Interview with artist Sarah Cruse

June 12, 2009


Last year, at the end of Summer 2008, I remember knitting at the Teahouse Townshend on Alberta Street, when suddenly my eye caught this wondrous painting of a breathtakingly beautiful peacock against a black background.

I was visually attracted by this painting, it made me stop knitting and I just gazed at the colorful peacock feathers which magically transformed into molecular-ish cell biology depictions.

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My eyes were interlocked on this mesmerizing peacock painting… I simply couldn’t look away.

When the exposition was no longer up at the Teahouse,  I was sad in my heart…

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How happy I was when I walked into the Teashop a few weeks ago, to see that the same artist had returned with her work!

This time I did not hesitate; I took one of her cards, looked her up online, and after reading some passages on her blog, I contacted her hoping that the wondrous and magical Sarah Cruse would grant me an interview. And she did!

A wondrously gentle and colorful magical world

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I cannot tell you how honored I was when Sarah Cruse invited me to her studio somewhere in SE Portland. Immediately, I sensed a very friendly and gentle atmosphere. Sarah’s smiling face and friendly voice made the interview the more pleasant, the soft and fluid motions of her hands encaptured me tremendously.

During the whole interview I had the feeling I landed in some magical realm where soft  feathers would caresse my cheek and little sweet secrets would be whispered in my ear at any given time.

Allthough an Indiana girl at heart, Sarah Cruse decided to leave Indianapolis where she was raised and head West. An adventurous uncle who lived in San Francisco, was her true inspiration to come to the West Coast and to become a painter. 

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In the year 1999, Sarah relocated from Idianapolis to Portland, Oregon. “When I first landed here, I felt so far away from home “, Sarah recalls. “I remember how the scent of the city of Portland caught me and I was so taken by the overgrown yards in my neighborhood .”

Sarah’s transition into the city of Portland hasn’t been an easy one: “I had some difficult times, but after 6 years I was able to make a positive environment for myself.”

Choosing between writing and painting

Sarah always has had huge creative drives and her interest and passion were mainly focussed on writing and painting. At first she chose the path of writing: 

“Writing seemed to be more financially reliable than painting, but I found that the more I strayed away from painting, the more drained I felt”.

In the end Sarah decided to make a career as a painter which is easier said than done. Making money to pay the bills by doing what you love may sound very romantic, but reality can teach you otherwise.

“I realized that I needed to market myself and my paintings. Often times this was simply terrifying to me; I felt overwhelmed and discouraged…”

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Luckily, upon advice of a good friend, Sarah took action and dived into social media; she started a website, a blog, and an etsy site: “I needed to know how to do things differently. I am trying very hard to market myself!”

In the end, Sarah found a way to incorporate her love for writing in her paintings. In her artist statement she writes:

“Over the years my writing has left the page and reached out to the canvas. I write on my paintings, under my paintings, and on the back of them too.”

Where does Sarah find inspiration?

When I ask Sarah where here inspiration comes from she answers: “There are lots of different places where my work comes from. I receive visuals through meditation. I am inspired by magic in nature and the words come to me through poetry.

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I love imagination and the mysterous realms of spirits. I receive messages around me, surrender my control and I realize that I am a small part of this big thing.

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 Sometimes I paint stuff, and I don’t even know exactly why… It just comes out.”

The way I see Sarah and her work

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Sarah has allowed me in her sacred space for which I am very thankful. I can still see her sitting comfortably in her chair, or should I say, her throne?

While watching her talk, she reminded me of a latent wise Queen, a channeler of messages from the Ethereal and Magical World. 

Her gestures are gentle yet so grand. But above all, Sarah Cruse strikes me as unpretentious and so incredibly kind.

Her work reminds me of Magic Realism in literature…think “House of Spirits” by Isabel Allende…

In an often time disenchanted world, Sarah Cruse’s work tells us that there is still magic, all around us, all the time.

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Find Sarah Cruse online:

Official Website:

On Etsy: Sarahcruse on Etsy

Blog:    Sarah Cruse Art Love Word

On Twitter:  Sarah Cruse on Twitter

On Facebook:  Sarah Cruse on Facebook

Find Sarah Cruse in the real world through the month of June:

Modern wares for Babies and Toddlers!
916 NW 10th Ave
(503) 227-8729

2223 NE Alberta St
(503) 445-6699

201 SE 12th Ave
(503) 236-6411

vegetarian cafe:
4936 NE Fremont St, Portland

Thanks for reading and until the next entry…