Sandi Hester

Paintings by Sandi Hester

Category: Sketch book

Video Studio Tour and Recent Paintings!

Soooooo, as usual, it’s been a while since I last posted – sorry about that! BUT I hope to make up for that with a VIDEO!!! Actually two videos – another one will be coming soon. This first video I did a short studio tour and in it you get to see some of my more recent paintings – like a lot of the one’s I haven’t been posting this past year – oops.

The next video will be about the paints (brands and colors) I use and some tips about color mixing and other helpful tips. I also share about a new painting medium I’ve been using lately and loving! Hope you enjoy it and check back soon for my other video. AND just in case any of you are worried that I may have just stuck my finger in a electrical socket – I did not 🙂 – it’s just the product of how my scary hair looked that day and that I forgot to look at it before I did the video – another oops! Or more like – eek! If for some reason the video isn’t working you can also click on this link to get to my youtube channel and find the video there.

My Blogging Has Gone To The Birds

Hey, it’s me – I’m back – sort of! I kind of forgot how to do this. I just sat and stared at the screen trying to remember what I even click on to start a new post. As most of you know, we’ve been building a house and it has totally consumed all my time and creative energy. We are finally in our new house and LOVING it out in the country. I have been sketching here and there over the last year or so. For some reason I’ve been sketching birds a lot. So over the next couple of posts I’ll share some of my bird sketches. I would like your feed back on how I post my sketches. Would you rather see the whole page in its sketchbook form like this…

Or cleaned up and cropped like this…

Here’s another example of sketch book view or cropped. The last picture is cropped because the bird’s body was wonky but I liked his little face. Maybe next time I’ll write something worth reading. Sorry – I’m a little rusty.

Handmade Journals

Well, it’s been quite a while since I posted last and I’ve been getting lots of e-mails from you guys asking (nicely) what’s up :)! I’ll make this post loaded with lots of art and pictures since I have some making up to do. I haven’t been painting much lately because the house (we are building) is taking up all my creative time and energy. I may do some posts here soon to let you know a little bit about our house. But this post is about handmade journals. Click on any of the journals to see them larger.

One day I was drawn to the beautiful orange color of my prescription bottle and I decided to paint it. I had a small 5x3 plain journal that I thought I'd make into a medical journal – we don’t really use it but it sure is cute!

I LOVE journaling – I keep prayer journals, sketchbook journals, travel journals, and any other kind of journal that comes to my mind. Because journals are expensive I like making my own sometimes. Here’s just a small sampling of some of the journals I’ve made since we’ve been renting (I’m sure I have more than this they are just packed up). I use ALL kinds of methods when making my journals. Sometimes I use plain journals I’ve bought at a store and add my own art work to the front.

Others I use pages torn out of old books I find at a local used bookstore and apply them to the front and back covers. I use all kinds of books – children books, animal books, dictionaries – anything that draws my attention and is cheap! I just apply the torn pages with glue – sometimes I add tape over the picture because it has a look about it I like.

Front cover of a journal I hand bound with hand torn watercolor paper.

I used the opposite page in the book and it created a fun front and BACK cover.

This is a color chart journal I hand bound with hand torn watercolor paper. I covered cardboard I cut from a box lying around with two pictures from a children’s book. The pictures made fun front and back covers. I just punched holes in the cardboard covers and the paper and tied with ribbon – very easy!
This next one I took pictures from an old bird book and dictionary. I layered the pages and then cut out letters from another used book to form the scripture for the cover. I wrapped the map around the cover so it would show on the inside cover. There were lots of pages I wanted to use from the bird book so I decorated the front and back cover (inside and out).

This cute kitty cat journal I made from one of my own paintings. I really liked the painting and tried a new printer to make some prints but they weren’t up to my standard. I couldn’t use the prints to sell but I sure didn’t want to throw them away – so this is one way that I reused a “throw away” print. I just cut it out and glued and taped it on a plain journal. You could do this with kid’s art, junk mail, or just about anything!

Here’s a small one (about 5×5) I made (again I think I just used cardboard as the base for the cover) and I covered it with an envelope from a friend in Africa. I loved the color and the stamp. I used scrap pieces of ribbon to connect the front and back cover and a simple rubber band to keep the book closed. For the back I used some black and white photo copies of some writing and bird. I have a box I keep in my art room where I throw any kinds of scraps, stickers, paper, envelopes, pictures, etc for use on things like this. I am constantly digging through that box using scraps for things.

This last one is one of my favorites and it was very simple! The cats and birdie were cut out of the same children’s book as the rooster above and glued onto the journal. I painted the little bird-cage around the birdie because I thought he’d look cute just hanging above the cats.

Here’s just a little look into another area of my art work and life of journaling. Wow – that may have been my longest post ever and it took me FOREVER because I’m quite rusty on posting. Hope to be back on here soon to share some of what we’re doing with our new house!

The Sketchbook Project 2011

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

I came across this really neat sketchbook project that I’m really excited about. Whether your a professional artist or a stay at home mom you can participate. When you sign-up they send you a sketchbook to fill and you send it back sometime in December (I think) and it goes on tour across the country and then will be displayed in the Brooklyn Art Library, where it will be barcoded and available for the public to view. If you are interested just click on the image above and it will take you to the site for more info. SERIOUSLY – you don’t have to be an artist – you can fill it with whatever – you could even get your kids involved. I think it’s going to be a fun project.

