Interview by Jason Setnyk | Submitted Photo
South Glengarry, Ontario – Sara Leger is an internationally-selling painter and illustrator who works out of her home studio, Cherry Bomb Studio, in South Glengarry, Ontario.
The name “Cherry Bomb” initially came from the gym she owned and operated for nearly a decade, wherein she empowered women through strength training to find their badass feminine voice. When Covid hit, she decided to close the facility, but her passion for empowering people didn’t go with it. She rekindled her love of painting and turned it into a full-time career as an artist.
Her mixed media paintings are on canvas and oversized playing cards; her sassy bird series combines sarcasm and various feathery friends in a loose, lyrical style. At the same time, her figurative pieces celebrate the uniqueness, inner strength, and beautiful flaws in all of us. She shares the aphorism, “Be unapologetically you!”
Five Questions with The Seeker
1 – What is your preferred artistic medium, and what do you like about it?
I absolutely love the freedom of mixed media. Any limitation a particular media might have is forfeit when you blend materials to create your own new style. It allows me to push creative boundaries and give two-dimensional works interesting texture and unique 3D elements.
2 – What is your artistic education and background? Did you do an apprenticeship or go to art school? Are you self-taught?
I attended Sheridan College for “Art Fundamentals & Illustration” in my twenties, but I’m a lifelong learner, having been painting since I was a child. I continue to take workshops and courses.
3 – Tell us about your creative process. Do you plan each piece out, or does the art take shape as you work?
My art process is mostly intuitive because I tend to paint very quickly with lots of bright, bold strokes, but lately, I’ve been more methodical in my process. I’ve been working with oils because they add a deep and rich quality to painting that I just can’t get with acrylics. So, half the portrait is intuitive, then I layer on the oils at the end and really refine the work.
4 – Do you have any tips or advice for artists just starting?
Be patient and be authentic. You must realize it’s a lot of work to find your voice and your people. You can’t just sign up for a workshop or go to an art class and expect gallery representation and collectors to follow shortly thereafter. Most successful artists have decades under their belt of honing their skills, working toward finding their style, and building a following. Stay true to you throughout.
5 – Tell us about the best reaction someone has had to your artwork.
I have had a myriad of reactions when it comes to my work, but some of the best have been stunned silence, where I can see them holding their breath and lightly brushing their hands over the piece without realizing they are even doing it, and my second favourite is when I get a thank you note from them months later. Usually stating something along the lines of how the art gives them strength and energy every day.
For more information about Cherry Bomb Studio, visit her website. https://cherrybombstudio.ca/