Growing up, Sally Van Peursem was not actively into the arts, other than a bit of sewing and decorative needlework.
She was an adult before she thought about painting for a hobby. While she, her husband, and their two children were living in Thailand, she met someone who painted with watercolors. That sparked an interest, as she noted that her friend did not need a university degree to paint.
"I want to do that... Maybe I can learn to do that on my own," she said.
So she bought some cheap paints and some paper - also cheap - and "messed around" with watercolors. She later learned that having a good quality paper makes a lot of difference.
When the family returned to The States and settled in the Augusta area in 1999, Sally began working as a medical transcriptionist. But she wanted a hobby to occupy her spare time. With that in mind, Sally began taking lessons from local watercolor artist Jim Gensheer.
She learned the basic skills from him, taking lessons until he moved away, and credits him with allowing his students to explore on their own as they gain an understanding of the medium.
She "learned the fundamentals of painting with watercolors and that although talent was important, you could also learn techniques and skills and learn to paint," she said.
When Gensheer moved out of town, Sally continued lessons with North Augusta artist Dr. Suzanne Thigpen. She still concentrates on watercolors; but she has reached out into the world of acrylic painting, with the help of Sharon Taylor Padgett, an artist from Aiken.
Most of Van Peursem's art is landscape or still life, with an occasional portrait.
"My paintings are representational. I just paint whatever I like, what I think will make a nice painting. Often the painting is a failure, and I have a big stash of those at home," she said.
Although she is new to the world of working with acrylic paints, she appreciates their forgiving nature. In her own words, she can "keep slapping the paint on until I am satisfied".
Sally is a proud member of the North Augusta Artists Guild , and is currently its secretary.
"The Guild has offered me the opportunity to share my interest in art, as well as learning and improving my skills from other members," she said.
She also enjoys entering and showing her work in Guild-sponsored shows.
As a member of NAAG, Sally's work can be seen at the Arts and Heritage Center, where she was awarded second place at the 2016 Fall Into Art exhibit for a work titled "Grace and Journey."
The painting depicts her young niece as a handler at a dog show. Sally also exhibits occasionally in local businesses, including The Beveled Edge, Chamber of Commerce, Bush's Florist, and most recently at the North Augusta Y.