Original impressionistic artwork by Chicago-based artist Sarah Croft Nightingale. Created with optimism in pursuit of beautiful, undisturbed moments. Award-winning and collected around the world. 

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Latest from the blog:

Three Paintings from my Childhood

One of my favorite things to do when I have some downtime on vacation while visiting my parents in California is to look through my old art shelves. There are dozens (maybe hundreds!) of my old paintings there, and that’s not even all of it! A lot of my work from high school and college was sold during those years. But there's still plenty to look through. Most of the time when I pull out an old painting I am both highly underwhelmed and highly amused. In my memory, a lot of those pieces were really great! But in reality, they make me cringe the same way you cringe when you read your old diaries from when you were in middle school. Completely relevant and appropriate for its day, but obviously dated in the present day. I remember painting each of those masterpieces! But seeing them after all these years makes me laugh as I am reminded of the long learning curves I went through. I do have favorites; some have always been my favorite, and others have only recently become my ... View Post

The Seascapes of Spring

As the captain of the aircraft announced our final descent and cabin lights came on, puffy-faced, disoriented travelers were blinking their sleepy eyes open and massaging their necks and stiff joints from sleeping on an airplane for hours. I had been awake. For someone who can sleep like a rock usually, this was a sure way of telling that I was both anxious and excited. We were about to land in a place I’d never been. We were about to land in Sydney, Australia!! As our plane dashed through the big white fluffy clouds, glimmers of the Pacific Ocean in the Southern Hemisphere were one of the most beautiful sites I had ever seen. This surprised me because I typically find the ocean to be a bit daunting, and not very romantic (at all) as so many often say that it is. But in that moment, I understood; Paired with the perfectly blue sky and cotton-like clouds, it was phenomenally beautiful. I began seeing large ships that looked like tiny toys from the plane’s elevation, and eventually ... View Post

A Quick Guide To Framing

Whether you choose to take your artwork to a professional framer/frame shop or DIY a frame solution, this quick guide will help you appropriately choose your frames. Choosing the perfect frame is rewarding. I suggest that you find a frame that first compliments the style of the artwork, and then the style of the space it will live in. Remember, the frame is not to overwhelm the artwork, but it is only to enhance it. My personal favorite frame is one that is about 3” wide and simple in detail.   Framing an Original: Original paintings should always be framed. A frame not only protects the artwork, but it also enhances it and adds a personal touch of the collector, you.Original oil paintings should not go behind glass as they need air to breathe in, but original watercolors should go behind UV protected glass to ensure they do not accumulate anything on their surface and/or fade. Similarly, original oil paintings do not require a mat, and it is not typical that they have one. ... View Post

Daffodils for Spring

People often ask me how I decide what to paint. The truth is, I have a few running lists of things to paint at all times. It’s more of a matter of when to paint something. One list is an extensive file library of photographs I’ve taken. It’s a collection of images ready to paint. I tend to view this library every day hoping that one in particular will jump out at me. Another list of things to paint, I keep as a note in my phone (and computer) that I keep track of while I’m out and about and get an idea. And lastly, the other is just in my head. Funny enough, I typically paint something that is fresh in my mind though, and because of that, I don’t believe that I will ever finish my lists of things to paint. I guess you could say that what I paint is an ever-evolving subject with no true pattern. I paint what I love in that moment, and when I do that, I don’t feel like I’m working at all. On a morning like today, for example, despite my calendar telling me to work on a landscape piece, ... View Post

Book Review: The Oil Painter’s Pocket Palette

As a young painter, I turned to books for nearly every painting. You may know this already if you’ve followed or read my blog over the years. Not having formal art instruction my first 7 or so years of painting in oil meant that books were my go-to for instruction and inspiration. These books ranged everywhere from art instruction books and art history books, to art books with only full-page images of paintings. Even novels like Where the Red Fern Grows and The Little House on the Prairie series inspired my paintings. Shop Now It’s interesting to me as I look back and realize what was really helpful. One book that I remember vividly is The Oil Painter’s Pocket Palette by Rosalind Cuthbert (can we pretend she is Marilla Cuthbert’s sister? Ok, good.)  This book is great for a beginner! I often bring this book along to lessons now to share with my students. It’s simple, quick, and very intuitive. The first few pages even teach a bit of easy-to-understand color theory that I ... View Post

Oil Painting with Color Inspired by Monet

Walking through The Art Institute of Chicago last year for the first time, I repeated in my head a description for Monet’s work: “painter of light.” It couldn’t have been a better description. It wasn’t the first time I had seen his work in person, but it was the first time that it really impacted me. When I rounded the corner into the impressionist’s collection, the room seemed to glow; the art seemed to sparkle. I had to stop for a moment and take it all in. The paintings of hay bails in different light by Monet caught my eye especially. I loved seeing the warms and cools reflect against each other, and I loved his confidence apparent throughout the entire piece. So often I feel that “messy” or “careless” is mistaken for “confidence” in art, but it was unmistakable in Monet’s work that every stroke of color was placed thoughtfully. Fast forward to around a month ago. I was working with a student on a landscape when it hit me that her strokes, to me, were reminiscent of Monet’s. I ... View Post