Sandi Hester

Paintings by Sandi Hester

Category: Trips

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.

Biltmore/Fall Trip Part 4

This was our final day of the trip and I was intending on getting some serious painting in. I painted from breakfast until lunch. Grady went back to the Biltmore to do some more tours while I painted. He was so kind each day to find something to do while I did what I love to do. This is the “inside” of the building you saw in my last post. The building creates a kind of court-yard and has an ice cream store, shop, and several other neat little spaces. I found a spot in the shade and as out of the way as I could be. I did have several people stop by and look at what I was doing. I get very nervous when people do that – guess it’s my insecurity over my paintings. Below you can see my view of what I was painting. I thought I’d get the “Creamery” (ice cream shop) in the painting in honor of Grady – that man loves him some ice cream!

Here you can see a better view of my set-up and my supplies – that’s not coffee in the cup 🙂 – it’s my dirty paint water. I LOVE my new little travel palette – isn’t she cute!

Here’s the final sketch – you can click on it to see it larger. It was a fun relaxing day and it challenged me a little with people being around. That wraps up our fall trip – finally!

Biltmore/Fall Trip Part 3

It feels a little weird to go back to sharing about my trip after the last couple of posts, but our trip was a blessing from the Lord too and I want to wrap it up (I have one more post on it after this one). At this point I can’t remember what day of the trip this was, but it was one of my favorite painting days even though it got cut short because the rain pushed me inside. That morning I knew exactly where I wanted to paint – in the “kitchen” garden. It’s the garden they used to use for the meals and they still have an active garden there now. I loved this little place! I can’t remember what they called the building in the background but I painted the inside of it the next day – I’ll be sharing these pictures next.

That morning I found a quiet little place to set-up my gear and I was looking forward to painting for a couple of hours. It drizzled on me the whole time I was painting. I’m not sure if you can tell it or not but the rain was creating some neat texture on my painting! It quickly started a pretty good down pour and I had to scurry like crazy to get everything in the car before I was finished with my painting. I was able to finish the painting in the room because before it started raining I was able to get some photos.

This is the “interactive” page I was telling you about. Before we left for the trip I pasted different types of papers and some small envelopes on random pages. This was one of the pages with an envelope which worked out perfectly because it allowed me to do a small painting of something in the garden. I call it interactive because you get to pull the small painting out – kind of like something you’d find in a kids book – I found it to be quite fun 🙂 and will be adding this type of thing in my journals more often. I took some beautiful pictures of what I think was rhubarb but I’m not 100% sure – I forgot to look at the tag thingy. Here’s the picture I was inspired to paint from – the light was shining through the stalks making the colors really sing!

And this is the mini painting found in the envelope. The envelope allowed me some fun space to journal too. Even with the rain and short time I had to paint I have some great memories from that morning! I do love this gift of painting the Lord has given me – I especially love it when it allows me to be out in His beautiful creation!

Biltmore/Fall Trip Part 2


Monday morning we got up early (as usual) and after our quiet time with the Lord and breakfast we headed out as the sun was coming up. Grady took me to a place he found the day before that he thought would be a great place for me to paint – he was right! He took me to the Lagoon which is a man-made lake/pond that was purposely positioned so the Biltmore house would reflect in it. It was a beautiful morning but quite chilly so we bundled up. Grady walked around while I painted and took some photos of me and the house and he tried to do a little fishing (even though fishing is prohibited on the property – you didn’t know Grady had a rebellious streak did you?!). I thought it was very kind of him to come with me and just hang out while I painted. He’s so supportive of my painting – he always has his eye out for places to paint or taking pictures of things I may like to paint. You can see in the picture below the GREAT spot Grady picked out for me to paint.

biltmore and map

I did a quick sketch of the Biltmore – I was planning on getting the reflection in the water but started too big and the reflection didn’t make it into the painting. It was also a very moist morning so I had a little bit of a hard time with my paints because they didn’t want to dry so I was painting wet in wet which is not how I usually paint. You can see my pitiful rendering above.


On the opposite page I did a map of the property (click on the picture below to see a close-up). I actually did the map on the car ride home – that’s one of the huge perks of watercolor – you can paint pretty much anywhere! However, I was a little sick by the time we got home because I was looking down at the page for way too long! On the map page you can see more of the old paper wrapped around the page (see previous post for explanation).


The last picture is one Grady took – you can see the reflection of the house really good in this picture…


Biltmore/Fall Trip – Part 1

It’s taken me a little while to post about our trip because as soon as we got home we got a call that Grady’s uncle died and we headed back out the door to go to Birmingham for the funeral. I’m just not getting back into the swing of things here.

