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The Artist's Canvas

 

 Sabrina the Ink Witch

Visit Sabrina the Ink Witch's Website

 

Sabrina's artwork
Samples

 

 Green Witch©

 

Herne©

 

 Corn King©

 

Samhain©

 

All images copyright by Sabrina the Ink Witch and unauthorized duplication or display is unlawful.

 


TWPT:  As you have been about crafting pen and ink art for over 30 years could you recall for us when it was that art became more than just a hobby for you? 

Sabrina:  Teachers noticed something special about my art when I was in High School. I guess I was around 14 years old when I did my first commissioned piece. Then did a few more commissions in college. So from a young age I was already working. 

TWPT:  Did you ever have any formal art training during those early years of creating your pen and ink drawings?

Sabrina:  Yes, I attended a small college under full Art Scholarship for over 2 years, then transferred to theUniversity ofTN. Also took art courses when I lived inNew York. But it was my first real art professor that introduced me to true pen and ink technique and I found my niche.....that was in the mid 70's. 

TWPT:  Did you receive encouragement from your family and friends to pursue your artwork or was this a dream that you followed on your own?

Sabrina:  Family and friends were supportive, especially my Grandmother. My parents encouraged me to learn to type and have other things to fall back on. Which can translate into lack of support.....but they did seem to recognize the skill. And I did work at other jobs until the artwork began to support itself as a career. But then I was always the black sheep of the family anyway, so being an artist seemed to fit my profile all along.<laugh> 

TWPT:  When you look back at the artwork that you created early on what are your thoughts about your style and choice of subject matter? Has much changed in the intervening years?

 Sabrina:  Well, actually many of my art concepts in college were very spiritual and fringing on the edge of what many considered "normal". But since doing portraits was so easy, too, I did manage to produce several pieces that were socially acceptable. Leaning more towards the metaphysical and mystical emerged as did my interest. There was always the spark there, but everything from geography changes to those I spent time with, to what I chose to read began to make a difference somewhere in the 80's. I was the young mother who had "crystal parties" instead of the Tupperware parties. The artwork began to follow suit, of course...

TWPT:  When was it that you started to think about your artwork as a career or commercial venture?

Sabrina:  Doing portraits and commissions began in the 70's. Making a career out of doing artwork Only began in the mid 90's. Committing myself to Pagan Artwork came in the late 90's. And actually a friend who worked at a pagan shop inNew Hope,Pa (http://www.mystickaltymes.com/) started the pagan-artwork career. With one simple, short conversation she set into motion a drive and ambition I'd never known before. "Draw what people need and look for." She advised.

I've never looked back.......

TWPT:  How is it that an artist such as yourself begins to develop a name for themselves among those who might be interested in purchasing their artwork? Shows, galleries?

Sabrina:  I'm not much for the "gallery" type shows. Not really my audience. If a gallery ever picks me up and wishes to exhibit my work, I'll certainly consider the option. But my popularity began very much as a grass-roots movement...one person at a time either in person or seeing my work exposed via media or Internet. Little by little the attention rose - as I think a person's work should grow. Like the artwork I actually do....pen and ink is Slow in process, engaging painstaking and tiny lines until the image is complete.  So one person at a time, one line at a time...I try to keep pen and ink alive.

And being popular doesn't make my art better. The artwork has to answer for itself. Period. One Artwork at a time.

TWPT:  Were you always open about the fact that you are a Witch or was that a gradual revelation to those around you?  Does that limit you as to who you can sell your artwork to?

Sabrina:  Nope...was not always open. Some things just come with age. <Laugh> Like deciding to be who you are out-loud. When I decided to "come out" I did so with my artwork as well. Might as well reach for the stars.

And yes, my subject matter and audience Does very much influence my income. I could, after all, draw other more popular subjects and probably sell a great deal more.

But integrity and honor have their price.

I just have to be true to who I really am. And if that translates into less income to be pure to my spirit, then so be it. I've seen other artists cave to the dollar, and I refuse to worship such a false God, myself. Does that make me a purist or stupid, since I can draw anything...maybe stupid <laugh>.....but to me... I answer to the public.

And I would not answer them falsely.

 TWPT:  Is all of your artwork influenced by your spiritual path?

 Sabrina:  Not necessarily. Some commissions are just that - commissions -and it is up to the person who hires me to decide what they need upon that paper. But if you look closely at each piece of art that I've ever done....you'll find my spirit and energy and some blood, sweat and tears locked within those lines.

If that personal energy isn't spiritual, I don't know what is.

TWPT:  Tell me about some of the recurring themes to your artwork and why they keep resurfacing.

Sabrina:  The Goddess, hands down...without question...many pantheons.

I think that's my way of seeking balance in a predominantly, male-focused society. The Goddess- so ignored for so long.............she was bound to surface through artists at some point. Does that make my work unpopular with those cultures or religions who don't pay attention to a Goddess - You bet. That just fuels me to work harder to portray her in some fashion again and again.

Stubborn Irish maybe? <laugh>

TWPT:  Why is it that you stick with the old style of pen and ink drawing for rendering your artwork and how does this affect the quality of the finished pieces?

