Sandi Hester

Paintings by Sandi Hester

Category: Gifts

VIDEO! Sketchbook Ideas

I did a video on a sketchbook I did for a friend as a gift for Christmas – check it out to get some good ideas for a sketchbook, to see a little bit of what is in this sketchbook and to see my totally messy studio (it’s that time of year that the studio stays looking like it exploded). Hope you enjoy it and expect to see more videos coming – I plan to do more videos in the upcoming year and hope it will be a more common feature on my blog, youtube channel, and instagram (@sandigrady1). Come find me on those other avenues and subscribe to get updates of new things.


The title is appropriate because one of these paintings is of my mother-in-law from a black & white of her when she was young. The flower painting is in memory of my sister’s mother who pasted away recently. When my sister called me to tell me of her mom’s illness months ago I picked out one of my favorite flower paintings to set aside for her mom’s funeral – we knew it would not be long before she passed. I wanted to send her flowers that would last and have something tangible for her to keep in memory of her mom. My sister Jackie is one of my BIGGEST fans (gotta love family that gives you such encouragement!) so I knew it would be special for her. It is an oil bar painting.

For Jackie, oil bar, 12x12, Sandi Hester

For Jackie, oil bar, 12×12, Sandi Hester


Lonnie, 5x7 oil, sandi hester

Lonnie, 5×7 oil, sandi hester


Muck Trees


These are my muck trees – what is muck you ask? Muck is the left over paint from your palette that you scrape up to throw away. Here’s a visual for you…

I had a lot left over one day and painted these trees and the lady below from just sticking the end of my brush straight down into the muck and putting it down on the canvas. Paint doomed for the trash made something pretty!

I also thought I’d post this watercolor I did for a friend of mine a while back – it’s from a special trip she went on and I loved this little old blue shed with its green shutters.

Mr. Paul

Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone. Zechariah 10:1

Mr. Paul is our next door neighbor and the cutest old man you’ve ever seen (he probably won’t like me calling him old – sorry about that Mr. Paul – how about “older” – but I would love for you to be my grandfather!). He’s as sweet as he is cute. Cooper (our new pup) is quite taken with him too. EVERY time we go out to use the bathroom Cooper is straining his little head to see if Mr. Paul is working out in his garden.

These first two paintings are of harvests from Mr. Paul’s garden that he has shared with us. I’m always so excited to get something from him because not only is it yummy but it’s always something fun to paint. Like those squash above – they were the prettiest yellow and green striped squash I’d ever seen. He asked me to paint them for him. He’ll probably read this post before I have a chance to give him the painting (I still need to get it matted for him). I love how it turned out – it just speaks summer.

I’ve also painted many other things associated with Mr. Paul. Above is his house and blue truck that is always parked by his house. I’ve painting the field that’s behind both our homes (below).

And this last one was really fun to paint – his garden and shed. I actually moved some of these things around – his shed isn’t actually that close to his garden but I used my artist license and put it there :).

One of these days I’m going to have to paint Mr. Paul because he wears this great old straw looking hat when he’s out working in the garden that I just love. Mr. Paul, thanks for all the inspiration – you’ve given me LOTS to paint! Don’t forget you can click on any of the pictures to see them larger.

Spring Things

I want to thank all of you who sent e-mails and left comments on my blog about losing our dog. You were all so thoughtful and left such sweet words of sympathy and comfort. Thank you for thinking of us!

On to a happier note… Grady and I celebrated our 12 year wedding anniversary this past weekend – yahoo!!! I’m amazed at the blessing the Lord has bestowed on our marriage – it seems to get better and better each year. Of course it gets that way with work – Grady and I both work very hard on our marriage. The Lord has been gracious to teach both of us with each passing year how to be a better wife and husband. The secret is in following His Word – He’s laid it all out in the Bible on how to be a godly wife and husband and it can only be done in the power and grace of Jesus Christ.

Over the weekend I went to a wedding shower of a dear friend who is a godly young woman. I wanted to give her something special – I worked for days on this painting and was pleased with how it turned out. I did something new with this painting – something I’ve wanted to try for a while. Watercolor usually has to be framed because it has to be protected, but I did this one on paper and then mounted it on canvas. You can’t use watery based mediums to seal a watercolor painting but I found that you can use wax – wax like you use to seal furniture. I’m not sure how it will stand the test of time – it could look really bad in 30, 50, or a 100 years but you never know until you try :). The wax turned the white paper a little yellow but I like that aged look. I’ve also wanted to try adding some sewing to my paintings. I sewed on the painting itself and I also sewed all the hand-aged/hand-torn papers together. I wanted the strings to hang and show – I liked that look with the bird – kind of reminds me of a bird’s nest. I’ll be posting more birds soon – you’ll get to see what this little birdie was inspired from.

The scripture I used for this painting is Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear… Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” The title of the painting is “Do Not Worry”. I wanted to keep that cute little thing, but he had another home. More birdies to come soon. You can click on the pictures to see more details.

Being Good Friday I thought I’d leave you with something I pray you’ll linger on throughout the day – it’s worth lingering on I promise –

Silent Auction

Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.  The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.  Revelation 7:16

My sister and her husband are adopting a little girl from Africa and I’ve donated a painting to help them raise money for the adoption. You can read about their story here and bid in the silent auction for this painting. The painting is matted and will fit a 11x 14 frame and has a hand aged piece of scripture on the mat with the above scripture on it. I painted this long before they were thinking about adopting but it sure is fitting for the adoption of their little girl. We are praying for little Macy and we can’t wait to meet her!

Christmas Commissions

I finally got the courage up to give commission work a try. I picked a limited subject (houses) that I thought I had a relative grasp on and threw it out there to friends and family. I had 5 takers! That was just the right number to try and get done before the holidays. They took me MUCH longer than I thought they would. I painted from 3-5 different paintings of the same house for each commission – it took me that many times to get it right. Each painting took 3-5 days to paint, so if you add that up you can quickly see why it took me longer than I thought it would. During the time I was working on these commissions I did little else – my days were filled with painting – which was great and fun but something I would not want to do all the time. If I wasn’t painting I was thinking about how to resolve something in the painting I was having problems with. Each painting was mated and had a scripture on the mat that went with the painting. For the homes I used Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” and for the cabins and vacation homes I used two different scriptures: Mark 6:31 “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” and Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest.” In the end I was really happy with all of them and my customers seemed to be really happy with them too!

The first commission I got was from my friend Tasha. I painted the house they live in now some time ago and she wanted me to paint their first house for her. She said she’ll be having me paint every house they live in :). She talked to her husband about it and he told her that’s what he was going to do to surprise her for Christmas! After she told me that my mind got to thinking – we could still pull that off as a surprise for her. She e-mailed me a day or so later and told me if I was getting lots of Christmas requests not to worry about getting to her’s until I was done with Christmas gifts – that gave me the time I needed to work with her husband in surprising her. Joe (her husband) and I worked it out and she had no idea! Fun stuff!!

The second commission was Sheila’s family cabin. I did this one 50 million times – ok well maybe not that many but it felt like it :). She ended up choosing 2 of them :)! They were both very different and captured different things about the cabin and land.

Each commission was so different. Jana was my third commission and she wanted me to paint her son’s cabin. It was challenging but fun because it had all kinds of different wood and stone on it – all kinds of textures and colors. My favorite part of this painting are the shingles.

The fourth commission was from a student I had in my last watercolor class. Her in-laws are building their dream home and she wanted me to paint it for them. It’s a beautiful craftsman style home and called for a tighter painting. I feel like as you look at each of these paintings it looks like a different artist painted some of them – but I promise I did all of them myself!

The last painting I did was for a dear friend. She’s one of my all time favorite people to be with – she is hilarious, loves the Lord, and is one of the kindest people I know. Her dad is my allergist doctor. He is the BEST! Seriously, he treats me like one of his own daughters. She and her other siblings went in together and commissioned me to paint their family cabin on the lake. For some reason this was my favorite one. I think because I just let loose. It was taking me several tries for each painting so I just thought the first go around on Mary Julia’s painting I would just have fun – and what do you know it turned out the first try! I love the looseness of the painting. She insisted I put the flags in the painting because she said it was a family thing and they gave a splash of color that goes well with the green roof.

I hope each of the families were joyfully surprised with their paintings at Christmas. Each person that picked their painting up was really excited about giving it to their family for Christmas. It was a great experience and I hope all the families find it to be a gift they will treasure for years to come! Below are some of the pictures I painted from – I didn’t have a digital picture of all of them because some people gave me hard copies. You can click on any of the pictures to see them larger.


Christmas in August

For the record, let me just begin by saying I don’t do commissions (at least not right now), but my sister begged me to do one for her to give as a gift. She asked me to paint her dear friend’s house for a Christmas gift. You may be thinking that it’s a little early to post this and you’re right except that I did this right before all our packing/moving process started. I knew if I didn’t do it now I would not get around to it at Christmas. My sister said that every time her friend Tasha (who I’m also friends with – we graduated high school together) came to her house she was jealous of her house painting and she wanted one of her own. I snuck over to Tasha and Joe’s house and snapped some quick photos. I had a lot of fun painting it. You may be wondering why I’m posting it if it’s a Christmas gift – Amanda went ahead and gave it to her! I had a feeling that would happen :). I’ve included some pictures of the “process” – I actually remembered to take some snap shots as I was painting – thought Tasha and Joe might like to see those. After we get settled into our new house I may start doing commissions on houses – don’t hold me to that, but I am considering it. As always, you can click on any of the pictures below to see them larger.

Tasha's house

Tasha & Joe's houseP7260229P7270237

Nile – A River And A Son – Both In Africa

…at least for now – the son will be coming home soon… some dear friends of ours will be bringing home their baby son, Nile, from Africa soon! You can read about their journey here. They had a baby shower and this is what I made for them. The picture is not Nile – it’s another African baby I got from a friend’s website – but I wanted something in the picture part. I LOVE the name they picked out for their precious little boy. I used my antique hand carved letterpress letters to do his name. I wanted his name to look “watery” and I think it turned out like that. You can click on the pictures to see them larger. We can’t wait to meet little Nile, Clay and Tracy!

On another note, I’d like to point out a new feature on my blog. At the top you’ll notice I’ve added new pages where you go see certain groups of paintings together. For instance if you’d like to see all my Africa paintings you can now go to the ‘missions’ page and scroll through and see all those paintings. You can also click on any of the paintings and it will take you to that post so you can read about the particular painting and see the scripture that goes with it.


close-up nile

Vintage Letterpress

…the two shall become one… Ephesians 5:31

I’ve been working on a wedding gift all this week.  It’s for a dear friend’s daughter.  I tried some new things out on this art piece.  I was inspired by another artist I admire who is a bookbinder – she does amazing things with paper.  For this wedding gift I used the brides’ invitations for the focus of the art piece.  I made a library card pocket out of her shower invitation and I made the “library card” out of her wedding invitation – both are usally things a bride saves because they are special, so I thought I would use them in a way she could always display and be reminded of that day.  I added some texture by doing some hand sewing on both pieces.  I also got brave and used my vintage hand-carved letterpress letters (you can see the beautiful wooden letters in the picture) to stamp their name onto the mat and then I wrote one of my favorite marriage scriptures across their name.  I am really pleased with how it turned out and will be trying this again.  Speaking of weddings, Grady and I celebrated 11 years of marriage this weekend!  Praise the Lord!!!