For this week’s Feature Friday we meet Sarah Alicia Smith, an incredibly talented watercolour artist who primarily paints animals and pet portrait commissions. As an animal fanatic & self confessed ‘dog crazy lady’ I immediately fell in love with Sarah’s work and if you read on I’m sure you will too!
Hi Sarah! Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your Etsy shop?
My name is Sarah and my shop is called Sarah Alicia Smith… it’s my full name, I like to keep things simple! I’m really passionate about Art and always have been. For as long as I remember I have been creative, I used to sit in my grandma’s house and draw, paint and occasionally make paper mache people. I am really fortunate to combine my love of Art with my love of animals and dogs!
I became really interested in drawing and painting animals and posted a few pictures of my artwork on Facebook, within a few days I had six orders! I couldn’t believe that people wanted to buy my work. It’s escalated from then and my Etsy shop is really starting to grow, although it’s still early days and you really have to work at it! I am also a full time Art Teacher at a Secondary School in Yorkshire so it’s pretty full on this year!
Tell us a little bit about where you work?
I’m lucky to have just got a huuuuge mortgage on a lovely new house near the Yorkshire Dales! We keep chickens in the garden and they always keep me company looking through the window into where I work on the kitchen table. I have plans to convert our spare room to become my work space. We have two chickens called Basil and Ginger (Basil because the farmer we bought them off was called Basil).
That sounds idyllic and fresh eggs for breakfast each day, lucky you! What inspires your work?
My inspiration comes from a few different places. I love nothing more than getting out into the beautiful English and Welsh country side. The rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales and the light that filters over the stone clad fields really fills me with awe. I love taking my parent’s dog Sooty (mine really) on long walks there. Sooty is a Schnoodle, she’s great because my Dad is normally allergic to dogs and he’s not to Sooty as she hypoallergenic, she’s a cross between a Schnauzer and a Poodle.
I also visit North Wales regularly throughout the year – North Wales is a magical place and it has to be my favourite place on earth! My inspiration comes from the rugged coastal landscape and the beautiful golden beaches.
Agreed they are both such beautiful places, I’m very jealous you’re in the Dales, it’s stunning. What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a new range of water colours, I really enjoy this medium but I have also recently been asked to create a large abstract acrylic painting of a pug! I’m really excited about starting it but that’s a job for after my wedding in August!
Wow you’re getting married in August, working full time and progressing your Etsy shop… that’s a very busy year! How are your wedding plans coming along what sort of occasion are you planning?
The wedding planning is going well! We are getting married in an old converted chapel but it’s not a religious ceremony. We’ll be married in the Yorkshire Dales near Bolton Abbey then having a marquee in my grandmas field in Ilkley. It’s going to be country side themed! Wildflowers, I’m growing them all in the garden along with all our veg!
That sounds incredibly romantic and an amazing location for a wedding. I love the countryside theme idea! OK getting back on topic, how have you found your Etsy journey so far?
I have really loved my Etsy journey so far, it has been challenging and at first I didn’t think I would ever sell anything! But with a little tweaking to the photography and lots of social media work I managed to get my first sale which was such a buzz! The feeling that someone likes your work enough to buy it never gets old! I work with every customer closely and make sure I update them with pictures of my work as the process goes on.
Any lessons learned so far that you would like to share with other Etsy makers or online sellers?
Make sure that you use the tags that are most important to your business (sounds so obvious but it really works). Also because I sell a lot of work to America make sure you use ‘American language’ for example I need to change some of my dimensions to inches because the Americans apparently don’t use A4 and A3 dimensions.
Your best seller?
My best sellers are definitely my personalised commissions.
I’m just wondering what you do if the images/photographs you’re supplied with for the commission aren’t very good quality?
If the photo is rubbish I ask for another. I give advice that the photo must be bright in good day light and in the pose they want it in.
What’s next for your shop?
I want to create a series of more affordable pieces of art. This means more simple almost caricature of animals, with bright colours. I’m looking forward to doing some more water colour painting too!
Your watercolours are beautiful, looking forward to seeing them! Your Etsy crush?
After reading the Rose Filtered ‘Feature Friday’ blog on ToriLo Deigns I’ve fallen in love with Vicky’s beautiful bags! They are so unique and I have actually ordered a bespoke wallet for my fiancé as his current one is falling to pieces!
Wow that’s fantastic and really great to know that writing a feature about Vicky’s lovely work has helped spread the word, hopefully we will have the same impact here!
So other than your Etsy shop where can we find you to come and say ‘hi’?
A very big thank you to Sarah for contributing to this weeks #FeatureFriday, especially given everything she has on her plate at the moment. I hope you have chance to take a moment to pop over to her shop for a browse or maybe say hello on social media, I’m sure she would love to have some comments and feedback and maybe even new commissions!
If you have time to read more we’ve featured Jo Stevens this week over on our Rose Filtered blog, it’s well worth a read. Here at Leapupo HQ we will be featuring Natasha Sorelli from Natsula Designs, I’m a huge fan of her work and can’t wait to show you some of her gorgeous makes so please pop back next week and have a gander!
Thanks for reading xx