Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Art: An Apothecary for the Soul

Yes, am back, will be now and then.  Still "playing".  But, there is still interest in my work, for which I am grateful.  I am deep into my memoir blog which has been very gratifying in its reception.  I should say, it is a memoir about the place and times of where I grew up. The link is

I still take my black ink pen and sketch book with me on road trips.  This little sea critter was started as I waited for my husband to return from a hike along the marsh and ocean.  I had done my stint and was resting in the car.  I call the technique if you recall, Vibrational Drawing.  I started this before the Zentangle craze but no doubt they are cousins.  It is a healing form of art, you can start it anywhere with any kinds of lines and work on it as it develops.  It speaks to you, and hopefully, you are speaking through it.  Begun with the eye, it went from there, as one would with  Mandala.  My mandalas are always with me.  Using colored pen and pencil scattered on my desk I experimented and played.

The title of this post is "Art: An Apothecary for the Soul", from an article in the WSJ Nov-2-3. 2013 which I may have quoted before.  I kept a copy I liked it so much.  The article is" Art for Life's Sake."
It postulates that art may help us with key challenges in our life

Sea Nymph Transformed
Pen and pencil drawing
Sandra J. Pineault
March, 2014

Then I started to play on my Mac computer.  There is a fun app called
Image Tricks Pro that has filters as well as borders and masks.  I often use it for framing old photos and such.  So this morning I imported my drawing and this is what happened as I surfed the filters.
Great depth of field and color changes.  Accepting that it is not that sophisticated it still lets one play and playing is what it is all about. 

 N'est pas?


                  It would be great if some of you would share your little creatures of hope….

Friday, December 13, 2013


                                                         Blessings in Red and Green
                                                              acrylic painting print
                                                                 Sandra J. Pineault

As I wandered through my digital art chest, this "Christmasy" piece popped up and asked to be
my holiday greetings.  Even with children and grandchildren grown and away there still is much to be done so this is my sharing.  Wandering among different projects I am enjoying exercising creativity in word as well as with my hands.  I am busy working on my memoirs online which I find very satisfying.

Blessings in Red and Green reminds me of a newspaper piece I put aside to share with you from  the Wall Street Journal where I find many articles of inspiration.  This one in the Dec. 4, 2013 issue was titled Motherwell and the Exuberance of Invention.  Apparently at one point Motherwell studied with Chilian Surrealist painter Roberta Matta.  Matta urged Motherwell to try "automatic drawing."  He told him to let go of conscious intention and allow the subconscious, assisted by speed of execution to take over the aesthetic act.  The article went on to say that Leanardo had planted the seed of free association centuries earlier by encouraging artists to notice "landscapes" in stains on the wall and such.

Motherwell's drawings led him to collage.   Later in the article Motherwell, it says, was led to
 "the exuberance of Invention." 

This article resounded with me.  It confirmed what I enjoy in both my drawing and my painting.
It is also what I feel, letting myself be "led" by either the paint, the design, or just something within me trying to get out.  So often when I see art in galleries that is stilted and trapped, as it were, I wish I could be in that studio and help the artist to experience "the exuberance of invention."  It is joy unleashed. Those days when that experience came about I would shout to my husband to come and see what I had done, what had been done in spite of me….like a child.  That really is what artists like myself strive for, that forgetfulness of the ego and its demands.  What better time to begin to understand that then at the wonderful time of Christmastide.

                                                        Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Monday, November 4, 2013


The title of this post is taken from this past weekend's Nov.2/3 Wall Street Journal. I am always finding very good articles about the art world in the WSJ, but this one was a winner.  It hit home in so many ways.

Artists know disappointment, actually it is usually a daily meal for us.  Often, just a disappointment when things don't sell, or one's muse does not come through.  A few weeks ago, I had one of the biggest upsets of my career.  A private club contacted me to see my work, all of which is now in my home gallery.  I invited them - four of them-into my home.  They fell in love with my work and asked if we could bring nine large pieces to the site of a new renovation, which we did.  It was smashing and would give me incredible exposure.  I was walking on air.  After they signed an agreement, they asked to keep the pieces overnight and we agreed.  To make a long story very short, the whole deal feel through with a whole lot of deception thrown in.  The excitement had made me think about painting again, that was short lived.  Maybe that was the message of it all….who knows.

My pieces now again adorn my walls, I would have missed them actually.  They soothe and calm me, they are me.  This article speaks of how art can heal us, can "enter into our being and perhaps adjust how we respond to challenge and anxiety." 
 I find oriental art does that beautifully, like this piece below by Hirosage.

or this simple piece of sculpture by the seaside which quietly summons feelings of tranquility. I found this on one of my sources of peace as I look at art on Pinterest.

Many years ago I did this tryptic below for a florist in the Rhode Island Flower show.
It is long gone….but it always spoke to me of sinking into ourselves in meditation. The piece was done on clayboard which allowed me to get the depths so well.  It is my own Pond Lilies...

