Neoteric Art: You are a self-taught painter. Give us a little history on yourself…when did you decide to become a painter?
Sandra Flood: I had always wanted to be an artist from the time I was a small child. There was a period when I was about eleven I thought I would be a great neurosurgeon but that phased passed pretty quickly. I started to go to a small art school way back when and lasted a few months. I never really cared for the structure and limitations of school, any school, so it wasn’t working for me.
After that experience I began to study artists whom I really admired. I was/am fortunate enough to be an hour away from NYC and Philadelphia, so getting to study great artists in equally great museums was never a problem. My “mentors” ran the gamut from the much hated in the art world, Andrew Wyeth, to the much praised Degas, Whistler, Schiele and Francis Bacon. Lucian Freud and Antonio Lopez-Garcia are two of my absolute, nobody can touch, inspirational, favorite realists.
I have also been inspired by and studied the great Abstract Expressionists. Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline’s work, (his Black paintings especially), have always impressed me. I have been drawn to them because of the Asian quality of their work. Asian art, woodcuts and paintings, ancient and contemporary, is something I have felt a connected to from the time I was a child.
I could go on endlessly on artists I studied “with” on my own, (I own hundreds of books), but I need to keep it short! The bottom line is, if it was good art, no matter what kind of art, it was going to help me learn.
We live in a New Jersey village of 1400 people on the shores of Delaware River across from Bucks County Pa. I know no one will believe this, but it is very rural, very beautiful, many horse farms and the area is reminiscent of the English country side with stone cottages to boot. So that means a lot of deer and ticks. About fourteen years ago I became very ill with Lyme disease and had to quit my “day” job and was able to paint in my studio full time. That illness had me make the decision to become a full time painter. From the sale of paintings created at that time, I was able to continue painting, selling and doing more shows and fortunately I haven’t had to have a day job since.
NA: Describe your working and thought processes when starting a painting.
SF: It is really a very easy process, something or someone sparks my interest and I will take off with it. Many times the piece will change as I get into the painting. I very rarely do any drawing or color preparations and just go to work directly on the linen, board or mylar. I work from photos and/or life, whatever is needed. One thing I do pretty consistently is paint on a toned surface. The surface could be grey, red, brown or a teal color. I will roughly line out or block in darks with the brush and start from there. I have about 72 different tubes of paint, but use only 3 to 5 tubes of color plus black, white and an adobe color.
NA: You paint the figure, groups of figures, still live, landscapes, abstracts, portraits and animals. Do you enjoy one more than the others? What is the reason for all the different subjects?
SF: I can’t imagine just painting one thing all the time for the rest of one’s life. It would become a job if I didn’t explore different subject matter or the same subject in a different light (and I don’t mean that literally). I find myself going in cycles. I have really been into painting animals since we lost our two very old dogs last year and I am probably going to continue that theme by incorporating both animals and people in the work.
I did a lot of abstract work years back and felt it was so liberating and was very intuitive. I have not worked in that vain for a few years but I think once I am through with my animal obsession I will go back to doing some small abstract works. They are to me, my classroom.
NA: How did you become involved with the Wally Workman Gallery in Austin, Texas and how is that working out?
SF: Wally Workman was having dinner at the home of a couple who collect my work and she approached me about representation. I have been there a couple of months now and it seems to be going well especially considering the economy. I will be doing a one women show at Wally Workman’s in December. I have shown with galleries around the country over the years. Judith Racht Galleries in Mi. and Chicago, Seraphin Gallery in Philadelphia, Munson/Meyer in Santa Fe, and F8 Fine Art in Austin Tx. are a few galleries I have shown with in the past. I show with a gallery in NJ and I will be showing in CA with a new gallery in Laguna Beach.
NA: You jumped into the art blog world with your own blog. In your opinion, what are the pros and cons for starting an art blog?
SF: Art Blogs are just the greatest way to connect with others from all over the world that share your interest. Also the blog and website have been a way of getting gallery representation. The only con I can think of is that it takes time away from painting! I have had a website for many years and I just started the blog in 2007. I have to say that the web has been an amazing tool for selling art. Up until this past year, I would sell 7 out of ten paintings via my e-mail database, which was collected from my website. With the economy faltering since last year I have seen a drop. Even the galleries I show with, (and two of them have been in business for 30 years each), are having a hard time.
NA: You say your blog and website have been a way of getting gallery representation. Can you please elaborate. Also, you mention that you have sold a lot of your work via your website. What do you attribute this to?
SF: My website is part of a larger artists website, Artspan.com. Through the Artspan search engine a visitor can find just what they are looking for and if they like your work they can be added to an e-mail list and get updates when your new work is available. I have had numerous galleries contact me and I have collected hundreds of interested buyers this way.
When I had an open studio and my own gallery I would always get email addresses from people that wanted to be updated. I also have really beautiful postcards which I make on my Mac and I put them everywhere. I advertise sometimes on other websites and other artists have put me on their blogs or as links from their website, which brings more traffic. Sometimes I run ads in our local arts newspaper which is out of Philadelphia. Also people who have seen my work around the country just find me through the internet.
Now, what makes some of these people buy my work even though they have not seen it personally, I have no answer for that. All I can say is I just try to promote myself the best way that I can and what ever happens , happens.
NA: What are some of your long term goals for your painting career?
SF: I have only one long term goal. Just to get through this life painting and not having to do anything else!