Mediums: Acrylic, Oil, Pastel, Watercolor, Colored pencil, fabric paint, graphite
Style: Realism, Impressionism
Favorite Quote: And in the End, the Love you take, is equal to the love you make, Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans.
Favorite Book: I don't normally read that much, so, I guess I don't have one.
Favorite Movie: I love Wizard of Oz, It's a Wonderful life, 1776, primarily uplifting movies, I cant stand horror flicks, or scary movies.
Psychedelic Beatles - Sandra Ragan, Won 2nd place 2013 at the fest for Beatles Fans, Chicago, Diptych, 2 30 by 40 inch canvases.
I have been an artist ever since I can remember. I remember doodling in the margins of the note book as a child, and getting in trouble for not paying attention in class. I have always been fascinated by the effects of light on an object, and have been on a quest to try to paint it. I am a professional artist, and have been since 2002. I primarily paint in Acrylic, but, have been expanding into other mediums and techniques. I paint a variety of subject matters, including nature, sunsets, celebrities such as the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, etc. I take commissions, and am a muralist as well. I enjoy challenging myself, and never want to stop learning. Art is a life long journey.
Please tell us about your first experience creating.
As a child, art came naturally to me, and my Mom had me take private lessons in it. I was a shy child, and had dyslexia, which affected my reading and writing ability. Art was the only thing I was ever really confident in.
What music do you like to have playing while creating art?
Usually, I do not play music when I paint, I like silence, so I can concentrate fully on what I am doing, especially when I am painting people. They are very difficult for me.
Tiffany's Butterfly - Sandra Ragan, 18 by 24, oil on acrylic. I painted this from a photo I took of a lamp shade from a local pub.
If you have a job besides being an artist, can you tell us about it?
I have had many jobs besides being an artist. I have worked at many customer service jobs, and I got tired of the way companies were treating me. I feel life is too short to be taking abuse in a job. I decided to do what I love for a living.
What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?
I try to convey the subject matter as best I can, in a realistic manner. I enjoy the challenge. I try to show light and shadow. I pick happy subjects to paint, places I want to be, like sunsets, or peaceful scenes. I stand for peace and happiness, and want to spread joy to others.
Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion:
I generally start by blocking in the shapes. If it is a nature scene, I generally paint the sky and background first, and then the foreground over it. I usually work fast, mixing colors on the canvas, since I work with acrylic, it is important to work fast. I try to define my subjects, bringing the lights out, and pushing the darks back for more contrast.
Creation of Adam - Sandra Ragan, commissioned work, 30 by 40 inch canvas, oil on acrylic. The same customer commissioned me to paint the crucifixion and Van Gogh as well.
What things inspire you to create art?
Some times other artists inspire me, I am in several arts groups on Facebook, and have been in competitions. I am inspired by seeing other artists work, and then think, I want to try that too! I enjoy painting the masters works, like Van Gogh, or Monet.
What exhibitions have you had?
I enter the Fest for Beatles fans Art contest in Chicago every year, and for the past 7 years in a row, have won either 1st, 2nd or 3rd, this year I won 2nd place. I have work at 6 places now, 3 of which are art galleries. I started having art shows in 2002, and in 2008, was in the best of the best art show, a show for all the artists in the local art leagues, who had won best in show.
Have you sold any of your artworks?
I have sold many works, thru either my Etsy shop, thru commissions, or at shows. I have been lucky to find some individuals that have commissioned me several times to paint various subject matters for them. I actually like selling work I have already painted, although commissions give me a challenge, I that I would not always do on my own.
Autumn Bridge - Sandra Ragan, 18 by 24 canvas, painted for the La Grange Art League, which I am a member of, La Grange, IL.
How do you promote your art on the internet?
I have an Etsy shop, and a Facebook page for my art. I put all my art on both pages, and have sold works from showing them on Facebook. I advertise my Etsy shop there too, and have made business cardsbusiness cards with my Webpage on it, and Etsy shop too. I feel the more you get yourself out there, the more chance you have to be successful.
Tell us about influences.
I really love the old masters, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet. I strive to do realism, and want to learn more of the techniques. I love the colors of Monet, he is my favorite. I think that shows in my art. I have been told my art is realism, but, beyond it, lots of color, that's what I love, colors.
Please recommend another artist you admire.
I love Georgina Flood, she is an awesome graphite artist, primarily do the Beatles, and other Celebrities, she is from Ireland. I have met her on 2 occasions, and we mutually respect each others art.
Tell us something interesting in your life.
I was blessed as a young 20 something to go to Indonesia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Malaysia, and more. It has broadened my views on life, to see how others live. I enjoyed England a lot, and Ireland was wonderful. It also inspired me with my art, and my dress too. I was able to have trained Elephants walk over me in Thailand, that was an experience, I got up on the cruise ship and sang in the talent show. Pretty cool stuff.
Do you have an embarrassing moment in your life?
Yes, doesn't every one? I once spoiled a surprise birthday party for my bosses husband. I was dumb and didn't look at the date on the invite, and assumed the party was on his birthday, well, it was the next week. I showed up a week early. Boy, did I wish I could just melt away. Well, it was all forgiven, but, I was really embarrassed.
If you could live your life over again, would there be anything you would do differently?
Yes, I would have had more confidence in myself as a young adult, and would have tried to do art as a living a lot sooner. It is not an easy way of life, very unpredictable, but, I am staying true to my soul.
What plans do you have for the future of your art?
I want to paint more murals. I enjoy that, and am trying to figure out how to get more mural gigs. I want to make more money as an artist.
Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?
Yes, follow your heart, never stop, no matter what, do what you love! Life is too short, be who you are. Never stop learning.