Butterfly Woman Watercolor by Bernadette Sabatini - Doodlewash

GUEST ARTIST: “My Continuing Journey” by Bernadette Sabatini

My name is Bernadette Sabatini. I live in Northeast Pennsylvania, near the Poconos. We get four seasons but my absolute favorite is summer. Long languid days where my sun-filled studio is a sanctuary where I can paint and still feel as if I’m outdoors.

I’ve been drawing all my life. One of my first memories was drawing alongside my father as he sketched Robert F. Kennedy in charcoals. My father was a major influence in my life. He was also a self-taught artist and he always encouraged and supported my artistic efforts.

I started doing cartoons of family members and our steady stream of dachshunds. A sense of humor and a love of the ridiculous have always been important in my life
and I hope that comes through in my art.

Do You Have Anything Without Kale? Illustration by Bernadette Sabatini - Doodlewash

I would do cards for birthdays and holidays, highlighting the foibles of our family, and they came to expect a handmade card– though I was never a threat to Hallmark!

My father built a business reupholstering furniture and I grew up working there summers and holidays, learning the trade. Once I graduated from college I became partners in the business. When my father passed away 12 years ago, I carried on the business by myself.

I got away from my art after losing my father, I just didn’t have the heart for it for a long time. Slowly, I started to fill sketchbooks with cartoons and drawings. I used pencil and pen, but eventually needing to add color to give life to my ‘people’.

Seated Woman Watercolor by Bernadette Sabatini - Doodlewash

I gave myself permission to take a day off from work and devoted that day to only activities I wanted to do – no errands or chores. I signed up for a watercolor class
with a renowned watercolor artist, Gary Eimbich of Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. It was the highlight of my week, I’m was learning so much from him, probably the main lesson is patience!

Leaf Face Woman Watercolor by Bernadette Sabatini - Doodlewash

A painting inevitably goes through an ‘ugly phase’ and I would get discouraged. Gary would calmly make me step back and see how I could make it work with just a few
small, simple additions of color or strokes. The turnaround seems like magic.

I use reference photos for my portraits, but have been taking self-portraits to get poses and moods that I want to convey. Everything fascinates me about people – their
faces, hands and especially their eyes. Real people are so much more interesting to me than perfect, beautiful, photoshopped images.

I started small, using Arches 140 lb cold pressed paper in 9″ x 12″ or 11″ x 14″. Then, when I was in a local show, a man was looking at my art and asked me why all my
paintings were small. It’s funny how a stranger can open your eyes with an offhand remark. So now I’m challenging myself with larger images. It can be intimidating but
a larger piece has presence.

I started posting on Instagram over a year ago and enjoy the encouragement and inspiration I find there. It’s a supportive community of artists and creative people. I paint every day. I feel I have a lot to learn but I’m loving the journey.

I’m interested in so many different aspects of art including pen and ink, food art, portraits, and animals. Traditional art of landscapes, seascapes and still lifes really hold no interest for me and it shows in my efforts of these subjects. I see the skill other artists have in portraying them, but I can’t give them life in my paintings. I see a person with a pensive look, or their body positioned a certain way, and I want to paint them.

I’ve fallen in love with watercolors and painting, but like all love affairs there’s failure and rejection. The wonderful thing I’m discovering is that I’m resilient enough to bounce back and keep trying. Even when faced with failure, I’m compelled to keep going, either to stick with it and turn it around or start over and avoid the mistakes I made. Failure can be devastating but the successes are intoxicating – much like love!

Bernadette Sabatini

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists

32 thoughts on “GUEST ARTIST: “My Continuing Journey” by Bernadette Sabatini

  1. Bernadette…..continues to follow your heart’s passion for painting…..it illuminates all the special qualities you have! 💞😘
    Sue Lurie, Bangor, Pa

  2. Hi Bernadette. Your paintings are fun. Love the detail. I lived in Shrewsbury, PA for 11 years and loved it there. I still own my car license plate that says “I have a friend in Pennsylvania.” Thank you for sharing your lovely work.

  3. Bernadette, your story is compelling. It must have been so devastating to lose your father that you also lost your muse, but I’m certain he is proud that you’ve found your art self again. There is much intelligence to your paintings, the wit of your cartoons and the profoundness of your portraits and the unexpected of the “magical” art. What a pleasure that you’ve shared so much.

    1. Thank you Sharon, that’s very sensitive of you to recognize the strong connection I had with my father-perhaps you can relate. Your kind words are so encouraging, I really appreciate it.

    1. Thanks Sharon, it’s always a pleasure to share humor with another slightly twisted individual! 😂. A sense of humor has gotten me through a lot of tough times and I hope it’s done the same for you. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

        1. I don’t have a blog—I wish I was more savvy with technology- and I know I’ll have to learn and embrace that aspect of art and marketing (I sometimes feel as if I missed that boat and still doing the doggy paddle behind!).
          If you have any suggestions I would appreciate it. Thank you for asking!

    1. Thank you, I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I’m glad we have a common thread! Butterflies are one of my favs, they represent so much. ❤️

  4. Bernadette has always been a unique and talented individual with a keen eye for beauty. Her gentle nature and inner beauty are clearly reflected in her work. Brava Bernadette, You’re father is smiling down on you!

  5. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, Theresa. Your kind words and support mean so much to me. My father was a loving presence in my life and he’s always with me, thank you for understanding and acknowledging that. 😘

  6. Thank you very much for showing your art and telling your story! I am one of those other painters: inspired by the landscape and my love of nature and shy to try animals and portraits. But I can understand you and your choices.
    I saw something about a blog in the comments above, I am on Blogspot, that is with my Google account and so easy that even I can do it 🙂

    1. Thank you Janneke, for taking the time to comment and for the information about blogs—I will definitely look into it. I hope I didn’t appear to disparage landscape artists, I admire your skills tremendously and your ability to portray nature. I, however much I love and admire the land and the sea and the sky, can’t seem to make it come alive on paper. But that’s ok, we all have our unique talents-some are drawn to nature, some to people and portraits. I love this community of artists!

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