Sarah Howard

Co-Director; Instructor, Traditional Drawing and Painting Methods, Child & Teen Classes

SARAH HOWARD, one of our most popular instructors, brings a warmth and concern to all her teaching responsibilities. Sarah's interest in art began at a young age when she started working on her own in rural northern Minnesota. "While everyone else was out snowmobiling and playing sports I was holed up in my bedroom, drawing. I was a champion night owl, too. I'd be the only one awake, so I would move all my stuff down to the kitchen table and draw there. It helped make those long winters tolerable."

Rock, Paper, Scissors
Sarah Howard, Paper, Scissors, Rock
Oil on Canvas

At the University of Minnesota, Duluth, Sarah began enrolling in drawing and design courses. She supplemented what she learned by taking a workshop with local wildlife artist Terry Palm and traveling north to study watercolor at Bemidji State University. Soon she was winning regional competitions for her watercolor and colored pencil paintings. But she was dissatisfied with her work. "There were too many gaps and I wanted to acquire a formal foundation for my art."

Jesus and Mary, Icon at St Sahag Armenian Church
Left to right: Grounding the Panel; the Verdaccio Underpainting; The completed Icon
Sarah Howard, Madonna and Child
Oil and Gold Leaf on Panel

This icon was painted as the central altarpiece for St. Sahag Armenian Church in St. Paul. As in medieval times, the contract Sarah received when the commission was awarded came with exceptionally specific guidelines concerning the likenesses of Mary and Jesus. Therefore, Sarah had very little input into how the figures would look. In addition, a church committee reviewed the painting every few weeks to guarantee all stipulations were met.

Eventually, Sarah found her way to the Twin Cities to study drawing and oil painting at The Atelier in Minneapolis. She took additional classes and workshops with artists Frank Covino, Paul Oxbourough, Jeff Hurinenko and Joe Paquet, and became knowledgeable in the practice and use of egg tempera. On her graduation from The Atelier, Sarah joined The Art Academy to become an indispensable member of our staff.

Left to right: The Grisaille Underpainting; The Dead Color Stage; The Completed Icon.
Sarah Howard, "Bring Unto Me Your Burden…"

This is the second Icon that Sarah painted for the St. Sahag Armenian Church in St. Paul. It appears on a side wall and is meant to greet parishioners when they enter the church, welcoming them to spiritual enlightenment. The painting of Christ is life-size to enhance its sovereignty.

On teaching Sarah comments:

"To be a good art teacher is harder than most people could ever imagine. There's a delicate balance that you try to establish with students that fits each of their individual personalities and learning styles. On the one hand you accept who they are and where they're at, on the other you're nudging them forward to that higher standard to unlock their true potential and unveil all the hidden talent that they themselves hardly see.

"It's a rewarding experience. You always get more out of it than you put into it. The best thing is when you see someone grasp a new concept. There's an energy there that you can't help but pick up. Being with kids reminds me to ask better questions instead of always looking for the answers, whether it's in art or in life."