Sarah Joncas

Thanks to Beautiful Decay, I’ve been introduced to the richly rendered oil paintings of Sarah Joncas. Her art is an example of how, once you know the rules of anatomy, they can be successfully broken and reshaped to one’s desire. The over-sized lips and eyes of her subjects hint at inspiration from cartoons and anime, helping to enhance their expression and deepen their beauty.

I Think I'm Paranoid, 14x18", oil and acrylic by Sarah Joncas

I Think I’m Paranoid, 14×18″, oil and acrylic by Sarah Joncas

The backdrop in the above image really jumps out at you; The red and turquoise vibrate against each other, reinforcing the anxiety she’s experiencing. To further this, the moths bring a sensation of tingling skin (I just want to scratch them away!). Looking at this image, her discomfort is tangible.

Leave your Makeup on, and I'll Leave on the Lights, 16x30", oil by Sarah Joncas

Leave your Makeup on, and I’ll Leave on the Lights, 16×30″, oil by Sarah Joncas

On Sarah’s facebook page, she was kind enough to show a progress collage of this piece. It’s really interesting to watch how the painting changes from the initial sketch to the finished piece. Objects change shape, some are painted over and then repainted again. Slowly, the painting takes shape and comes alive through layers of light, shadow and detail. I love the styling of the model above, vintage with her pearls and swooping blond hair. The soft cushions make the blood splattering all that much more disturbing.

Off with Their Heads, 10x20", oil by Sarah Joncas

Off with Their Heads, 10×20″, oil by Sarah Joncas

This girl’s eyes drew me in right away, so vibrant against her red hair. I enjoy her use of symbolism throughout her works, whether it’s obvious or more subtle. The roses only partially dipped in blood, the hearts on her cheeks. Her work, though extremely detailed, seems quite intuitive. It’s as if she has a very clear idea of where she wants to take a painting from the get-go and sees it through to the end. Most of her works come from her mind, rather than from life or live models.

Migraine Moans, 12x16", Oil by Sarah Joncas

Migraine Moans, 12×16″, Oil by Sarah Joncas

I like how she contrasts highly-rendered surfaces against flatter ones in some of her paintings, breaking up the reality of them a bit. The expression in her eyes is so pained and I can definitely sympathize, having suffered a few migraines myself.

Hard Candy, 20x30", oil on canvas by Sarah Joncas

Hard Candy, 20×30″, oil on canvas by Sarah Joncas

Several items jump out at me from the piece above: the upside-down hello kitty poster, the koi jumping off her arm and the different-colored nails. I appreciate the little details that she sneaks into her works. On her website, she posts a lot of her work, going back as far as 2007. It’s plain to see that she’s made a lot of progress since then, both technically and in terms of style. Even while she was attending art school, though, she had a very strong artistic vision and seems highly self-motivated. Good on her!

Beauty in the Breakdown, 18x24", oil on canvas by Sarah Joncas

Beauty in the Breakdown, 18×24″, oil on canvas by Sarah Joncas

The rich color palette in this painting is especially beautiful, from the soft white sheets to her sunken blue eyes. Paintings like this draw you in to share the subject’s world with her, and with Sarah, all of her paintings are like this. Choosing the paintings for this entry was a challenge since I kept getting caught up in them!

I’m really inspired by Sarah Joncas; she’s known what she wanted to do since she was very young and has been striving for it ever since. She’s able to paint from her mind and come up with consistently beautiful works that way, something I hope to be able to do exclusively one day. Moreover, she makes a living off of commission work and has her work in galleries all around the world… and she’s my age! I’d better get moving, eh? She keeps an art blog which she updates with progress shots. It’s great being able to see her workspace and methods! I have the same sort of setup that she has for painting, hopefully a good sign for me.

From an interview:

How do you want the viewer to feel when they look at your work?

Inspired would be the best feeling, at least it’s the feeling I enjoy getting from artwork the most… Like you just want to run home and grab a brush yourself. 

This is exactly how I’m feeling now, so I’d say she’s totally successful in that!


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