Can I See My Feelings?: New art exhibition by Sarah Pym set to appear at Thirsk's Rural Arts venue

It all started with a profound question from the mouth of a child.

In January of 2020, just weeks prior to Covid brought the world to a juddering stop, North Yorkshire-based artist Sarah Pym was asked by a young person “can I see my feelings?”

This simple and typically child-like enquiry unleashed in Sarah a veritable tsunami of creativity that has culminated in a large solo art exhibition, currently on display at Rural Arts in Thirsk.

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Can I See My Feelings is a body of intuitive abstracts in a variety of media.

Sarah Pym - JD Photography, Thirsk

Sarah says it is designed to stimulate the viewers towards conversations, colours, and thinking about how they feel when they look at each picture.

She has painted many of the emotions such as love, anger, fury, grief, joy, brave, excitement, calm, anticipation and shock to name but a few.

“I absolutely love colour and it makes my heart sing, as does helping my clients with their mental health, and for me the two are equally important,” Sarah said.

“I was well on my way with this series when we were locked down in 2020 and over the past two years I have continued to paint and this exhibition is the culmination of that work.”

JD Photography, Thirsk

In addition to being a contemporary artist, Sarah is also a qualified mental health professional. Can I See My Feelings combines two of Sarah’s passions, art and psychology, creating a powerful and unique experience. Thirsk-based Sarah traces her artistic career back in 2014 when an insistent voice in her ear kept repeating: “Paint, paint, paint”. She said her vision now is to help others grow through change.

“Art is visceral, energetic and thought-provoking, it’s meant to be,” she said.

“The more people can learn to understand and manage their emotions the easier they will find it to navigate the life-shocks and challenges of being human.”

The first painting experience, since school, at a workshop in Ludlow, seven years ago, gave Sarah the confidence to play, to experiment, and to practice with colour, over and over again.

JD Photography, Thirsk

For the last seven years she has painted whenever she can and her art resides with collectors all over the UK and internationally. Sarah settled in Thirsk, North Yorkshire in 2019. Through lockdown Sarah used most of the available materials in her studio and the majority of the works are mixed media, with emphasis on mark making, energy and textures. Her next series of work is returning to her first love of nature and the outdoors - abstract landscapes and florals.

“Post Covid there’s so much emphasis on the impact of mental health and a far greater understanding of its importance to each and every life stage,” she said.

“I hope that the visitors to this free exhibition will look and notice how they feel. What does each picture look like to them? Is that picture “Joy” or something else? If it makes people talk about how they feel, and enables others to go home and pick up some colour and let out on to paper exactly what they are feeling and perhaps put a name to what they’re feeling then I’ve succeeded.”

She added: “Being over 60 is liberating as the inner critic is quieter, we’ve learnt how to manage imposter syndrome, and all that we’ve been through in our first sixty years gives us courage and momentum. This is probably the boldest and bravest thing I’ve ever done and there will be literally nowhere to hide in a huge exhibition of over 35 paintings. I’m hugely proud of what I’ve achieved and exhibiting all this framed work together in one room is so incredibly powerful.”

Can I See My Feelings is on display Rural Arts in Thirsk until Friday May 20.