Spirit warrior and poet Maya Angelou once wrote, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Such is the inspiration behind Sarah Rose Lyons’s Flight Pattern, a series of watercolor and ink butterfly illustrations.
Gifted Hands // A mother of four, Sarah Rose Lyons explores a variety of media to express deepest thoughts, including illustration with pen and watercolor (above), charcoal on reclaimed wood, and oils (below).
Each brush and pen stroke—from the black veining, splotched blues, and mottled reds, to each repeated swirl and dot—a symbol of what emerges from a process that takes change and adversity to shape its final form.
Wild Abandon // Sarah Rose Lyons uses nature to express her inner landscape
Lyons’s work could be defined by her ability to convey a narrative through visual form. Much like the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly, Lyons’s path to visual artist has been influenced by many variables: her movement between New York, Greenville, Dallas, back to Greenville; her previous work as an art therapist helping displaced and traumatized youth discover their own artistic voices; and, perhaps, most notably, being a mother to four under age 5.
“My children, their love for life, their bravery and energy alongside their chaos and sometimes terrifying cruelty inspire me in every way,” she says. “I could not create the art that I do without my children because I would not be the woman I am were I not their mother. My artistry is innately connected to my motherhood.”
Lyons works in a variety of media: charcoals on reclaimed wood when life feels chaotic; illustration (pen and watercolor) when she wishes to balance fluidity and structure; and oils, which she considers her most personal medium.
“They are the autobiography of my inner-landscape,” she says. “If you were to line them up in chronological order and take the time to listen to their visuals, you would know the depths of my heart and some secrets too deep to share with words.”
No matter the medium she’s working in, the interconnectedness— between identities as mother, partner, citizen, and artist, as well as the relationship her art creates with the viewer—propels Lyons’s work.
“I think of art as a means of connection to the mystery that holds the universe together. It’s a way to hope without the weight of words,” she says.
“This connection is what drives me. This longing to acknowledge my truth, my identity, the terrifying isolation of self-hood, and the liberating sea of life beyond my permeable walls while facing the utter terror of my dependence on all life; this is the wild, disarming fire behind my urgency to create.”
Lyons is currently working on a collection for Sixpence Salon in The Village of West Greenville. Additionally, her work appears in arts and craft fairs throughout the Carolinas. To view and purchase Lyons’ s art, visit www.sarahroselyons.com.