Emerging Artists | Sara Linda Poly

Quiet, poetic landscapes

Sara Linda Poly, In the Moment, oil, 18 x 24.

Sara Linda Poly, In the Moment, oil, 18 x 24.

This story was featured in the December 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  December 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

A sense of tranquility is bound to wash over any room where Sara Linda Poly’s atmospheric landscape paintings hang. In many of them, the sun or moon gleams upon a quiet marsh, glassy stream, or other reflective scene. Poly’s love for the outdoors stirs her to paint nature—especially vast skies, a subject she studied daily while traveling with her husband across the West in their motorhome. “Big skies, the sun, and the moon have always been my muses,” says Poly. “And now, living in Easton, MD, I’ve added water.”

In July, Poly won the grand prize in the 12th annual Plein Air Easton competition for her landscape painting ORIGIN. The artist has collected heaps of awards throughout her painting career, but snagging first place in this prestigious competition “was off the charts for me,” says Poly. The work depicts an ethereal sunset behind a woodsy, “primeval” trail near Poly’s home. “I’ve been going by there every day for years,” she says of the backlit scene. “I finally said, ‘This is where I want to paint! I know this spot like the back of my hand.’”

Poly considers her edges “too soft to be realistic,” and instead views her style as “a blend of impressionism and poetic realism,” but she often leans on her drawing skills when painting details descriptively. The Pennsylvania native studied art at several colleges in the East, and for many years she owned an illustration and design studio. When she began painting en plein air, it took her a while to loosen up, says Poly. “It’s the art of what to leave out,” she explains, “and that takes a long time to learn.”

Poly counts the late impressionist painter Ken Auster as one of her most influential teachers, and she also took painting classes at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA, where she has now been teaching plein-air lessons for nearly 20 years.

These days Poly, 71, is working larger and devoting more time to each piece. “I’ve been changing it up as I’ve gotten older, and I’m loving it,” she says. As for Poly’s muses, they’re here to stay. “Anywhere there are big, open skies with unrestricted views,” she says, “is definitely my kind of place.” —Kim Agricola

representation
Berkley Gallery, Warrenton, VA; Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA, and
Charleston, SC; South Street Art Gallery, Easton, MD; Warm Springs Gallery, Warm Springs, VA.

This story was featured in the December 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  December 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

MORE RESOURCES FOR ART COLLECTORS & ENTHUSIASTS
Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook

COMMENT