When you sign up you pick a theme – I picked “Inside/Outside” because I think that captures on a large scale what I paint – things found inside and outside. When I received my sketchbook in the mail it was dented a little on the front cover which I was thrilled about – it helped me get over “messing” the cover up – it was already messed up! The rules say you can do whatever you want to the book as long as it stays the same dimensions. So since I paint with watercolor I unbound the book and rebound it with watercolor paper. I included some of the original paper to make notes on and describe the painting.

The inside of my rebound book

I’m going to use it as a SKETCHBOOK which means there won’t be finished perfected pictures – it’s kind of like a doodle book :). I haven’t painted a single sketch in it yet – I’ve only finished the cover – but I hope to start painting in it today. I’ll do posts along the way and record what I’ve been painting in it. You can also go here to see my sketches along the way.

I thought I’d do something I’m comfortable painting for the cover – a bird. I’m not sure why I’m comfortable painting birds – I just am. I love painting them! Because I painted the cover in watercolor I’ll have to seal it with wax so moist hands don’t disturb the paint. I also got some great new letter thingies – I’m not sure what they’re called but they are made to punch/press letters into leather (my brain has stopped working – I can’t think of what this process is called – no funny comments about how my brain is never working :)). I used them to press (or whatever you call it) my website into the cover. I like how it turned out and have used this method in my sketchbooks to record the date – I like how it’s kind of subtle. Ok, enough, here’s my cover – click on it to see it larger…

Let me know if you are signed up for this project or plan on signing up for it. Here’s another artist who’s participating – I really like her blog (scroll down to her 4th post to see her Sketchbook Project).

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!

Still Making Up For Bad Blogging

Here’s part two of our trip to Montana. This post has lots of pictures like the last one because I’m still making up for not blogging for like a month or two. So, this was our amazing view from our room – what’s even more amazing than that is that Grady skied from the peak of this mountain – yes, see the very top point of the mountain? – that’s where Grady would ski from! If you click on the picture you can see even better how ridiculous it is that he skies crazy things like this. I become one serious praying wife when we’re on ski trips. It doesn’t make things any better when the guys Grady’s skiing with tell me things like, “your husband is a maniac on the slopes!” Great! Grady wears a helmet now because a doctor he skis with told him he needed to be wearing a helmet the way he skis. Oh brother!

Moving on… Grady thought this would be a good picture of me – one by a black diamond sign that says “Bone Crusher” – in actuality that describes Grady’s style of skiing. “Football Field” would be a better description of what I ski 🙂 – nice and flat or “Never Fall” because that’s always my number one goal of a ski trip 🙂 – I broke like a 4 year record this year when I fell – oh well, you can’t win them all.

Here’s Grady relaxing on the snow while I adjust my boots – for some reason I have to do that a lot on the slopes and Grady usually sits down to rest because I take FOREVER – sorry babe!

And lastly, this one is so you can see ONE of the great views we had on the slopes – this place was seriously beautiful!

Here are some more quick sketches I did throughout the trip. Again, they’re not show stoppers (well nothing I do is a show stopper – my point is that they are just quick sketches – not finished pieces) but they are little tidbits of things I painted while Grady risked his life on the slopes. One of us has to do something not life threatening :). This first one is a quick one I did of Lone Peak – the mountain we could see from our room.

These next two were painted from photographs taken by one of my watercolor students. He’s a GREAT photographer. You can see his work here. These were painted from Jim’s Maine series.

This last one is a little still life I set up in the room. You can always find something around to paint 🙂 – or at least I can! I hope you enjoyed snippets of our trip. Keep an eye out for a free give-away post of an original painting I have coming up!

Bad Bad Blogger

I have been a bad blogger lately! We’ve had a crazy few months – I won’t bore you with our lives (I will share one of the unexpected things that happend to us in the next few posts) I’ll just try to make up for the pitiful blogging I’ve been doing. I’ve had several posts rolling around in my brain and hopefully they’ll make it to my computer sooner than later. The first two will cover our trip to Montana we just took. Hopefully all the pictures will make up for my lack of blogging :). I painted quite a bit on this trip – the paintings may seem random since I only have one mountain/snow painting. I usually don’t paint many snow scenes – it’s just not my thing, so I bought a field guide-book from our local used bookstore before we left and that’s why I have random things like rabbits and mushrooms in my sketchbook paintings from this trip.

Ok, first some pictures from this BEAUTIFUL place. You know you’re at a beautiful place when this (see picture below) is the view from the airport!! And it only got better from there.

Here’s a picture of Grady – check out that view!

And here’s one of me during one of the two days it snowed – needless to say visibility was low but the powder was great!

Here are some of the things I painted. I only took sketchbooks and just had fun with my painting. The first three were painted from my field guide book and the last one was from  Bea’s wonderful blog (she’s given me permission to paint from her beautiful pictures and I haven’t painted from one in a while but I loved this very neutral picture of this old fish market). You can click on any of the pictures to see them larger.