Sand Painting and Me

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I started experimenting with sand as a medium after I brought back a variety of sands of different textures and colors from a family trip to New Zealand.  I started collecting the sand in ziplock bags and stashing the bags under the seat of our rental van.  At one point, my husband realized how much sand I had stowed away and said to me, “I hope you are really going to do something with this, Heidi!”  Little did he know.  Of course, his problem with the sand was that it competed for baggage weight with all of the rocks he had collected!

I played with the sand and tried different types of base layers and different types of glue until I settled on the technique that I use today: working on a rigid board, using white glue (mod podge), applying the glue with a paintbrush, shaking off the excess and allowing each color or layer to dry before applying the next.  In this fashion, I build up the sand painting, working with light colors and smooth textures first.

I “invented” this technique for myself – but it’s actually the technique used by sand painters all around the world.  I was excited when I saw this video of a Senegalese sand painter using the same technique I do!

(he holds the sand just like I do but I use a smaller brush)

In the intervening years, my sand collection has burgeoned as friends and family have started to collect for me.  It is a challenge and a joy to me to try to use the texture and color of sand as an artistic medium.

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