Thursday, December 29, 2011

Celebrating 500 Posts with a Painting Giveaway!

I am still in the Christmas Spirit here and have just painted this little holiday hummingbird today. The Christmas Day post on my web log was my 500th post on this blog! To celebrate, I am having an original watercolor painting giveaway! To be eligible to win this one of a kind, 5" x 7" double matted painting, you have to leave a comment here on this post and tell me why you would like to win this piece. If you subscribe to my blog, or are already a follower, with your comment you get an extra two entries into the drawing, making it a total of three! The drawing will be held at 3pm, EST on January 6th, Little Christmas, the traditional end of the Christmas Season. This contest is open to all residents of the USA and Canada. The winner will be notified here on my blog and by email. I will mail the painting as soon as I have the winner's shipping address. Thanks to everyone who reads my posts and adds their thoughts and comments! Please tell your friends about this drawing and good Luck to you all!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

May the Spirit of Christmas Bless You and Yours

When Jerry was in the hospital last week, we got a Christmas card from friends with this poem enclosed. After searching online for the author, I found several who have claimed it as their own. The earliest published version however, was in 1949, by Helen Steiner Rice (1900-1981).  Each and every one of you has had an impact on my life and I want to thank you and let you know that you are remembered and appreciated at this festive time. MY SINCERE WISHES TO YOU ALL FOR A JOYOUS CHRISTMAS!! With Love, Sandy

Friday, December 23, 2011

01 Days Till Christmas!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! OMG, I can't believe it ! ! This month, especially the past couple of weeks, have been a blur.

We had a scare here when hubby, Jerry, became very ill two and a half weeks ago. It was probably a combination of things; abscess, root canal, flu, dehydration, pinched nerve and low blood pressure from not eating. Then there was fainting, ER visits and a couple of falls resulting in stitches and a broken nose. He was in the hospital for three days over last weekend. His many tests; MRIs, CATs, blood work and heart tests showed nothing. 

I knew he was finally turning the corner yesterday when he took the truck up the road to get feed for our beloved critters. Today we went to the doctor's office and he got his stitches out. Then it was on to the bank and out to do a little Christmas shopping. When we got home, he even did a few small jobs outside around the property before collapsing in his chair. He's moving slower, but things are finally getting better for him. I am so thankful that the old Jerry is starting to reappear. It looks like we're going to have a Very Merry Christmas after all! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Easy To Make Party Favor Magnets

As little gifts for people attending this year's Holiday Open Studio, my friend, Nancy Louie, suggested I make fridge magnets. I had never done this before but thought I'd give it a try with some of my snowman images from iStock.

Here's what one of the art layouts looked like. This was printed on magnetic sheets I got from Staples. The thick plastic material was fed it into the ink jet printer and to my surprise, it worked just as good as paper.  Bobbie had the tedious job of cutting four sheets of magnets apart with an X-acto knife. She said she didn't mind doing it though. She always loved getting away from her reception desk and thoroughly enjoyed working in the shop at our old sign company. Especially when she got to cut sandblast masking with her X-acto!

I put the magnets on the fridge at the party and let people pick some to take home.

I also had the idea of cutting up some of my failed watercolors and making them into bookmarks.
It was Bobbie's idea to dress them up a little with yarn and string.

There is still a variety to offer those who read physical books.

I thought other watercolorists may want to try this too. It's just a way of recycling and sharing. If any of you readers would like a couple of bookmarks and/or magnets, Email me at sandy with your mailing address. I'd be happy to share these little token gifts with my friends while the supply lasts.

Here's a photo of some of the food at the party. Bobbie did such a nice job with everything, I sure was lucky to have her. I think she may have missed her calling as a caterer, although her varied skills and unending assistance was truly appreciated.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Yuletide Season Continues

In preparation for my Open Studio last weekend, my friend, Bobbie Zurbach came everyday and helped me. No, I should say, directed all the preparations and decorating. Living out in the middle of the pines, I normally don't get this involved with it.  I do have a lot of Christmas stuff though. Bobbie was full of great ideas of what we could do with this and that, so I listened, collaborated and mostly just let her do her thing.

The front porch, lights, tree, packages and garland was practically an all day project. It's funny how decorating always turns into a bigger job than you anticipated, especially when working with lights.

After some heavy rain last week, the temperatures have dropped and it's expected to stay colder now. I don't mind the chilly weather and know I should be careful what I wish for, but I'd still like to see a little snow for Christmas.

The back studio porch took almost as much time to decorate as the front one did. Thanks again to Bobbie for making the outside feel as welcoming, cheerful and festive as the inside. 

This natural balsam snowman wreath was given to us by my good friend and collector, Dorrie Heil last Saturday. The snowmen decorations by the studio are all from previous years' wreaths. 

