Portraits in Oil
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More, Fall Magazine, Artist Spotlight: Sara Eyestone, “Sara Eyestone’s Dreamy Artwork Brings Florals to Life,” p. 10, Carrie Gibson
America, August, Sourcebook to the United States Art World, “Museums, Galleries, American Artists,” Sara Eyestone, p. 134.
Magazine, July/August, The Texas Artist: Sara Eyestone, "Full
Volume Color,” p. 41, 44,45, Patti Jones Morgan
Monitor, September 8, Kaleidoscope, “Eyestone: Stories, Paintings
at Fuller Lodge,” Special to The Monitor
Antonio’s Good News Journal, July, Art and Culture, “Sara Eyestone:
A Nationally Commissioned Artist in San Antonio,” Michael Rose
Antonio Woman Magazine (Feature),
November/December, “Artist’s Haven on the River Walk,” Kay McKay Meyers
Antonio Express News, April 25,
p.3, “Don’t Worry, Ladies: Fiesta Won’t
Become Sinful Mardi Gras,” Rick Casey
Antonio Express News, April
23, Front Page, “NIOSA is Here, but Poster Isn’t, Artist Says Her Work
Rejected Because of Mexican Dolls’ Link to Prostitution, Event Poster
Rejected at Last Minute”, Rachael Patton
Parade San Antonio, Sara Eyestone’s “Gramoosita Rosita,” p.38, Back
Cover, Orange Frazer Press
Antonio Business Journal (Cover Story),
January 25-31,“Artist has a Midas
Touch,” Tamarind Phinisee
Asbury Park Press, November 10, Stepping Out, “Eyestone’s in Town,”
Asbury Park Press, April 27,
“Roses and Hydrangeas for the Doctor. Artist’s Creation Honors Memory
of Beloved Obstetrician,” Karen Delancey
North San Antonio Times (Feature),
April 13, The Arts, “River Walk Denizen
Eyestone has Heart for Art, Buzz for Business,” Robert Goetz, Editor
Antonio Express News, April 2,
Arts, “Artist Plants ‘Hibiscus Kiss’ on Viva Botanica,” Stacie Orsagh
Asbury Park Press (Feature),
March 13, Saturday People, Women’s History Month, “Jersey’s Own: A Look
at Just a Few Who Have Made Us Proud”
the Shore Once More, Sara Eyestone’s Paintings, pp. 2, 38, 41, 166,
Jersey Shore Publications
Antonio Express News, November 28,
Feature, “Transformed Living,” Barbara Higdon
North San Antonio Times,
December 18, “Artist Leaves Jersey Shore for San
Antonio River Banks,” Robert Goetz
Images Sunday Magazine (Cover Story), The San Antonio Express News,
December 7, “A Transplant in Bloom,” Jasmina Wellingoff
Monitor, June 26, Lifestyles, “Famous Artist Returns to Her Roots,”
Karen Nilsson Brandt
Shore Arts, November, “Noted Artist Plans to Head West,” Sandy Cuoto
Asbury Park Press, October 23, Community Profile, “Artist says
Good-Bye to New Jersey,” Eric Gonzalez
Ocean View (Cover Story), July 5-12, “The Creative Life. It May be
Difficult to Catch Up with Sara Eyestone, but the Encounter is Well
Worth the Effort,” Sandy Couto
Atlanticville, February 2-8, “Sara Eyestone ’96 Calendars Sold Out,”
Herald (Feature), January 12, “The Art of Life: A Window into the
Work of Sara Eyestone,” Stephanie Bennett
Fabulous Fragrances, Jan Moran, “Design’s Famous Patron: Artist
Sara Eyestone,” p. 98, Crescent House Publishing
Jersey Woman Magazine (Cover),
Anniversary Issue, “Sara Eyestone”
Business News, May, Town Talk, “McGaw’s Initiate Foundation for AIDS
with Auction Benefit. Top lot was Sara Eyestone’s oil on canvas,
American Artist Magazine, October, Success Stories, “Making a Profit
from Reproductions,” Barbara Curry Walsh
Coast Magazine (Feature), Summer, Images, “The Art of Sara Eyestone”
Jersey Monthly Magazine, June,
Exit Ramp, “Inky and Fish Grow Up,” Ingrid Tomey
Jersey Woman Magazine (Cover),
July/August, “Sara Eyestone Paints a
Pretty Profit,” Jane Burgess
York Times, February, “A Romantic approach to Life and Art,” Arlene
Telling It Like It Is, Elaine Clift, Sara Eyestone Cover, KIT
Garden State Home and Garden Magazine, August, “Inspired by Design”,
Arlene J. Newman
Asbury Park Press (Cover Story),
no date, Profiles of Success Series:
“Artist Figures Out Life,” Eleanor O’Sullivan
Asbury Park Press, November 15, Let’s Visit, “Sara Eyestone’s
Colorful Home Capstone of St. Mary’s Tour,” Arlene J. Newman
Press Coastal, August 25, “Honored Artist Says Focus Not on Gender
Now,” Nancy Crotti
Jersey Monthly Magazine (Feature),
December, “People to Watch in 1987,” The
Asbury Park Press, August 15, Entertainment, “Collector’s Choice:
Artist Sara Eyestone meets Senator Bill Bradley, D-NJ, for a Drawing
Jersey Woman Magazine (Cover),
July/August, “Sara Eyestone Mastering the
Work of Art,” Jane Burgess
July 2, Lifestyle, “Show Your Colors!
Texas Country Living Magazine, July, Country Classics, “Sara
Eyestone designed the Official Liberty Plate”
Off, June, On View, “Museum in Bloom with American Garden, E.
Princeton Packet, no date, Art Review, “Sara Eyestone’s New Jersey
Paintings at the State Museum are Warm, Touching, Inviting,” Susan
Jersey State Museum Newsletter, May/June, “Eyestone’s American
Gardens on Exhibit”
Ashville Citizen, May 22, Lifestyle, “People are Fascinated by
Liberty Artist,” Carole Carrie
Knoxville News-Sentinel, April 22, “Artist Transfers Liberty’s Light
to Commemorative China and Porcelain,” Barbara Aston-Wash
Star Ledger, April 4, “Art Expo ’86 Will Open NY Jacob Javitz Center. Sara Eyestone
Will Participate,” Eileen Watkins
Business News, March, Poster Pond, “Sara Eyestone’s Flowers from
Second Avenue Just Released”
Southwest Art Magazine (Feature), December, “Sara Eyestone’s Colors
of the Southwest,” Anita Levine
Piedmont Airline’s Pace Magazine, June, “American Artist Sara
York Times, March 24, This Week, “Annual Festival of the Arts
Includes a Lecture, Demonstration by Sara Eyestone”
Colorado Homes and Gardens (Feature), March/April, “A Passion for
Poppies,” Debby Titlow
Jersey Woman Magazine (Cover),
January/February, “Six Jersey
Women to Watch in 1985”
American’s Clipper Magazine, December, Panorama, “As Time Goes By,”
Arizona Business Gazette,
April 9, Diversions, “Artist Makes Color an Art Form”
Colonial Homes Magazine, January/February, “Sara Eyestone’s American
Style,” Barbara Curry Walsh
York Times, October 17, Arts, “Sara Eyestone Lectures, Demonstrates”
Working Woman Magazine, July, Memoranda, “Sara Eyestone,” Susan
Daily Register, December 10, “Ocean Township Artist Exhibits Work
Recognized Across United States,” Iris Rozencwajg
York Times, May 7, Arts, “Sara Eyestone at Lord & Taylor’s Gallery”
Asbury Park Press (Feature),
February 27, “Artist Strives for Success,” Pat Hipp
For More Information
SARA EYESTONE STUDIO · 701 North Saint Mary's #16 · San Antonio,
Studio Telephone 210-281-1670 · Fax
The Texas Artist: SARA EYESTONE
FULL – VOLUME COLOR
Patti Jones Morgan
COUNTRY LIFESTYLE, July/August 2006
Sara Eyestone is one of those people who embraces life, goes full-tilt ahead, and makes it work for her. She paints professionally and in abundance, and populates her life with family and friends.
Yet, in a quiet moment, Eyestone might be encountered on the River Walk, carefully tucking sleepy bulbs into a sunny spot among shadows where she’s quite sure they’ll bloom. “I wanted to plant some which had been in our garden in New Jersey,” explains the artist, who moved to San Antonio with her husband, David Molin, in the 1990s. “So, one day I went down to the river, not far from our condominium, watched the sun’s path and planted amaryllis, which is just wonderful.”
Placing a plant or flower in its potentially perfect setting comes naturally to Eyestone, whose canvases flow with floral compositions with names like Santa Fe Bouquet, Terra Cotta Garden and Dancing Magnolias. In a nod to San Antonio’s Mexican influence, she adds serapes and a pottery favorite to one of her newest paintings, entitled Poppies and Talavera.
Producing many commissioned works annually, this high-energy artist works in an out-of-the-way studio, painting for hours to classical music, country and western tunes, even Elvis Presley ballads. “I lock myself in, turn on the fan, then turn on the music. I love all music, and I like it turned up; it’s easy to focus when you do that,” she asserts.
Turning up the volume also refers to her big-canvas, big-color style which she calls larger than life. “It makes it very theatrical, but it’s what I like and the way I see it. It’s very difficult for me to paint a little canvas.”
As many as 70 different shades may go into a painting. Applied in multiple layers, they produce a tapestry of accessible blossoms which seem to draw your nose right into the picture. Strong composition, in art or music, takes practice – and Eyestone preaches and practices this mantra, especially during her “Creative Approach to the Business of Art” workshops. A painting may take 100 hours to complete, but she’s not afraid to start over if something’s problematic.
“My theory with art is to approach it like a piece of music,” she says, comparing the process with a beginning music student’s first disappointing tries. “You’d back up, play it again, think about how to rework it, and then try it again. With artwork, everything’s a recital. If your idea’s great, you have to develop your skills in order to have the idea work.”
Not surprisingly, Eyestone favors warm colors. Her signature shades and color combinations are hot pink and coral, pink and red. “I don’t use one without the other, even in this chicken picture above my fireplace,” she points out. “For example, I’ve used all this Rembrandt brown, burnt sienna and black, flame and orange. But the rooster’s comb is that wonderful scarlet, and if you look closely, it’s got little touches of hot pink that make it sing.”
Eyestone’s paintings land in homes all over the United States. Corporate clients include the University of Texas Health Science Center (San Antonio) and the Statue of Liberty Foundation (NYC). Whether she’s doing a portrait, painting ranch animals, or creating San Antonio Rose for St. Luke’s Baptist Women’s Hospital, this overachiever
bonds with her clients.
