By B. J. Coleman
A touch of magic at the Mee Shim Fine Art Gallery
Sarah Stieber is an artist. Undoubtedly.
According to her mother, Betty Amber, Sarah was shy as a child, uttering barely a word but painting when she was a year and a half old.
On July 7, Stieber staged a Grand Bash Opening for a summer showing of her magical paintings at the Mee Shim Fine Art Gallery in Downtown San Diego’s Little Italy. Stieber’s artwork will be on display at the gallery through Aug. 26 with a closing reception at the gallery on Aug. 24.
Stieber calls her painting style electric realism or hyper-realism. “I want to create a more beautiful version of reality,” Stieber said.
Sometimes, Stieber simply calls her art “magic.” Indeed, her paintings are aptly referred to as magical, with brilliant colors, reflective elements and vivid images of life.
“I want to emanate beauty,” Stieber said. “I want to put magic out into the world.”
Stieber recounted that although she studied as an arts major in college, she contemplated a career as a therapist or as an artist. A few weeks before her graduation, she made the decision to go into art full time, which she has done for eight years.
Stieber returns to water images often, including the “Glow” series of paintings. She worked on the “Ribbon” series in 2017, and then began exploration of depicting magical superpowers with this year’s “Superhero” series.
“This is a big experiment,” Stieber said. “I want to soak up the experience. I plan to be flexible and go as hard as possible, treating this day by day as new chances arise.”
Fellow local artist Nic McGuire attended the gallery opening party and discussed his admiration of Stieber and her art. McGuire has followed her for eight years, because they travel in the same art circles. McGuire works in glass.
“What I appreciate about Sarah is that she is able to capture positive human emotions. She catches the color of the soul,” McGuire said. “People can relate to her paintings. I am drawn to her work. And there is something special about Sarah. She has a gift, a creative drive. And she has great family support. Her paintings are full of life.
“Her work is about living a strong, purposeful life. Her art centers on the excitement of the present moment,” McGuire continued. “Her paintings remind people that life is worth living. She is very talented at free-hand drawing. Her skill level is extraordinary.”
Betty Amber described her daughter’s early successes in winning children’s art contests. Road & Track magazine announced a children’s competition for best painting of a car. Young Sarah named her car painting “The Ying Yang Flyer,” and placed first in the nation. The next year, Sarah competed in the same contest, with “The Porkster,” again winning first place. Amber said that she kept encouraging Stieber to pursue her artistic talent as her daughter grew older. “Sarah loved to draw,” Amber said.
Amber laughed over having substituted her former title as “momager” in assisting Stieber’s career, for the more serious and sedate title director of operations. Amber now helps with moving the art and curating it. Amber observed that theirs is a family of entrepreneurs, and yet they know this is a risky venture Stieber has embarked on. “The opening was special. I am very proud of her,” Amber said.
— B. J. Coleman is a local freelance journalist and editor/staff reporter with 22nd District Legionnaire. B. J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.