This one hangs inside my back screened porch, our main doorway, off of my kitchen entrance.  It stays cool and protected there, so I can keep it up and enjoy the vibrant color and refreshing fragrance until spring! Thank you again, Dorrie, for such a beautiful and heartfelt gift.

I hope you are all making headway with your holiday preparations, taking some time for yourself and most of all, enjoying this Yuletide season!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Art Used For Another Book Cover (and Back)

Last March, I was first contacted by Michelle Waggoner, the  production chief / art director for the New Plains Review, a literary journal that that is published twice a year by the Department of English at the University of Central Oklahoma. They used one of my spirit art images for the cover of their Spring '11 Publication.  On Thursday, I heard from Michelle again. She wrote; "I’d like to thank you for contributing such nice artwork to iStock. Also, we’ve used another one of your pieces as the cover art for our latest issue and would like to send you two copies." 

When first viewing the online version of the front cover on Thursday, I thought; now why did they use the image that way? Then today, I remembered Michelle saying something about the back cover. I clicked on the book preview and found the back cover.  Zing, some pretty powerful poetry accompanies my little golden hummingbird there! 

Follow this link to see the Fall '11 New Plains Review,
then click on PREVIEW directly under the front cover
 then at top right  -  --  - click through the pages >,  or write in - -  pg. 12  - -
It's a bit of a trek, but if you like inspiring words, it's well worth the journey.

I really miss my hummingbird honeys, 

What a pleasant surprise visit on this cold and dreary wintery day.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Saying Thank You

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 
"thank you," that would suffice."~ Meister Eckhart

Much of the day was spent locating image files of the paintings that sold this past weekend. After making a print out of the digital photo I take of each piece, the image is trimmed and mounted to a custom made notecard. For years I have thanked my buyers like this. There is still something to be said for a hand written Thank You note. It's a little tedious, but well worth the effort.  People love them and often keep them attached to the back of the painting. I think my regular collectors would be disappointed if they stopped getting them. It is a wonderful addition to the purchase, allows me another opportunity to express my gratitude and adds provenance to the artwork.

"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone."  ~ G.B. Stern

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Open Studio Tour

I love seeing other artist's studios, so I thought maybe you would like to take a holiday tour of mine.

With the help of hubby, Jerry and good friend Bobbie Zurbach, this year's Open Studio Holiday Party was a smashing success.Bobbie came everyday last week and offered her labor, feedback and ideas. She worked for me at Alpha 1 Studio for many years and we still have a great friendship and a perfect work place symbiosis.

This is the view of the show as you enter the studio, looking to the right.

There are no prints, only originals in this room. The show was mainly for my collectors and neighbors. Prices were lowered considerably and price tags were put on many paintings in my private collection as well.

Panning to the left, the first stop was the mini retrospective.

This was Bobbie's idea and it was a super addition to the show.  It starts at the top left with two drawings of a bunny and a turkey, done at age five. Then moving to the top right, is one of my first oils, and my hand drawing at age 12. In the middle is a high school sketch done from life of my sister, Denise. A few old photos accompany the early art. Then a figure drawing and a couple of watercolors done in college or shortly there after. My company brochure, Alpha 1 Studio, from the 80's and early 90's, showing a sampling of our sandblasted signs. Featured at the bottom right are some recent professional photographs and a CD cover with my artwork.

On the table, is a book I made in college, my Animal Spirits Book and a sketchbook from this year's Sketching Everyday Blog

Although it took considerable thought and effort, I would encourage other artists to consider doing this. The retrospective was really a big hit.

On the far left, you see a table of matted originals. They are 8 x10" watercolors
that are arranged in an attractive display by Bobbie.

Moving around the free standing panels, (in a positive clockwise direction),
you see the first panels with the second set behind.

Looking back towards the entrance, see the back of the first free standing set of panels.

Continuing  around the back panels, I hung many older paintings that some
of my collectors had never seen before.

A different arrangement with Chinese watercolors on the left
facing a triptych of lilacs and a soft abstract watercolor.

This is looking toward the North East with my work table and book shelves.
I left my table clear so I could mat and frame while people enjoyed the party.

Some of my favorite books were left out.

Raw original watercolors were left in stacks on this table for people to go through. It was fun watching guests discover their favorites that were hiding in the piles. I matted up several and framed a couple while the visitors merrily ate, drank and socialized with one another.

I had a drawing and gave away little matted original paintings. Door prizes for all included handmade watercolor bookmarks and holiday fridge magnets.

Although not as many people came as I would have liked, all in all, with more than a dozen sales, it was a very successful showing.