The Caspari stationery company publishes her work as note cards, and she’s planning a book featuring her art, too. Children touch her heart, so she donates hundreds of her posters to selected charities, including The Rainbow Foundation.
Sara Eyestone, painter and passionate recitalist, conducts life with music and color. And both are turned up full volume.
conversation with Sara Eyestone:
A Nationally Commissioned Artist in San Antonio
By: Michael Rose
San Antonio Good News, July, 2004
Artist Sara Eyestone and her husband, David Molin, discovered San Antonio eight
years ago at the invitation of her patron, Mary Sue Koontz-Nelson. “It was love
at first sight with this amazing city and the Texans who live here” the artist
is quoted as saying.
During their first visit they extended their stay and spent six weeks downtown
in a borrowed condominium, on a quiet bend of the Riverwalk.
During that time Sara Eyestone created PASSION on commission for another local
patron of the arts, Ann Griffith Ash. As an artist, she immediately realized the
effect that the inspiration of this colorful city had on her big, bold and
beautiful oil paintings. Six months later the couple said goodbye to their life
on the Jersey shore and became Texans.
Sara Eyestone’s work is in demand. She is known for her elegant paintings of
bouquets and sensitive portraits that she paints on commission for collectors
from all over the world. Her originals have been reproduced by her publishers on
international art posters and calendars for over twenty five years, and hundreds
of museum shops world-wide carry her Caspari note cards. Sara Eyestone is
independent, intelligent, inspired, and accomplished, and her contributions as
an American artist are impressive.
She created the official commemorative plate for The Statue of Liberty
Foundation; her portraits of Governor Christie Whitman and Senator Bill Bradley
are at the Women’s Museum in Washington; Eyestone painted a collection of
blossoms from The Rose Garden at The White House; she designed the national
fundraising poster for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; and at the
request of the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Sara Eyestone made HIBISCUS KISS
the centennial Viva Botanica poster.
Since moving to Texas, the Eyestone “trademark” Chinese porcelain vases in her
floral compositions have made way for Talavera pottery as well. Her subjects
have grown to include portraits of ranch animals, Charros, Madonnas, and her
most current series, San Antonio altars. “Has anyone ever told you that if you
adore angels, they kiss you with miracles?”
The artist’s oil paintings of huge square SAN ANTONIO ROSES now grace the
lobbies of the new St. Luke’s Baptist Women’s Hospital. Her incredible single
iris painting titled AMETHYST was commissioned by the University of Texas Health
Science Center, in celebration of their first 25 years in San Antonio, and her
newest invitation for a local charity gala is a sophisticated poinsettia
painting that will inspire the decorations at the annual Hospice Poinsettia Ball
When did you know you were an artist?
“I was born artistic and encouraged by my parents to follow my interests.
However, the idea of studying art in college was out of the question. My father
was a rocket scientist and convinced me that art was the part of me that I could
do all of my life, once I was married, so I eloped. Forty years ago, in 1963, I
wrote ‘artist’ in the ‘occupation’ blank of my driver’s license, and I have
lived my life from a creative point of view ever since.”
What was your Dad’s reaction?
“He told me that I never cease to amaze him, and I chose to take that as a
What is the secret to your success?
“I am focused; I try to stay organized; I am persistent; and mostly I continue
to work very hard at developing my God-given talent.”
Do you teach?
“I demonstrate what I do, but I do not teach. Every artist with formal training
could teach me. I do, however, give workshops for artists of all levels of
expertise called ‘A Creative Approach to the Business of Art’ followed by one
called ‘Success.’ My next workshop will be in Texas down in Rockport at the
Center for the Arts August 7, 2004. Tell your friends and come!”
If you could do it all over, would you?
Finish this sentence: In my next life. . .
“In my next life I want to come back as a female Mexican painter, devotedly
Catholic, and fluent in Spanish!. . .My friend, Armando Sanchez thinks I must
have been Mexican in a past life because of the way I use Red!
He flatters me.”
What other great compliments come to your mind?
“My son Peter recently told me that he and his wife planned to raise their
little girl just like we raised Peter, completely in touch with the fact that
every child is a gift from God.”
HAVEN ON THE RIVER WALK
By: Kay McKay Myers, Photography by Al Rendon
San Antonio Woman Magazine, November/December 2003
The urban and strikingly urbane condominium of internationally known artist Sara
Eyestone and her husband, David Molin, virtually sings with vivid color and
romantic ambiance. Her artwork graces walls throughout the elegant space and her
gift for interior design is evident.
Located on the San Antonio River Walk, the condominium has been home to Eyestone
and Molin since shortly after they moved to the Alamo City in 1997 from 25 years
spent on the Jersey coast.
Originally from Santa Fe, Eyestone had longtime friends in San Antonio who urged
the couple to sojourn some spring in San Antonio to experience the delightful
bluebonnet season and take in a Fiesta celebration. Curtis and Kathleen Gunn
offered their guest home on the River Walk, and the entire experience was so joy
filled, it cinched a permanent move to South Texas.
Eyestone persuaded the Gunns to sell her their 1,850-square-foot River Walk
property, and thus began her fervent nesting in the heart of metro-politan San
It is an accolade to our city that this artist settled in our midst. As one
whose work is prominent from Japan to Africa, she must often be shared with
cities abroad and regularly with her native Santa Fe and New York City. Her
work, which frequently reflects myriad florals in vibrant colors, has been
reproduced in prints, posters, and calendars and on popular Caspari note cards,
tapestries, fabrics and wrapping paper.
These days, Eyestone paints still lifes and portraits by commission only, and
though she maintains a downtown working studio, she has two easels in her
residence. “Everything in our home eventually is worked into my paintings,” she
Dignified, distinctive, and fun are adjectives that describe the artist’s unique
home. It is a space offering an exhilarant spirit balanced with a sense of
serenity and warmth – not unlike the very personality of the artist herself.
As Eyestone and Molin contemplated renovation of the condominium, she says, “We
needed to create as much open space as we could. We took out all the walls and
the ceiling, leaving an open shell.” The entire space was subsequently
reconfigured to their specifications.
A gallery hallway lies just beyond the front door. Eyestone’s paintings
complement the area and please the senses while cleverly drawing one’s focus
through the space, past the living room, to the enviable view of an exquisitely
appointed terrace and River Walk treetop vista. It is an aesthetic “ahhh” moment
deliberately planned by the homeowners.
Created as an extension of the home’s main living area, the terrace is sheltered
from outdoor elements. Furnished much like an indoor space, it holds a
red-and-white check upholstered sofa, wicker and teak chairs and table and an
elegant fringed hammock.
A plethora of orchids and greenery springs from Talavera pots. Quite the
gardener, as befits a painter of flowers, Eyestone says she even gardened by
flashlight in New Jersey – a practice necessitated by staying late at her studio
after her four children embarked for college. “Friends could not believe I would
leave those gardens,” she smiles. “But I said, ‘I’m now a migrant gardener and
ready to go into little pots.’ ’’
White votive and pillar candles glow within red glass containers, and Eyestone
has even placed red bulbs within the ceiling-fan light fixture. By day a corner
of the terrace is reserved for an easel. “The barges cut their engines for fear
of disturbing me,” she laughs, “but I tip my hat and wave. I’m part of the
Three hundred nights out of the year, Eyestone says they are serenaded by music
coming from two nearby prominent private addresses noted for elegant social
functions. “It is just too wonderful and phenomenal,” she says with enthusiasm.
“We have about 750 guests in our home throughout the year and they love it.”
Adjacent to the terrace, the formal living room features an entire wall of
storage behind a lattice-type grid designed by Eyestone. “I have used the grid
and louvered doors throughout the house,” notes the artist. The design enhances
small spaces, “giving the psychological impression that something is beyond, and
the door is not the solid end of a room,” she explains.
Walls are painted French Bread, a creamy ecru, in contrast to dark parquet
floors throughout the home. “They are a true parquet created by hand from little
blocks of walnut and mesquite,” says Eyestone.
Furnishings include two cinnabar velvet loveseats, five feet wide, set at right
angles. Eyestone has given them the illusion of larger sofas by upholstering the
customary two cushions into one longer cushion. She even offers a tip for
comfort in upholstered pieces to create a plush, downy feel that will hold a
desired shape: use a foam base wrapped in Dacron, then add a layer of down for
softness, and cover with the chosen fabric.
Eyestone credits her sense of artistry and interior design to her mother (who,
incidentally, lives in the condo next door) and to her grandmother.
They set the example “by always having a creative and intelligent environ-ment
that has given me a sense of confidence.” With a chuckle, she cites an example
of that instilled confidence. “If someone says, ‘Sara, you don’t paint horses
well,’ I’ll say, ‘Well, I will later, when I’m older and I figure it out.’ ”
Now, there’s a confident woman.
Other living area furnishings include a revolving bookcase with a cast iron base
made by her great-great grandfather in 1832 in his Mansfield, Ohio foundry.
Eyestone mentions that he was a partner in the Ohio company hat evolved decades
later into Fisher Body Company. She laments with a laugh, he left the business,
figuring the horse and buggy were here to stay.”
The beveled glass coffee table is resplendent with stacks of books and clever
collectibles, including a large bowl of massive Mexican glass balls. Eyestone is
passing on appreciation of her home to her six grandchildren. (Within a short
time, there will be eight grandchildren.) She invites them to choose a pink or
purple tea towel to help dust books. “When you are four you may dust the glass
balls,” she promises. They love it, she says, and are learning to appreciate
beautiful spaces, just as she learned.
In contrast to the coffee table laden with decorative objects, a nearby square
brass dining table is empty. It is a deliberate special consideration, mentions
Eyestone, and offers balance.
A carved yellow marble fireplace anchors the living room. The artist mentions
her fear and trepidation when her husband suggested they have the marble
sandblasted, but she acquiesced and now declares it beautiful.
Her own touch is found in the hundreds of paper flowers from Guadalajara
spilling from the mantel. She notes the importance of technique in placement.
She used two-sided tape beneath floral foam in a four-foot center of a six-foot
mantel. She first placed flowers in well-considered sequence – at the sides, to
the back for height and in the front to spill over the edge. Lastly, she filled
in the middle.
There is not one boring, humdrum square inch in the couple’s small,
architecturally angular and cleverly appointed home. Few surfaces are sans
multiple frames with family photos – some simple, but many ornate and bejeweled.
