Sarah Rowan

Painter.  Photographer.  Freedom Fighter.


Coming Out...Finally

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on April 10, 2018 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Been silent for months when it comes to blogging as it was difficult to write or think or be when living a life outside of who I am.  I was creating works of art to inspire others, but would often be in my studio crying and wanting to die.  But I'm free now...and the art is going to shift and change and be full of more inspiration and life than ever before!!  It's been a long and difficult journey.  Thank you to the multiple hundreds of friends, family and fans who have been supportive and encouraging the bravest few months I have ever had...

Feel free to check out my video on YouTube (that is refusing to link properly) and hear from my heart on the matter.  Just search something like "Sarah Rowan Dahl, Coming Out" and it will pop up...

Feel free to ask questions, as it looks like there are a lot of peeps out there with questions for me.  Happy to answer, might have to do another video.  No need to write if you have a problem with me being gay.  Enough haters in the world.  Save your breath and smile at your neighbour.  Life's too short to waste it trying to hurt someone.

Have a creative week!


Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on August 25, 2016 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (19)

"There are not many places in the world where I feel at home.  There are a few places in England that I swear if I stood still long enough, roots would grow out of my feet.  And that's how I feel when I'm near you."  My mother said this as we were walking through an uneven carpark the other day, and I chiselled the moment to memory.  It had been 11 years since we had true quality time together.  I cherished every minute...from being stuck in traffic or even foul weather days, where we dried wet laundry by the fire and she wondered how I have lived so long without a dryer.  I'm not sure either...though the smokey rustic smell of clean laundry is rather special.


During my last visit to the US three years ago, I spent more time performing and painting than with her and my family.  They knew it was necessary to cover the enormous costs of international travel, and we had our fun.  However, in hindsight, being present and resting with my loved ones wasn't my top it is.  Amazing how chronic pain and aging are sometimes one of the few things in life that force us to come up for air from all the chaos of a hectic paced life.


I contacted clients waiting on commissions and requested extensions on their paintings so I could focus on reconnecting with my mother.  They understood and now, as I sit here in the silence of her absence, I wonder how 5 weeks could come and go like the slices of pie she made us.  Blink.


Inhale.  Exhale.  Again.  Turn off your phone, and I don't' mean airplane or silent mode.  Where the screen goes black and you can't read this blog.  Look your loved ones in the eye and savour a meal together.  Be grateful.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Feel the roots grow out of your feet. 

I Don't Like My Own Art

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on February 27, 2016 at 3:35 AM Comments comments (4)

Most of the time.  It's true.  I initially wrote "hate", however, I knew I would get an earful from my mother if she ever came across this blog.  LOL  Granted I'm in the middle of a mood swing and I shouldn't allow myself to Blog, though I think it's important to share what I'm working through, as I believe LOTS of creatives can relate, regardless of medium.  I once heard that if we, as artists, still love our work after six months, then we are not growing enough.


Now before you positive thinkers think I'm being melodramatic and flip to another website, please hear me out.  Am I alone in this or are there other creatives with more ideas racing through their head than paper and canvas on the planet?  My mind is imploding and I think that's an asset to future works.  This ramble is not a pity party or one seeking affirmation.  I look at my paintings (keep in mind I do about 100 per year) and I feel this caged animal clawing inside my ribs wanting to take my work further, pushing past everything I have ever seen or imagined.  

Maybe I am writing this for others who have felt the same way and have not yet expressed the same frustrations.  There are gaps in my thoughts, I am not articulating this very well... but for those of you who know me understand my swings and spaces.  Well dear ones, these hands are tired.  Three paintings today alone for a client, and my fingers aching from rheaumatoid arthritis are done typing for the night.

This year I will open the cage door and see what happens.  It may be breathtaking.  It may be hideous.  But at least the images won't be beating themselves around in my head leaving me exhausted and irritable.

PS - there are a handful of pieces I can appreciate each year, please don't chew me out.  I think I'm having a growth spurt.  

Incorporating and Rediscovering Your Own Creativity

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on February 24, 2016 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

In February 2016, I had the honour of chatting with entrepreneur David T. S. Wood, who hosts a podcast (among many other leadership roles) called the Crank it Up! Show.  This podcast will help unlock your creativity and inspire you regardless of your profession and position in life.


