Sarah Danes Jarrett

A self-confessed neat freak, Sarah Danes Jarrett is a delight to chat to for her natural simplicity and down-right honesty. She admits that she doesn’t have extreme views about things and doesn’t feel the need to put avid political or fundamental messages across in her work. She simply adores the process and journey of a painting.

Sarah is an artist who would put herself in the “introvert” category. Softly spoken with words carefully measured, Sarah takes a long breath in before answering any questions – and one is instantly aware that although quiet she is certainly no pushover. After chatting to her, ones gets the feeling that this is someone who if you ask the age old question, “does my bum look fat in these jeans?” she would quietly ask you to turn around, take a good look and then tell you without hesitation the unadulterated truth.

Raised in Zimbabwe, Sarah went on to study commercial art at the Harare Technikon, now she is considered one of this countries finest naturalist artists. Her exquisite, bright, blocky, large scale portraits demand a response. Her faces often stare right back at you as the viewer – they contain an alluring quality which makes you want to look back and see if she is still looking at you. And she always is.

When you ask her the plebeian question, “Yes, you can paint but can you draw?” Sarah breathes in as she thinks back fondly and tells you of Martin Van de Spuy, ‘A wonderful lecturer and fine artist,’ who really inspired her. He encouraged his students to fall in love with figure drawing which she just adored…and probably seeded her eventual love for figurative and portrait work. So yes, she can draw!

Sarah arrived in South Africa in 1988 (following a boyfriend) and now resides in Wynberg in the beautiful Cape with her two teenage children. She opts for a simple life out of the limelight, where small talk can be kept to a minimum. “this surely must be tricky, when your work is in high demand and exhibitions and events call for their fair share of your public self?” She admits that she finds these events a little stiff but once she’s out of her ‘painting clothes’ and finally gets to an exhibition, she enjoys the chatting and sharing of ideas despite her inertia.