Others are adorned with vintage jewelry.
Speaking of jewels, colorful faux stones are scattered around on surfaces, even
the black granite kitchen counters. One can imagine the grandchildren’s
enchantment with such. Indeed, at each visit, they are given a “jewel” placed in
a tiny drawstring bag.
A small kitchen papered in dark leopard print is centered with a massive
chandelier illumining custom cabinets in a pickled palomino hue. With the
angular walls throughout the condominium, Eyestone chose to have cabinetry right
angles rounded for a softening effect. Brilliantly-hued dishes are seen through
glass-paned doors with round jeweled knobs.
Granite countertops are dotted with picture frames, tiny faux jewels, silver
serving pieces and one simple little bowl filled with bright crayons. The design
in the stainless steel backsplash replicates pressed tin. The floor is black and
A dining room plantation table in a pale washed finish was the color inspiration
for the home’s cabinetry and doors. Territorial chairs from Santa Fe surround
the table, centered with candles circled by more artificial flowers.
The narrow buffet runs the length of the room. It is inlaid with ecru Talavera
tile fired several times with bright red glaze. Each tile takes on a crimson hue
all its own, and Eyestone and Molin placed them strategically prior to his
finishing the project with a lipstick-red grout. “They (the tiles) are so
voluptuous, you just want to touch them with your hands,” admires Eyestone.
Walls are crimson and the ceiling magenta.
Through a gothic arch painted eggplant, one enters the office, which continues
the hue in furnishings, walls and carpet. Black and white photos spanning 40
years of family life cover an entire wall.
The daring and delightfully decorated bedroom is diminutive but adequate,
declares Eyestone. With a twinkle in her eye, the artist confesses that the
room, with candy-cane-red walls and ceiling, rich wood furnishings and bed
flowing with satin fabrics beneath a plantation palm-leaf fan, “looks more like
a saloon without the bar than a bedroom.” A closet conceals the television set.
Lighting the room is a Stiffel lamp with festive red plaid shade created by
Eyestone from a piece of fabric gathered and tied at the top.
Eyestone’s interior design philosophy is demonstrated in a former wine closet
turned laundry nook located behind louvered doors. Every surface within the
area, except the washer and dryer, is covered with fabric or paper from her
signature collection. She did it herself – wallpaper paste in hand. “Aren’t
tasks so much more enjoyable if everything is bright and colorful?” she queries
rhetorically. She opts for the brightest plastic she can find for simple
refrigerator dishes. No one can deny Sara Eyestone thrives in living a colorful
and creative life.
DON’T WORRY LADIES: FIESTA WON’T BECOME SINFUL MARDI GRAS
By: Rick Casey
San Antonio Express-News, April 25, 2003
All right everybody, let’s raise a Texas cheer and a $3 beer to the staunch
ladies of the San Antonio Conservation Society for upholding the morals of
In case you were too hung over from going to A Night in Old San Antonio and
missed the story in Wednesday’s newspaper, the Conservation Society canceled its
annual NIOSA poster this year.
Artist Sara Eyestone (a great name for an artist, incidentally) designed a
poster based on popular papier-mache Mexican dolls. Although she showed society
officials some of the dolls and the concept and won their approval, the society
canceled the project just before it was ready to go to press.
Society officials declined to say why, but Eyestone says it was because
someone told them that at one time Mexican prostitutes put the dolls in the
windows by way of advertisement.
Marion Oettinger, Latin American curator at the San Antonio Museum of Art and
one of the world’s top experts on Latin American folk art, said he had received
a call from a Conservation Society leader saying they were concerned about the
dolls’ association with prostitution.
Oettinger said he told his caller the concern was misguided.
“I said these are penny toys that are mass produced and sold in the markets
throughout Mexico,” he said. “They are available to poor people who can’t afford
more expensive dolls.”
He said he believes some Americans mistakenly came to believe they were
prostitute dolls because they are often sold clad only in underwear.
“But that’s so the children can put clothes on them,” he said of the dolls,
which are not provocatively shapely.
Like, say, a Barbie doll.
Still, whatever the historical reality, if some Alamo Heights ladies think
these little dolls are dirty, then they’re dirty. And we should be glad Fiesta
has been protected from them.
After all, we wouldn’t want Fiesta to become another Mardi Gras.
It’s been a few years since I went to Mardi Gras, but my memory of it is
dimmed neither by the years nor by the amounts of spirits I was forced by social
norms to consume.
One way of comparing Mardi Gras to Fiesta is to say that Fiesta is beer, but
Mardi Gras is gin.
But the major difference, other than size and the amount and proof of the
alcohol consumed, is that Mardi Gras exudes sex and sinfulness.
The costumes at Mardi Gras are spectacular more for what they display than
for what they cover.
At Fiesta, crowds exhort royal young women riding floats dressed in elegant,
royally priced gowns to “Show us your shoes.”
The young women demurely lift their gowns six inches and show off their
At Mardi Gras, the traditional male cry, provoked not just by royalty but by
any attractive young women on the streets of the French Quarter, is “Show us
Some young women respond by lifting their shirts.
The atmosphere is so rowdy and sex-soaked that at one point we blithely
passed a balcony full of women using beads to play ring toss with a young man on
the street below, and the target wasn’t his nose.
This is certainly not what we want for Fiesta and I, for one, applaud the
vigilance with which the Conservation Society nipped in the bud any movement in
But if any reader is nervous that the spirit of Mardi Gras may be taking over
Fiesta despite the work of these ladies, let me calm your fears.
The reason Mardi Gras has so much sex is that it is a religious holiday.
Mardi Gras celebrates the days before the abstinence of Lent. Celebrants have
license to be licentious because penance and salvation are around the corner.
Lent exists only because we are sinners, so it makes sense that Mardi Gras
Fiesta will not become sexy for the simple reason that it is a civic holiday,
celebrating the battle of San Jacinto and the independence of Texas from Mexico.
Fiesta celebrates our identity as Texans, not as sinners.
So civic holidays do not produce sin.
Well, actually they do. They produce pride, gluttony and greed. But these
aren’t recognized these days as sin.
NIOSA IS HERE, BUT POSTER ISN’T
By: Rachael Patton
San Antonio Express-News, April 23, 2003
More than any Fiesta event, A Night in Old San Antonio embodies the core
principles of the city’s annual April celebration: food, drink, music and
But the organizing force behind Fiesta’s showcase party, which began its
four-day run Tuesday night, has rejected an artist’s interpretation of NIOSA
that some apparently believed stretched the good times a little too far.
Artist Sara Eyestone accepted a last-minute commission to create the official
NIOSA poster, spending 70 hours on a work that featured Mexican dolls.
Just before the posters went to press, the San Antonio Conservation Society
asked her to stop.
Christina Forestier, chairwoman of NIOSA and member of the board, would not
comment on the controversy, saying there was no particular reason why it decided
against the work.
But Eyestone said the society changed its poster plans in part due to a
controversy about the dolls’ perceived association with prostitution.
“We were already down to the wire,” Eyestone said. “They hadn’t even seen the
painting when they decided they wanted me to start over. It was impossible to
Forestier said this isn’t the first time the group has not had a poster for the
event, which last year drew an estimated l00,000 people to La Villita.
The project started in January, Eyestone says, when board members accepted the
concept for the poster – a painting that included a family of dolls. She showed
members the actual dolls she would paint, as well as sketches of her work.
The controversy arose when the Mexican papier-mache party dolls’ history came to
The dolls are toys for Mexican children, but at one point in the dolls’ history,
prostitutes were known to put them in their windows, she said.
Markets in Mexico as well as stores in San Antonio and elsewhere, continue to
sell the toys.
The dolls are innocent, said Hank Lee, owner of San Angel Folk Art in the Blue
Star Arts Complex.
It wasn’t until the late 80s that Americans used the prostitution connection as
a marketing ploy, Lee said.
In Mexico, they are simply munecas, or dolls, made of papier-mache by folk
artists – originally for indigenous children who could not afford more expensive
“They’re just toys!” Lee said. “I hang them all over my Christmas tree.”
He sees the decision to reject the poster as “provincial” and hypocritical in
light of the event’s atmosphere.
“They’re serving alcohol, letting people party, and then they’re making
something dirty that’s not dirty,” he said.
Eyestone said the Conservation Society had concerns about the negative
connotation that might be associated with the poster as well as her text: “All
Dolled Up and Ready to Go to a Night in Old San Antonio.”
“The board really had a problem with the terminology,” Eyestone said. “They
thought that people would misconstrue the idea of a party doll with that of a
The group paid Eyestone a deposit and compensated her.
A seven-year San Antonio resident, Eyestone has worked as an artist for almost
40 years, mostly painting for private collectors.
She plans to print a limited number of her unused images and sell it as a
limited-edition poster later this year.
ARTIST HAS A MIDAS TOUCH
By: Tamarind Phinisee
SAN ANTONIO BUSINESS JOURNAL, January 21-25, 2002
The color red plays a major role in Sara Eyestone’s life. It is a color that is
most prevalent in the décor and style of her elegant River walk condominium. It
is also a color that often accents her artwork.
“I love red,” she explains. “Red is my neutral.”
But while the color often prevails in her paintings and in her home, it does
not show up on her business balance sheet. Indeed, Eyestone has defied the image
of the struggling artist. She works only on commission, and is booked ahead for
more than a year. Collectors of her art say the value of her paintings has
increased significantly from the time of their original purchase.
“I often have 20 people waiting on their commissioned paintings. That’s at
least one year’s worth of work,” Eyestone says.
Eyestone has made a living as an artist for 40 years. She contends that it is
organization that keeps her successful – as well as taking a business approach
to the world of art.
“Every January, I get reorganized for the year. I buy a three-foot calendar
and start off by writing all of my appearances in and then all my other travels
and trips. And then I schedule in daily blocks of time to concentrate at the
easel,” Eyestone says.
Dedication to her art and her business has brought popularity to her work not
only in New Jersey and New York – where she built her career – but also locally.
Local resident and collector Rachel Fessler says she loves Eyestone’s use of
vibrant color. She commissioned Eyestone to paint “Passion Poppies” as an
anniversary gift for her husband.
“I work for the St. Anthony Hotel, and she called me for hotel info. . . for
corporate deals on rooms. I went to her studio to see her work that day, and
when I saw it, I knew I definitely wanted a piece of her work,” Fessler says.
“The main thing that attracted us to her work was her use of color. She doesn’t
use grey or grey tones.”
Liz Hagan, an art representative in Frederick, Md., who has known and followed
Eyestone’s work for 30 years, says it is popular with collectors.