"Why do so many people opt out of creativity? Why is it dismissed in the corporate world or silenced in adults? Sarah says that there has been a recent embrace of the arts that was missing since the rise of the Industrial Revolution. There was not an artistic encouragement to most people’s lives and the fear of fitting in or gaining approval silenced so many. Sarah’s mission is to inspire people to get rid of those inner fears holding them back. If you just try, you might find that you actually can be creative. Sarah understands the mocking of a blank canvas and is her own worst critic. She wants to give people a paintbrush, especially those that would label themselves as “non-creative.” They feel they do not have it in them, they have boundaries and blocks, but there is an innate desire to create. Sarah has seen businessmen cry during her corporate event performances when she invites them into something creative. For many, it is the first time they have felt alive in years. Inside of everyone is a creative child. Go hang out with one if you have forgotten. Address your own reasons for steering clear of creativity on this episode of Amplified Network Marketing."  

- David T.S. Wood



Me in a Nutshell (A Big Nut)

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on March 3, 2015 at 5:45 AM Comments comments (0)

(Sneek peak of an article for a local mag)

Artist Sarah Rowan Dahl is not your stereotypical painter. She doesn’t burrow away in her studio concerned about the opinion of others or speak in deep metaphors that are difficult to grasp. She is a performance painter, taking the public platform of festivals, weddings, corporate events, fundraisers and more, to inspire and share creativity on a mass scale. Equipped with a spinning easel, trendy outfit (glow-tie even for some events), and a contagious smile, Sarah takes a blank canvas and turns it into a finished work of art in the amount of time the rest of us eat breakfast or watch a movie.

For the past decade, Sarah has been developing this unique profession and continues to push herself to stay current with the changing landscape of entertainment. Recently at a corporate golf tournament, Sarah engaged with the high flying golfers at the second hole and had them painting on her canvas with a brush that was attached to an old 8 iron.  Following that gig, she boarded a plane to Melbourne to paint LIVE during Australia’s Premier technology festival held at Federation Square. On stage during presentations with world-renowned geeks, Sarah transcoded their speeches into works of art.

“My goal is not to ‘wow’ my audience, as much as it is to inspire them,” Sarah frequently says. “There are plenty of entertainers out there bringing the ‘wow factor’ to their performance, but does the audience walk away feeling inspired to be creative or make a difference in their own lives? Obviously, ideally, it is great when I can do both, but if I had to choose one or the other, I would rather someone see my work...the process of its creation and leave inspired to draw, paint, view life differently, or want to use their gifts to make a difference.”

In 2009, Sarah first began hearing about human trafficking and has made it her life’s ambition to raise over a million dollars to help fight this injustice. Every 30 seconds another person becomes a victim of human trafficking. That means in the simple time it takes to skim this article, someone’s entire world has been destroyed. With over 27 million slaves on the planet, this horrific industry is 2nd only to drugs. As a mother of two young girls, the plight of other children around the world being robbed of their childhood and forced into sex labour is not something Sarah can turn a blind eye towards.

“Some people fight with injustice with music, weapons or protests. I fight injustice with my paintbrushes”, Sarah’s says in a recent YouTube video she made to send to The Ellen Degeneres show and other local TV shows in hopes of painting LIVE during a taping to raise funds and awareness on the issue. “I want to show others that they don’t have to be afraid of world issues, but that they can use whatever gifts and strengths they have to solve problems.”

Sarah isn’t the only creative in her family. Jared, her husband is a cellist and the pair are currently practicing a performance combining their creativity as Jared plays on his electric cello and guitar, looping and adding depth to the sound through numerous pedals. They hope to travel around the world in the future, performing a unique set full of spontaneity of colour and rhythm.

Dahl has painted LIVE in the Great Hall of Parliament and at the Opera House as well as with events for some of Australia’s largest corporations. Whether she is painting in front of an intimate crowd of 20 or at a concert with thousands, Sarah brings the same message and energy to her work. She is always quick to share her ambitious goals and inspire others, never hesitating to take on gigs that seem impossible. Last September, Sarah painted 10 original works in 30 minutes during a concert with Phillip Shovk, one of Australia’s most respected pianists and pedagogues. For every “Like” on Sarah’s Facebook fan page she donates $1 to The A21 Campaign, an organization effectively fighting injustice across the world.

Art & Motherhood - Part Two

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on October 9, 2014 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Like I said yesterday,

Artist + Mother = BEEEEEEEP

My husband fell asleep on the sofa whilst attempting to get my 7 year old down.  Classic.  You know you're a parent when staying awake long enough to get the kids down is a feat.  This time I was wise.  Prior to writing I spent the entire day wearing my 3 year old out, without a minute of down time, so she passed out (after I read 9 small books).  Is it just me, or do you find yourself in an entirely different world during storytime?  I make valiant efforts to remain "present", however, if the book has pathetic illustrations I am in a world of my own.  Reading aloud whilst simultaneously checking off my mental to-do list, planning for the following day, and of course giving myself a good dose of mental guilt for not being "present" and trying to cherish each moment of their young lives.

