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Sandra Humphries, winner Curator's Choice award.

Artist Statement

I began perceiving myself as an artist at a very young age, and remember drawing whenever I could. When I was eight, I spent a week at Cape Cod with my parents. While they played cards with friends, I was free to roam the beach. With deep concentration, I took a small pad of paper and spent days struggling to draw the sea grasses in ways that would capture the feel of the air and space, the blowing wind, and the motion of the waves. That was the start of my journey to capture the essence of a place. When teachers complimented my drawings, I took it seriously and decided I was an artist! All through elementary and junior high school I attended Saturday morning painting classes at the YMCA in Bridgeport, Connecticut. When it came time to choose a college I begged my parents to let me go to Rhode Island School of Design to get the right training, because it was “all I ever wanted to do”.

I discovered watercolor when I moved to New Mexico 40 years ago. The New Mexico Watercolor Society was a thriving, innovative group of artists with whom I immediately connected. I became active in the art community, worked with other art business organizations, started a gallery, gave private art lessons, and went back to school to get a MA degree in art education, all the while entering national and international juried shows that encouraged me to improve my painting skills and see the subject in unique ways.

The landscape is my choice of subject matter. I create art in order to express on paper and canvas the deep sense of connection I feel to these places. Observing and painting the landscape pulls me firmly back into the reality of the moment, and to the beauty and structure of nature. My goal is to create paintings that convey to the viewer not just the visual appearance of a place but its emotional impression; in many of my works, I strive to convey the openness, expansion, and movement that I sense in the natural world. This series of paintings represents my work of the last few years, working from sketches, photographs, and plein air paintings.

What is the role of traditional landscape painting in a world that is increasingly shaped by human technology? Our society is often described as becoming more and more “connected,” but in many ways it also becoming increasingly disconnected, detached, and indifferent to the larger world around us. Landscape painting has long had an important role in awakening people to the beauty and fragility of the natural environment, and I feel that its power is just as important today as it was centuries ago.

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