Sara Allan Automatist Artist

Sara Allan was born in Hayling Island in 1951. She spent much of her childhood delighting in nature.

Her need to paint, to find herself through painting, resulted from the years she spent as a shepherd in the mountains of Scotland and on the chalk downlands of Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. Her landscapes at this time were largely influenced by the work of Paul Nash and Ivon Hitchings. 

Recognising a need to develop her skills, she began studying the Flemish masters and recreating intricate and rich still lifes, a genre demanding discipline and method.

In 1980 her career took off, initially as a decorative painter. Her success in this field took her to London, New York and many capital cities, but this stylised compromise failed to satisfy her need for self-expression.

Then, in 1997, Sara Allan broke away from all pastiche, and embarked on an extraordinary voyage of self-discovery not unrelated to Surrealist automatism, the belief that the unconscious can dictate the work of art without the intervention of a preconceived notion or the imposition of an aesthetic doctrine. 

For the last ten years Sara has lived and worked in the peace and tranquility of rural Southern Turkey.  Her work can be found on walls around the world from Brooklyn, New York to Mallorca, Spain.

“Not often is there a new painter these days, who isn’t still in her teens and doesn’t live in outer Hackney. 

Here is one though, Sara Allan. Doesn’t drop her glottals either, and belongs to a Naval family. Nice country house until recently, with a trout stream. Uses oil on canvas too – not today’s most fashionable medium etc. BUT I am firmly convinced that these, mostly large, joyfully-coloured and seriously playful pictures are a revelation.

They are automatist, i.e. unconsciously uncontrolled, but a proof that the eye and hand, with no intervention or bullying from the rational mind, can provide images as convincing as any amount of plotting and planning, an aesthetic program, lapel-feeling and band-waggon jumping. They are as spontaneous and lyrical as bird song.

The shapes invent themselves, are crossed sometimes by ribbon like lines. Here and there little phantasmic creatures jump about in the margin. She paints in the backgrounds – great chords of colour, last. 

It is, I find, impossible not to rejoice before her work. An exhibition she held recently in the country sold out. Wiltshire, to my knowledge, is not a hot bed of abstraction. London should be enslaved. 

She is a phenomenon, Ms Allan”

George Melly: Writer, Critic, Jazz Singer, Cultural Commentator (1926-2007)