“Sara’s look grows with her. She just kept getting better and better,” says
Hagan, owner of Liz Hagan Associates. “Her paintings used to go for hundreds of
dollars. Now they start at $1,000. I have one of hers that was $12,000 and that
was in the ‘80s. Some of her big paintings go for more than $20,000. I would say
that in this decade, you’ll see her work appreciate even more.”
Even though she’s seen Eyestone’s work adapt and change, Hagan says, “there’s a
distinct style about her work.”
You can be anywhere and. . . recognize her work without seeing the name,” she
Eyestone’s work is seen beyond private collections. Reproductions of her work on
note cards and the like may be purchased from museums, stationery stores and
department stores – practically all over the world.
Playing her cards
In fact, New York-based Caspari Inc., a manufacturer of paper goods and note
cards, ensures that many are already familiar with Eyestone’s art. Caspari
purchased the rights to Eyestone’s paintings for reproduction on note cards.
Douglas Stevens, president and owner of Caspari Inc., says Eyestone’s flexible
style has kept people coming back for more of her work.
“Sara has been with us for more than 30 years and that’s a testament to her
ability to adapt to the marketplace because styles are always changing,” Stevens
says. “(Her art) is bold and bright and cheerful. It’s just a reflection of her
personality. People expect to see something new from Sara just about every
Every painting Eyestone makes is professionally photographed and converted into
a transparency. After the photo is taken, she signs her work.
“I like to have one photograph of my work the way it was painted, without my
name on it,” she says. It’s (similar to) Georgia O’Keeffe. She never signed her
paintings on the front – only on the back.”
Once the transparencies are made, she says, they are sent to Caspari.
One of Eyestone’s present goals, she says, is to have her art displayed in
public places or businesses.
“I want my work and that of other American artists to be commissioned for public
spaces. It is sorely missing here in San Antonio.” she says.
To that end, she’s had some success. Samples of her brightly-colored, passionate
work can be seen right here in San Antonio. “Amethyst” was commissioned for the
lobby of the School of Allied Health Services at the University of Texas Health
Science Center at San Antonio.
Her work can also be seen in the Baptist Women’s Hospital Center lobbies at St.
Luke’s Hospital. The series is called “The San Antonio Roses.”
Marcel Lisi, former executive vice president for the Baptist Health System, says
then CEO Fred Mills encouraged her to contact Eyestone.
“He wanted to make this a different hospital for women by creating more of a
healing environment. He encouraged me to meet with Sara and the rest is
history,” Lisi says. “She was a joy to work with. She and her husband became
very active in the community. . .donating their time, donating their expertise.”
The funds for the art work, Lisi says, came from the Lyliane Finch estate. Finch
was a past contributor and volunteer to the Baptist system, and her family
donated funds from her estate to be used in her memory.
Mills says he met Eyestone years ago during her travels to the area. He says she
worked on the paintings as the health center was being constructed three years
“You know that she’s a very enthusiastic person and excited about what she does.
I think (the paintings) are not only a real tribute to Lyliane, but also to Sara
– as this was an expression of her. . .and she does this well,” Mills says.
Success, of course, did not come for Eyestone with a simple stroke of a brush.
It took not only her talent for painting but also her willingness to market
herself. Her determination paid off. She now lives from the income generated
from her paintings alone.
“The royalties and fees I get for speaking engagements contributes to my
income,” she says, “but I truly make my living from my paintings and the
collectors that I paint for.”
One of the initial challenges she faced years ago was negative opinions about
female artists. However, Eyestone says the industry’s views have changed with
When she entered the professional world of art in the 1960s, she says, people
did not look favorably upon women artists. And sellers would only accept her
work if she left off her first name.
“Thirty years ago, if you were a man and were an artist, you were considered
talented because you wouldn’t subject yourself to a life so strenuous and
difficult if you weren’t truly talented,” she says. “However, if you were a
woman in art, you were considered a hobbyist or as someone who had fallen back
on her college major simply to have something to do. Women artists were not
Another challenge, she says, was getting past stigmas about artists, one of
which was that artists don’t know how to manage their business.
“Most people believe that artists are lousy business people. I maintain that
most people are lousy business people, no matter what field they are in,” she
says. “It’s unusual for you to be born with the natural ability to run or create
a business. But it is definitely a skill that can be attained.”
This is what Eyestone teaches at her workshops twice a year. In these two- or
three-day workshops, she covers topics such as how to price your work, getting
your work exhibited and copyright issues.
“This year, I’ll probably only do one workshop about the business of art. It’s
survival training,” she says.
Eyestone also encourages attendees of her workshop to get their work published
as posters, prints, and cards and distributed internationally.
“The general thought is that if you’re a local artist, that you are not
successful and you are not that talented,” she says. “The reality is that
everybody is local somewhere.”
A bit of advice that she offers her students is that in order to get ahead, they
must have a business plan.
“I left New Mexico and moved to the East coast because I wanted to get my work
published. They weren’t publishing anywhere but in New York,” she says.
Today, she says, it’s a little different because technology enables people to do
things by fax, e-mail and overnight mail. But, getting one’s work global takes
lots of hard work, perseverance, and sacrifice.
Eyestone’s husband and partner, David Molin, oversees the framing and mail order
part of her business. He is her partner in this business, not her manager. “The
general consensus is that I am female and an artist so obviously
I am incapable of managing my business. Since my partner is a male, the
assumption is that he calls the shots. My husband and I are so compatible, and
each of us has jobs to do. We have a great working relationship, a wonderful
marriage, and a good business.”
Art in the making
Eyestone says her days often begin at 5 a.m. Armed with a cup of tea, she sits
by the fire and handles correspondence or writes in her journal.
Afterward she takes a morning stroll on the River walk and starts her day,
heading to her private studio on the West Side.
“It’s like a 15-minute bicycle ride to Mexico. The roosters are crowing. The
neighbors are singing,” she says.
The New Mexico native moved to San Antonio in 1997, after living in New Jersey
for 25 years. It was in New Jersey that her work became well-known. Eyestone
says she and her husband traveled all over the world for six years, painting in
sunny places before they discovered San Antonio and decided to stay.
“We can live anywhere. But we chose San Antonio first and foremost because of
the influence of the Hispanic culture. We are intoxicated by the colors and love
living downtown,” she says.
Eyestone says she paints everyday. She spends anywhere from four to seven hours
at her studio before going home to her office where she works on the business of
This involves meetings with her publishers, printers and graphic designers to
ensure that the distribution of her posters and cards goes smoothly. During this
time, she may also meet with collectors to inform them as to the progress of the
piece she’s painting for them.
Eyestone always has several things on her plate at a time. She plans to release
new posters in the spring and is drawing of local people, which she plans to
exhibit in the future.
She is also working on a series of paintings called “Texas” that includes
cowgirls, charros from the Mexican rodeo and altars from local churches.
“I’m going to be taking paintings from the “Texas” Series and put them together
for a tour of my work, in conjunction with a book that I’m working on. Since I
have no deadline for my book, I consider this my long range plan,” she says.
RIVER WALK DENIZEN EYESTONE
HAS HEART FOR ART, BUZZ FOR BUSINESS
By Robert GoetzEditor, North San Antonio Times
Anybody who's ever seen the work of Sara Eyestone knows she's a gifted artist. Her colorful paintings - the result of hours of meticulously applied brush strokes, layer upon layer - adorn the walls of homes of private art collectors all around the world.
But Eyestone brings more to the canvas than her oil paints and brushes. Her palette also includes a shrewd business sense. The modus operandi of the three-year resident of San Antonio debunks - in her case, at least - the notion that artists aren't good business people.
Eyestone doesn't necessarily disagree with the notion. She would apply it to most people.
"I think that artists are notoriously known for being poor business people," she said. "But I think most people are poor business people."
Making a living is the "age-old dilemma" for artists, Eyestone said. Securing a business loan is much easier for doctors than it is for artists, she acknowledged.
"Art is what survives, but it is the most hard-hit," she said.
Eyestone has managed to find a place in the world of commerce as well as in the world of art by "thinking globally."
Her work is not only found hanging on walls. It can also be seen on note cards and posters and on her very own calendars. She has her own Web site,
www.saraeyestone.com, which is managed by her husband, David Molin. Eyestone ran her own business on the New Jersey shore for about three decades.
She shares her business knowledge with other artists. This weekend, in fact, she will present one of her "survival training" workshops in New
Braunfels. The workshop, titled "A Creative Approach to the Business of Art," is planned from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at the New Braunfels Art League Gallery, 239 W. San Antonio St.
"I'll stress the importance of being global," Eyestone said, "... to have their work printed or published on cards, posters and calendars and be represented by companies that sell them through museum shops and stores."
Eyestone said she has conducted these workshops about two or three times a year for the past 20 years.
"It's based on my own experience forging my own career in the arts," she said. "My theory is that if I can do it, so can they."
Eyestone said she encourages participants to bring samples of their own art so she can suggest "sources" for them. She called it "finding their match."
Eyestone is blessed with artistic talent and business acumen, traits she said her children also inherited. But she also possesses a strong work ethic. Her work brings her great joy.
"I usually have one to two years of work waiting in the wings," she said. "My life is all work and all play. I've learned to manage my time so I can do as many things at once as possible."
Eyestone and her husband first visited San Antonio about four years ago and fell in love with the city while they stayed in a guest house "on the quiet bend" of the River Walk that belonged to Curtis and Kathleen
Gunn. They now own the place and have adapted it for use as a living/working area. It is also the perfect gathering place for their many visitors. The balcony, which faces the San Antonio River, provides a view of the Riverwalk as well as vegetation that's in bloom all year. It's a source of inspiration for Eyestone and provides an appropriate working environment for her and her paintings. Her specialty is flowers, but she also draws and paints portraits.
She continues to work - and play - nonstop.
Last weekend, Eyestone signed posters at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens' Viva
Botanica! She created the event poster based on her "Hibiscus Kiss," one of her hibiscus paintings.
"I was very flattered that they asked me to do it," she said.
Eyestone - her business sense again showing - also persuaded Botanical Gardens officials to sell the posters in their gift shop to raise additional funds for the facility.
"It's one of the most wonderful botanical gardens I've ever been to," she said. "It's such a special place."
This week seven Eyestone originals were installed at the new Baptist Women's Healthcare Center at St. Luke's Hospital. Five of the paintings comprise her "San Antonio Rose" series. Another is "Life is Beautiful," a "mother-and-child" portrait that features her own daughter, Alamo Heights resident Amy Wood, and her granddaughter Sierra Hope. Still another painting is "Serenity," which depicts a pair of swans.