Life in the Pond
Sandra Pineault

There are those of "sophisticated" taste, so says the WSJ, that worry that art such as
Claude Monet's Waterlilies will make people forget that there is evil and suffering in the world.
Really?  On the contrary, how can we forget.  What we do need in art, in my opinion,
is a place to go, to rest our souls, to find our roots of stability. Henri Matisse showed us optimism in his painting, The Dancers.

When we are intensely responding to beauty we are experiencing the wish that things could be so much better. "None of this is sentimental.  Strategic exaggerations of what is beautiful and good can perform a critical function; they distill and concentrate the hope that we require to chart a path
through the difficulties of existence."

Amelia Sunrise
Sandra Pineault

Often when an event unsettles and disappoints us, we are only feeling the tip of the iceberg. It is a symbol of everything that hurts, that goes wrong, that frustrates, and especially our fear of the great unknown that looms ahead and around us.  Art can touch our souls, steady us, give us
an anchor with which to remember peace, freedom from pain.  

It helps us artists remember how important our mission, to ourselves
and not just to others.

Thank you, Alain de Botton, for this exceptional article.  Mr. de Botton has written
with John Armstrong "Art as Therapy." For more information see

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Journey Continues....with an art journal experience.

                             "There are a Hundred Ways to Kneel and Kiss the Ground"

                                               Art Journal Page by Sandra J. Pineault 
                                                                   Sept. 2013

As you all know, I have been experimenting with art journal creativity, trying to find my own signature as it were.  There are zillions of videos and samples on Pinterest and the net for this but none of them  what I was seeking.  Finally, after layering and playing I ended up with this free form intuitive design for a page.  The materials used for this page were gesso, acrylic, glue, collaged pieces of old work, stamps and embossing.  A whole lot of putting down and listening.  One of my favorite quotations by Rumi is "There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground". That is the writing which traverses the piece. Others include Anne LaMotte and William Blake.  They were written on bits of paper in my poetry folder so it is good to give them a real home.  Poets and artists really belong together anyway.  I am starting to get into this now.

                                                   Other quotations used in this piece:

"Pebbles belong to no one until you pick them up...then they are yours."

             "And we are put on earth, a little space, that we may learn to bear the beams of love."
                                                                                                                    William Blake

"So let go, let go, let go.  Unhook, unhook, take the fish hook out of your chest...
there is no escape so ... sit down at where you are at, feel the connection ...to the floor, breath,  notice that there is a tiny crack, a little bit of something...that is how the light gets in."
                                                                                              Anne LaMotte

As I was looking through some Pinterest art pins, I came upon a piece by Joan Miro....see how
we are inspired by the artists of the past.  Very different but very spatial....
and see how the light gets in.

I only came across this when I had finished the page above.  Fun.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Recently we returned from a lovely two weeks in the mountains of North Carolina, not far from the
Blue Ridge Parkway.  It was a time of peace, of healing and rejuvenation for both of us.  I was following the 21 day Mediation Challenge on iPad and would sit out in the beautiful garden of the home we rented.  This particular day I took along my markers and sketchbook.  It seems that the piece radiates the sun that warmed me where I sat, the hum of bees and the myriad butterflies that flew everywhere.  I finished the piece later in the evening in the house, with the mind photos still fluttering in my head and through to my markers.  Times like these are so special and inspire us to record them in our own creative way rather than just in photos....but here are some photos, anyway, to inspire you.

                          The flowers I drew were not these, but these are better photos... enjoy!!

Dew drops caught in a spider web after a rain storm...  

                                       mmmm...the butterflies loved the BeeBalm or Monarda
                                                  at the Moses Cone Craft Center 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

o'la'la' matting in french fashion

I am sitting here in my studio.  A few moments ago I was exercising on my stationary bike (it is a small inexpensive one I got from Sears-does not take much room) when a few books on a nearby shelf caught my attention.  I forget all about the books I have acquired over the years.  Two of them I would like to share with you.  I am also listening to Rachmaninoff on my computer so simmering way down...

The first book concentrates on the art nouveau designs of three artists including the wonderful Alphone
Mucha.  A friend found it in Paris and recommended it.  It is inspiring as well as a source of designs for whatever project comes about.  I sometimes use it for french matting techniques.

 If you are not aware of french matting...check it out. It will enhance your framed work. French matting is the art of applying watercolor washes and lines painted in unlimited shade variations and widths to embellish a paper borne subject. Started in the 18th century and reintroduced in the 60's.  I also was inspired by early monastic illuminations of scripture.  It is worth studying those also.  For me, it was another challenge.  Sometimes I pulled the design of the painting out onto the mat.

                                                  Here is something to start you off:

The second book is related to the first but is a fascinating look at patterns in nature and how
they can inspire drawings and composition.  I would also recommend Japanese patterns as well.

Two examples of french matting in my work.  I once took a year long course in matting and framing and learned french matting there.  It does require a bit of nerve and a steady hand, but it is worth it. If you are cutting your own mats, it is less nerve wracking. 

