It has become a true highlight of my day to see Sarah Trundle’s distinct style pop up on our Instagram feed. Despite discovering artistic ability as a kid, Trundle didn’t begin her painting career until about 10 years ago. She had left her career as a mental health therapist to raise her kids and, as they got older, she found herself with more time to pursue her art. A studio space formed in the basement of her Virginia home. (And the rest, as they say, is history.)
Trundle’s ability to capture mood and energy within her geometric, abstract creations captivates me, so I was thrilled when she agreed to chat a bit about her inspirations and processes.
Roominate (R): You mentioned you were an artistic kid.
Sarah Trundle (ST): Yes. Growing up in a family of avid supporters and collectors of contemporary art gave me permission to think outside the box and eventually pursue the kind of art I felt drawn to.
(R): How would you describe your art, that style you were/are drawn to?
(ST): My heart has always been in abstraction, though I began with representational art because I felt it important to have some grounding in reality and technique; to know how to create and represent basic form, line, and color.
(R): So now that you’re there, what inspires a piece? Where do you begin?
(ST): I usually start somewhat randomly, with colors or shapes that have been intriguing me. The early stages begin to create a map for subsequent steps. Painting abstractly is like solving a puzzle, like figuring out a Rubik’s Cube; you can sense when the pieces fall into place. If I had to say there was a method to it, I would say that it is one of toeing the line between chaos and order; I make chaotic or disorganized marks and then I work to consolidate or find order in them. Then I destabilize and disorganize what might be too much order, in a back and forth, push-pull, until I find the right balance. A crucial part of a painting is the struggle that goes into its creation, so I strive to keep that apparent by leaving evidence of shifted lines and shapes and the under-layers of paint.
(ST): On the whole I would say my work has become looser, more “organic,” less constrained, and more embracing of the process itself, with new colors, new materials, new techniques, new brush strokes – you name it.
(R): What would you like people know about your work that might not be obvious?
(ST): Many people think abstract art is a haphazard slapping of paint onto canvas with no thought, intention or mental effort. But it really does involve a struggle, and quite an investment of time and mental energy. I actually find abstract more difficult than representational art because there is no external reference with which to work.
A gorgeous piece by Sarah, featuring one of her toughest critics, her pug, Porky.
(R): How does your studio/workspace play into it all?
(ST): My studio is a well-lit, glorious, fairly well-organized, mess in the basement of our house, similar to my artistic style maybe, with paint and canvases everywhere. I considered renting a studio, but I really prefer painting from home. Sometimes I just pop in and out to make minor changes or add a layer. My dream studio would be an empty warehouse … in my backyard, an eyesore for sure, but my artistic nirvana.
A look in Trundle's basement studio space.
(R): What are you most proud of as a Creative?
(ST): Having the courage to put myself “out there,” the courage to feel comfortable calling myself an artist, follow my own process and to create what compels me personally, without bowing to pressure of the art market. I used to just about have a heart attack every time I posted an image on social media. Now, I worry a lot less about what people think, or if it’s “good enough.”
(R): If you were to describe your work in three words, what would they be?
(ST): Bold. Geometric. Edgy. (And if I can sneak in a fourth, colorful!)
(R): What advice do you have for emerging Artists?
(ST): Just do it. Put the time in. Experiment. Mix paint on the canvas. Don’t always have a plan. Be willing to fail, to “ruin” a painting for the sake of trying out something new. Paint what compels you, not what you think other people want to see, what the current trend is, or what might sell. Be willing to wade through failures and embrace them. It’s a necessary – and humbling – part of the process.
(R): Who are some of your favorite contemporary Artists?
(ST): Oh, wow so, so, many. I follow some on Instagram. Taylor White comes to mind. His work is so … well … weird, and super creative and different. He clearly does what he wants. I actually own a piece of his. Dave Watkins is another favorite from Instagram. I love his linear, geometric style and the colors he uses. And Karen Blair, of course; an incredible local Charlottesville artist who was my teacher and mentor for many years, and who referred me to pictureframes.com.
(R): How do you go about selecting a frame for your art? Do you have favorites?
(ST): I look at colors to emphasize the painting and what overall tonal effect I want to enhance or downplay. For instance, a silver frame can make a painting appear cooler, whereas a gold frame will warm up a painting. Overall, I lean toward simple, clean lines so your Floater frames, particularly in the silver and gold, appeal to me. You also have a boxy white modern frame that I really love.
Trundle’s piece in the boxy, white modern GLD2 frame she described.
(R): Well, we love seeing you work in our frames. It’s been awesome working with you! Thank you so much for being a part of this interview.
(ST): Pictureframes.com goes above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction and stand behind a high-quality product. And, you seem like a fun bunch of people!
Want to see more of Sarah’s work? You can check out her website here.