PLEASE NOTE – Although the physical open studio events for 2020 have been cancelled, you can continue to discover and support Nottinghamshire artists & makers in these ‘virtual studios’ and by exploring the OSNotts website.

Sarah Heelis in the Green room - SARAH NESBITTPAINTING IN ACRYLIC  & OILS
I paint in situ, objects & views that inspire. Still life, floral & landscape painting. Self-framed to suit.
The Park, Newark NG24 1SD
07789 965352
i: sarahheelisart

I always loved Art class at school and wanted to go to college. Life got in the way and I was married at 21, and moved to Canada for 5 years, shipping Antiques to Toronto. In 1985 we moved back to Southwell and I started an Interior Design and giftware shop called Hillier’s. Four children later I developed MS, which strangely has given me the liberty to be more selfish with my time.

Andrew and I run a holiday letting business in North Wales near Aberdaron on the Llyn Peninsula. I run the booking side, and Andrew does the lion’s share of the maintenance. With reduced mobility and stamina, around 5 years ago I started painting again. It gives me purpose, a great way to relax and improve at something, taking the focus off what I can no longer do.

I have had 2 large exhibitions in Newark and been fortunate to sell. We make the frames ourselves in the garage which helps keep the costs down. I am self-taught and find Acrylic to be my favourite medium as I paint quite fast. Having said that recently I have been using oil for larger pieces, and have decided to use it mainly when I am painting outside as I do not like the fumes. Despite not being officially taught, I have many friends who are trained Artists who have all been very encouraging and given me valuable tips along the way.

We were in Wales when the lockdown came into force, so decided to stay put as it is a long journey back to Newark. I am endeavouring to create a virtual exhibition as I am not in Newark to hang it on the walls. I photograph my work as I go along so I can add it to my website.


I do not have a studio but paint in situ, my surroundings: objects, the landscape or flowers. When in Newark I use the green room which occasionally transforms into a dining room, or the kitchen late at night when all are in bed. In Wales wherever the light or weather permits. The garage in Newark is set up with the guillotine and Pinner for picture framing and storage. I use Acrylic on canvas or board and vary the way I apply the paint, depending on the size and idea I have in mind. I live with the finished painting for a while, start something new, and then go back and review, sometimes just adding a bit and other times radically altering the painting. Happy accidents often create my best work.


I paint to escape – to meditate – my mood governs what effect the image portrays.
I like to walk into the painting, focusing on the depth and the shadows. Sometimes the atmosphere comes from reality, say a bowl of tomatoes, or other objects, for example flowers. I like to experiment with shapes and shadows evoking a feeling from the image. With landscapes I choose random vistas on the way from A to B or create fantasy from a pleasing composition.