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Artist Highlight: Sandra Yorke

Today’s Artist Spotlight is watercolor and acrylic painter Sandra Yorke.

Sandra studied at Washington State University in Pullman, where she met her future husband and earned a degree in Microbiology—however, before, during, and after her school years she was always painting. Eventually, her habit of giving paintings as gifts slowly turned into selling paintings, forming the beginning of an art career that is still thriving. Although she started out using oil paint, she began experimenting with watercolor and quickly fell in love. In particular, she loves how colors can blend softly together.

After working in the public health field for 30 years, getting married, and having children, she felt that it was time to embrace her inner artist in 2015—however, at this time, she balanced art with life when her mother (also an artist and a nature lover) battled Alzheimer’s. Throughout this, she looked to art as therapy and helped her appreciate the more subtle things in life, and her belief in the healing power of art was strengthened further.

Before we dive into some of her recent work, let’s start with a lovely quote by Mary Davis that serves as an overarching philosophy in Sandra’s practice: "A walk in the woods walks the soul back home.” This sentiment is a beautiful reminder for everyone as well as a nice insight into Sandra’s work.

Sandra’s work revolves around the natural world. Growing up in the country, Sandra cultivated a deep love for nature from a young age—in particular, she’s inspired by the spiritual connections between humans and nature. Her website phrases this beautifully:

“There is a healing and a sense of renewal that occurs, whether one is viewing the stream of light coming through the trees in the forest or the soft mist hiding the landscape around us.”

Spend some time on Sandra’s website—you’ll come across countless bright watercolor and acrylic works paying homage to the flora and fauna that surround us, all filtered through Sandra’s unique perspective, connection with the landscape, and gifted hand. From pastel landscapes that feel like a misty early morning to dramatic mountainscapes, Sandra gives you plenty of opportunities to bring the outdoors into your life and find some serenity. We also love that she includes short writing regarding the inspiration of many of these scenes, so you can get a small glimpse into Sandra’s mind as an artist.

Additionally, she ventures into beautiful semi-abstractions with works such as Blue Cascade and The Prayer, where you can just as easily imagine the sky as the water and vice versa. In these, colors exist more as their own object while still reminding us of nature. She hopes to create more semi-abstract landscapes soon. Even in these more abstract works, you can sense Sandra’s close observation of her natural surroundings.

Her paintings have been featured in six one-person shows and several group shows. You can see Sandra’s work in person at her upcoming show at The Broadway Gallery at 1418 Commerce Avenue in Longview.

Connect with Sandra!

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