Marbles, Jars, and Glass: Exquisite Oil Paintings by Sally Tharp

By Lisa Orgler in Featured Artists > Oil Paintings

Depicting glass and other transparent objects is arguably one of the greatest challenges that artists face. . . Sally Tharp, however, has mastered the skill more than most, and has chosen to make it the focus of much of her work.

Sally graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BFA, and just over a year ago she made the decision to become a full-time artist. She is drawn towards realism, though confesses she enjoys quirky subject matter.

One of Sally’s most stunning paintings, in my opinion, is this first one below (which is part of an entire series on marbles).


Realistic reflections are captured perfectly in the round glass, despite the complex yellow, green, and white swirls held within the spherical depths of the marble.

Sally’s composition brings attention to all that detail, and the darkness behind her subject emphasizes its beautiful reflections, simple form and vivid colors even more.

Now, if you think a transparent sphere is a challenge to paint, imagine adding raised text and multiple layers of glass. In this next painting, Sally does just that.


I love the way the light comes in from the left to emphasize the words scribbled across the front of the glass, and I’m amazed at the skill it took to bring in the various hues seen running up and down the jars.

In addition to marbles and jars, many of the glass objects that Sally paints are found at thrift stores where she goes hunting for unique subject matter.

The lab bottles depicted below are just a few such treasures—as well a great example of how to choose your still life subjects. I find them intriguing because of their mismatched, unique toppers; a collection of shapes and forms that’s guaranteed to draw the viewer in.


If you have a few moments today, I invite you all to visit Sally’s website or art blog to experience more of her exquisite paintings in oil.


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