The festive season has always been a favourite time of year for Sarah Taylor-Smith and now she has been able to express this love artistically in a Christmas themed book.
The book titled Counting at Christmas features colourful artworks painted by the talented artist and compliments the storyline of the book – counting down the 24 days before Christmas.
The educational book’s launch was held recently and aims to strengthen the counting ability of young readers with the pictures displaying a distinct kiwiana flavour.
The catchy rhyming style wording in the book is provided by New Plymouth writer and artist Lois Parkes who decided to bring Sarah in on the project after first noticing her artistic talent about 15 years ago when she was running art workshops for a local disability provider.
Counting at Christmas marks the second time the two artists have collaborated on a book with the first effort titled Sarah’s Christmas.
Once again Sarah’s Christmas focuses on Sarah’s favourite time of the year, celebrating the wonders and joys of the festive season.
Like any book the production process takes time, and much like her first book Sarah spent many months working on the illustrations for Counting at Christmas with the support of Lois as well as others.
To complete her works Sarah draws the outlines of her illustrations with a felt tip pen then paints the rest with oil pastels.
Sarah sources inspiration for her work through perusing old Christmas cards, photos and pictures from magazines – a past-time she naturally enjoys given her love of Christmas.
Having the support of Lois has also been invaluable for the process and the two enjoy a strong friendship which has formed during the 15-years they have known each other.
In fact, Lois recently told the Taranaki Midweek News that she enjoys working with the talented artist and loves how she was always able to aptly capture the spirit of Christmas.
Although creating art is a big part of Sarah’s life, there were a few other passions that kept her busy including trips to the gym with her friends from Lifeskills Taranaki – one of Inclusive NZ’s members.
She also enjoys heading to the library to source books on the days she was with Lifeskills Taranaki and has now build a great friendship with the librarians who often put books aside for Sarah that they think she may enjoy.
Lifeskills Taranaki General Manager Stewart Filbee says it has been fantastic to watch Sarah’s confidence grow since she linked up with them back in 2011 and that her colourful creations were always appreciated by many.
“Sarah should be very proud of all that she has achieved –especially the works she has commissioned for the two book collaborations she has been part of. All of us at Lifeskills Taranaki definitely are,” Stewart says.