Sandra Cointreau grew up in a rural village of Connecticut. Even though she has worked in over 60 developing countries as a civil engineer, she has always returned to the western Connecticut farming communities of her childhood and her ancestors and to the splendid spiritual forests where once the native peoples roamed. The daughter of many generations of Connecticut farmers, she has a deep love of the land, a connection to its animals, and a devotion to Mother Earth. She lives on a small village farm with horses, her breeding group of standard poodles, and bees.
Sandra has traveled to every continent of the world in her work on environmental protection and waste management, always spending some of her time in each place on her art. Mostly, she is a self-taught artist. But, as a researcher in her environmental work, she similarly has poured endlessly through books and videos to learn how to improve her compositions and use of her paints. She started with oils while in college in the 60’s, transitioned to acrylics, and in the mid-80’s fell in love with watercolor, which became her steady traveling companion ever since.
Sandra’s Acrylic Works: Only when home in a studio, Sandra is able to work on her acrylic abstracts. The many mediums needed, canvases, and the general mess don’t match up with international travel demands, but at home she delves into the dance with bright color that acrylics enable. These works are fully imagined abstract creations, created by brush, pouring, and various palette knives.
Sandra’s Watercolor Works: Watercolor is with Sandra all the time, whether in her car, traveling overseas, or at home. While she sometimes does imagined abstracts and imagined landscapes, most are done from nature and life drawing. She is a signature member of the Connecticut Watercolor Society, and has been juried into shows of the Rhode Island Watercolor Society, South West Watercolor Society, and North East Watercolor Society. She has regularly show in local art associations such as the Kent Art Association, Washington Art Association and Society for Creative Artist of Newtown. She has been invited twice to be a guest artist at the International Watercolor Society Annual Show of Nepal, and exhibited at the World Bank in Washington. For several years, she was represented by the River Winds Gallery of Beacon, New York.
So often her work has taken her to slums and damaged lands where the hazards and horrors were painful to witness. Her time with painting, and her regular spiritual practices, have brought her renewal. She commonly draws or paints daily when working in developing countries. Like most artists, she has trained to step back and see the big picture. The synergy of art and engineering has led her to specialize in developing regional strategic plans and national policies.
Art has been the balance to the harsh realities of her field work, allowing her to face the painful insult to Mother Earth, its peoples and its animals, over and over again, in so many places, and come to her room at the end of the day to heal by painting a vase of flowers or some fresh fruit.
Sandra’s paintings most often explore the beauty of nature and the unique beauty and strength of animals. Her recent work shows people and animals interacting powerfully. Horses racing, bulls bucking, dogs hunting, animals interacting with humans in mindful focus. In the few soaring moments of a bull rider, the fast turns of a barrel racer, the determined steering of a cattle herder, the unique bond of human and animal embrace courage and excellence.
Showing movement in her paintings is a quest. Finding spiritual unfoldment and inner peace in life requires detachment from the material world and from fear. To show motion in paintings requires detachment from perfection. Creating lost edges, blurring, ghosting, reflected light, and splatters of dust are some of the methods to show movement. To show motion in a painting, perfection is the enemy of the good. With delightful abandon, she searches for the balance of imperfection needed to show motion.
Sandra is passionate about watercolor and its fluid independent nature. Painting with watercolor is a dance, wherein the watercolor has its own moves and pathways, its own sense of freedom and delight…a mind of its own.
Sandra was Lime Rock Raceway’s Artist in 2015 and painted at the track during the main events. She is regularly works on commissions of vintage and racing cars. Love of the sport led her to also develop portraits for some of its best race car drivers in the past century. In 2016, Lime Rock Raceway held an exhibit of 20 of her racing portraits and car paintings for two months in the private Drivers and Owners Lounge during their Annual Vintage Car Racing Event and Ferrari Event.
Browse her online gallery below or commission custom artwork by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org.