Sewickley artist to display work in New Brighton

Saturday, May 11, 2019 | 6:00 AM

With the stroke of a brush, Sarah McGroarty preserves a bouquet of flowers for a lifetime.

McGroarty, 37, of Sewickley, who is known professionally under her maiden name, Sarah Reinhardt, has been painting ever since she can remember.

Now McGroarty, who has done shows in New York, will display her mixed media art for the public in her first solo show at the Merrick Art Gallery in New Brighton from May 19 to June 2. An opening reception will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on May 19.

“It was flattering that they chose me for it,” said McGroarty, who moved with her family to her husband Ben’s native Sewickley three years ago from Los Angeles.

Growing up, McGroarty was surrounded by artists in her family. She spent a lot of her time on her own drawing and painting.

It’s something she’s drawn to. There’s no other way to describe it, she says.

“I need to do it,” said McGroarty.

As a mom of two youngsters, she finds solitude in painting.

“I get clarity,” she said. “It’s kind of one of the few places where you can really be in the moment. I don’t think.”

She dabbled in other media, until about four years ago when her grandmother, who was an avid painter and one of her biggest influences, died and left her all of her art supplies.

Watercolors were something McGroarty was always afraid to try. But once she did, she loved the fluidity and transparency of the media.

She now uses a mix of watercolor and gouache.

On the days her mother-in-law is watching her children or her husband is off work, it’s time for her to work on her painting.

She heads to the basement of her Sewickley home, turns on some jams — Kendrick Lamar being her current favorite, but even some Mozart, at times — and gets to painting.

She’s always loved fresh flowers on display in vases

McGroarty takes a bouquet, photographs it, then paints it. When the flowers wilt, she uses the photographs to finish the painting.

She loves to use dark backgrounds and “bring the viewer’s eye to the folds of the flowers,” she said.

“I like the permanence of having a bouquet that lasts forever,” she said. “I like them to stay naturally imperfect.”

McGroarty will have as many as 15 of her pieces on display at the Merrick Art Gallery.

“If they want to have something beautiful in their home or talk to an artist, they should come,” she said.

When she’s not working on a show, McGroarty does commissioned pieces.

Donna Courtney, of Sewickley, commissioned her to do a portrait of her now 5-year-old Havanese dog, Lola.

“We love the watercolor portrait of our beloved dog that Sarah painted for us,” she said in a message to the Herald. “I don’t know how, but Sarah was able to capture Lola’s likeness and personality in the painting. When I looked online, most pet portraits were cheesy, but not the one Sarah painted…. Sarah is detailed and creative. We are beyond thrilled with the final painting and will treasure it forever.”