Artist Statement

I like to engage in an uplifting and hopeful dialogue with life, with art and teaching as my medium for interaction. My impulse to make art is driven by a personal quest for understanding the larger world, including a spiritual quest for embracing the darkness along with the light. This has always been the case throughout decades of experiments with textiles, photography, artists’ books, mixed media and more recently, an emphasis on painting. The sensuous quality of applying wet paint to canvas, or hearing the sound of a word, or music, can inspire something visual in my synasthetic world. These days my passion is to foster a world of beauty and wonder, in both my garden and my painting.

A Feminist Biography

In the late 1960’s, after joining the Connecticut Feminists in the Arts, I met Anais Nin and a group of writers and artists creating empowered lives beyond the traditional structures we’d inherited. Being in the company of writers was a catalyst for me to work in the newly developing genre of artists books. I was a visiting artist in Joyce Aiken’s Feminist Art Program at CSU, Fresno, in 1973, after which I relocated to California. In Berkeley, inspired by the diversity of artists and possibilities available, I collaborated with Susan Wick and partners in the AART Store in 1979, and with Paul Cotton in a nude performance at the Berkeley Art Museum, 1981, in which we recreated Manet’s “Dejeuner sur l’Herbe.” In our interpretation, the male was also nude. As Director of Art Programs at Oakland’s Festival at the Lake for three years I gathered artists from diverse cultures to participate in a city-wide mask making program, “1,000 Faces.” After the Loma Prieta earthquake I exchanged the gritty urban experience of Oakland for a new landscape in the southwest, living in Taos, New Mexico for eight years. There, assisted by my sister, Judith Duncan, I led art retreats for 22 years at the historic Mabel Dodge Luhan House, one of the few women’s homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places. My passion for teaching and bringing people together came full circle in the home of a famous salon giver. I now live full time in Berkeley, CA. 

“Sisters of Invention: 45 Years of Book Art by Sas Colby, Betsy Davids and Jaime Robles,” was exhibited at the San Francisco Center for the Book in 2015. My work appears in many publications, including “Connecting Conversations: Interviews with 28 Bay Area Women Artists “(1988), edited by Moira Roth, and published at Mills College.

Blue Garden, 2013, Acrylic and Flasche on canvas, 40" x 36"

Backyard Garden, 2014, Acrylic and Flasche on canvas, 40" x 36"

Piero Della Francesca: Particolare, 2002, Acrylic on canvas, each panel 16" x 20"

Listening, 1997, Acrylic on unstretched canvas, 34" x 39"

Greek Book, 1999, Mixed Media, 6" x 9"