ELDON — American Gothic House’s new administrator has more of an art background than her bachelor’s degree in art history.
Sarah Camp moved herself and her husband from Cedar Rapids to Eldon for the dream job to run the American Gothic House Center. She said she loves the history of it all. But looking and appreciating art isn’t all there is with her love of the subject.
“I was actually working at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and going to Kirkwood for my gen. Eds. (general education credits). I was taking an art class since those cover a lot of gen. Eds., and I had been drawing and painting since I was a kid.”
Camp pursued a degree in drawing, but a handful of painting teachers changed this. Their approach in comparing drawing and painting drew her in and she changed course.
Camp uses her skills for various things. Some of her paintings were used as door prizes for the Grant Wood’s Birthday Soup Smorgasbord recently, while drawing is more of a personal thing.
“I used drawing as a means to escape into my own world,” Camp said. “I would sit and doodle or lightly sketch. What I draw is what I draw.”
Whether she is sketching, drawing or painting, Camp said she doesn’t like to “follow the rules”. She uses her fingers for charcoal blending, and uses a light blue wash before painting. The usual color is an ochre or light brown.
“I like to make the rules my own,” said Camp. “I paint wet on wet. It just comes out better. Teachers would always cringe, but I was like, ‘Trust me. It’ll be fine. It’ll work out.’ and it did.”
She likes to take influence from printmakers and other artists she went to school with because everyone sees the world differently. Camp said she lucked out in going back to art school at an older age because she didn’t let herself get pushed around and her creativity couldn’t be stifled.
“I try to critique society’s views on things, especially beauty. I like to paint nature, but the non-traditional beauty of a flower with thorns or something harsher,” Camp said. “You have to roll with the punches. I wouldn’t say I have a typical life, but what is a typical life? What is happening to you is not what is happening to someone else. You never know what someone else is going through or what they see, and I try to express that through my art.”