Sabrina:  Pen and Ink offers things other mediums cannot. For one thing, I prefer the viewer/owner of the artwork to decide the colors when they view an artwork. Why should I select a color of a garment, when it's Much more interesting for You to choose? And pen and ink ties us to the history we all share...that long forgotten medium and link to the past. Using quills and nibs, so old fashioned, just preserves the *feel* of it all. Are tech pens easier? Sure. Do nibs offer more occupational hazard for a drop out of place and into the trash it goes- sure. What's art without a sacrifice? Each artist makes a sacrifice of some sort, some pound of flesh, some amount of soul,or art..... it is not.

My medium is just a little more old fashioned than most.

I like things simple, too. Plain paper, not fancy, black ink, not fancy, nibs, not fancy.....and art is born. Who needs tons of supplies and fancy expensive, whatnots to make art?

Not many people like to draw anymore. I really do.

Drawing is going out of style. So those of us who Do like to draw need to work harder to keep it alive. Computers will rule us all someday. Hand-rendered crafts will be antiques. I enjoy knowing I make something that lasts.

TWPT:  I’ve noticed from your website that your work has also appeared as illustrations for a book, magazine and newsletter projects. Tell me how that came about and what the differences are in illustrating a book for someone else as opposed to creating your own independent pieces of art?

Sabrina:  Doing projects for others is tremendous work and fun. The challenge is to meet their needs and see things through their eyes, not my own. Some people are harder to please than others. But that's what you face when you accept commissioned work and probably why so few artists take commissions anymore. But someone has to draw or paint what is needed.  What if chefs Only cooked what they wanted to and we were all forced to eat what they served? Or what if Doctors decided to treat only those illnesses they chose to pay attention to.....? Scary. so....ok...someone's got to do the work FOR others instead of what they just feeeeel like doing. Yes, even artists.

Creating my Own independent artwork ends up being pure pleasure.

I win both ways.

TWPT:  Have your surroundings and your home inPennsylvania been an influence on the subject matter that you choose to create in your artwork?

Sabrina:  PA is very similar to the area I grew up inEast TN. So I love the surroundings. Yes, there is a definite connection to nature: water, forest and animal right outside my door. That is always helpful. When the tiny lines start running together, I can step right outside mingle with nature awhile and recharge.

I have many gardens. Gardening is passion number two.

TWPT:  Tell me how your work has been received by the Wiccan/Pagan community and what kinds of feedback you have received from those who have purchased your art?

Sabrina:  The response has been flattering. Not only do people enjoy the texture I work to create, but they revel in the subject matter as well. Also, there seems to be a good appeal that I work to listen to my audience and work to manifest what they would wish to find art-wise.

TWPT:   Do you go out on the road at all with your artwork during the spring and summer months? Where might someone find you or where could they look on your website to find a location that you might be?

 Sabrina:  Really need to add a schedule to the website. I know that would help a great deal when folks wish things autographed personally. We're going to make some changes on the site soon. But, yes, to answer your question - I DO hit the road when the weather makes travel more possible. Just enjoyed a fabulous weekend at the PA Ren Fair participating in the "Celtic Fling". Before that, finished a fair in Wilkes Barre PA - "Endless Mountain Festival".....and I try to get to as many weekend shows as possible during the Spring-Fall months that I can drive or fly to. It is always such a plus to get to meet and greet the public. Talking to folks one-on-one can be so energizing!

TWPT:  After 30 years as an artist what have you learned about your craft to this point? Any advise for the up and coming young artist who might want to pursue art as their chosen career?

Sabrina:  Hmmm...that's a really tough question. What have I learned? To stick to my guns, even when opposed. Tis the nature of the artist to lay on the fringe of reality as most understand it anyway....might as well go all the way and be fringe publicly. And to anyone else out there who likes to draw: Keep it up. So few people really draw anymore. Drawing is still Very much an art form, although, many try to dismiss it. Stick to your craft. Wait tables if you have to. I'm living proof that if you love what you do...you CAN do it for a living someday. You just cannot give up, that's all.

TWPT:  Any final thoughts you would like to share with those who have been fans of your artwork and bought a piece or two over the years?

Sabrina:  Yes, I'd like for folks to watch for some new things from their Ink Witch:

There's the release of my 2006 Wall calendar by mid July - dedicated to Ravens.  http://spiralpublishinginc.com/osCommerce/  

There's the Clann An Drumma portrait due for release soon. If you've not seen or heard this band...you've GOT to check them out:
http://www.clannandrumma.com/   

And last, but not least, I've been negotiating an agreement for getting Ink Witch artwork on products such as coffee mugs, wall plagues,Tee-Shirts jewelry...boxes, etc. The Book is growing in favor these past few months. That was a project I really enjoyed.
http://spiralpublishinginc.com/osCommerce/

Too many requests to ignore. I really do like to work to produce what folks want to see. So answering the public is paramount in my ambitions and craft.

TWPT:  Well I do thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to answer these questions and I do wish you much success with your art. We have always appreciated it here at The Wiccan/Pagan Times over the years.