Sabine French

Sabine French

Chapel Hill, NC, United States

About Sabine French

My first creative love was words. After receiving a mid-life master’s degree with a focus in creative writing, my short stories received accolades in various competitions and I published “Southern Charm,” a novella set in my beloved home state of North Carolina. It rose to be a top 200 genre seller on Amazon.

However my writing career was interrupted by a mild brain injury in 2015 that left me, among other things, unable to write creatively.

In a frankly desperate effort to cross-train the creative parts of my brain (neuroplasticity tells us: “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.”), I turned to painting -- something I’d never really done before and therefore where there was no pressure to excel. I didn’t want the fact that I wasn’t formally trained in brush work to serve as an impediment, so I painted with my hands — literally pouring paint into my gloved hands and pushing, dabbing, and swooping on layers. Bright colors over-stimulated my recovering brain, so I chose a neutral palette. I recall literally “willing” myself to channel what I’d heard artist Steve Tobin once refer to as “the unadulterated creative impulse,” hoping it would aid my injured brain.

While I’m technically self-taught (I was accepted into art school in 2018 at NSCAD, the Nova Scotia College Of Art and Design, but had to return to the US due to a health reasons), most of my paintings emerge from a state of “flow” where everything from the color selection to paint placement feels “muse-directed.” Indeed, the resulting painting itself emerges as a by-product —a relic —of this gratifyingly absorbing intuitive process. Oftentimes I am surprised by the finished piece. Related to that is my decision to not paint the sides of my pieces because I find the “sedimentary layers” of paint visible there serve as a sort of visual annotation of the path I followed to complete the work.

The events of my life have taught me to not be attached to expectations. My daily painting practice offers me a chance to practice this non-attachment while trusting in a larger unfolding. It is my hope that the artwork resulting from this process will whisper soothing reminders to the hearts and souls of its audience.


1986 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, BA Radio, Television, Film
2009 Duke University, AM Liberal Studies with a concentration in creative writing

1999 Trace Art Gallery, Raleigh, NC (metal sculpture)

2016 Tomato Arts Festival, Nashville, TN (paintings)

2017 Boro Art Crawl, Murfreesboro, TN (paintings)

2017, live painting at AMSfest, Washington, DC

2018 accepted into NSCAD (Nova Scotia College Of Art and Design)


“Mile Post 290.4, Thunder Hill Overlook” accepted into Yadkin Arts Council’s 9th Juried Show. July 9- September 2, 2020.