Pastel artist Sandy Brooks shares her wildlife portfolio, and talks about commissions and selling art.
ABI: How did you get started creating wildlife art?
SB: Always able to communicate well with children, I created a successful and fulfilling career as a pediatric physical therapist. To assist my young patients with their therapy and rehabilitation, I often incorporated their pets into treatment – a relationship that would one day serve as my artistic muse.
Animals and children are both so innocent, so guileless. What you see is what you get. There is no game playing, no sense of entitlement. Working with kids and animals, you only feel love and honesty and innocence. It’s so refreshing in the adult world. By transporting art fans back to nature, I hope we rediscover the innocence we have so often lost.
ABI: What is the process when a client commissions a piece of art?
SB: There is something special about a portrait of someone close to you. Be it the portrait of a child or an animal, the piece makes a house a home in a unique way. Portraits of animals or children can be commissioned by contacting me directly.
Once I have met with the collector either in person or on the phone, we discuss the image they have in mind. Is it a photo they already have and is it clear enough and large enough to be a reference? Do they want a particular pose or background? Do I need to come take the reference photo? This is included in the process as reference photos can be difficult to achieve for non-photographers.
Then we discuss the medium of preference and the size the collector wants. Pastels give a very different finish then colored pencils. Where is the image to be displayed? How big is the wall space? What is the color scheme of the room? All of these considerations are part of the process in developing a portrait.
I require 2-4 weeks to take the reference photos and develop the sketches into a painting. At the end of that time, the almost finished portrait is shown to the collector for any final adjustments. The goal is to record a cherished memory and only with input from the collector can I make their memory come alive.
ABI: What is your favorite way to sell art and why?
SB: My favorite way to sell art is any way that allows me to interact with the collector. Be that in a gallery or an art fair or competition, I love watching the connection between the person and the animal in the painting. That connection, that innocent communication between one being and another, IS art.