Crow at Dusk

Crow at Dusk - acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval
Crow at Dusk – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval
I wrote my first blog post a year ago today.  I was nervous about starting a blog because I’m a pretty private person.  I consoled myself thinking not many would read my writing anyway, we are all so busy, so I went ahead and decided to try it.   I posted a crow painting and wrote a very personal piece in memory of my dad who was born on this date.  What I’ve discovered surprisingly is that it has been fun to write and express the thoughts and stories behind my paintings.  It’s been like jumping in to cold water, it starts warming up after a while.  I’ve enjoyed connecting with other bloggers and following blogs that catch my interest.  I feel a sense of community with people all over the world.  I’m glad I took the plunge.
Speaking of my dad, I think he has been a big influence on why I enjoy writing.   He grew up during the depression in Virginia before television.  Time was slower then and his family would hang out playing music and listening to stories.  He got the story telling gift;  he was perfectly at ease being the center of attention and could tell a story that would keep anyone interested.  My sisters and I heard fun stories about my dad’s childhood:  like hunting for squirrels, or how he pretended to hate whipped cream because he got special attention for that,  the way he swept mom off her feet when they first met, their fun first years together and on and on.  My oldest sister was an english major in college and is a natural writer, she writes an excellent monthly astrology column, Heavenly Messages, which she posts on her website here.  My twin sister is a gifted poet and is planning on publishing a daily Christian devotional soon.   I think dad would be happy about his influence on us and I wonder what he would have thought about blogging.  Happy birthday Dad, thanks!

A Girl with Two Red Birds

A Girl with Two Red Birds - acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval
A Girl with Two Red Birds- acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

I have begun  a new series of paintings with children as the focus.  A Girl with Two Red Birds is my first one and I am pleased with her.  A few years ago after my parents had passed away, my sister Melissa mentioned to me that whenever she saw a cardinal pair she thought of mom and dad.  I liked her thought and since then I’ve noticed that each spring we have a cardinal pair settle in our yard and now I too think of mom and dad when I spot them.   My parents were from the World War II generation and went through ups and down as most couples do, but in general they loved each other and got along well.  They had shared interests which helped.  Both enjoyed gardening and feeding the birds.  I can still picture them sitting in the sun room getting excited about the various song birds feeding and bathing in their backyard garden.  In this painting the girl looks centered while she holds two bowls with the male and female birds balanced on each side of her.

Into the Sea

Into the Sea - acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval
Into the Sea – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Into the sea is a favorite painting of mine.   August is almost here and my daughter is gearing up to go back to school in two weeks which seems strange to me.   The hot dog days of August during  my childhood is when my family would pack up the station wagon complete with Chocolate, our standard poodle and head to the beach for a couple of weeks.   I have so many fond memories of those beach vacations.   We rented a cottage at St. Simons Island just off the Georgia coast.  Looking back on it, I realize how much work it was for my parents, mom packed all the sheets and towels needed and when we got to Brunswick just prior to crossing the big bridge, we would stop at the Winn Dixie to pick up a week’s worth groceries.  She planned and cooked most of the meals except for our one dinner out at the Crap Trap.  Of course with four daughters mom got lots of help and a big part of the fun was the fishing, clamming and crabbing that led to nightly seafood feasts.

Each day just prior to low tide we would go to a beautiful spot called the Point,  where the beach met the marshes.  Here we would fish, clam and crab.  We’d take turns canoeing way back into the marsh creeks for the best clamming.  The Point was teeming with life; from fiddle crabs, to dolphin that passed through,  herons and cranes that fished near us, and even sea otters that scampered through the rocks.

Crabbing was one of the highlights; we easily filled a bushel a day.    The crabs we caught were tenacious; I was always a bit frightened of them but I must say there is no better eating than fresh boiled crab.  We kept going there for years, my nieces and nephews joined us, in fact my husband and I got married there.  It is such a special place in my heart.

I painted this portrait in honor of the blue crab and all those happy memories.

Into the Sea print available here.

Lazy Susan

Black-eyed Susan's in a Green Vase acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval
Black-eyed Susan’s in a Green Vase acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

The black-eyed Susan’s are starting to bloom and are going to be beautiful against our purple cone flowers.  I painted Black eyed Susan’s in a Green Vase around this time a few years ago.  Black-eyed Susan’s remind me of a song from my older sister’s Laura Nyro’s album that I used to listen to over and over again.   Laura Nyro was such a beautiful poet,  Lazy Susan is  one of my favorite  songs of hers.  Here are some of the lyrics:

Lazy flower, my, you’ve grown so tall. I have lost and loved him, you have seen it all.
Lazy Susan, lazy through, hasn’t got a thing to do.
Oh, but to sit there and light up the hillside, sun-fried, black-eyed Sue.
Lazy Susan, lazy through, all the hills in love with you…..

