My name is Sara Asteborg and I live, and work as an artist, on the island of Gotland. I create abstract and figurative works of art using acrylic, oil and mixed media. My pieces are slowly built in many layers over a long period of time, and for me painting is about expressing my inner world.

I never know beforehand what I will create. Instead I connect to and follow my curiosity and creative impulses to see what develops naturally. I begin by building the body of each piece to give texture, depth and substance to its later beauty. I always bring light to my canvas in some way, both as a technique to give it life, and to thematically reflect the light within myself. I frequently co-create with water, and I appreciate how its unexpected effects make each piece unique.

As a child, I learnt to shut down my feelings and to silence my needs. As an adult, I have learnt to unpick these destructive patterns of behaviour, and art has played a key role in this. It is when being creative that I feel most alive and most like myself.

Much of today’s art is made to be provocative, to elicit an external reaction, but I would rather my viewers felt something within themselves. I believe that the beauty of my paintings help people to see beauty in themselves, and that when we see beauty we become soft rather than hard, kind rather than mean, and open rather than closed.

In my twenties, during a period of prolonged depression, I took a couple of courses with Tira Veng, a Danish art therapist who encouraged me to explore my ideas and feelings through art. I have also spent the last ten years delving deeply into Vedic Art, a methodology which has given me the tools to navigate the choppy waters of my own creativity.

The island of Bali in Indonesia is a very special place for me, and I lived there for several years. One of my pieces, Midsummer, brings together the intense, high energy of the island’s permanent summer, and a ritual from my home country of Sweden: that of dancing in circles on Midsummer Eve.

Hilma Af Klint is one of my role models; she is an artist who walked her own path, and didn’t just paint what was expected of her. I find her strong inner conviction and intense spiritual journey through art very inspiring.