Art ‘Not an Exclusive Club Just Meant for a Select Few,’ says Norman artist
Our featured artist this month is Norman resident Sarah Caldwell, whose artwork was selected for the 2016 Medieval Fair poster, and who will also have a booth at the fair, which is set for April 1-3 at Norman’s Reaves Park.
In what media do you work?
For drawing, I enjoy colored pencils and chalk pastels. For painting–if and when there is time–I prefer acrylic or watercolor. Most of what I’ll be displaying and selling at the fair, however, will be prints of one kind or another.
What do you consider to be your specialty?
“Jack of all trades, master of none” is probably the best answer to this question. It’s a byproduct of being an art teacher. And while versatility is beneficial to my students, it means I’m always shifting.
Where did you receive your art training? Any mentors you wish to mention?
My early training came courtesy of Norman Public Schools and the Firehouse Art Center, where I took many classes as a child. I received my B.A. from the University of Central Oklahoma and I am currently attending OU. I’d also like to mention the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain. I did not attend as a high school student, but I participate in their fall program for teachers every year. The OAI itself has been a mentor of sorts, helping me to continue my training as both an artist and an educator.
Do you have a “philosophy” of art?
Never assume that “art” is something you can’t participate in. It’s not an exclusive club just meant for a select few. There are so many ways to express yourself artistically, I encourage everyone to take a chance and find theirs.
Can you tell me more about the direction you are heading in your art career?
I worked for a commercial printing company throughout college, but did no printmaking as an art student. Since then, I’ve taken a few workshops for different printing techniques and I really enjoy them. I decided I was overdue for some serious artistic growth and signed up for a class at OU. I’ll be doing a variety of printing over the course of the semester, and I hope this experience opens new doors for me. I’ve spent so much of the last seven years focusing on my career as a teacher, I feel it’s time to focus on being an artist as well.
I understand you teach high school art: where, what grade(s), and how long? What art the rewards?
I teach ninth through 12th grade at Del City High School. I am currently in my seventh year of teaching, and as any teacher will tell you, rewards are hard-won. The biggest reward–and it really is something simple–is knowing that I’ve made a student’s life a little more colorful and interesting. When they’re proud of something they have created, it’s a victory for me.
Tell me about your involvement with the Arthurian Order of Avalon.
I joined the AOA when I was 15 and have been with them off and on ever since. I’ve performed in numerous “human chess matches,” musical shows, and I’ve even jousted on horseback. I’ve been recognized multiple times within the organization for my achievements in disciplines such as stage combat, sewing and horsemanship.
Among your other skills, you are a seamstress, and have made costumes for the Arthurian Order of Avalon. Do you strive for historical accuracy?
My mother first taught me to sew when I was in elementary school, but my involvement with the AOA and the Medieval Fair really gave me an opportunity to develop the skill. I consider it as much an art as painting or drawing. I’ve made costumes for numerous characters from all walks of life–queens, kings, villains, peasants…you name it–and depending on the costume, it can take me hours or weeks. On top of that, a lot of research does go into my costumes. I try to stick to history as closely as possible, though sometimes adjustments must be made for practicality or the availability of materials.
Do you want to mention anything about your family?
I would like to thank my husband, John Seaton, for supporting me and my artistic endeavors.