Here is a new painting I’ve done for my niece’s boyfriend. When my sister was visiting a few weeks ago, she thought it would be fun to give him my fox print for his recent birthday. He had just gotten a striking fox tattoo on his forearm. The only fox painting I had was a companion piece to the baby bunny I’d done for my other niece’s baby which we didn’t think would work for him.
She commissioned me to do a new painting that would be better suited, Moonlit Fox is the result. I’m hoping he will like it. He and my niece have a lot in common. They share a great love for animals and both are intelligent, hard workers and they look cute together! Interestingly to me, each of them has always felt an affinity for the fox. Her boy friend has always felt a kinship with the fox. He has light red hair while she has strawberry blonde hair and both have a sleek fox look. My niece’s favorite Disney film was The Fox and the Hound; she watched it over and over.
The Native Americans saw the fox is a helper for solving problems for those with good intentions and a trickster for those who were too prideful. The fox symbolizes cunning, being perceptive and adaptable. The red color of the fox adds a solar element of fun and creativity. This sounds about right for these two!
Mirror Fish is my most recent painting. Two fish are swimming together like the Pisces symbol of two fish swimming in opposite directions. My twin sister and I are Pisces; our birthday is coming up later this month. Maybe that’s why I felt like creating a new painting of the two fish to add to the other double fish paintings I’ve done through the years. In this painting I’ve tried to loosen up some and play with lots of vibrant color.
My sister and I are in good places at the moment. We are happy with our lives, our families are doing well and we’re enjoying the empty nest phase. We are identical mirror twins, which means the egg divided after 7 days and so we are mirror images of each other. She is right-handed while I am left-handed.
My sister was visiting last weekend and when we stopped by to pick up coffee at the local Dunkin Donuts, we got attention for looking alike. These days we find getting attention fun. Growing up we never felt comfortable with all the extra attention we received. Both my sister and I always smile to strangers and over the years I’ve realized that we do that because people were always staring at us.
We are still very close and talk to each other 2 or 3 times a week but like the fish above with the different colors and along with every identical twin, we each have a unique personality.
Beloved Sam is a new painting that I just completed for a birthday gift for Lauri Shock. Her husband, Billy Howard contacted me after receiving a note card of mine with the image of Adele’s Cats from a mutual friend. Billy asked if he could buy the original since one of the cats reminded them of their Sam who had recently passed away to give to Laurie on her birthday. Since I didn’t have the original I offered to do a new similar painting for him. He liked that idea and sent me his Medium Post, Sam the Cat, which has some lovely photos of Sam.
It was my first commissioned painting and I was a bit nervous, but Billy said that they liked my style of using bright colors so I went with it. I chose my mom’s stangl pitcher that looked a bit like one in the photos. With Sam, I accented his green eyes and white patch that they loved about him. I put a painting behind the flowers of birds flying as a symbol of Sam’s spirit being freed.
Sam showed up one day and became theirs when he was about a year old and for 15 years his quirky personality brought them joy daily. It was a pleasure painting Sam. I was touched by Billy’s thoughtfulness of wanting to do this for Lauri’s birthday gift. What a wonderful idea in helping them to honor Sam’s memory.
The Jaguar is a new painting for my rainforest series. Jaguars are the largest cats native to the Americas and third largest cats in the world behind lions and tigers. The jaguar once roamed from Argentina all the way up to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Today, jaguars have been almost completely eliminated from the United States. This endangered cat hangs on in remote regions of Central America and South America. My niece spent time in Costa Rica on a college research trip and was fortunate to see a black jaguar in the dead of night.
Jaguar is a Native American word meaning, “he who kills with one blow.” In pre-Columbian America the jaguar was seen as a god in Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala. The Mayans saw him as the god of the underworld.
The idea for this painting came to me a couple weeks ago. My daughter is spending a semester abroad in Prague, and has taken advantage of her free time traveling to many exciting places, She’s been to Paris, Rome, Naples and now, Vienna and is having a great time on her adventures. We are excited for her because she’s broadening her horizons by learning about and experiencing other cultures. It’s brought back to mind wonderful memories of my travels. One of those memories was a trip with my husband down to the Oaxaca, Mexico region. In a small arts village, I bought him a bright hand painted and carved, wooden jaguar that he keeps in his office for good luck. This jaguar painting is also for my husband and a reminder of our happy memories of Mexico.
Each year around this time I paint a white dove in honor of International Peace Day which occurs on September 21st. On Monday as Tropical Storm Irma was blowing through Atlanta I decided to paint a new dove.
It was a stressful day for my husband as he was in the last stages of finishing up a big job and couldn’t afford to lose time in a power outage. I have a large studio window upstairs and watched the big trees in the back yard sway back and forth. The winds felt relentless, with big gusts coming through every few hours. In our neighborhood alone around seven or so large trees came down; many of our neighbors lost power. Half of our county lost power, with the children just returning to school yesterday. We were very, very lucky to have kept our power and also the internet service which was equally as important for my husband. It was quite a storm and my heart goes out to all that suffered loss.
I was pondering why the dove is a symbol of peace and thought one reason is the beautiful curves it has, the rounded head and nicely feminine, curved form. I tried to accent that in this painting. I then kept painting curving colors around and through the dove. I starting seeing all the curves that I was painting as the wind that I was hearing. It was a good distraction from our fears of losing power.
I liked the way it turned out. When I look at this dove it makes me think of these powerful natural events that touch us and in some ways bring our humanity out as we come together to help and renew.
Crab and Tide Pools – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval
Here are two paintings I’ve done for my sister’s upcoming birthday. She and her family live in Seattle and she wanted a couple of prints for her bathroom. She was looking through all my fish prints and trying to decide what to use. The thought came to me to do a new painting for her with sea life from the Pacific Northwest. Her shower curtain had oranges and blues and tans so I worked with those colors.
Years ago we lived in Oakland California where I worked as an outdoor program specialist for the San Francisco Bay Girl Scouts. I drove a van throughout the bay area leading special programs for girl scout troops. Every so often I would meet a troop out on the coast where we would explore the tide pools. The Northwest coast can be pretty gray, chilly and overcast; but the tide pools are just bursting with color of the various sea creatures. The stark contrast made it exciting, like finding a treasure. I loved teaching about how the sea creatures had adapted to their stark environment, opening and closing with the tide changes.
It was a fun and challenging painting the tide pools, and it helped that I did them both at the same time. The paintings brought back happy memories that I had not thought about in years. I feel they turned out pretty well and hope my sister will like them and that they will work in her space.
This week I felt like painting something light hearted so I chose Ganeshas my subject. Ganesh is one of the most worshiped gods of the Hindu Religion. He helps to destroy selfishness and vanity and to remove obstacles in one’s path. He brings good luck and fortune as he represents the material universe with all it’s many manifestations. His elephant head represents super intelligence, his one tusk represents being focused and his large tummy symbolizes digesting both the good and bad peacefully.
One of my sisters who has an elephant collection has always liked Ganesh. Years ago I made her a papier mache bowl with a painting of Ganesh on it. She still has it and it makes me feel good whenever I go up to visit her and see it. Her partner liked the white elephant that I painted last year and mentioned that he would like a Ganesh note card to give to his Indian friends at work, so that’s the plan. I’ll make some note cards of this to give to him for Christmas.
It seems to me that Ganesh knows how to relax and enjoy life, which helps to bring good luck. That is something we westerners could learn and benefit from. Here in Georgia the schools have already started up in what used to be the lazy last days of summer. In our home, my husband has just gotten a large job and will be working like crazy all month so we’ll just have to make do and relax when we can. I hope that everyone can carve out some relaxing time during these last days of Summer.