I’m going to do a few posts on our trip because it was a really good one and I want to make sure to cover it properly. We’re very thankful to the Lord for giving us such a sweet and fun time away together! We had BEAUTIFUL weather AND leaves – we were definitely there at peak time. Once we arrived on Saturday we checked into our hotel and got to know the lay of the land and had a great dinner together. We got up early Sunday morning and had our quiet time with the Lord and then headed to the Biltmore house for our first tour.


Me in front of Biltmore

WOW is all I have to say! We enjoyed the tour and history of the house more than we thought we would. It’s quite fascinating and if you get a chance to go (or haven’t been back for years) I highly suggest you make a trip out there. They have more of the house open than they ever have – and the audio “tour” (headphone you listen to) is a MUST – you would miss way to much without it. After lunch I was itching to paint. Grady hopped on a bike and toured the 8,000 acres (obviously he didn’t ride the scope of the entire property!) while I found a secluded spot to paint. I found this great little house peeping behind some flaming red burning bushes. It was a fun little house to paint and I really enjoyed my afternoon.


House I painted

I did some different things in the journals I took on the trip. Before we left I pre-pasted and taped different things in my journals. You’ll see some of these “different things” through my journal pages as I post about this trip – some of them are “interactive” – you’ll see what I mean in later posts. burning bushes

On this journal spread you can see I used some vintage paper out of an old accounting book I found at an antique shop. I pasted part of the accounting paper on each journal page and wrapped it around the back of the page (can you see it on the house painting – it’s barely noticeable but I think it still adds some neat depth and texture to the painting – you can see a close-up below – just click on it to see it larger). Well, that’s all for the first post about our trip – more to come soon!

burning bush 2

Day At The Zoo

Well, more than a month later I’m getting around to posting about our painting day at the zoo. Monica is a friend I met in my painting class I taught here in Hendersonville – she’s a great artist. I was wanting to go to the zoo to paint and sketch but was a little intimidated to go by myself, so I e-mailed Monica to see if she wanted to go with me. She said yes even though she had not done much plein air painting (that just means you get outside and paint – not sure why it has to have a fancy name) but she’d love to give it a try. We had a blast! We seriously could not have had better weather that day! The first place we set-up “camp” was by the zebra and some other gazelle type thing – oh yea, there was an ostrich in there too. Painting the zebra was not as easy as we thought – they moved like crazy. Monica did a much better job at it than I did. I got frustrated very quickly and moved to some non-moving things – first was a grouping of rocks (not posted here) then I stepped it up and painted the content and still ostrich. I found out later why it was so content to pose for me – it had a lame leg – poor guy! I did give the zebra another try once I was home – I did a quick sketch from a picture I had taken. I used one color through the sketch – I wanted to just paint the background and stripes to see if I could get a suggestion of zebra – I think it worked for such a quick sketch. After painting there for a little while we took a bathroom break, stretched, and moved to an interesting part of the zoo. It was an area that had beautiful stuff to paint that didn’t move – old buildings and a flower garden (you can see Monica plopped right down among the flowers and started painting). It was a nice way to finish the day. I’ll definitely go back there – actually, I was going to go yesterday but realized school was out and that it could be a little crowded. Below are a couple other sketches I did while there. We had several people stop and look at our paintings – everyone was really nice. The experience helped us get over our stage fright of painting around people. You can click on any of the pictures to see them larger.
Monica painting zebra 

Monica painting zebra

Monica's zebra sketch

Monica's zebra sketch

Sketching supplies

Sketching supplies

Monica sketching flowers

Monica sketching flowers

My zebra sketch

My zebra sketch

My ostrich sketch

My ostrich sketch

sketch of old building at zoo

Sketch I did of old building at zoo

Getting Ready For The Zoo

Three weeks from today we close on our house and we STILL don’t have a place to move into – to say the least, things have been CRAZY around here. We are frantically trying to find a place to rent. So in the midst of all the boxes, packing, looking at houses and rentals things are feeling like a zoo around here – so I thought I would take a break from this zoo and visit the real zoo :). One of my painting students and I are heading to the zoo tomorrow to paint/sketch! I don’t do this type of thing often (neither does Monica) but we’re feeling adventurous – really I just need a break from house stuff. I’m looking forward to the distraction. I hope I have some great paintings and pictures to share with you. It may take me a while to get them posted because we are in the thick of packing around here – and it seems like trying to find a place to live has turned into a full time job. Below is a sketch I did in my cigar journal. I painted him from a blog I follow that has GREAT photos! I contacted Bea about her blog and her pictures to see if I could use them as references to paint from – she gave me the go ahead – YIPPY!!!!! This post is where I painted the sheep from (see if you can find him) – I also painted the rooster and goose – pictures of those little guys will be coming soon – even sooner if I don’t have anything to show you from my zoo outing. Bea, thanks again for letting me use your photos – they are AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL! As always, you can click on the photo below to see it larger. No time for proofing…