Artist of the Month- Olivia Sanderson


blog-pic-artist-of-the-month-oliviaOlivia Sanderson has been a resident of Fredericksburg for her entire life thus far. In her art, she wishes to create an experience rather than a masterpiece. She has no favorite medium; rather, her favorite technique is to experiment with many materials and mediums.

Her biggest inspirations come from the people around her. She credits her love for art to her outstanding art teachers, who challenged her to find her focus and passion for art. She also mentioned her admiration for several professors of art she was taught under, as well as the encouragement she receives from her fellow Fredericksburg art community members.

Olivia’s work frequently revolves around elements of life. She loves representing the human figure and emotion in her work. In high school, a major portfolio project of hers was centered around “exaggerated portraiture”, essentially magnifying emotional reflections in one’s features. From there, her love for portraiture and figure drawing grew exponentially.

In her art, Olivia ultimately wishes to make a difference in someone’s life, be it by teaching them to love art and find solace in it’s therapeutic aspects, or even having one of her pieces hang on someone’s wall.skull-show-piece

Olivia’s start in art originated when she did. From a young age, she was constantly in trouble for drawing on the walls with crayons and designing clothes for her Barbie dolls and action figures. Her mother, being an artist herself, always offered encouragement and drawing sessions whenever possible. Her love for painting started in her high school art class, when she was given a palette knife and told to “get crazy with it”. The first few paintings were highly abstract, to say the least.

Over the years, her style has become centered around painting, with bright and vivid color schemes and bold brush strokes. While some say her work borders on erratic, others claim it is simply expressive.

Ultimately, her favorite moment in her artistic career will be a future moment, for she claims she is “still learning to be an artist”. If referring to a past moment, her biggest achievements were being accepted to such art schools as VCU, SCAD, or the Chicago Institute of Art, and hosting her first solo show at Adventure Brewery.

Olivia claims she has no favorite art gallery, for she finds pieces to love in every new museum or gallery she enters. Frame Designs Gallery in Fredericksburg has become a home away from home for her, however.

For those new to art, Olivia offered this advice:

“I myself am a student. I’m over at Mary Washington, I’m an art major. I learn something new everyday. For someone new starting out, I think the biggest challenge is keeping yourself on track. I truly envy those people that live their life for art. It’s hard, sometimes, finding time to create. But here’s the thing- if you love art, if you truly love it, you find time. If you make 500 paintings a year and sell every single one of them, awesome. But if you make one painting a year and you don’t even like the way it turns out, then guess what? It’s just more practice and it’s one more painting that you’ve completed. That in itself is an accomplishment to me. So here’s my biggest piece of advice: don’t set standards for yourself, because if you fail your goals you’ll feel like a failure as an artist as well. There is no failing in art. Art is fluid; it’s emotional and beautiful and I just find such happiness in creating, even if it’s an assignment for one of my classes because I don’t have any other time to make art. It’s all about making art, not making yourself seem successful. Find your drive and your love for it and everything else will follow in the end.”



  1. Christine Mannon says:

    Olivia, your work is truly beautiful! Your talent and skill show how much you love doing this. Thank you for sharing your story. What an honor to be artist of the month! Congratulations to you!

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