In the Artist's Studio With Sandy Evans

After a little pleading, I was able to finally convince Sandy Evans to be the subject of this issue of “In the Artist’s Studio”. She’s rather shy about her art.

Like so many of the artists I’ve visited with over the years, Sandy is one of those people who was busy earning a living by way of a rewarding teaching career and filling that creative yen by doing things other than painting. Things like creating costumes for stage productions, or making sure her classroom bulletin boards were creative as well as informative.

Since delving into the world of watercolour by taking a class from her first mentor/teacher Valerie McLenahan, she’s been hooked. Valerie introduced her to techniques that allowed her to see that she really could create art. Follow that with classes from the University of YouTube and she hasn’t looked back.

Sandy also credits Annie Froese and the “lovely ladies” who attend Annie’s journal sessions for inspiring her to develop further as an artist.

An artist's journal

Colourful animals with big eyes are a favourite of Sandy’s. If you’re from High River you may recognize this fellow from his time spent hanging around town during the banner project.

As a life-long learner, Sandy is inspired by other artists to try new things. That’s how she came to learn of alcohol inks which have since become a favourite medium for her. She liked how they flowed like watercolour but that they were easy to erase and start over was particularly appealing.

Most artists use brushes - Sandy uses canned air.

One of the things I admire most is her ability to select the colours she puts together. She just has a way of choosing great colour combinations for her alcohol ink tiles.

As I commented on in a previous blog - every artist I know has something, a gadget or a do-dad that has become indispensable to them. In Sandy's case I think it is either the notch cut into her water container to rest her brush on or the floral frog she uses to hold her other brushes. Both of these are new hacks to me.

A crystal frog definitely adds a touch of class to a work space.

Like most artists I know, Sandy's favourite shopping spot is an art supply store. So many beautiful brushes! So much lovely paper! And colour, colour, colour.

While on the one hand, Sandy does enjoy a visit to an art supply store on the other, she prefers to create her own alcohol inks from Sharpie markers. The inks harvested from the markers are what give her the bright and vibrant colours she loves to use.

Sandy's studio would be the envy of any artist. Great light in a bright and airy space, with music close at hand. She even has her own frame shop - but she wouldn't let me photograph in there.

Much of the year her studio does not resemble a jungle, soon the greenery will be outside the windows. I rather like the wild untamed look of nature run amok in her studio.
Happiness is one of the pillars of Sandy’s philosophy of art. If her art makes you smile then it’s done what she hoped for.

As Sandy says she doesn’t take herself too seriously as an artist. She is trying to have some fun which she hopes comes through in her art. Anyone who is privileged to know her appreciates her incredible sense of humour. Laughter and a love of life are integral parts of who she is and it is reflected in what she creates.

Did you ever buy Q-tips at Costco and think you would never need to buy cotton swabs again in your lifetime? Take up alcohol ink art and you will be surprised at how quickly they get used up.

I had to smile when I noticed this calligraphic alphabet in Sandy's studio. It seemed so fitting that a teacher who in all likelihood had the alphabet displayed on a classroom bulletin board should keep an alphabet displayed close at hand.

Since settling in High River some 41 years ago Sandy and her family have become part of the fabric that makes our town so dear and special. I was fortunate to meet her those many years ago and we became friends for which I am very grateful.

And if you're lucky you might receive a one of a kind Christmas card - unsigned, so you can re-gift it, as if!

You can enjoy more of Sandy's creations by visiting Highwood Gallery & Gifts in High River, AB or by visiting her personal gallery on the Highwood's website at www.highwoodgalleryandgifts.com/sandy-evans

Created By
Cathy Bennington


C. J. Bennington Fine Art Photography