Colorado realist Sarah Phippen portrays the West with a passion and understanding that comes from a deep love of the land, people and animals of the region in which she was born and raised. Committed to art from an early age, Phippen’s formal training began with private lessons when she was 14. Since then she has studied with prominent artists John Coleman for sculpting, and painters Jim Norton, Daniel Sprick, Sandra Kaplan and Anthony J. Ryder, each of whom deepened her understanding of oil, watercolor and pastel. In 2013 she was honored at the Phippen Museum Western Art Show and Sale, with the Joe Beeler CA Foundation Award, which recognizes an artist who exemplifies the quality of work and spirit of the West.
A multi-facet artist, Phippen like her grandfather sculptor, painter and founder of the Cowboy Artists of America George Phippen, appreciates the grace of horses and holds a deep respect for the people who dedicate themselves to the Western way of life. “I grew up surrounded by livestock and wildlife,” she said. “Observing their personalities and expressions allowed me to experience their quiet moments or read trouble in their eyes. I see this heritage as part of our age-old relationship with animals; it is part of being human, a privilege that surrounds us every day.”
Phippen has been featured in Western Art Collector, and has been invited to participate in numerous national exhibitions including the Cattlemen’s Western Art Show and Sale, Paso Robles, CA; the San Dimas Western Art Show, San Dimas, CA; the Miniature Masterpieces Show and Sale, Prescott, AZ; the Aspen Art Festival; the Empire 100, Empire Ranch, Tucson, AZ; and the Mountain Oysters Show and Sale, Tucson, AZ. She won honorable mentions for her work at the Ex Arte Equinus 5 International Equine Art Competition and the Lone Tree Art Exhibition, CO, and had the Winning Banner entry for the Castle Rock Art on the Street, CO.
In her pursuit of fine art, Phippen worked at Joseph’s Artworks foundry, in Denver, as a wax chaser; assisted on the 2004 retrospective for George Phippen held at the Phippen Museum; and developed art enrichment programming for elementary students.
A true western artist at heart, Phippen maintains memberships to not only the Art Students League of Denver but also to the Colorado Farm Bureau. “Communicating emotions in a visual language, either in painting or sculpture, requires a fluency in light, color and form, as well as patient observation,” she said. “Observe, and observe again and look for the reasons behind expressions. How—and why—does a horse smile? That’s what I’m after.”