Last night, I was laughing through one of my favourite sitcoms, when the main character (in a psychologist office) said something to the effect of, "I love my mom.  She's great a great person...but maybe she shouldn't have been a mother."  I laughed out loud, though internally had to honestly wonder if my girls would one day sit in the office of a therapist saying the same thing.  Motherhood is brutal.  Forget the most intense exhibition experience, or high-pressure commission.  Forget public scrutiny and criticism of works.  Kids.  Now that is brutal.

Mentally.  Physically.  Emotionally.  Financially.  Spritually.  Is there an "ally" I'm forgetting???  LOL  I don't care what people say, there isn't a book or MP3 out there that can really prepare a creative soul for what it's like to have their space, time, and creativity so invaded...violated.  ROFL.   I have to laugh.  If you don't know me, you may think I am morose and dark, so please note that my tone is one of sarcasm with a hint of white wine and 7 years of sleep deprivation.  

On the flip side of the coin, I know my art would not have developed and matured over the past few years without the influence of motherhood.  My work shifted dramatically in palette, style, medium, application, EVERYTHING when I became a mother.  I no longer had the luxury of time to brew and agonize over brush strokes and colour.  I began to let the paint fly faster and faster, with less analysis and more desperation to create.  From that has blossomed a career in speed painting!  My main source of artistic income is created in short bursts of time in front of crowds who are inspired and amazed at the very thing my children unknowingly drew out of me!!!  Geez.  Wow.

So for all of you creative mothers out there feeling alone and afraid to say how hard it is to create and be yourself because all of your time and energy is being used up on some little creature/ are not alone.  ;-)  Step by step, day by day...learn, grow, love what you can do, but more importantly...BE.  

Enjoy the brief season of children at home (I'm preaching to myself)... ENJOY THE JOURNEY.


The doc said it was incurable. It almost killed my art. Almost.

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on September 20, 2012 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (5)

I've been silent for almost a year in the land of blogging.  In August 2011, my hands and joints felt disabled from a sudden and extreme inflammation that made holding my children difficult, much less a paintbrush.  It was depressing to be honest.  I had to take painkillers just to function, and numbness made my entire arms tingle for hours.  

In March 2012, I was diagnosed basically with rheumatiod arthritis and placed on 3 medications so toxic that alcohol and conceiving a child were off limits.  The swelling reduced and I was able to open and close my fingers for the first time in months, but the drugs were taxing.

By early September, I had to increase my medication because I was still in pain...but my body decided it had had enough and found myself almost in the hopsital from stomach pain.  That moment, I decided I had had enough of the medication too.

SIDE NOTE: Cortisone shots in your wrist 8 hours prior to a LIVE painting gig isn't enough time.  hahaha.  Turns out my body didn't like the stuff and my hand was not my own.  I painted over the canvas the following morning.  LOL 

I felt a grace to shift my diet to remove all inflammation triggering foods, and stopped my meds.  More importantly, I felt God's healing presence stronger than ever and here I am, over a week without medication, almost all the soreness from my hands is gone and I feel myself again.  

I'm back.  I'm grateful.  Go Jesus.

UPDATE March 3, 2015:  I still believe in healing and still believe it can be a process and a journey.  For whatever reason the journey didn't end there and I am back on medication, this time Enbrel, a weekly injection as well as natural supplements, healthier diet and swimming.  It's humbling to ask for help opening tight jars and fatiguing quickly, but I'm still optimistic.  My ankles and knees and fingers may feel like crap some days, but you can't take my joy.  (ok...I'm writing this when I'm in a good mood, let's be real...sometimes I'm frustrated and running low on joy...but not tonight.)

35,000 Doors

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on April 15, 2011 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Big doors swing on little hinges.  You never know what a seemingly small encounter, conversation, email, etc. will impact your life on a scale larger than your imagination.  

This week a postcard advertising company called Avant Card launched an image of mine called "Not Forgotten".  I was selected as an emerging humbled and honoured...and thrilled to pieces.  Roughly 35K of these postcards are currently being distributed to 400 venues throughout Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.  I see them as 35K doors of opportunity, a chance to make someone smile, desire to paint, remind them that they are loved, and maybe even attract a few clients.  Who knows?  Anything can happen.