Eyestone said funding for the paintings was provided by the estate of Lyliane Finch, who wanted artwork and furnishings at the facility that would give comfort to the women who use it.
Eyestone said her participation was special because the Baptist Women's Healthcare Center is the "first of its kind in San Antonio."
"Health care in San Antonio is outstanding," she said. "It's very much a part of the Texas loop. But (until now) there had been no facility for women."
Eyestone's artwork has also graced the invitations of recent galas raising funds for the activities of organizations such as the Baptist Health System, the San Antonio Symphony, the Assistance League, the Southwest School of Art & Craft, Hospice San Antonio and the National Kidney Foundation. She said it's a way she can give back to the community.
Yet another beneficiary of Eyestone's talents was last weekend's Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation's Race for the Cure. Her painting "For All Time..." has been published as a fund-raising poster.
Eyestone spends hours upon hours at her easel, but she is also a footloose spirit. Spring seems to be the time she satisfies her wanderlust.
In the coming weeks she will attend the Chelsea Flower Show in Great Britain, paint poppies in Italy and sign posters in New Jersey, where one of her paintings will be displayed at the Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch.
All that traveling means that she and her husband won't have their Fiesta river party this year, she lamented.
Eyestone recently spent an inspiring six days in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. "I was included by McNay (Art Museum) docents to travel to San Miguel and see art collections," she said. "It was one of the most amazing experiences. I've never seen so much beauty in one space. I took 720 slides in six days."
Eyestone said she sees so much color in San Antonio that most vacation spots pale in comparison. But such wasn't the case in San Miguel, where she saw centuries-old haciendas and
iglesias, gorgeous geraniums, quaint folk-art shops and original Frida Kahlo paintings.
"It was so unbelievable," she said. "We were on the go from 7 in the morning till midnight. It was a constant feast for the eyes."
Eyestone is looking ahead to her retirement - which won't be any time soon - in hopes that an "old-age project" will provide her with some financial security. She is working with Paul Sebastian, owner of some of her paintings, on a Sara Eyestone line of fragrances. It's a product - unlike her paintings - that she won't have to create.
"It's an excuse to work with these people who are so interesting," she said.
Eyestone admitted she and her husband probably won't live in San Antonio forever - New York, "the most stimulating place on Earth," is a definite possibility - but she doesn't regret changing her course from Santa Fe, N.M., to the Alamo City.
"We're lucky to have discovered this," she said. "We've met all kinds of people. We feel very embraced, very welcome. It's a new passage. This time of our life, we couldn't be in a more exciting location."
Eyestone also said she has come "full circle."
"I'm painting for the children of my (original) collectors, for the former playmates of my children," she said. "I'm painting for the next generation. It's just the best."
Businesses-turned-homes featured on
By Barbara HigdonSpecial to the Express-News
During the holidays, downtown sparkles with lights and color, luring even locals to
delight in its transformation from a place of commerce into a holiday wonderland.
However, real transformation takes place along the river year- round, as visionaries
convert business establishments into dwellings. A good example is the Left Bank
Condominiums, where artist Sara Eyestone lives with her husband, David Molin. They've
personalized their studio/residence, adding vivid colors, molding and large built-ins to
visually expand the 1,850-square-foot space.
Their condo will be one of several spaces featured on the "Downtown
Transformations" holiday apartment tour from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $35, and
reservations are necessary. Call 225-4728.
The tour will begin at the Navarro Campus of the Southwest School of Art and Craft,
Proceeds from the tour, presented by the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, benefit
the remodeling project at the Hertzberg Circus Museum.
Eyestone and Molin chose to transform and downsize their lives by leaving a large
family home on the New Jersey shore. After a five-year nomadic period that included a stay
in San Antonio for Eyestone to work on a painting, they decided to call the Alamo City
Magenta bougainvilleas cascading from the balcony give the first clue to the condo's
interiors. Terra cotta planters of interesting shapes and textures cluster around the
entryway, where a wooden bench with a fuchsia seat creates an upstairs garden spot.
Inside, a hot-pink ceiling immediately catches the eye. "It's the color of the
crape myrtle that blooms outside our window about eight months a year," Eyestone
explains. "Red," she adds, "is my neutral."
In the entry room, Territorial armchairs surround a 10-foot pine table that came from a
northern New Mexico silver mine. "It is the most heavenly worktable, as well, and it
serves a wonderful purpose we use it with our family and friends," Eyestone
says. "In my decor, you'll see repetitive shapes and colors. My whole philosophy is
very simple. I feel it's very important to surround yourself with beautiful things
and it doesn't have to be a lot of them."
A 46-inch-tall built-in buffet runs along the wall. Latticework doors are backed by
mirrors in a nod to feng shui principles. Janie Williams, a local artist, created red
tiles for the top.
"They're all from the same palette of red, but the way they're fired, some are
darker than other," Eyestone says.
The condo's tiny study became the master bedroom; its bright candy-cane red walls are
visible from the entryway. Even the ceiling is red, while molding around it matches the
hot pink of the entryway ceiling. An antique vanity holds dozens of silver-framed family
photos and faces a bed inherited from the artist's grandmother, now covered with a bright
collage of fabrics.
Eyestone bought "pounds and pounds of red and fuchsia silk moiré for a big, puffy
comforter for the bed."
Closet doors hide built-in cabinets and drawers. Eyestone replaced many doors with
louvered ones to "give you the idea that there's something there on the other
side-they're airy and open."
Candy-cane red moves to the floor tile in the nearby powder room. "Where in one
room I have (the color) on the wall, in the next it might be on the floor."
Black-and-white-striped wallpaper serves as a backdrop for Eyestone's colorful posters.
Dark-stained parquet floors pull the eye down the spacious hall that serves as a gallery
for the artist's paintings.
Beyond, a fan-shaped living room opens to an outside wall of windows. A carved,
golden-marble fireplace was acid-washed to resemble locally quarried stone. Crimson velvet
sofas flank the massive glass and steel cocktail table that stands 24 inches tall.
The artistic array of mementos on it includes limited edition Picasso and O'Keeffe art
books. A brass game table glows with a deep patina; red slipcovers with petticoats update
The artist likes to paint outside and wave to tourists on river barges. "I feel
like I'm part of the local scene," she says with a laugh.
In Eyestone's kitchen, cabinet interiors are painted crimson. "I like the idea of
opening up something and having something else inside," Eyestone says. Black granite
counters meet a backsplash of stainless steel that's been imprinted by antique ceiling
presses. Black and brown leopard-print wallpaper adds a dramatic touch.
The couple uses the former master bedroom as an office. An existing doorway was widened
and reshaped into a Gothic arch, and the wall was painted a raspberry wine hue.
Clearly at home in San Antonio and her transformed surroundings, Eyestone says, "I
belong here. I feel so at home in this colorful, spirited place."
INKY AND FISH GROW
A childhood friendship survives 30 years and 2,000 miles.
By: Ingrid Tomey
New Jersey Monthly, June 1992
I am one of those chicken-hearted cravens who have never once gone to their class
reunion. Every five years, as predictable as death, comes the invitation: "The
Midland High School class of 61 cordially invites you to attend its fifth reunion
(its tenth reunion, its fifteenth reunion
)." Six times now, I have allowed this
event to slip through my fingers. Once, five years ago, I actually paid $38.50 for the two
dinnersmy husbands and mineat the Airport Restaurant. But then, a week
before the reunion I got my hair cut too short. You see how it is with me.
Maybe you dont see how it is, but "Fish" does. Fish (her real name is
Sara) is my oldest friend, my alter ego, my heroine. While I sat in the back of Mr.
Meyerss math class, penning love poems, I listened to Fish, up in front, telling Mr.
Meyers how algebra was irrelevant because she had decided to be a swimmer at Cypress
Gardens in one of those performance tanks. Bold, beautiful Fish in her red Tycora sweater
and matching skirt was the perfect foil to my tounge-tied Emily Dickenson.
Had it not been for Fish, I would never have had the nerve to taste the gin from her
fathers closet. It was my first taste of anything stronger than Coke, and it was so
vile that I washed it down with another, and another. How pleasing it seemed to me to then
show up drunk at Randy Wysongs party (I had never done anything worse than read Peyton
Place). I loved Fish for bringing out the worst in me.
I forgot the 500 others in the class of 61, but I kept in touch with Fish. While
she traipsed back and forth across the country, I stayed fixed for 25 years. "You
know where to find me," Id write from suburban Detroit. From New Jersey,
shed write, "Come for my opening." She had traded in her Esther Williams
dreams to become an artist.
Fish had become Sara Eyestone, painter of luscious florals and sunlit gardens. Her oils
hang in collections and galleries all over the country, and grace posters, shopping bags,
calendars, and note cards. A dozen times a day, I look up from my writing desk to a
magical painting of carousel horses that she gave me. I loved the paintings. I loved the
painter. But like the Big Reunion, our own reunion failed to take place.
Until now. Somethingmiddle age, Times winged chariot,
curiosityfinally inspired us to get together after all these years. You can imagine
the thrillseeing someone you havent seen for three decades, observing what 30
years has done to that seventeen-year-old face, seeing how 47 years sits on that
As I stand waiting at her gate in Dallas, where our planes meet, I think how safe it
was behind those letters. I think of Emily Dickenson writing to Thomas Wentworth Higginson
all those years. And her absolute panic when she finally confronted him in person. I feel
something like panic when the passengers begin disembarking. I study their faces, looking
for clues. What if we dont recognize each other? What if shes looking for a
ponytail and horn-rimmed glasses? I half lift my hand to a porky, dark-haired woman in a
denim jumper, but she lumbers by me. What will we talk about after so many years? Bobby
Darin? Do I look gray and withered in these bifocals?
Suddenly, out of the scuttling herd, Fish emerges, gliding up the ramp like a single,
bright sail on a lonely horizon. She is wearing a cherry-red trench coat and yellow shoes,
dark glasses, and a brilliant flowered scarf tossed about her neck. I smooth my khaki
shirt and plant myself in her path, feeling sacrificial.
"Inky!" she screams
"Fish!" Her old name leaps across three decades and into my mouth. We throw
our arms around each other and laugh like high school kids.
"You look fabulous," I say, thinking I should have been an artist instead of
"Look at you," she says, dropping her bags again. "I leave you alone for
30 years, and you get married and have kids. My God, Inkyoure all grown
Indeed. Weve changed so much. How do we fill in all those years after high
schoolthe years of falling in love and getting married and having babies, and
struggle and failure and success?