This summer has brought back memories of the hot and steamy south that I recall from my childhood.  I remember hanging out with my twin sister in the living room listening to music or reading on those humid, hot rainy days.  Since moving back to the south, our summers have been in drought conditions.  Not this year, we’ve just had a couple of solid  weeks of wet, rainy gray days.   A friend on Facebook said it’ is like living in Seattle here without the perks.  I have to agree with that.  We’ve had two days of sun now so my spirits are lifting.  Next week I’m taking my daughter and her good friend to Santa Monica where we will be staying with old friends.  It will be a nice break to be in sunny dry California  Hope everyone is enjoying summer wherever you are.

.Black eyed Susan’s in a Green Vase  print available here

Dolphin Playing with the Sun

Dolphin Playing with the Sun - acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval
Dolphin Playing with the Sun – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

 Dolphin Playing with the Sun is another painting I did last summer after our Hawaiian trip.   One morning while on our trip we got up very early to rent kayaks at Kealakekua Bay where we paddled over to a spot that had the best snorkeling reef on the Big Island.  As we were crossing the bay a large pod of spinner dolphins joined us.  They are named spinner dolphins because they love to jump up out of the water and spin.  It was quite a thrill to see them do this.

With this painting I wanted to show a dolphin playfully  jumping out of the water with the big sun in the background.  Lately I have become fascinated with the close up images of our sun with the solar flares dancing up.  There is so much movement; it is mesmerizing to watch.  Scientists think these solar flares effect our planet with magnetic waves in some way.   I tried to paint the sun showing lots energy and radiating movement with the dolphin leaping out of the water happily in tune with this energetic connection.

Spinner Dolphin photo by Mike Kunze
Spinner Dolphin photo by Mike Kunze
Spinner Dolphins photo by Julia Kunze
Spinner Dolphins photo by Julia Kunze
Kealakekua Bay - photo by Mike Kunze
Kealakekua Bay – photo by Mike Kunze

Jungle Crocodile

After a While Crocodile - acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval
Jungle Crocodile – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

My new painting, Jungle Crocodile  is the second in the  jungle series for my Heni’s Happy Paintings Etsy Shop.   I wanted a sunny river’s edge scene with the crocodile heading into the water that would contrast and compliment the moonlit tiger scene painting.  There are many scary jungle stories of having to cross a river filled with hungry crocodiles, Tarzan episodes come to mind.   One of my  favorite books from early childhood was Serafina the Giraffe by Laurent de Brunhoff, a story about a young giraffe who goes to visit her grandmother in the jungle.  She has various adventures with her friends which include a rabbit, kangaroo,  frog and crocodile .  My favorite page is shown below,  that tree house seemed so amazing to me at the time.  Later in the story the nice crocodile friend saves them from the mean crocodile with help from the kangaroo.  All these years later I still remember the nice crocodile friend and how the story inspired me to want to visit the jungle some day.  I hope you like this crocodile;  I think he is a nice one.

heni treehouse 1000

Print available here:

Turtle Point – Hawaii

Turlte Point - acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval
Turtle Point – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Last April we were in Hawaii for my nephew’s wedding.   His wife is from the Big Island and they had a lovely outdoor ceremony on a bluff  overlooking the water right before sunset.  The spot was called Turtle Point.  Just below was a cove where we actually snorkeled and saw sea turtles swimming.  That was very exciting for me because I had done this painting for their wedding gift and had also painted another sea turtle earlier but had never seen one swimming in the water before.  They were very gentle creatures moving about peacefully.

I had fun painting these turtles, I wanted my nephew and his wife to have a nice memory of their amazing wedding and also have it be something their future children might look at and think about their parent’s wedding.  My parents had a hand-painted  plate of pretty delicate love birds with the date of their wedding that they  had received as a wedding gift.  It always hung above the kitchen door.  I loved that plate and it  helped me to remember their wedding anniversary date.

Honu is the Hawaii word for the sea turtle and on the Big Island, there are  images of sea turtles everywhere.  The honu is revered as a sacred symbol of life force.  Hawaii is a such a unique and beautiful place.    They say the South is friendly but  in my opinion Hawaiians top  Southerners.  They were so open hearted, kind and relaxed.  The spectacular natural beauty of the Big Island was breath taking.  I  hope to return one day.

Turtle Point painting  print available here.

Turtle Point photo by Mike Kunze
Turtle Point photo by Mike Kunze
Sea Turtle photo by Mike Kunze
Sea Turtle photo by Mike Kunze