Sandra Bloodworth is a New York City artist who draws on her experiences with the people of New York for inspiration in her art. She mostly paints portraits of New Yorkers she encounters, particularly writers and artists. However, her “Intimate Feast” series of paintings depicts food inspired by the meals that she creates with her husband, Fred. One of the paintings in that series is the cover of this week’s magazine, titled “All Politics Is Local,” depicting a classic clambake. This is fitting, since Dan’s ClambakeMTK will take place this Saturday, July 8 at Gurney’s Montauk.
Where did you get the inspiration for this painting?
My husband and I very much believe in fresh foods and buying local. We will go to the farmstands and the local fish market and get fresh foods and conceive a meal, and this painting was really about celebrating local foods.
I tied the title to the Tip O’Neill quote because the whole food movement has become a form of politics, but one that’s local and embraced. It reflects our embrace of the local farm-to-table food movement.
Why do you mostly paint portraits of other people?
I’m drawn to them for various reasons. They capture New York for me; they are the spirit of New York and why it’s great to live in New York. It’s such a rich cultural city, as you go about your life, you have the opportunity to hear great music, see great plays, to experience this cultural richness that’s available at almost every turn and many of these portraits reflect the people who make up that cultural life in New York. The goals of those paintings are to capture those people in oil on a canvas and to capture a personality on a canvas.
Why do you choose to use oil in all of your paintings?
I find luminosity within the oil that I can’t find with acrylic—it brings an inner light into the portrait through the material. What I’m trying to capture is personality, which is an intangible thing. I like to use a medium that captures an intangible thing such as light, that you can’t touch but it’s there and so the paintings have a glow from within.
How did you develop your distinctive painting style?
For every artist, their concepts and what they want to say flows through them and it ends up becoming visible on the canvas. I’ve been painting for many years and the thing about working as an artist is just to do and out of that will come your work. It’s that part of you that keeps coming out onto the canvas that reflects your ideas, concepts and what you want to say. I’m a person who pays attention to details to great extremes and I think that the details come out in my paintings, but I want them to be much more than that. In those details, I want to capture that essence of that person and personality. I always say that I know when I’ve finished a portrait because I’m at the point where I think that person might step out and start talking to me. I want to feel the presence of a person in the portrait.
Are you going to have any clambakes this summer?
Absolutely, without a doubt! We do big clambakes with lobsters in a giant steam pot by the pool and it’s a treat. We do them two or three times a season and they’re always a highlight. You just can’t beat it with the lobsters, mussels, clams, shrimp—and we throw a little kielbasa in there—they’re always just fantastic.
Sandra’s Intimate Feast series, including “All Politics Is Local,” will be shown at Mary Cantone’s William Ris Gallery in Jamesport. To see all of her work, visit sandrabloodworth.com.