I’m Sarah Winkler.
I’m a mixed media painter, and I live in Morrison, Colorado.
I was selected by Ambassador John Pomershine.
He was very specific about what kind of artists and artwork he wanted for that location in
He wanted Colorado artists that specifically focused on the Rocky Mountain landscape.
Dushanbe is a sister city to Boulder, Colorado, and they also share a very similar landscape.
So both cities have a backdrop of these rugged, wild, geologically exposed landscapes, the
Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan and for us, the Rocky Mountains.
So he picked artists that he could share with Tajikistan and share our landscape and our
common landscape with each other in the embassy there.
So he selected a piece of mine, Sundown Canyon Country, which is a painting about the western
slope of the Colorado Rockies, where the mountains transitioned into a desert landscape.
So it’s very rugged, exposed geology there.
So it sort of looks like how I imagined the mountains surrounding Tajikistan.
We here in Boulder, Colorado, have a wonderful teahouse that I’ve been to, and it was all
handcuffed by Tajik artisans, about 40 of them who hand carved the building, painted
it, filled it with sculpture and ceramics.
And it’s just a beautiful exchange of their art and their history that we have here in
Boulder to enjoy.
So I think that’s why the ambassador was wanted specifically to take Colorado artists to Tajikistan
to show them what what our little world is like here.
I think it’s fantastic that when art leaves the studio, it can serve many purposes.
And so what greater purpose than being an ambassador of the United States?
In a way, for me, showcasing the landscapes of the American West, the exchange of ideas
through art, the exchange of esthetics has no boundaries.
So I’ve always felt it was a universal language and it knows no boundaries.
So many people from many cultures, a world of art can communicate through art and can
So I think it’s wonderful to have to be part of this program and have that have the arts
serve a higher purpose.
I’m interested in this branch of geology, which is called geomorphology, and that is
the history of of the process of landscape building.
I saw in that moment something that resembled a painting.
So you’re painting you’re making something out of nothing.
You and it has a series of actions that build over time and it ends up looking the way it
So I sort of dissected that and thought, wow, this is like the process of how a landscape
The way I paint is I apply paint and I remove it.
So it’s a technique in geology, it’s deposition of material and eroding of materials.
So that is the way I paint.
I put paint down and then I remove it some way to disperse the paint in a way that it
looks like something you’ve seen in nature
. I do all my sketches in a collage format and I make all my own papers.
So those collages and the way I make the papers is I basically mimic the 15 basic patterns
So nature has a design that repeats itself.
So like rivers have the same pattern as the branches and trees.
So that’s called a branching pattern.
So I will just figure out a way to move materials around to create a pattern like branching.
And then once I figured that down, I can incorporate that into the painting as a texture.
And so it helps describe some aspects of that landscape that I’m working on.
So I do a bunch of experiments in the studio to create those textures.
Then I scan them and onto archival material papers, and I and I have a whole drawers and
drawers and drawers full of these papers, which I then use to build these
And those are fun and very time consuming to make.
So it takes me longer to make that little six inch collage than it does to do a six
If you can believe in this.
So because in the in the collages that I’m working out, my compositions and color and
texture and and so on
. So there’s a lot more hours in those little collages.
And then I take that and develop those.
Sketches into the large scale paintings and the paintings are all done in acrylic.
Other than the embedded minerals, but they’re all done in acrylic, but they mimic they have
a collage esthetic, which I like.
So it’s this idea of building landscapes again and building layers and building strata into
a visual painting.
And it’s got history and it’s got time involved and and quite a long process.
So my color all comes from nature.
So I need the trying to match colors that I’m seeing in trees or skies or rocks, or
I’m more likely physically collecting material in the studio and color matching to the to
And so so, for example, I’ve done a whole series on the southwest deserts and I’ve collected
rocks from the desert plateau out there along
the the Charma River.
And so I have eight colors from that, and I’ll mix rocks to match that.
So when I do a painting about that area, it really resonates with people because they
know it is the color of their area, which is, again, very different than the color of
if I’m painting the Teton Mountains in Wyoming
. So I try and that’s an important aspect for me is to the color relates to the place.
And so when I’m traveling, I do take color notes and then try and match those colors
in the studio.
I’ve always painted nature, so I’ve always been interested in landscape in the natural
And when I was studying Odd at university, I also took many electives in science, and
that was my wow moment.
I learned that landscapes were not static, but landscapes were in flux and that what
we see today was not always there.
And so I found that deeply interesting.
And so now in my artwork, I go directly into the landscape to experience it.
But I’m not just looking at what the here and now looks like, but I’m delving into what’s
three miles beneath my feet.
What what is the history unraveling of this place?
I’ve lived out west for 20 years, so I focused all my art in that time on Western landscape,
particularly the mountain and desert landscape.
So it just vastly interests me that the desert was once an ancient sea and then, you know,
the mountains uplifted from that.
And so it’s this idea of landscapes transitioning through time.
So through the art, I’m really actually not only interested in what’s so esthetically
pleasing and so beautiful about what the viewpoint in front of me, but to describe the the history
of why and how it looks the way it does.
So through through sort of abstract painting and through mimicking textures and colors
and patterns and processes of nature, I think that’s that’s how I’m combining the two interests
I was born in Manchester, England, but due to my my father’s career in aviation, we’ve
actually lived abroad for many, many years.
So we’ve lived Africa, Borneo, America.
So I’ve always been a foreigner in a foreign place, it feels like.
But I think that’s why I connect with the environment first.
Perhaps I just want to know wherever it is I’m living and what the nature is of it.
So I’ve ever since Africa, I’ve always been interested in different environments.
My studio is a nine thousand foot peak in the Rocky Mountains, and you are very small
next to a mountain.
And so there’s this sense of like the vastness of wilderness and the struggle of wilderness
and the survival aspects of wilderness.
So as as a subject for painting, it’s just it’s endless for me, the fascination with
I focus on the area probably within 200 miles of where I live because I like to experience
So I, I, I only go to places that I can, you know, get to easily.
And because I think you have to go a number of times to see it in all seasons, to see
it in all kind of weather scenarios, and to get a full picture of the character of the
So I like to focus on what’s, I guess, local to me.
It definitely helps to have a deep and rich knowledge of your environment, your surroundings.
And I think you need that to translate that into to something that feels truthful in the