Essays & Reviews

Excerpts from selected writings about Sally’s work from exhibition catalogs, books and magazines.

“For California artist, Sally Strand, the essence of life is expressed through fleeting moments. It is as if, in her art, she stops the action for us to pause and appreciate the myriad details of color, light and gestures — light coming through a window, a figure pausing in solitude, or two or more strangers sharing a momentary space. Her art, created with pastels, mixed media, or oil paint, portrays anonymous people and things within the tapestry of life’s ordinary experiences…With daring precision and artistic virtuosity, Strand presents her many subjects — still life, people in everyday activities, or human drama…Clearly, Strand is a master artist and a renowned teacher. Not only does she create soul-searching art, but the sensitivity of her vision to render transitory beauty — is an education in how to view the richness of the visual world.” – Roberta Carasso, Ph.D.:
From the catalogue essay, Sally Strand, Bakersfield Art Museum, Solo Exhibition, January, 2006

“Accomplished pastel artist Sally Strand is best known for her ability to translate the extraordinary beauty of everyday life through the expression of light and color…This sense of light coupled with her ability to communicate gesture and mood in her figurative compositions has established Strand’s reputation as an artist…A keen sense of seeing light within abstract shape and gesture is Strand’s strength, and translating that to her viewers is her gift.” – Lauren Kane:
Translating the Everyday Into Exquisite Works of Art, The Telluride Watch, September 10, 2004

“People go about their daily routines – a chef cooks, a seamstress sews, a man reads the morning paper while drinking a cup of coffee…These objects, these people are seen so often they are no longer seen at all. Drawing from a big bag of tools and formidable technique to assert her vision and imagination, an artist such as Sally Strand can change all that…An alchemist with a brush and colored sticks, Strand coaxes the extraordinary out of the ordinary. She finds drama in the quotidian, though at the end of the day, her subject is always the same – the magical interaction of light and color…Pears painted by Strand are clearly blessed.” – Susan Viebrock: Artist Captures the Magical Interaction of Light, Color, Telluride Daily Planet, September 10, 2004

“Whatever the subject, technique or medium, Sally’s vision comes across as strongly as the shaft of light that illuminates and brings beauty to the simple and ordinary moments of life celebrated in her paintings.” – Maggie Price:Sally Strand, Understanding the Value of Light, The Pastel Journal, 2001

“Strand, another favorite from this show and a master painter of color values, also uses everyday events and objects for her subject matter. Her image of three eggs elevates the ordinary into the heroic, in this delicate, dexterous exercise in opalescence.” – Susan Viebrock, Telluride Daily Planet, March, 1995

“Sally Strand’s paintings are a celebration of the everyday event. You see here ordinary people going about their lives – reading, cleaning, having tea, getting on buses, playing tennis and visiting the beach. If they were snapshots, these images would have a certain charm – but the paintings have a starling impact. Their special vitality comes from the artist’s interpretation of her theme through a palette of vibrant lights and colours, beautifully textured by her handling of materials and techniques. The quality of light is Sally’s subject on equal terms with the figurative content of the work and for this, pastel is the perfect medium. She organizes her complex, multi-layered surfaces as a synthesis of form and colour, creating the magical impression that the paintings are transmitting their own light. At the same time, she provides a variously witty, serene and touching commentary of daily life…A sense of personal association with Sally’s human subjects if frankly irresistible. You can identify people just like these among your family and friends, people you see in the street and in other public places…You don’t need to know where the people are going to when they board the bus…you are instantly absorbed in that isolated fraction of their ‘story’. You have even been part of an incidental grouping…of people who merely happen to come together in the same place at the same time…Every viewer is an ‘expert’ in relation to Sally’s subjects, because the situations are familiar and we are all used to reading the body language and gestures of both friends and strangers. It is a truthful kind of expressiveness that she shows us, the pose that describes something fundamental about character and mood.” – Judy Martin: Masterclass with Sally Strand, Pastels Masterclass, 1993

“By putting together ordinary domestic objects in an inventive way, the artist finds an unusual and beautiful image…But the success of the image is dependent as much on highly developed skills of observation as on expert handling of the medium.” – Judy Martin, The Encyclopedia of Pastel Techniques,1992

“Using a double media method to achieve a greater depth and texture than customarily associated with pastels, she underpaints a preliminary sketch with rich, vibrant colors. Exciting and intriguing, these large-scale urban pastels find beauty in the commonplace – transforming their composition, light and scene into an elegant moment to be shared between the subject, the artist and the viewer.” – Art-Talk, January 1990

“Light is the essence of Sally Strand’s art – ordinary people and situations made extraordinary with brilliant light and shadows…With the bold value contrasts from a strong overhead sun, these unremarkable people become intriguing arrangements of color, shape, and value.” – Carole Katchen, Creative Painting with Pastel,1990

“A drawing which so successfully creates both solid form and a sense of atmosphere results from the artist allying her technical expertise to a highly developed skill in colour perception. Sally Strand is able to judge the precise combinations of hues and tones that recreate a specific visual impression. The way she handles the soft pastel textures allows every hint and accent of colour to make a telling contribution to the overall image.” – Judy Martin, Drawing with Colour, 1989

“Sally Strand is one of those rare individuals who can look tragedy in the eye and elicit from it that which is empowering and even uplifting. And she uses the artistic proficiency she’s built up through years of hard work and dedication to that same end, crafting poignant tableaux that purposely underscore all the beauty and magic inherent in the everyday physical world presented to her and, by skillful extension, to her audience.” -Jacqueline M. Pontello: Sally Strand, Southwest Art Magazine, June, 1989