Sarah Phelps - Life In Vivid Colours

It takes guts to make art and put it out there for people to see. It takes raw courage to make a living doing it. That why I love Sarah. She's my go-to girl for conversations about what it’s like to be a full-time artist and how important it is to believe in yourself, your art and your talent. 

But Sarah's no starving artist. Her hard work has paid off. Her pieces hang in the homes of celebrities and have been featured in publications around the world. I hung out with her to find out more about how she did it.


What Was your First Job? 

My first position out of university was a Wildlife Biologist for the Ministry of Natural Resources where I tracked and surveyed amphibians, reptiles, and mammals in the field.  I also traveled to Australia and worked for the Queensland Institute of Medical Research analyzing mosquitoes, ran a koala survey for the Gold Coast City Counsel, and worked with a PhD student capturing and releasing wallabies. These jobs were all so amazing and soul fueling. My extensive experience in nature is continually expressed in my paintings, as my work has an organic vibe with modern edge and flare. 

What made you switch to become a full-time artist?

I've been an artist my whole life and intended on going to university for fine arts, but at the last minute I changed my mind and pursued wildlife biology. I love animals. It wasn't until I started moving up in the environmental industry that my passion as an artist started brewing inside of me. After 10 years of wildlife biology, I threw caution to the wind and paint to canvas and soon realized that abstract painter was my true calling. The stars aligned and before I knew it, I was offered an artist studio and my first solo art exhibit was a great success. The rest is history.


What inspires you to paint? 

I am inspired by my present life, past experiences, future dreams, and positive energy. I allow my emotion to pour and flow onto the canvas through interesting textures and intriguing colour palettes. My paintings create a story for the viewer to interpret. There is nothing better than someone connecting deeply with one of my paintings. I believe each piece is meant for a specific person and eventually they will find one other.

Where can we see your work?

You can see my latest works on my website and in person at my art gallery & studio in the historic Distillery District of Toronto.


"Understand that it will take hard work, determination, confidence, and self love to be truly successful."


What do you think artists need more support of? 

Artists need more support from arts & culture sectors of government, more available and affordable work spaces, more opportunities to expose their work, and more support from the community to buy and invest in art/artists. 


What would you suggest for someone who is wanting to pursuit painting full-time? 

Follow your passion, take a chance and go full throttle. Keep that side job until you feel the timing is right to become a full time artist. Understand that it will take hard work, determination, confidence, and self love to be truly successful. Anything is possible :)  

Bettina Bogar