Sarah Gesek

Southwest Serendipity

<em>Bright Desert</em>, 2021, gouache on paper.
Bright Desert, 2021, gouache on paper.

Until recently, self-taught artist Sarah Gesek worked a day job and painted only in her spare hours. That all changed in March 2020.  “I decided to pursue this latent passion once the pandemic hit,” she says. “It was honestly very freeing to admit, first to myself then to others, that I wanted to be an artist and illustrator.” She began posting her work online and was soon painting full-time.

  • Hot Springs, 2021, gouache on paper.

Gesek, who lives in Seattle, depicts landscapes she has encountered in her travels. She doesn’t prioritize hyperrealism or exactitude. “I like to start painting and let the finer details work themselves out as I go,” she says of her gouache on paper pieces. Bright colors—verdant greens, cotton-candy pinks, and cerulean blues—give her work a feeling of joy. In Joshua Tree at Night, for example, the sun sets over a mountain range, as stars crown the Western landscape and magenta flowers strain toward the sky—typical of the raw and awesome “onrush of color and texture” that Gesek sees in the world around her. “Its variations seem almost limitless,” she says.

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Noelani Kirschner is a former assistant editor for the Scholar.


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