Inside Artist Sophie Sachs’ Captivating Paintings of Glass + Light

Inside Artist Sophie Sachs’ Captivating Paintings of Glass + Light

Studio Visit

by Bea Taylor

Brisbane-based artist Sophie Sachs!

Sophie has always been drawn to the way in which light interacts with glass and water.

‘I love how light can transform an otherwise plain object, specifically glass objects, which literally glow and refract light in unexpected ways, while simultaneously creating deep exaggerated shadows,’ she says.

Before painting, she curates and photographs the image first using pieces from her extensive glassware collection.

A piece can take up to a week to complete!

Sophie has an impressive collection of over 100 new and second-hand glasses!

Her favourite subject to paint is the Ikea green glass (top right).

‘I tend to avoid mixing large quantities of each colour as I find if the colour is too consistent it can look flat, whereas the subtle variations can provide a bit more depth,’ Sophie explains.

She says her background in architecture has influenced the structure and detail in her works.

Sophie has two different studios (both store her growing glass collection!). Her apartment in New Farm is where she works on smaller pieces and photographs artwork compositions. Whilst her studio space in her parents’ Queenslander (pictured), is where she works on her larger pieces.

Some of her works have a papier-mâché frame, which Sophie uses to extend the painting.

‘I love painting the intricate details within my still-life works. It is these small details that I find the most fascinating.’

She mixes colours from a limited palette of primary hues.

Sophie makes her own frames!

‘I like to frame my own artworks. I enjoy the very precise nature of framing,’ she says.

There’s a lot more to Sophie Sachs’ paintings than meets the eye.

Beneath the deceptively simple subject (which is, in fact, a complex image of glassware and light), are layers of paint that have been painstakingly mixed from a limited palette of primary hues, a styled still-life Sophie has photographed herself in direct sunlight, and a hand-made board and frame.

This rigorous and detail-oriented process sees each piece take, on average, a full week to complete. But Sophie wouldn’t have it any other way.

She credits her background in architecture and design for this meticulous approach from start to finish, and she loves every stage of the process.

‘I particularly enjoy curating my compositions,’ Sophie explains. ‘This is an important step, as working with direct sunlight is a constantly evolving process. I’m inspired by the way sunlight interacts with glass and water, and I enjoy the challenge of capturing this sense of light.’

Glass, colour and light are the focus of her work, and her ever-increasing collection of glass vessels (now, well over 100), is a constant inspiration. ‘I prefer simple, everyday glasses that people might recognise and have in their own home,’ she says. ‘But, my favourite glass to paint would have to be my green Ikea cup.’

In order to capture the precise detail and realism of light interacting with glass and water, Sophie works with acrylic on aluminium composite panels for its smooth, flat surface. ‘Creating a painting for me also involves creating the art boards I work with, as I am quite particular about the texture I need to paint on,’ she explains.

Although she’s drawn to realism, Sophie also likes to balance her pieces with painterly qualities, resulting in work that is sharp, but soft; realistic, but dream-like.

The finishing touch in all Sophie’s paintings are the frames, which she makes herself — another task she thoroughly enjoys for its precise and exacting nature; ‘Something from my architecture background, I think’.

Sophie sells her limited edition prints and takes commissions via her website. You can also keep an eye out for her exhibition in November with Michael Reid Northern Beaches!