Nonetheless, it is a wonderful week we spend together at my writers conference in
New Mexico. We wake up early and sip tea, watching the sun turn the gray Sangre de Christo
Mountains a bright lavender. In the evenings we walk into town through the burning
pinon-scented air. And we never stop talking. One night, as I sit on the edge of my bed
pin-curling my hair, Fish points out my pink cotton pjs.
"Do you always sleep in those?"
I shrug, I know exactly what shes thinking, sitting there in her shimmering silk
gardenia-sprinkled kimono. Inexorably, we are pulled into our old roles.
"You know, Ink, youre not getting any younger. You cant just use any
old thing on your hair."
She means my little Marriott Inn bottles of shampoo and conditioner. I write down what
she tells me: Nexxus shampoo and Humectress conditioner.
One night, we decide to beautify ourselves. She brings out the works. We start with a
bottle of Pepto-Bismol-like stuff, which we smear on our faces. Within minutes it hardens
into two pink tragedy masks. I hand her my hair clips, and we pin-curl our hair. Then we
look in the mirror. Its no use trying to keep a straight face. We laugh like Lucy
and Ethel, and our faces crack into a million pieces.
The last night, Fish hisses me out of my sleep, "Im starving to death."
I get up and follow her flashlight out into the dark, across the footbridge to the main
lodge, where she intends to break into the kitchen. "Dont forget, this was all
your idea." My very words when we got into the gin.
And it is rather like the crime of 30 years ago. But as we sit there, laughing
and stuffing our faces in the dark, Im glad its Spanish rice instead of gin. I
want to remember the moment. Two middle-aged seventeen-year-olds at their first reunion.
Ingrid Tomey, a poet and writer, has authored two childrens books and a
A TRANSPLANT IN BLOOM
Now settled in San Antonio, successful artist remembers the words that set her on
course: Stay Focused
By Jasmina Wellinghoff
San Antonio Express News, December 7, 1997
Artist Sara Eyestones apartment-cum-studio is like a little garden abloom with
the most exuberantly vivid flowers you ever saw. These blossoms are painted on canvases,
printed on place mats and bedspreads, reproduced on posters, cards and coasters.
In fact, the entire residence is awash with color, with shades of pink casting a
dominant warm glow on everything. Even tea cups "bloom" with red petals.
"I am very domestic at heart," says the mistress of this charming dwelling.
"I am very into color and comfort. Thats why I like to paint for private
collectors. I go to their homes to see how they live so that I can make a personalized
She points to a poster titled "Tea for Two." In the original, which hangs in
the home of the couple who commissioned it, Eyestone included an heirloom teapot and crab
apples from the couples garden.
Although Eyestone and her husband, David Molin, moved here only a few months ago, she
already has received several commissions from San Antonians. Her clients get to know her
work, she says, from the published images on Caspari note cards, calendars and posters
sold in museum and other fine gift shops. A segment of her painting called
"December," a mass of red poinsettias, graces the invitations for this
years Poinsettia Ball, a charity event Thursday supporting VNA and Hospice of South
"But I support myself through my original work," says Eyestone, who is
looking at some 24 commissions, a years worth of work.
It was thanks to one of these commissions that she finds herself in Texas. In 1996, San
Antonian Ann Ash asked Eyestone to do a piece, and the artist spent a couple of months in
the Alamo City working on that canvas, mostly from a balcony overlooking the River Walk.
"I felt so much a part of the local scene," she says. "San Antonio is
colorful; the entire state is abloom for part of the year. I felt that people who live
surrounded by so much color would respond to my work."
Eventually, Eyestone and her husband sold their house in New Jersey where she
also had a gallery and store to travel. From Hawaii to Holland to Tuscany, Eyestone
painted, returning home only to handle the business side of her affairs. The latter
include a line of signature rugs handmade in Poland for the Chicago-based company Graphics
& Wool and fabrics manufactured by Bloomcraft of New York. When the time came to
settle down, the couple opted for the colorful city they remembered so fondly.
Her parents, daughter and grand-daughter have moved here, too, and her pleasure at how
things have worked out is obvious.
But then, Eyestone is a person who finds pleasure in so much of what life has to offer.
Reared in the intellectual powerhouse of Los Alamos in New Mexico and the daughter of
nuclear physicist Robert Shreffler, Eyestone credits the entire community for serving as
her role model.
Though her parents were inclined to emphasize academic pursuits, Sara was drawn to art.
When a Brownie leader took her and a group of 8-year-olds to visit the studio of collage
artist Pansy Stockton In Santa Fe, Sara was so absorbed by all she saw that she could not
sit still for the artists presentation.
"When I grow up, I want to be just like you," she told Stockton, who then
imparted a lesson that has stuck. "Just remember that when you do grow up, and stay
She did. But this woman who appears as exuberant as her artistic palette had another
desire children. At 19, Sara married David Eyestone, with whom she would have four
children. By coincidence, he, too, lives in San Antonio.
"I never had an education in art," says the artist. "I had to discover
everything for myself the hard way."
But she never lost that focus. At 21, Eyestone boldly wrote "artist" as her
profession on her drivers license application. And that verbalization strengthened her
confidence. Throughout the 60s, she showed her work at art fairs.
Then in 1971, while living in Saint Louis, she had her first gallery opening. After an
opening night that saw every piece of her art sell, Eyestone returned to the gallery the
next morning to collect her check. To her shock, the place was empty. The owner had
disappeared, taking paintings and money with him.
Still, she stayed focused. In her late 20s, with "three babies in tow,"
Eyestone moved to New Jersey to be near New York publishers. Her career switched to high
gear as Bruce McGaw Graphics introduced her first art poster, while Switzerland-based
Caspari bought her designs for note cards.
Her luck with galleries also improved. The St. Louis fiasco has been followed by no
less than 51 shows in galleries and libraries around the United States. In 1981, a
one-woman exhibit at Bloomingdales launched a yearlong national tour of her originals.
Commissions and contracts started pouring in, including the 1986 assignment to design the
official Statue of Liberty commemorative plate.
Today, the self-managed artist invites prospective collectors to visit her studio
(821-1444). Eyestone is also developing a mail order business and is preparing to publish
a limited edition lithograph. She also has been devoting more time to portraits and
"Doing portraits puts you in a win-win situation," she says, "because
when I am drawing peoples children or their own portraits, I am by definition doing
their very favorite subject. Drawings are one of my great passions."
ARTIST SAYS GOODBYE TO NEW JERSEY
By: Eric Gonzalez
Asbury Park Press, October 16, 1996
Sara Eyestone says she moved to The Jersey Shore, an hour by train from New
York, “to become a famous artist.”
Today galleries in Aspen, Colorado and on the island of Maui, represent her
original oil paintings that she has painted all over the world, from the tulips
of the Netherlands to the flower markets of Paris, to the textiles of Guatemala
and the hollyhocks in her native New Mexico.
She was invited by Governor Whitman to paint the gardens of the Governor’s
Mansion in Princeton, a project called the Garden State Series. Next spring, at
the request of Hilary Clinton, she will continue painting flowers from the Rose
Gardens at the White House. She began the series a decade ago when she was the
Statue of Liberty Commemorative Plate artist in 1986. Sara Eyestone has
connected with publishers in New York who have distributed reproductions of her
work on art posters and Caspari note cards internationally.
Eyestone thinks so; she’s relocating to San Antonio and to her native New
Mexico right after Christmas.
Her “New Jersey farewell,” as she calls it, is an exhibit of her work at
Moonstruck Restaurant in Ocean Grove, and will run through the end of the year.
The opening party was held September 22.
“People tend to drift out of galleries, so it’s more interesting to have shows
where large numbers of people gather,” Eyestone said. “We had at least 300 at
the opening. My husband and I are having supper at Moonstruck every Tuesday
through Saturday so that we can kiss our community of friends goodbye,
surrounded by my paintings.”
Howard Raczkiewicz, co-owner of Moonstruck, said the pairing of fine art and
leisurely dining is a natural. “This way the audience can get introduced and
digest the art in a cozy surrounding, and have time to appreciate it.”
Eyestone is best known for her vibrant floral and other impressionist-style
paintings, about 20 of which adorn the Moonstruck walls, including fruit from a
Parisian cart and roosters from Giverney, France, one of her personal favorites.
“Actually, they’re all my favorites – some just have more interesting stories
than others,” she said.
Eyestone calls New Mexico her “heart’s home,” but is proud to be known as a New
Jersey artist. “New Jersey has been wonderful to me. That’s why I’m thrilled to
be doing this Garden State Series,” she said. “These paintings will connect me
with New Jersey for life and show people elsewhere to appreciate how beautiful
this state is.”
She didn’t know herself how beautiful New Jersey was when she moved here in
1972, only its proximity to New York City.
“All I knew was I wanted my work to become published and global and that New
York is the center of the art world,” she said.
“I love New York but I couldn’t live and work somewhere where my kids can’t ride
their bicycles without me watching constantly.”
She settled in the Wayside section of Ocean Township because of its school
system and then made weekly trips to the city for years, connecting with
publishers and galleries.
“I’ve always had to take my art seriously, since it’s how I make a living,” she
said. “I may love it and be naturally artistic, but it’s still how the bills get
paid. I work very hard but then I don’t know anyone who is successful
who doesn’t work hard.”
Eyestone recently signed with Bloomcraft to design a new line of fabrics, so in
the near future Eyestone creations will be on everything from place mats to
“I like the fact that I can somewhat control where my work goes,” she said.
“There are a million talented artists in the world, but only 600 with posters of
their work, so I’m very fortunate. The posters, distributed internationally,
make the artist familiar to the general population as well as global, and that
generates other opportunities.”
Eyestone says she believes it essential that artists have their work published
and become global. “If the community doesn’t know we’re out here, they can’t get
our work, and since they support the arts, we need them so we can create more
beauty. Every artist should be famous.
Eyestone began what she calls a “Bohemian Passage” of her life when she and her
husband of 20 years, David Molin, sold their home in 1991.
Initially they intended to move to Scottsdale and summer in Santa Fe. They put
their belongings in storage and began their “move” with a cruise to Hawaii. “We
jumped ship in Maui and spent the winter and then decided to do more of the same
before settling in Arizona. We kept the studio in New Jersey so we had a fax and
telephone, but we were rarely there.”
They bicycled through the Netherlands when the tulips bloomed in the spring.
From there they went to Paris and northern Italy, New Mexico, then back to Maui
for three months, a stay paid for with an Eyestone original.
