Artist profile - Sarah Connell

Sarah Connell, in her home studio (with Monty the cat)

Sarah Connell, in her home studio (with Monty the cat) - Credit: Sarah Connell

Making it as a professional fine artist is a tough challenge, yet this Stockport-based talent found a 21st century solution.

Oxford Road, Looking South. Digital art by Sarah Connell

Oxford Road, Looking South. Digital art by Sarah Connell - Credit: Sarah Connell

In 2017, Sarah Connell was a finalist in the Cheshire Life Landscape Artist of the Year competition. At that time, she had no thoughts of even attempting to take the step to becoming a full-time professional artist. In fact, it wasn't until March 2019 that she made her first foray into the world of art sales - and now, in less than a year, has achieved a dream she had barely begun to hold.

'Growing up I had always painted, but I couldn't believe I would be able to make a career from it. In fact, at 16 my art teacher at school told me he'd found a shop that wanted to sell my work if I would do some paintings for them, but I just went to pieces and couldn't do it! Instead, I started a career in clothes design, before moving into homeware design. I also took a role with a fine art gallery, photographing artworks. It really inspired me, and I thought maybe I should perhaps show my work to people too. In March 2019 I set up an Instagram account,

@connellpaintings, and started putting up images of my work.'

Within weeks Sarah had sold her first piece, and it has simply snowballed from there.

'It quickly led to people wanting to buy, and then galleries reaching out to me too, such as Nothern Makes, in Bollington, who invited me to put some work into the Manchester Art Fair.'

Sarah produces her work in two very different media - digital and acrylic. Her style remains the same across both however, with her work with paint informing her work with software tools.

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'I sell my digital prints through Manchester Art Prints,' she says, 'and my acrylics both direct and via galleries. I was commissioned by a gallery in Shrewsbury to go there and paint some of their surrounding area last year and have just been asked by a gallery in Yorkshire to do the same, but after that I really want to get back to painting Manchester again.

'Working with galleries puts my work in front of people who wouldn't otherwise see it,' says Sarah, 'but it is Instagram that has brought me to their attention and allows me to interact directly with customers. I set up my Instagram account not knowing what to expect - and have been amazed by the response.'

She shouldn't be, really. Her work is wonderful; informed and inspired by great Northern artists such as Valette and Lowry, she is carrying on a tradition that began in this great northern city and doing it in her own unique, utterly engaging, style.