Sandra Walton Art

Days and Nights of an Artist and a Poet

The Hand, Heart and Eye – Josie II

sandra-walton_figuredrawing-JoseThe Hand, Heart and Eye – Josie II.

A peek into my studio

John, my partner goes to school in the evenings. Since my studio area is in one corner of our small living area it is nice to have the place to myself to set up, spread out and really focus. I can always work when he is here, don’t get me wrong, and I usually do since he works from home. I prefer my direct studio lights to the big room light and love to turn it off and coax the shadows out of my still life. I enjoy working on multiple pieces in a session, having a couple paintings going, my still life, my Bargues and Master’s copies. On an ideal night I close my evening by doing block-ins from a reference book of figures. During shorter sessions I focus on one thing, but my long luxurious sessions when John is at school give me the time to really spread out for hours.

I love working to music in the background, loud enough to color the moment but not so loud as to cloud my thoughts. I listen to all sorts of music depending on the mood, often cello music, early music or electronica/lounge/techno. I work in intense bursts of focus requiring many short little breaks. I am practicing and trying to learn to sustain my focus but I find right now that when I really focus on representation for too long, I cannot see as well, my eyes fatigue and my thoughts become blurry. So I stop and sharpen my pencils, clean up a little or just sit and look at my piece with a mirror. That is really useful, looking at the piece in a mirror.

studio_dept2014Above is a picture of my little work area with some of my projects going. On the desk I have a snow scene from Anchorage and an artist’s copy exercise of a Varo piece, done in pastels. – a real challenge since the original was done in oils. I am drawing that medicine bag and book still life though you can’t see the drawing in the shot. Under that is my Holbein Master’s copy I am forever working on and slowly finishing. Not in the picture is my angel Bargue, another piece that I am proceeding at a snail’s pace. Also not pictured is an oil study of the bag and books I am working on and my block in studies from my book of figures.

Below is my pastel, Park Strip. It is in downtown Anchorage, AK. In Process. I’ll post it again when it is done.

Park Strip Underpainting

Park Strip Underpainting

Park Strip 1/2 done

Park Strip 1/2 done

Summer Break Projects

It’s not all magic and Zen. My first week cast drawing…


I think every painter has moments where they feel like they are really tapped in, they are on the path – they will achieve their goals and vision. I think that we couldn’t last as painters if we didn’t have those times where we feel for a moment some form of the capacity for greatness. The brush flows, the lines appear effortlessly on the paper.  It is all magic and Zen. And then there are weeks like this:

This was one of those weeks where you just do the work. You don’t do great work; magic doesn’t happen, and for the uninitiated it would appear that you have regressed back to the stage of scribbles. In fact 80% (or more) of the work of an artist I am beginning to believe is just this – doing not so great WORK.  No great results, no watershed moments, no rapid progress… another…

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Last Post on this Blog

Hi All, This blog is becoming an archive and the new blog will be at my NEW website and store dedicated to things Hand Painted. The new site is and the blog is right on the site. The blog is frequently updated and I will continue to add articles, how-to’s, hints, updates and sales. Here is a handy new link list.

Painted-by-Hand WebsitePBH Store
PBH Blog

Please join me at the new blog, and take a minute to let me know how it feels, and how you like the new site!

PS. If you are looking for my fine art blog it now lives on my gallery site at

Last Post of this Blog

Hi all,

This is the last post I will be making on this blog for a while. Please check out my new blog on my NEW Gallery website! It also has my poetry on it. The blog is updated frequently with news and all my works in progress.

Here is the link: Sandra Walton Art Blog
Please join me!

PS. If you are for the Hand Painted Designs check out my new store and blog at!



New in the Zoo…

The fun news is that I am in an art show this month! The first annual student art show at the Neoteric Renaissance School of art. My old master’s copy, the Bargue Leg will be in it along with sight size figure drawing from some great talent!

neotericshow_postcard2It feels really good to take a piece that you have worked so hard on and frame it, elevate it. It says something to yourself about how serious you take yourself and your journey. I want to frame more work now. The only problem there is affording the frames! The pastels are notoriously difficult to frame as well. One of many reasons why I am turning my focus to the oils.

In other news, I have been working hard an a new Grisaille underpainting of a new work. The figure is a study I just started from a psychiatric patient photograph by Dr. Diamond from the 1850’s. Below is an in process photo. I am pleased at how the face is coming along!

Finally, I have launched a new website at!! A brand new orignal art gallery, poetry salon and my online shop for my painted jewelry, news, a new site blog and more! I love it. I think this is the best site I have had and think I will stay with this for a while, a long while


Happy Thanksgiving!!

My Thanksgiving Newsletter went out yesterday. It announces my first holiday sale of the season as well as a cool DIY gift making list you can really use this time of year. If you didn’t receive it you can check it out here:

Check out my November News!

saleimageMy sale is on ETSY right now and you get 412 off any purchase of $24 or more. This includes everything in my shop, jewelry, beads, fine art and more!

Also her is a link to my 12 DIY gift projects. There are some really good ideas for simple and beautiful gifts you can make and this is the perfect time to start!

DIY Holiday Gifts!

n_art_0335So let’s get this holiday season started! It is going to be a fabulous one filled with blessings and beads, friends and family, and art and poetry… don’t forget the poetry!

Working from photo’s

In the Atelier forum on facebook they have been talking about the pros and cons of working from life vs. photos. It is pretty much agreed that working from life is required for any serious student of art. However some were of the viewpoint that working from photo reference was somehow not as valid as work done in front of a live model or still life. Well, that is very easy to say for someone that has access to *space*. Models can be found, still lives set up… life is everywhere, just paint from it, right? Easier said than done when there is no space between your easel, the wall in front of it and the wall behind you. When I one day have the luxury to have a nice little set up to my right or left that is appropriately eye level then that day I will work from life every day, day in and day out and love the hell out of it. When I one day have the gift of being able to place a model a reasonable distance away from my easel so I might use sight size I will have a personal renaissance of drawing and painting only from the life. Until then I will take advantage of the models at school WHEN I can and I will paint and draw from *whatever* I need to so that I can continue to work at home and fill that crazy need within to just “do it”.

Absurd to think that somehow there is less validity in the work of an artist that has no access to the luxury of studio space. It is thoughts like that that create a subtle and specific kind of elitism that can divide even something as free as making art into the “have’s” and the “have not’s”

Speaking of photo’s… I have been working on a few pastels lately. I thought I would show the the steps so far of one work in progress. The still life comes from a larger still life I set up and took multiple photo’s of creating different individual still lifes. I spent some time drawing from the still life before I had to take it down due to above mentioned space issues. Now I am working primarily from memory and photo reference. It still has a long way to go – I’ll post it again when it is finished.

Done! Anchorage & Irene

I finally finished my pastel “Anchorage! You can see the progression in the below posts. It has come a long way, and it took me a long time to finish but I fell in love with the subject even more so than when I began. The light in Anchorage in the evening is the most amazing light I have ever seen. I have also finished a little drawing called “Irene”. I had some fun with this one adding abstractions and atmosphere to it. Now it’s time to start new work. that is always a little unnerving.

I am going to do a large drawing in the style of :Reverie” or another girl reading a book. I already prepared the drawing board and it is just waiting. It is going to be approx 18×24 in graphite, charcoal and Conte Noir. I am also starting two pastel still lives and an abstract snowy landscape of Anchorage again. And I am still working on my little grisaille still life. I want to start a new painting so bad I can taste it. In color even!  Anyway, here is “Anchorage” and “Irene” . I really hope you like them!