I have decided to keep this eclectic collection up all month.  In January, the paintings will be put away and the studio becomes a totally different work space. If you are local, see my work as you will never see it again. Please make an appointment to come by.

I'm really feeling the holiday spirit of love and generosity!

Call 609-268-9106 or email me at:

Thanks to my friends and family for all the great ideas they shared with me to make this a fun and unique event. A special thanks to everyone who attended and helped to make my load a little lighter and my holidays a lot brighter!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

More Bald Eagles!

Yesterday was in the 60's here and a good day to get caught up on some outside work. As I was doing the paddocks, I spotted a bald eagle flying overhead. I followed it's flight for a while. It sailed so effortlessly, in and out of the clouds,  always circling my field of vision. I knew it was there to catch my attention, to guide me and offer reassurance that I'm on the right path. Pretty soon the magnificent animal was joined by another. So it happened to me again, just as it had on several other occasions recently. Eagles are rare here, as they are in the other locations where I have seen their glistening heads and identifiable tails gliding through my skies this fall.

Original Eagle Watercolors 8" x 10"
$95. ea. double matted w/ backing
Email me for selection at:

"The eagle symbolizes the warrior being well prepared to seize and make excellent use of opportunity. They represent a connection to the Great Spirit and in many ancient cultures have been personifications of visionary strength and messengers of divine power. Their aerial displays are dramatic and awe inspiring. These birds can soar higher than any other living creature and with binocular vision can observe life in its entirety. Hawks, falcons and eagles often show up when it is time to connect to creativity, spirituality and tune into your life's calling. It symbolizes dramatic new occurrences. When hawk or eagle chooses to guide you, it may become a life long mentor, often appearing to you when a divine spark is most needed to inspire your courage, stamina and creative fire."
Excerpt from my Animal Spirits book.

Here is a shot I took of one of two I saw up in Lancaster County, PA last month.

I probably won't be posting again this week because I am getting ready for my client appreciation Open Studio Party and Art Show! 

Out with the fall and in with The Holidays!! YAY!!! I'll be posting more snowman paintings soon. Check out all my snowmen available for download through iStock here!

And let me be one of the very first to Wish You A Happy Holiday Season!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Today and Everyday

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation
is not to utter words, but to live by them."  ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action."  ~ W.J. Cameron

"Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day."  ~ Robert Caspar Lintner

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Symbolism of Trees II

"The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber. 
The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky."  ~ Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry

The fall always has a way of getting me really looking at trees. As they put on their autumn show, (or not), their individual characteristics become so much more evident. I went back to The Symbolism of Trees and followed this link to the tree test.  Mine has changed significantly from the first time I took it.

"The oaks and the pines, and their brethren of the wood, have seen so many suns rise and set, so many seasons come and go, and so many generations pass into silence, that we may well wonder what "the story of the trees" would be to us if they had tongues to tell it, or we ears fine enough to understand."  ~ Author Unknown

Check out  The Unfading Tree by Big Green Oak if you are into this kind of thing. It was fun. What kind of tree, or trees are you? 

This iStock image has really changed and "grown" as I have become more comfortable with the Wacom Tablet. Now, I actually ENJOY using it. I remember in the beginning, I was tearing my hair out. As usual, I'm glad I stuck it out.  Many thanks to my good friend and mentor, Nanolou for always cheering me on.

"The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground."  ~Author Unknown

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fall Colors in the Pine Barrens

Most of the leaves are down. The brown and grey colors of winter now preside.

Fall has come and gone here in Sandy Land, but this
year I was able to get a few shots of its' fleeting glory.

I love the spots and patterns of mold or fungus on the dying leaves. 

The orangish brown oak leaves take on a richness against dense fog.

Notice the spots of white here on the red maple leaves.

The fleeting season offered me a grand finale in my own backyard.
I am glad I took some time to record the show.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"The Art Spirit" Solo Show

"Art,  when inspired with  love, leads to higher realms.
Love  art, and that art  will  open  for you the inner life." ~ Meher Baba


~ Now On Exhibition and For Sale ~


Come By the Main Hospital Entrance desk Any Time

SEE MY DISPLAY from November 1, 2011 - January 31, 2012 

After hanging last Tuesday, I went back and tweaked "The Art Spirit" show.

I am now satisfied and pleased with the layout. 

The paintings really brighten the already awesome, Samaritan Inpatient Hospice Center.

Many thanks to the Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice for 
providing such a nice space and hanging system.

It is an honor to be a small part in brightening the walls of this great institution.

Hopefully, they will help to cheer those in need of it too.

I am donating 30% of all sales to the Hospice.

When you purchase a painting, you support the Arts
and the great work of the Samaritan Hospice.