Artist Bio - Sandra Wakeen

Artist Bio - Sandra Wakeen

The Journey of An Artist

As an artist, travel has become a vehicle for my growth and development. The journey from illustration and commercial work into the world of fine art has been both challenging and enlightening. Travel has revealed a curiosity and reexamination of many years of painting and advanced my capability to see with a fresh pair of eyes. Since my daughter spent a year in Rome, I have made six trips to Europe. Two painting trips to the beautiful Tuscan countryside, a month-long residency in France and the rural experience of the small village of Argenton, and most recently two trips back to Fiesole painting and living with an extended family, who is deeply involved in preserving their artistic and cultural heritage. Little did I know how the accumulative nature of these experiences would impact my personal and artistic life. Experiences new to me four years earlier have shown my heart and my mind a vista of new horizons.

The trip to France required me to travel alone as I was attending a month of intensive study at a small art school, Studio Escalier. France gave me the opportunity to focus on one endeavor: my art. This solitary experience allowed me to tap into my subconscious, which is a place of grace and calm. I valued my solitary time. At Studio Escalier my teacher, Tony Ryder, sat patiently with me as I questioned everything that I had learned over the past twenty-five years. The month was filled with dispelling myths and re-examining truths that I had held on to for all these years. I had to redirect my attention on only one aspect, (which was not to create a pretty painting) but to accurately try to interpret my visual experience as movements and actions of light fell across a form. The actual object became irrelevant. I felt if I could strip away the symbolic preconceptions and verbal identifications in my work, I would come closer to the truth. What I put on canvas was a guide to what was in my mind. The distortions came to symbolize the distractions in my own life and a failure to observe the truth. This constant comparison between nature and real-life became an ultimate truth in my work. Making a two-dimensional object look three-dimensional became a challenge of painting the light. Painting had to become more of a reflex, I was forced to heighten my true senses of observation..

A seven-week trip to Italy, Prague and Vienna opened up a cultural experience and exchange of ideas with artists I met from around the world. Palmerino in Fiesole, today as in the past, is a mecca of all of those engaged in intellectual and artistic pursuits. My new Italian family has the ability to bring poets, writers, philosophers, dancers, artists and intellectuals to one table exchanging ideas and a common theme of all love for all humanity.

As I attempt to define the vision of my art, the people I have met and the culmination of these wonderful experiences bring passion and meaning to my work and continually take me to new horizons.