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Sally West lays it all on the line for her beach studies

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  • Kerry-Anne Blanket
  • 01/11/2019

Artist’s often tell me that the more challenges they experience while creating an artwork the better the quality and final result. If this is true then the painting revealed in this article should certainly please the eye!

KAB Gallery artist Sally West is a contemporary plein air painter (Plein air – outdoors). Sally has found an amazing position high up on a rock platform at Queenscliff Headland, giving her the perfect aerial perspective to paint the beach while overlooking the surfers and swimmers of Manly Beach. Over the past few summers Sally has been working on an entire series of works based on these aerial coastal views. She says “I love painting the beach, it’s constantly changing and every day is different”. Painting at this location offers great views and a unique perspective of the waves and tidal movements – as well as a particularly surprising challenge last week.


The picturesque position Sally West was working from last week


Working on the waters edge is hazardous sometimes. Sally prepares for strong winds, extreme heat, and various other environmental perils, but this time it was an unexpected easel breakage which threw her artwork plummeting off the rocky platform.

“…Half way through working I was trying to move the large painting on the easel as the sun was moving and had begun to cast a shadow on the artwork. As I tried to shuffle it the back leg just broke! These French easels are not designed to carry such large paintings but I have got away with it for nearly 6 years!” Sally explains.


In this photo you can see the large canvas on the easel
The leg of the easel snapped sending the canvas catapulting off and towards the ocean


“At one stage the painting and easel were resting on me, and all I could do was hold it there while I tried to work out how to save the painting and myself. I was literally teetering on the edge of the cliff and it was extremely tricky to work out a solution. I don’t know how I managed to correct it… adrenaline kicked in and it’s now all a blur. I had a pocket knife in my back pocket so I managed to release the easel from the straps that I had used to tie it down to prevent it flying away in the wind. I got down on my bottom and hoisted the painting and easel over the top of me, then somehow manged to shuffle back from the edge where I could finally lay it down away from the drop onto the rocks and ocean below and save us all! It was really quite frightening. This has NEVER happened before.”

After this terrifying experience Sally finished the artwork and managed to load it back into her car safely. She then found her tool kit and repaired the easel to work on some studies.

You may view this artwork soon at KAB Gallery. Sally created the painting with heavy layers of thick oil paint. This impasto style takes months to dry before it can be exhibited. Well worth the lengthy wait time as the results are unlike any other artists work. The style has been mastered by Sally and celebrated by art collectors worldwide.

If you are interested to purchase this painting by Sally West feel free to contact me at the gallery or email [email protected]

International delivery is available.


The artwork was safely put away in the car
Sally West

1Ft ENE – Beach Manly (24.10.19) – Plein Air

Oil on Canvas 90x150cm

Kerry-Anne Blanket, Director & Curator - KAB Gallery
About the author

Kerry-Anne Blanket

Director & Curator - KAB Gallery

KAB Gallery’s Kerry-Anne Blanket holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts and two Masters degrees (Hons) from the University of Sydney. With an extensive career in art education along with the management of museums and investment art galleries, Kerry-Anne can offer premier art consulting to her clients and source specially requested works. 

She has a keen eye for detail, comprehensive art market knowledge and a love of all things beautiful. Kerry-Anne works directly with artists and collectors alike to curate interesting and eclectic exhibitions.