a good way – but I always learn from each piece I create.

Jessica: Who are some artists you admire?

Sally: I enjoy and admire a rather mixed group of artists including John Lavery, Klimt, Vermeer, Maud Lewis, Joseph Giunta, Rosina Wacht- meister to name but a few. My all time favourite has to be Modigliani though. I have loved his work for years and was lucky enough to see the exhibition here in Toronto back in 2005. I was in heaven! They are so much more impressive in real life than any book could do justice to. (As are most masterpieces). I have even painted around eight or nine for myself rather than buy a print. All in all though I like a wide variety of styles and subjects so to narrow it down to just a few is rather difficult.

Jessica: You did the CD artwork for Guitarra Azul’s Oasis album. How did this come about?

Sally: I found Guitarra Azul a few years ago through MySpace when I had a page there. I am really not into com- mercialized music, so found MySpace a great way to find the music I like and also share some of my artwork. I couldn’t tell you why Steve asked me – it was actually a huge surprise and I am so grateful to him for giving me the opportunity. Their first album Mariposa had a butterfly on the cover and he wanted something in keeping with that theme, so we finally agreed on the Monarch. It was an interesting project because I also hand painted the words and when I was almost done, Steve changed the title of the CD. I had to figure out how to remove the original and longer title, and repaint the new one. Black oil paint is not exactly easy to get rid of! While the art work is simple, I can honestly say it was one of the proudest days of my life to see the finished CD, let alone listen to it.

Jessica: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?

Sally: I’d like to see the basic necessities of life be something everyone has – enough food, water, a home and adequate health care. There are so many resources on this planet that are held and controlled by a few powerful families and corporations,  and the gap between the haves and the have nots just seems to get wider. Your quality of life should never depend on your wealth yet we see so many people going without even food and water because someone else has decided that their empire building and making themselves even richer is more important. How can humans reach their potential when just staying alive or living from one day to the next is such a struggle for so many.

AndyGarciaJessica: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?

Sally: I think one would have to be “The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure.” I don’t kid myself that I will become rich and famous for my art, although I’d be happy to make a living from it, but the inner joy you feel when someone gets pleasure from something you have created is really something money can’t buy.

Jessica: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers connect with you and find out
more about your work?

Sally: I think no matter what avenue of creativity we find ourselves in we have to be true to ourselves and continually learn and progress. I know I am still in the very early stages of my journey but it is one that I find nurtures my soul and brings me a lot of joy and happiness. Why do anything if it isn’t fun?

I can be reached through Facebook at this time, although I am making plans to have my own website early next year when we’ve hopefully relocated and are settled. I can also be contacted at

Jessica: Thanks so much again for doing this interview and wish you the best of luck with all your art.

Sally: Thank you Jessica for the opportunity to share something about myself and my art. I am looking forward to reading about others and their own thoughts on what it is to be creative no matter where or what they are in the art world.

Featured art in order of appearance: Vermeer, Village, Oasis CD cover, Andy Garcia and Marguerite.

One thought on “Interview with Sally Ann Rowland

  1. SUBMITTED BY BETTY DRAVIS on 2010/12/02 at 20:00

    HI, Sally, It was so lovely learning more about you in Talent Spotlight Magazine. I enjoyed reading your answers and your reply to what you would change in the world is right on! Everyone deserves the necessities and more!

    I love your art work; you truly have the gift and I pray you get it out in the world for more to appreciate. All the ones displayed are very eye-catching, hitting a spot within me. Your Vermeer is awesome; the Village I can see on my wall at home (great colors and unusual); and then there is dear Andy! I fell for him in the Godfather… sigh… Of course, I couldn’t use that on my living room wall, but perhaps it would be good in my office (next to Clint and MT Robison… Marguerite is very lovely and realistic too. I can’t say enough about you and your talent, so I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

    As for experience, when you get my age you will have had more than your share of credits and recognition! Just keep on keeping on… Your talent can take you anywhere you want to go; just keep positive and strive to reach your dreams…and you will.

    As you told me in a Facebook note, I’m glad you enjoyed the story about me. Makes my day! Yes, I am fortunate to have had and continue to have the chance to write, write, write…as that is my third love (third only to God and my children). And interviewing celebs is just the icing on my cupcake.

    Yes, (as you told me on Facebook) please do check out my books. I recommend you get DREAM REACHERS first as it is a collection of inspiring stories about celebs from Clint Eastwood to up-and-comers like you! They share what obstacles they faced in getting where they are and it should inspire you. Unfortunately, my Toonies and Grand are out of print and the secondary market is asking too much per copy, so second do try Millennium Babe: The Prophecy. I would be honored to have you read my offerings.

    Jessica and Michelle did an outstanding job on this first edition. Congratulations to all the artists selected for this first edition.

    Wow! Hugs <3 Betty <3

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