Sandra Brestel was born in California, but she has lived all of her adult life in the Southwestern United States. It is here in the Southwestern desert that she finds a continuing source of inspiration for her unique style of painting.
Sandra is primarily a self-taught artist. Over the years, her natural artistic progression has carried her through several mediums and styles. Her art career has traversed through successes in mural painting and graphic design, while she is better known as an award winning color pencil artist. Her style has always been very labor-intensive; with her colored pencils she used techniques of burnishing and layering of colors that allowed for highly realistic artwork. These same skills, as well as her amazing sense of color and composition, are the foundation of the wonderful acrylic paintings that Sandra creates today.
Many artists go through phases of development before they find that with which their souls are at peace. Sandra has found this inner artistic peace in the petroglyphs and pictographs of ancient Native Americans. These ancient people left the traces of their lives upon earth’s architecture of rock and these enduring images are a testimony of their need to communicate. Rock art was not produced as simply an artistic expression, but as a part of ritualistic, spiritual, and social concerns that were a major part of life. Many petroglyph symbols and images remain a mystery to us. Thousands of years ago, when ancient artist-shaman pecked, scratched, and painted these images, they did not leave us an explanation as to their meaning. It is clear that only the artist knew the meaning of certain images, but we can deduce the basic principles behind their work. These primitive depictions were utilized to communicate basic concerns; to invoke gods; to portray
vision quests; to induce fertility, health, and success; to perpetuate myths and legends; to identify and claim territory; or simply say “I was here.” Today each one of us interprets these sacred images differently within our own spiritual being.
Each original piece starts with a well crafted, irregularly shaped wooden panel. These panels are the ground on which Sandra performs her distinctive style of acrylic paintings. With her ability to blend color, shape, and texture, Sandra creates the illusion of an actual cave wall or cliff face. Every detail appears natural and authentic, down to the smallest lichen. Within this illusion of rock lies a composition of anthropomorphic symbols and shapes that were used by ancient cultures. The images portrayed in Sandra’s paintings are based on authentic petroglyphs. Using her artistic license, Sandra paints these images in her own compositions. This enables her to freely create a hypothetical but researched theme in each of her pieces. The mirage-like appearance of these sacred images is what brings her paintings to life. Every piece will provide many years of visual pleasure.