ZEBULON — Tucked in between industrial printing machines and towering piles of flyers, business cards and banners, Barbara Simon Sartain keeps large, colorful canvases.
One is circular and shows how acrylic and latex paint won’t mix. The paint has created swirls of colors and patterns. On another, she’s let Gorilla glue and latex paint dry, and she’s molded them into 3-D tree-like shapes.
On a table near the entrance, she has small prints of birds and geometric designs.
“This is where I do all my experimenting,” Sartain said of the Zebulon Printing building.
She and her husband, Mark Sartain, have owned Zebulon Printing for 31 years. In that time, Barbara Sartain has completed a laundry list of artistic endeavors that are mostly hidden around their store on Gannon Avenue.
Three of those “experiments” have made Sartain a newly published artist.
This month, three of her drawings were published in “Zen Doodle: Tons of Tangles,” a compilation of drawings and paintings in the form of doodling – creating art while otherwise occupied.
Sartain had doodles of a rabbit, frog and owl published in the book. She said she has about 25 more, but she isn’t sure what she will do with them.
The book’s publisher, North Light Books, is one of Sartain’s favorite resources for learning new techniques in mixed media art. She follows the company’s blog, which is how she found out her doodles could be published.
“I googled ‘doodling’ and saw people actually doing it,” she said. She submitted her work to North Light in February and heard back that all three submissions were chosen for publication in October.
Keeping art local
Sartain grew up in Raleigh and began working at a printing company right out of high school. Soon after, she and her husband started their own printing business in Wendell. In 1990, they moved the business to Zebulon.
Sartain said she used to expend her artistic energy by doing small crafts but eventually got bored. She started teaching herself painting and drawing techniques and took up felting about five years ago.
“I just kind of jump all over the place,” she said.
She’s also dabbled in mixed media art, using several different materials in one piece. She’s used dried Gorilla glue and let latex paint set into thick, malleable layers of color.
Sartain reads about different artistic techniques in her spare time but doesn’t usually consider herself an artist. She sells her creations off a small table at Zebulon Printing and has items for sale in a store in Meadows of Dan, Va., near Danville.
She said she mostly creates art for herself – she has a painting hanging in her Zebulon store of the white house in Wendell where her printing company first opened.
Now, Sartain is building a studio in Rocky Cross in Nash County to share some of the skills she’s picked up through the years. She wants to give interested residents a choice rather than feeling like they have to go to Raleigh to take an art class.
“I want to keep it local,” she said.
The studio, which is part of the Sartains’ personal property, is still in its early stages of construction. The couple broke ground on the building in April.
“The plan is to eventually have classes,” Sartain said. “So many people have been interested in it and I just think it would be fun.”
Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews