Sandi Hester

Paintings by Sandi Hester

Category: Scripture

VIDEO! Gouache Sketching

More on the Process

sandi hester oil

Sandi Hester, oil on paper, 18×24

This is all I do for a “drawing” when I start a painting. I use paint and a larger brush than you would expect (not a pencil for my drawing). This helps keep my painting loose. This is the beginning of the largest painting I’ve ever painted (hint – I’m finished with it and I think it’s my favorite painting I’ve ever done – more to come later). Yep, another of my African Woman and Children paintings. I’ve been doing this series all the way back to my watercolor days and I’ve never painted from the original photo since that first watercolor of the African Women and Children (you can see it and read about it here). I paint from the other paintings I’ve done each time.


African Woman and Children

8×8 oil – SOLD

Those of you who are familiar with my work will recognize this painting – it’s my oil version of this watercolor painting I did a long time ago. It’s still one of my favorite pictures to paint from Africa. Here’s the watercolor version…

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.

Peep Peep

Is that a bird sound? I was having a hard time thinking of another bird noise :). This wraps up my bird posts for now. The middle painting is what inspired the bird painting you saw that I did for my friend’s wedding gift. The last painting is a sketch I did on the trip I did all these bird paintings. It’s a sketch I did of the dining room table of the place we stayed. I went down for lunch one day while Grady was skiing and painted the table setting – I was drawn to the crayons, flowers and the light hitting the table.

Well, we have some exciting news… we’ve been looking for a house or some land for a little over 4 1/2 years – WAY too long in my book, but in God’s book – well, let’s just say He’s got His own plans :). So 4 1/2 years later we FINALLY found some land to build on! Yahoo!!! We are SO excited! In stretched out fashion, we’ve actually been working on buying this land for 6 months now – it’s taken forever, but we finally closed on it last Friday. It’s been quite a journey since we sold our house but well worth it for this property (I’ll tell you a little bit about it in a minute). Last summer we sold our house – in one day – which was a miracle in this market – but we couldn’t find a house fast enough and had to move into a rental. That was NOT what this “nester” wanted to do, but again, I realized we weren’t following my plans but the Lord’s. So we found a great little house that got Grady a little closer to work and we settled in… for 3 months.

The week of Christmas we got a call from the rental agency saying the owner of the rental house let the house go into foreclosure and it sold at action and we had to be out IMMEDIATELY. The rental agency said we could have to vacate as soon as 24 hours – I totally freaked (that could even be an understatement – you’d have to ask Grady). Thankfully the Lord had mercy on us and He gave us one week. But over Christmas we had to find another rental (again the Lord had mercy and allowed us to find one fast) and pack – we moved 2 days after Christmas. To make it even better, the day of the move Grady woke up with the swine flu and I had to do the move by myself. It was an exhausting day! My Mom was a blessing from the Lord because she took care of my sick husband and helped me clean our old rental.

So after all that we finally found a place to live – an amazing place – more than we would have ever thought to ask the Lord for. I’ve always wanted a little bit of land out in the country – just something private and we found just that but more. We just purchased 20 acres out in the country – but still just 20 minutes to Grady’s work (that was the whole purpose of this move – to get Grady closer to work) and 25 minutes to Hendersonville where my family is. The land is beautiful and even has a pond on it with a walking trail around it and a boat dock. We’re beside ourselves with excitement. We start the building process this week. We’re going to build a small new/old farmhouse. We’re calling it that because we want it to look old but it will be new. I’m going to use as much salvaged/vintage stuff as I can find – sinks, doors, fireplace mantels, windows, etc. It’s been a while since I’ve posted but we’ve been pretty consumed with this land thing and building and one other thing that I’ll post about next week.

Chirp Chirp

Since this is a bird post I wanted to take the opportunity to share another Christian artist who I stumbled upon lately and was BLOWN AWAY with – seriously you’re going to love this guy and the symbolism that’s in his paintings is over the top good. This is one of my favorites – PLEASE click on the link (the high lighted words) and check out his interpretation of the last supper – read the symbolism below the painting – go, do it now!… ok is that good stuff or what???!!! Here’s his website if you’re intersted in reading and seeing more or purchasing some of his work. I know 2 of my friends who will LOVE his work – Susan and Tina this will bless you I know!

You probably won’t be too intersted in seeing my stuff after looking at all his great stuff – I’m not even intested in seeing my stuff after looking at his! But here are 3 more sketches I did in my bird series.

Tweet Tweet

For every animal of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine… for the world is Mine, and all that is in it. Psalm 50:10-12

I promised you more birds and here they come. I REALLY love painting birds for some reason – I’ve just taken to them. My granny was a bird lover (I started to write “big bird lover” – but I didn’t want you to get confused and think she loved big bird from Sesame Street :)) and I guess I got her love for birds – and painting – she’s my grandmother who was an amazing artist. The rental house we’re in right now is right next door to a guy who owns several acres and he has a large garden and bird houses and feeders EVERYWHERE. I love living next to someone who’s a bird lover because I get the benefit of their birds without the work – not like it’s a lot of work to feed birds but my guilt factor kicks in when I don’t refill the feeder and I just end up giving up. I don’t know how many times I’ve told Grady that I love Mr. Paul’s (that’s our neighbor) birds – they’re not really his birds but he feeds them and gives them homes so I talk as though they’re his. Every morning when I’m in my office having my quiet time Mr. Paul’s birds are just tweeting up a storm – I love it! No, these are not paintings of his birds :).

As the verses above speak so beautifully, the birds are not mine or Mr. Paul’s, they are actually the Lord’s  – I love that the verse doesn’t just say the birds are His, but that he “knows every bird” – WOW! He created them, He sustains them, and He knows them and He used them to show us how perfectly and personally He created us, knows us, and sustains us – Matthew 6:26 “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?”


The two paintings/sketches are from a series of bird sketches I did on a ski trip we took this winter. I’ll use the next couple of posts to share more birdies with you. Hope you enjoy!

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.