Hot News‎ > ‎


posted Jun 30, 2020, 7:35 AM by North Tampa Arts League

Who are you and what do you do?  I am Sally Yoder and I spend my days making art; studio painting most mornings, plein air painting once a week or so, and lapidary art every afternoon.

Why do you do what you do?  I create fine art because I get cranky if I don’t, and lapidary art is one of the ways my husband Dan and I make our living.

What’s your background?  My father was a cartoonist in the Army, always an artist and Head Architect for Martin Marietta Corp. My whole family was quite artistic, and clever. I always wanted to teach, but brother went to dental school, sister to art school, and they were laying teachers off in the late 70’s. So, I tried a Business degree but what a bore! (And, I flunked Accounting.) So, I’ve earned licenses in Interior Design and Cosmetology. Then, I spent most of my life styling hair and crafting homeschool curriculum for my four amazing kids, and driving them to athletics. I didn’t start painting until 2007 when I confessed a desire to paint to some amazingly supportive friends who bought me a gift certificate to the Venice Art Center. I started with Classical portraiture and haven’t looked back.

What role does the artist have in society?  I think we are elevated by art, above simple homo sapiens, uplifted to our higher selves.  The arts actualize us; bring us closer to what God had in mind.

How has your practice changed over time? About ten years ago, we bought a property with big, ugly rocks popping up out of the ground.  Dan was enamored with this fossilized coral, but it wasn’t until three years ago when a talented, jovial, wonderful guy who came to purchase some rock invited us to his lapidary shop that my eyes opened.  These rocks are GORGEOUS inside.  There is LIFE in there, millions of years old! I took lapidary classes and our Million Souls Mine was born. Check us out!


What work do you most enjoy doing? I’ve ALWAYS been fascinated with before-and-after’s, makeovers, if you will. Remodeling a room, fresh, new hair, ingredients to meal, canvas to art and now fossil to wearable art – it all thrills me. But, if I’m being honest, smooshing oil paint around soothes my soul. 

What art do you most identify with? Narrative. I love a good story. I even name some of our rocks!

What themes do you pursue?  I asked my kids if they could trade places with anyone, real or fictional, at any time in history for one week who would it be? Then, I painted them as that person.  THAT was fun!


What is your favorite artwork or artist?  Storytellers, of course! Rockwell, James Gurney, Kassan top the list.


Describe a real life situation that inspired you.  That’s what plein air is for.


What memorable responses have you had to your artwork? Making the cover of Community magazine stands out. As for lapidary, I learned wire wrapping from a demanding, older gentleman and am constantly told my work is superior. Being appreciated is a huge heart swell.


Should Art be funded?  Ideally, artists would create so that others are compelled to support, elevate and sponsor their efforts. I think we artists are too often hoisted by our own petard.

Describe NTAL, its mission in your own words.   NTAL is my art family. In our own families we support and nurture each other; we’re honored in celebration, getting together for birthdays, graduations, and weddings.  By joining and participating in NTAL, we support, nurture and celebrate our artistic efforts.  We learn from each other, uplift and inspire each other. Like family.

How do you see your club growing?  Some of you are sick of me saying it, but a challenge EVERY month, portrait sessions, Community projects, and of course, more showing opportunities.

What is your dream project? I’d love to do more murals, tromp l’oeil.

What is the best advice you’ve been given? It takes 10,000 hours to become a master. Be willing to put in the time.

Professionally what is your goal?  I think I’m too old for fame and fortune, but I’d like my art to live on. And, I’d like to be remembered as a mostly happy, uplifting, creatively driven soul.