Without a plan, they traveled to sunny locations where Sara painted on
commission and for six years before they discovered San Antonio. They never did
get to Phoenix.
“This period of life has been very exciting,” she said. “Wherever we’ve gone has
been difficult to leave and there’s no place we’ve been that we’re not going
As for her future, Eyestone will continue to paint flowers and portraits on
commission, and eventually the dancers of the world, from the ballet of New York
to the hula of Hawaii.
But that’s only one of her ideas. She calls her creative process more of a
process of elimination.
“I have so many ideas, it’s just a matter of deciding what I want to do next.
What I don’t paint I might photograph or write about.”
“I’ve had a wonderful life, because I allow myself to think freely. Being
open-minded allows me to give and receive pleasure in all aspects of life.”
finally heeds call of San Antonio
By: Robert Goetz
The North San Antonio Times, Thursday, Dec. 18, 1997
Artist Sara Eyestone, a child of mystical New Mexico and a longtime Jersey girl, first
heard San Antonio calling her more than a decade ago.
She painted two large portraits of the late Henry Clay Koontz and his wife, Mary Sue,
who told her she should come to Texas when the bluebonnets and Fiesta is swinging.
The years passed. Eyestone and her husband, David Molin, embarked on a journey after
they sold their home in Ocean Township, New Jersey, five years ago. Their travels took
them to Hawaii, the Netherlands, Santa Fe, Tuscany, and back to Hawaii.
But the journey didnt end there.
In early 1996, Alamo Heights resident Ann Ash, a longtime collector of all things
Eyestone, commissioned the artist for a painting that would hang in her home.
Eyestone thought she should come to San Antonio to paint and remembered what her friend
had told her five years ago. So she called Mary Sue and inquired about a place to stay in
Curtis and Kathleen Gunn offered Eyestone and her husband a guest house on the river.
"We spent spring in the guest house with the parade floating by," Eyestone
recalled. "We attended the (Order of the Alamo) Coronation and were introduced to a
lot of people."
"We hated to leave," she continued. "We felt so embraced."
Eyestone and Molin left, but not for long.
When they were in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Eyestone told her husband she wanted to move to
"He said, Im with you, girl," Eyestone said.
Now Eyestone and Molin are living in the Lincoln Heights area and plan to build a house
and studio in Terrell Hills. They spend their summers in Santa Fe, not far from Los
Alamos, where Eyestone grew up, but call San Antonio their "main residence."
Eyestone has been in San Antonio less than a year, but she has already made her mark on
the community in bold, colorful strokes.
Ash, who was chairwoman of this years Southwest Craft Center gala, asked her if
one of her works could be used for the invitation to the event. The painting inspired the
name of this years event, "Moonlight and Roses."
Last week, the Friends of Hospice San Antonio sponsored the 1997 Poinsettia Ball to
benefit the hospice program of VNA and Hospice of South Texas.
The cover of the invitations to the ball was excerpted from a painting of poinsettias
Eyestone said the invitation came about when she was here In 1996. She went into Nancy
Harkins Stationers and ran into watercolorist Beth Eidelberg, who had also painted
poinsettias for a Poinsettia Ball invitation. Harkins asked Eyestone if she had any
paintings of poinsettias.
Eyestone was more than happy to support the hospice program.
"Its such a worthy cause," she said. "Hospice needs
Eyestones paintings arent obscurities. Not only are they in the hands of
collectors, they grace posters, coasters, place mats, her own calendars, and Caspari note
She said others describe her work as "contemporary expressionism."
"I call it colorful," the self-taught Eyestone said. "Ive never
come up with a label."
She paints beautiful blossoms and bouquets and still lifes and interior scenes that
include colorful flowers. Eyestone also paints portraits and enjoys drawing children and
"Most people think my paintings are bright," Eyestone said.
"Theyre colorful, but theyre not always bright.
"I have a magnolia piece with 90 colors," she explained. "Theyre
all pastel shades, soft colors."
"I use the complete gammut of colors it just depends on who Im
A case in point is a painting that now stands on an easel in her apartment.
"This is a painting for (artist) Janie Williams," Eyestone said. "She
has a quilt collection, so I used that as a basis for the tablecloth (in the
The painting also includes roses and crab apples.
"Its going to be colorful because Janie is colorful," she said.
When she is commissioned for a painting, Eyestone said she enters her clients
"Everybody I paint for I go to their house at my expense," she said. "I
go into their world and see what they surround themselves with and what colors they live
"Im not trying to match the painting to their sofa," Eyestone
continued. "Im interested in reflecting their lives in some way or
One of her paintings became a poster known as "Tea for Two."
"It was commissioned by a couple back east," she said. "They had very
old-world tastes, so I included brocade, a tea pot, and urn and flowers that reflected
Eyestone, who is as much a businesswoman as she is an artist, owns the copyright to all
of her paintings, so she has control over how it is used.
When her paintings are used as posters or by Caspari as cards, Eyestones name and
birth date are included.
"Thats so people know I am still around," she said. "Thats
how people find me. They contact the company and call me."
"I dont make money with published works, but I get wonderful exposure,"
Eyestone said. "My paintings support me."
Eyestone said she has a mailing list that now includes about 3,500 people outside of
Her husband, a former business owner, handles their mail-order business and frames her
Eyestone said they are now going into the publishing business. Her son Joshua is
working with them on that venture.
She is also working on a series of blossoms from the Rose Garden at the White House.
"It will be a limited edition series," Eyestone said. "The White House
has rights to reproduction."
She said her White House connection came through Hillary Clintons mother.
"I received a call from Mrs. Rodham," Eyestone said. "Hillary had given
her one of my calendars for Christmas and she loved my work."
Eyestone said she visited the White House last summer to take pictures of the blossoms
in the Rose Garden and will continue to go back there.
The Rose Garden is not really a "rose garden," she said. It includes
"old-fashioned seasonal flowers" such as tulips and irises as well as blooming
Eyestone was born an artist. She grew up in Los Alamos, where her father was a nuclear
"I was subjected to beautiful things an amazing sky and a wonderful
culture," she said.
Eyestone said her parents didnt encourage her to take art classes when she
attended college in the 60s. Her major was English.
"My first husband encouraged me to work at something I was interested in,"
So in addition to developing as an artist, she taught art.
Eyestone also learned the value of discipline and how to make sacrifices.
"You can burn the midnight oil for the rest of your life if its something
you want to do," she said. "You make time to do what you want and give up other
"Thats what I learned from Georgia OKeeffe making time for her
work at any cost," Eyestone continued. "She didnt have any children. I
chose to have a family and gave up sleep."
Eyestone, who is as vibrant as her paintings, said she is both right- and left-brained.
"Im full of great advice," she said. "I have a great attitude. I
got that from my parents. Theyre fabulous role models."
Eyestones parents have also taken a journey leaving their "adobe
hacienda" in northern New Mexico for the Alamo City.
Life has changed for Eyestone and Molin since they left New Jersey, where she also
operated a public studio, shop and gallery. Her four children are grown up.
The Art of Life
A window into the work of Sara Eyestone
By: Stephanie Bennett
The Herald, January 12, 1995
Perhaps youve seen her posters decorating the sets of televisions Murder
She Wrote or Melrose Place. Her artwork is a favorite with Angela
Maybe youve seen her official Statue of Liberty commemorative plate, entitled
"Golden Lady," a design produced in 24 carat gold on porcelain in a limited
edition for the Liberty Preservation Program. As a Liberty artist she spent seven months
traveling the country signing plates, raising money for the restoration of the Statue of
Liberty. Or possibly youve received a letter on one of many note cards printed by the
renown Caspari company. Since 1980 her floral and pottery prints have been featured in
over 300 museum shops worldwide. Who is this diversified and accomplished artist, and what
is it that she does to bring about such a wide scope of success? This is the work of Ocean
Township-based Sara Eyestone: artist, entrepreneur and renaissance woman of the nineties.
Walking through the door of the Sara Eyestone Gallery and Studio, I was immediately
enamored by the elegance of the artists display. Paintings, finely framed and
elegantly hung, fill the walls of her gallery in harmonious symmetry. Bright, bold
poppies, ivory orchids sprinkled with fuchsia and dots of golden pollen, delicious
periwinkle, and brilliant sunflowers bursting forth from their frames, shouting
"yes" to life and all that it holds this too, is the work of Sara
Eyestone. Her paintings and her life are contagiously cheerful and upbeat, providing an
immediate reason to smile upon entrance to her small, but lovely studio.
Stepping further inside, my eyes fall upon easels and oil paints. The genial optimism
of the artists human heart is openly displayed on canvases spread about her studio.
Palates bursting with vibrant color, oils swirled in varying shades and degrees of
intensity, brushes and frames; all, her work in progress. This is the studio where the
Wanamassa-based artist reproduces the beauty she sees all around her. It is the place she
combines color, talent, and the unique savoir-faire that creates such a strong attraction
to her work for so many. Interestingly, both the process and finished product are treated
with the same degree of kindness and respect. Both studio and gallery are located at 3310
Fairmont Avenue, Ocean Township. It is easily accessible to the public, both for viewing
and purchases. Often the artist can be found within, ready to chat with anyone who shares
her zeal for art and beauty.
Although she received early recognition for her work in batiks and acrylics, years ago
Sara switched to oils and says she "remains captivated by all the endless
possibilities of oil paint on canvas." As well as a growing line of signature series
products. Sara continues to make her "bread and butter," as she aptly puts it,
from people commissioning paintings. During 1994 she produced 33 new oil paintings. This
is twice the normal amount of activity, as her typical productivity ranges from 12 to 16
new paintings annually. The artist attributes this to her new lifestyle.
"Now that I am homeless," she explains with a chuckle, "I tend to paint
more." Until recently, Sara operated her public gallery/studio with a small staff,
but worked out of her private home studio as well. In the last year she and her husband of
nineteen years, David Molin, decided to sell their home and travel all over the world,
going places where, as she artfully expresses, "The light is brilliant and
beautiful." Yet, the couple do not consider themselves typical travelers. Rather they
set out for faraway places and stay there for extended periods of time.
"We realized we wanted to be out in a variety of places. To go somewhere
stay for a while. Soon we want to go to the South Seas and paint there," she
explains. Recently the two returned from several months of living and painting in Hawaii,
where Sara painted on the beach to her hearts content. From that experience several large
pastel florals were created.
