Dreaming of the Caribbean again

Red Fish in the Tropics ~ acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval
Red Fish in the Tropics ~ acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

We’ve just had another long week of ice and snow.  I live in the South for a reason, we’ve had quite enough of this cold snowy weather.  I feel for the folks in the North, this winter has been brutal.  I’ve spent the snowy days dreaming of the warm Caribbean while working on a new fish painting, Red Fish in the Tropics.  In this painting I’ve tried to capture the magic one sees while snorkeling along coral reefs.   I love the way sound is muted and yet you see movement everywhere.   The light bounces through the water and brightens the vivid colors of the fish while the schools of fish swim along in the same direction ready at any moment to dart off on a different course.  You usually see one of two larger fish floating along with the current moving a bit slower.   I worked many hours on this painting trying to get that feeling, by layering the light to get the sense of movement and adding lots a bright details to the fish and coral.  The painting still doesn’t capture it fully but I didn’t want it to be too over worked and am fairly pleased.  Let’s hope spring in the Northern hemisphere will come sooner than later.  Until then we can dream…

Magnolia Flower in Mom’s Ginger Jar

Magnolia Flower in Mom's Ginger Jar
Magnolia Flower in Mom’s Ginger Jar – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Magnolia Flower in Mom’s Ginger Jar a new still life that I painted in honor of my Mom.  Her birthday was on Monday and I try to do a painting with her in mind around this time of year.  The ginger jar was hers.  I’ve always loved it and now it graces our dining room side board.  Mom collected antique ginger jars and I can remember her telling me that the Chinese filled them with ginger and other spices to  export to the West.  This particular jar was made in the early 1800’s.  She also had many pieces of antique willow ware with the blue painted landscape scene depicting a love story.  We heard the story from mom many times of a young couple in love. The wealthy girl’s father would not allow her to marry the poor boy so they ran away together and sailed off on a boat which sank in a storm and they were turned into love birds to live happily ever after.  My Mom was quite a romantic.

I enjoyed working on this painting, it was challenging for me to get the colors to work with the white of the magnolia flower along with the white of the porcelain ginger jar.  It was a fun puzzle, I am pleased with the end result and I think that Mom would have loved it.  Happy Birthday Mom!

willow ware platter
willow ware platter

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.

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:

Still Life for Mom

Iris in a Blue Vase - acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval
Iris Still Life – acrylic painting by Heni Sandoval

Today is my Mom’s birthday so she has been on my mind.  She died a few years back right before I started painting.  She loved my papier mache bowls and was very supportive of my artistic ventures.  I wish she could have seen my paintings.  Each year I do a painting with my Mom in thought, mainly still lifes.  Iris Still Life is one that is full of her presence.   Almost every object in the painting once belonged to her.  She loved antiques and the color blue.  She also loved to garden and had a flower and herb garden.  My dad built her a white picket fence that served as  a backdrop to all her colorful flowers.  From early spring through fall flowers graced our kitchen table.  I grew up surrounded in beauty and perhaps that’s one reason I’ve become an artist.   Thank you Mom!

Available here

Dad’s Birthday

Into the Sun

Today, October 1st is my dad’s birthday, so he’s on my mind.  Whenever I paint a crow I think of him.  I’ve been pondering why this is so.

He grew up in Charlottesville Virginia went to the University there.  Edger Allen Poe had gone there briefly years before and he was one of my dad’s favorite poets.  Dad would recite the Raven especially this time of year as the days shorten and head to Halloween.

My dad had a real love of nature, and he passed that love on to his four girls.  Most weekends we drove out to the Alabama countryside.  We spent our  afternoons running around picking blackberries, playing in the hay, swimming in the pond and creeks.  We would spy on beavers and shy away from rattle snakes.  There  he taught us to ride a horse,  fish and shoot a shotgun.  He loved  bird hunting.  He never took us hunting but we plucked many a quail.

I loved this time of year out in the Southern countryside.. The beauty of the dried grasses, cornstalks and few remaining cotton balls along side the rustic barbwire fence against the backdrop of the blue sky with crows flying about.  Years later I realize what a gift the my dad gave us.  That experience over time got into our bones.  That is why I paint birds and other natural creatures.  So thank you Dad!