By Emily Williams
According to Sarah Soule Webb, a local artist who lives in Birmingham, creating a work of art under a time limit is like skydiving.
“It absolutely forces you to use parts of your brain that you don’t normally tap into when you have a lot of time to work on a piece,” she said.
Webb has been painting live at weddings for a while and participated for the first time last year in Artblink, an art gala hosted by the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
She will participate again in this year’s event Feb. 2 at the Kirklin Clinic. She and 19 fellow artists will be creating works of art in 90 minutes that then will be sold in a silent auction.
Mentally preparing to complete a work of art in 90 minutes took Webb a few months.
“I called myself an artist at the age of three, as most kids do,” Webb said. “I believe in a little bit of natural talent, but I also believe in training. I was lucky that I had parents and teachers throughout my life who encouraged me to foster that talent.”
Now that she is a full-time artist, she is able to try out new things and practice and study every day to further her abilities.
When she is painting live at a wedding, Webb said, she likes to go to the venue the day before to map out the background of the piece.
She spent months mapping out the image she created for Artblink last year.
“I drew it out on a canvas and practiced,” she said. “It definitely took me a few months to get the hang of it. It didn’t help that I chose something difficult to paint.”
She painted two hands reaching out to each other – one hand younger and one hand a bit older.
Webb is partial to creating a narrative for each of her paintings, and last year’s was no exception.
“The story evokes a memory or a feeling,” Webb said. “I wanted to focus on a positive aspect of battling cancer.”
Webb said that painting “was all about embracing strength, the sides of the battle that bond someone with their families, that solidifies marriages.”
It’s a part of the battle that she discovered through her career as a dietician at the cancer center about 10 years ago, helping patients keep their weight up to aid in their fight, and through her own personal connections with cancer.
First-Hand Experience With Cancer
“My mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor, and my sister has a mother-in-law who also has battled cancer,” Webb said. “We all have those connections to cancer, some of us closer than others.”
Just as she did last year, this year Webb will create a work of art that showcases an aspect of those connections to cancer.
“I actually had a dream about what I will paint not too long ago,” she said. “After I dreamed about it, I started drawing it out.”
The result of Webb’s work will remain a surprise for those who attend Artblink this year.
“It is an honor to be able to give back to the cancer center in a creative way such as this,” Webb said.
This year’s event will be held in honor of long-time supporter Ed Meyerson, one of the founding members of the center’s advisory board.
The event will be held Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at UAB’s Kirklin Clinic and will include hors d’oeuvres, drinks and live music. An art gallery will show original works created by the artists participating in this year’s live painting that will be available for purchase.
For more information on Artblink, visit artblink.org.