You might be familiar with Sandra Strait through her Zentangle inspired artwork, tangle patterns, and product reviews on her blog, Life Imitates Doodles. Sandra was also a participant in the 2012 Rhodia Journal Swap.
RD: Sandra, where in the world are you located, and do you have a day job?
Fariview, Oregon, and nope. My day job was downsized four years ago. I took early retirement and have spent the time catching up with my art.
RD: How long have you been making art?
Forever. I truly don’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing something. Mostly horses, when I young.
RD: What attracted you to Zentangling?
My mother was very sick for over a year. At the time, the hospital had just installed a new computer system and everything was chaos. I was literally staying at the hospital for days on end. During those times when I only had a folding chair to sit in, was worried sick, and didn’t want a lot of stuff to carry around, Zentangle was perfect. It only requires a pen and paper, and it’s terrific for helping you stay calm when insanity surrounds you. It’s been a part of my art ever since.
RD: Why do you like working with rubber stamps?
With mixed media, I like to use the abstract or patterned ones to get specific textures. Usually, I pull out the realistic rubber stamps when I hit a creative lull, or feel as though I’m getting a bit stale. Having something on the page that isn’t my own makes me think about what I’m doing in a different manner. It’s sort of a jumpstart to get me looking in different directions. Then the owner of Viva Las VegaStamps! asked me do a magazine ad for the company, and then to join their design team and, for a couple of years, I was using lots of stamps. That’s when I submitted my drawings to Rubber Stamp Madness. Since I’ve left the design team, I’ve gone back to using stamps as a more occasional thing.
RD:Where would you like your art to take you? Are there any mediums that you haven’t yet tried but would like to explore?
I don’t have plans or goals when it comes to my art. I’ve always been someone that likes to thoroughly immerse myself in a medium or method, and then suddenly move on to the next thing. I’ll just see something and think, ‘Wow! I want to know more about that.” So, I like to keep my options open, and feel free to change directions at the drop of a hat (one of the reasons that I use so many different mediums). Most likely, Zentangle will always be present in my art, but I find myself going back to a more realistic style at the moment, and using watercolor and acrylic paints. But tomorrow, I might see something that takes my fancy and be off with something entirely new.
RD: What is your favorite medium to work in? Favorite art supplies?
Right now, my favorite medium is watercolor. I think, more than any other medium, you have to learn to give up control and let the paint have its way. You can coax, and guide, and learn all the tricks and techniques but the paint will still surprise you. That element of surprise is very important to me.
RD: What are your favorite Exaclair products?
Oh, that’s a hard one. I wouldn’t be without a dot Webbie to work in, and I love the effects I can get with J. Herbin inks so I’ll name those.
RD: Is there an Exaclair product that doesn’t exist, that you wish would be created?
I think it would be interesting to have colored paper of the Clairefontaine or Schut quality. Something in a light sepia or graytone.
RD: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I don’t think I would have discovered the joys of using fountain pen ink for drawing/painting if not for Exaclair, Inc. They gave me the opportunity to try out J. Herbin’s inks and I fell in love with the intensity and tones.
In the upcoming issue of Rubber Stamp Madness magazine, Sandra has an article featuring some of her Copic marker bleedthrumanades shown in this post. All six of these examples were created on sheets from the Rhodia Premium “R” N16 notepad.
(What’s a bleedthrumanades? When you use alcohol markers, the color usually bleeds through to the back. Sandra tangles on the front of the paper, then turns the page and uses the same color base for another drawing.)