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Yellow and Black Photography Quote (1).p

“I began painting on a whim, initially intending to start a new hobby that would allow me to expend some creative energy.”

A self-taught artist, Sanna Stabell draws her creative strength from a deep emotional base, channeling internal dialogue into expressive artwork that carries lightheartedness above a contemplative undercurrent.

The inherent roughness of the crocodiles is negated by the fact that they are wearing toe shoes and obviously enjoying their dance class! Maybe this is what they do when we are not looking.

What started with inexpensive craft store paint on found materials (cardboard, scrap paper) transitioned rapidly through experimentation with multiple mediums and an eventual focus into acrylic, pastels, markers and other materials on canvas.




A little dog named Falafel and his rocket car, headed to a place called Anywhere But Here. However, he
is looking behind himself and not to the future, where his eyes should be.

Sanna was born and raised in the United States, growing up in Minnesota and moving to Arizona as a teenager. In both locations, spending time in nature and with animals was an essential key to her happiness and has influenced her work, which often takes on a childlike aspect.

Art was simply a career and life path waiting to be discovered.

The rugged starkness of the Arizona desert has had a major impact on her creativity and aligns closely with the general theme of the artwork, which is finding beauty, life and emotion where it is sometimes least expected.


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The genesis of Sanna’s creative process revolves around basic sketches and forms, which are filled out through a journey inward into pure emotional expression and then finalized with a reattachment of the rational mind. Every piece is allowed to develop a story of its own as the individual elements arise from the canvas, with no pre-conceived plot elements or framework. Often, this results in multiple layers of paint and images that hide beneath the finished product, forming building blocks that culminate in the visible artwork. In this way, the paintings themselves carry a depth of emotion that is unison with the internal path taking by Sanna on the creative journey.

Little Miss Milkshake looks dejected and lost in her brown world. Behind her is a rainbow poking
through the fog, which signals brighter days ahead even though she cannot see them coming.

Keene Art Walk, Keene, NH

Sometimes when we package things in a different way they become more appealing. The fundamentals
do not change, but our perception can.

Sanna’s primary goal is to have an initial viewer focus on the characters and/or elements within the painting, followed by a deeper interpretation of the underlying emotion and story. Color in both bold and diffuse patterns is used to help develop and communicate the emotional content of each creation.

Prize Ribbon (1)

Prize Ribbon (1)

Describe your image

Words can be powerful. They can be descriptive, uplifting and supportive but also demeaning and
degrading depending on context. Language is owned collectively and we have the potential to change
and shape it in a manner that serves the greater good.

Sanna invites those who view her work to step inside the scene and look outward through the eyes of the characters.

This piece developed into a birthday party where two of the characters appear to be having a good time
but may also be taunting and insulting the little figure in black who remains faceless and invisible. A
parental figure on the left has arrived to lead the dejected partygoer away.

Often, there is an aspect of apprehensiveness within the works that floats to the surface and can be seen in the faces of the figures within. However, Sanna’s sense of humor forms a thread through all of her work and though there are pensive undertones throughout, there is also an overall slant towards playfulness and absurdity that is meant to create a balance within the pieces.