Victoria Shepard

My sand paintings begin on the beach near Cascade Head, Oregon.  The goal is to create something more abstract, to improvise without thinking. In the studio (before the trip to the beach) elements are added to create textures that work with and beyond the sand. “Build” a canvas with seemingly disparate items: strips of metal, organic leaves and sticks, clay slip, images from books. The process begins with submerging the canvas in the water, allowing the sand to adhere to the surface. Acrylic color is added next, dictated by the forms and shapes the sand makes. I approached these canvases without any preconceived ideas. In time, as the color is added, the sand-forms reveal a theme: the ongoing tension between humankind and the forces of nature.

Each image reveals a story, an event, an impression of that theme. The goal was to move beyond realism. Juxtaposing a representational approach (in oil) with the abstract element of poured and shifted sand (in acrylic) presents the opportunity to express two styles within one painting. I paint because it is the one thing I do in my life that enables me to feel totally alone. This solitude brings me closer to my essence than any other personal act.