"I like places," she says. "To find places with perfect light, to
surround myself with beauty and history, and people." Presently she has four large
paintings at the "Village Galleries of Maui" in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii at the
Ritz Carlton. They are called "Kissing Fishes," "December," "The
Morning Glory Vase," and "Good Things Growing."
In Amsterdam, she arrived when the tulips where in bloom. In Paris she went during the
spring and painted a pastel bouquet entitled "April in Paris." This year during
her visit to Maui, Hawaii she intends to paint the Hula dancers. Her excitement overflows
when discussing the prospect, "Theyre fabulous
so full of history, like
the Indians of New Mexico. Im so into the history of it all when Im watching
the dance. Its so beautiful to see the way other people see things and celebrate
life." When it comes to celebrating life, Sara Eyestone doesnt go halfway. Her
enthusiasm and vibrancy totally translate on to the canvas. Call it "joie du
vivre," as the French, or "con brio" if you prefer Italian whatever
name you attach to the life of Sara Eyestone it all means the same thing there is a
zest, a vivacious zeal, an embracing of life that the artist brings to her work which is
"I live my life artistically," explains Eyestone, "Im just
open for wonderful people and wonderful moments. The list of things that are
important certainly include health and wealth, but put fun on the list and it will be a
lot more fulfilling!"
Multi-talented, vivacious, and ultra-productive, this is a woman that seems
"forever on-the-go." Our Christmas-week interview was particularly challenging,
aside from what one might expect in the line of usual holiday frenzy. Sara was often
keeping twenty-hour days, working hard to accomplish all that she had committed herself
to, packing as she prepared to leave for Santa Fe, making the most of a last minute
meetings with her staff and friends, and still abounding with energy. Trying to catch up
with this dynamo before jetting off to Santa Fe was a feat in itself. We finally connected
via Ma Bell an hour before midnight the evening before she was to leave. It was then that
I was able to gain insight into her whirlwind lifestyle.
A typical day in the life of Sara Eyestone goes something like this: oatmeal and skim
milk every morning, stimulating luncheons, department store autographing, cross-country
gallery openings, regional television shows, radio interviews, discussions with those who
have commissioned a painting, meetings with her licensing agent, phone calls and
interfacing with companies interested in using her designs for their products, overseeing
the management of her studio and shop, and of course, the actual painting. How does she do
it and remain sane, fit and energized?
Im on a different time frame," explains the active artist. "I do all my
resting at once." Sara and David travel to "the sunshine" one week every
month, where she writes and draws
"far from the strenuous pace and intense
schedules I thrive upon in my studio. Its a fine balance," the artist
maintains. Her cheery personality, bouncing back and forth between exuberance for her work
and the practicality of finishing our interview before morning created an enjoyable
tension. Within the first ten minutes of the interview I had more usable information than
I can usually expect to gather in an entire hour, and I hadnt yet even asked one
My own initiation with the work of Sara Eyestone occurred somewhere in the mid-1980s.
Upon the opening of the innovative new Womans Wing at Long Branchs Monmouth
Medical Center, the hospital commissioned Sara Eyestone to paint a 98" x 60" oil
canvas which she would entitle "Forever and Ever." This journalist was present
that day covering the gala opening for another publication. As I mingled with the hospital
administration and staff, casually sampling the hors doeuvres, sipping a bit of
wine, and chatting with the many well-wishers, someone placed a neatly beribboned packet
of beautiful notecards in my hand, compliments of Sara Eyestone. Vaguely familiar with her
work, I had heard this name before, but until that moment had not yet been touched with
the beauty and energy of the unique artistry of Sara Eyestone.
Since that time Sara Eyestone has made incredible strides in the world of art, both
commercially and in fine galleries. Her calendars have sold out every year since 1984.
Bruce McGaw Graphics published Sara Eyestones first art poster in time for the
opening of a national tour of her original paintings at Bloomingdales in 1981. That poster
sold out. Today her posters sell from Japan to South Africa. The American Music Box
Company produced a signature line of Eyestones music boxes that included images from
her florals, her cat paintings, and her famous carousels.
As a businesswoman Sara describes herself as "very fussy." Although she was
approached by 65 companies wanting to carry her designs in a signature collection, Sara
chose "Twin Panda," an exclusive high-end American carpet company owned and
operated by Manhattan-based Katha Diddel. Now, Saras first signature collection,
inspired by some of her florals are being reproduced by Diddels company in China.
Recently Sara has designed a line of colorful unisex neckties for a firm called tango.
They are meant to be worn with denim and oxford cloth shirts, and should be available
early this year.
Jeanne Shick has been working as Saras agent for over a year, licensing her
designs to major manufacturers producing bedding, interior designs, and home furnishings.
"Sara is so easy to sell," says Shick. "Its a happy look. Her
products are some that you may already have, but hers are special enough that youd
want them anyway."
The year 1995 has much in store for Sara Eyestone. Home furnishings, interiors,
pillows, rugs, cookie tins, covered boxes, neckwear and scarves, as well as a book of
drawings that will include Governor Christine Whitman and others that the artist respects
and admires, all these and many other new projects are on the horizon for Sara Eyestone.
Color remains the essence of her work, and she explains, "I am addicted to it. As I
approach the next century creating my most passionate paintings, I will continue working
as often as possible in warm sunny places, centered, focused, and inspired to record the
beauty around me with each stroke of my brush."
Sara Eyestone Paints a Pretty
By: Jane Burgess
New Jersey Woman Magazine Cover Story, July/August 1991
To say that she has a flair for color would be like saying Chopin had an ear for a good
tune. To say that the vibrancy of the colors in her paintings takes your breath away would
be more accurate. The paintings in question are, of course, the work of nationally and
internationally recognized artist Sara Eyestone.
An Ocean Township, New Jersey, resident, she is probably best known for her
impressionistic style and brilliant florals. Considering her unique abilities, it is not
suprising that her career in art, rooted in the 1960s, continues to soar to new heights.
And anyone familiar with her work readily understands why it is sought by collectors, and
through reproduction, in ever widening circles.
In order to keep up, she says, "I work long, back-to-back days, because it takes
me forever to do what I do."
What she does would stagger the heartiest of us. In a years time, she completes,
just for starters, from 10 to 16 large paintings and about 35 drawings. (Almost all of her
original art is now done by commission.)
"My subjects are predominantly florals," she explained, "although
Im now doing many portraits as well and am interested in exploring the subject of
people caught unaware."
Happily married to business owner David Molin, whom she calls the "love of my
life," she has also raised five children, yet the 47-year-old artist is continually
expanding her horizons. The commissioned paintings and drawings are only part of what she
does. With a head for business that is right up there with her talent for art, Ms.
Eyestone has steered her work into the business as well as the world. Most of us have seen
her reproductions on Caspari cards, notepaper, desk accessories, and even playing cards,
all sold in countless shops around this country and others. Then there are her limited
edition prints, and her posters and calendars, which are big sellers worldwide. Her art
even adorns a line of music boxes. Her association with porcelain manufacturer Villeroy
& Boch, the venerable firm for which she designed the official commemoratives for the
Statue of Liberty Centennial, shows just how diverse are the outlets for an artist with
talent and determination.
Still, you have to wonder how she has managed all this when so many other artists spend
a lifetime of struggle and end up with crates of unsold work.
"Artists are notorious for being considered lousy business people," says Ms.
Eyestone. She feels this also goes for most of us who are not in a business-related
profession. It is an attitude that she said "rolls off my back like water off a
Empasizing her philosophy that "business is something we have to work at in order
to do well," she claims that she spends as much time marketing her work as on the art
itself. She alternates the long hours painting in her studio, where her days usually start
with the rising sun, with other long hours attending to a myriad of business matters.
"As an artist," this artist says, "if you are self-employed, you have no
choice other than to create a plan that works."
So successful has she been at marketing her own work that she gives seminars called
"The Art of Good Business" to other professional artists. She says that the
positive results come back to her a hundred times over.
"There are so many talented people in the United States, and its an
especially good time for artists the more that are successful at what they do, the
better it is for us all."
Success, though, has not come to her without hard work and an extraordinary
persistence. Mainly self-taught, Sara Eyestone was raised in New Mexico, a place she calls
her "hearts home" and where she still visits frequently. Although her
family emphasized higher education as the ideal (her father was a nuclear physicist), she
married David Eyestone when she was only 19. Eventually they divorced, but that was after
having four children, and a long period of time when she had to cope while he attended
graduate school. Her entry into the art world actually sprang from this coping when she
began teaching arts and crafts to children and then branching out to adults
learning about what she was teaching as she went along. As her own interest in art
deepened, she even became the artists model so that she could study the
artists techniques always watching, learning, focusing on colors, improving
on her own natural talent as she realized that this was what she wanted to do, what she
had to do.
When she felt she was ready to market some of her work, she spent hot summers knocking
on the doors of galleries, traveling by bus, because children rode free and she usually
had several tots and diaper bags in tow. She even had to drop the "Sara" from
her name for a while after being advised that a woman, especially a housewife, could not
command a decent price for her paintings. When she did have her first one-woman gallery
show, it was one she would never forget. Every painting sold. But before they were picked
up by their new owners, who had already paid up, and before Sara received any commissions,
the owner of the gallery sneaked out of town with the whole caboodle all the
paintings, all the money and even the roses her parents had sent in honor of the opening.
Now that would be enough to turn many a budding artist into a quick retreat toward
oblivion. But not Sara Eyestone. She went on and did more than 50 one-woman shows!
"So you pick up and go on," she says, recalling the event, as if, well,
wouldnt everybody? "I learn from my mistakes, what not to do again. I learned
who not to be doing business with."
Now she speaks of her career in terms of decades, from the starting 60s, when she
was "experimenting with everything from sculpture to oil painting and weaving to
jewelry making," to the 70s, which she spent "developing my painting and
drawing skills, focusing on batik as my medium." The 80s brought her to
painting in acrylics as more of her collectors out of her area wanted large canvasses, and
the batiks were hard to ship.
And what about the 1990s, now that her work is shown in museums and commissioned by
serious collectors all over the world for serious prices? She says that the 90s have
brought her to a "romance with oils." In fact, she writes in some personal
comments describing the art in her upcoming 1992 calendar.
"I love the feel of the oil paint when it moves from my brush to the canvas; I
love the deep, rich spectrum and the smell of the turp; I love painting with the same
supplies artists have used for centuries; and most of all, I love the discovery that I can
paint petals that look like velvet and porcelain that shines."
Sara Eyestone may be a savvy business-woman; she certainly knows how to market her
work. Maybe shes really a chameleon. But whatever else, the words in that statement
had to come straight from the soul of an artist.
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