"The flowers I paint are sensual and strong but also vulnerable."
Sarah van der Helm
I graduated from Oklahoma State University, where I received a BFA in 1995. This is where I honed my skills and developed a direction in my artwork. My printmaking professor was one of my biggest influences. When I took a drawing class from him, he noticed how detailed my drawings were and told me that I would make a good printmaker. I fell in love with printmaking and made it my emphasis. It offered me both creative and intellectual avenues for expression. Methodically carving detailed lines into a woodblock or painting layers of resist onto a copper plate was wonderfully absorbing. While living in Luxembourg I discovered this same enjoyment in oil painting. I have found it very similar to intaglio, a printmaking method where one paints on layers of resist. One of the things I like the best about oil painting is the ability to create highly detailed images.
After graduating from college and while living in Europe, my work dealt with the female form. During this time I was only able to express myself through more combative imagery. It often depicted a struggle with vulnerability. My compositions have always been direct and simple, incorporating only 2 or 3 elements. Additionally, I arranged the objects in a shallow setting, which further emphasized the simplicity. I often cropped my female figures, usually turning them into a torso. Now that we have relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma from Luxembourg I am transitioning from women to flowers. I find myself treating the flowers in the same manner as I have the female forms. In fact, some of the images of vulnerability in the women series can be seen in the flowers.