 The first is a nursery painting I did some years ago.  The second a large abstract.  I had kept the painted mat clean and just fitted the abstract painting into it....works well!!

        I keep hoping that some of my readers will share their thoughts on a post....are you willing?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Soul Hummings: Vibrational Pineault Drawings

I covered an entire page with this "soul humming" design. Fascination with the strokes of pen and pencil stroke  and how one can dive into them to achieve depth of field, has long been something special for me .  When I did mainly painting, I lost the peaceful experience of abstract drawing.
                                                                     How I missed it!

This morning waiting for my husband to return from a doctor's appointment, I sat in the car in a quiet treed area and worked on this design.  I started stiffly up in the right hand corner then let my hand and pen dance loosely across the page to give me direction.  Then it started humming.  I kept working, as we sat on the ferry and crossed St. John's river.  When we arrived home, it too had arrived.  The paper is graphed hence the squares you see. I am going to print a copy and play with color to see what happens.  Maybe, maybe not.

                          Do you see a moonlit garden and the possibility of fireflies and magic?

It is also a pregnant bloom, giving the sense that there are possibilities yet to be birthed.  My paintings always have this depth but I learned it all in my experimental drawings.  Try drawing, not to draw "something" but only to experiment with design, with what comes from your soul.  Soothing, humming is what you will find.  The Zen of healing art at its most powerful.

Today reading I came upon a powerful practice.  When you happen upon something of beauty, stop and while looking at it take ten deep breaths.  I am going to start doing that.  The artist within us needs stopping, breathing.  It is only when I was forced to stop my painting that I found again the lost art of drawing my soul craved.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Doodling as High Art and Heart

                                                                    Gone Haywire
                                                                  My journal doodle
                                                                   Sandra Pineault
Drawing or doodling as high art as I call it, can tell you many things.  It can lead you to places in your mind and heart.  Or it can simply be a way to follow your pen or pencil. Like a meditation.

                                                                    Message in a Circle
                                                                    Journal Doodle
                                                                    Sandra Pineault

I like to think I predated Zentangles.  However, the Zentangle experience is kind of similar.  For me each of these is a meditation, and often I will write my feelings before and after the piece is done.
These are a cross between a mandala and a sketch.  The circle, sacred in Tantric art, provides a place of safety and an edge where one can play with pencil and inspiration.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A little Diversion, Maestro, please

Yes, I am still around, good readers.  Still making my way through my creativity on a new road.  I am not able to stand long at my artist table.  However, since my husband is occupying my studio space, too, one day when I needed another surface we pulled in a folding 4 x 6 table. It works fine.  I can pull up a desk chair and all set!

There have been a few new "creative" developments.  First, I took on a student.  Finally gave in.  This is new since I am most used to group teaching.  But, it was very good.

Next I began a painting project: a nursery gift for a new nephew that will soon arrive in the family.
It took a long time researching.  I prefer to use photos of live animals and then work to give them another personality. Then, on and on with sketches and drawings and composing. This is way different than my abstract work.  It did, however, remind me of the satisfaction of creating.  All in all, the total piece took nearly a month to complete.

Here is stage one: this stage probably took over two weeks.  Creativity demands pulling back and letting messages come through.  That often happened when I first awoke in the mornings.
Composing was another task, being sure the negative space had a form of its own.

Stage Two: the dreaded color choices.  I started with the zebra and the giraffe as they spoke to me early on and offered the most opportunity to play with color and shapes.
They would set off the others.

 At this point I did not like the sky at all.

All during this time I started studying children's book illustrations on Pinterest. This prompted me to start a board just on that.  I love old vintage illustrations including Beatrice Potter.  In the next post I will discuss my one attempt at illustrating a children's book.  Everything in my painting at this stage  is blah.  Gngerly I look for ways to define and excite it.  I do not want the painting to keep the little one awake but do want him to enjoy looking at it.

Examples of vintage illustrations I like: the first is. of course, of Peter Rabbit
 by the great Beatrix Potter.

Here is a You Tube trailer to tantalize you...
If you have not seen it, there is a great movie about her life that I truly enjoyed. 

check out my Pinterest board

I have a whole collection of cards by the artist Ferrandiz, not as vintage
but superb in detail and delight.

Finally, ta da....it is finished. I am awaiting delivery of the mat and frame. Twin nieces, now five, have a corner of their bedroom which they call The Pineault Gallery (I am very honored!) where they add new pieces I send to them.  I have taken also, to designing and illustrating the boxes in which the children's gifts are mailed.  This has the advantage of also delighting the post office staff. 
 Everything can be fun!

The sky was the biggie.  It allowed me to "go abstract" and play. I love the result. It gave the piece depth of field, as did working the grassy area where the group sits.The tropical bird flew away from the back of the zebra as he was a distraction.  There are things I wish I could improve on, but this stands as it is now.  All my years in art have told me when to stop. 

  I hope this is the stuff of which sweet dreams are made....
This is the start of another children's home art gallery.