Sandra celebrates the beauty of the human spirit through art. Her dramatic use of light sensitively draws the viewer into the honesty and intimacy that illuminates her portraiture.   Raised in rural Iowa, her desire to draw and paint people was kindled early.  Introduced to oil painting at age 11, she painted her first commissioned portrait at the tender age of 14.

At 21, Sandra followed her heart West, finding inspiration in the people, cultures, and vast landscapes of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.  Without formal training, she pursued artistic growth through perseverance and attending workshops with master artists, including Howard Terpning, Bettina Steinke, Daniel Gerhartz, Rose Frantzen, David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw, Gregg Kruetz, Phil Starke, Bob Wygant, Howard Rogers, and others.  Through many years she exhibited in national shows throughout the West, and galleries in Scottsdale, Tucson, Jackson Hole, Taos, Colorado Springs and Red Lodge.

In recent years, Sandra’s love of nature led her to venture outdoors and explore the world of landscape painting.  She has been awarded Residencies with Ucross Foundation (2017), Jentel Artist Residency (2018), Tongue River Artist Residency (2019) and most recently the Brinton Museum Artist in Residence program (2020); providing opportunity for immersion in the study and practice of plein air painting.  Her art continues to evolve with renewed passion and vision.

Sandra’s work is included in the permanent collections of the National Park Service, United States Air Force Academy, and Western Heritage Museum, Billings, Montana.  She makes her home, with husband Shane, in the heart of Crow country, Big Horn County, Montana, and continues to find inspiration and authenticity for her sensitive portrayals of humanity and surrounding landscape.

From early childhood in rural Iowa, my days were spent with pencil and paintbrush in hand.  Introduced at age 11 to oil paints and a book of Caravaggio’s work… I was mesmerized by his light-filled portraits.  My passion for painting people had been ignited, and by age 14 had painted my first commissioned portrait. 

Eager to develop my art to the next level, I soon headed West, seeking inspiration in the people and landscape.  My husband Shane and I raised our two sons and made our home in the Colorado mountains, and eventually fell in love with Crow country in Montana.  I’m blessed to have found vision and creative expression within my own communities.

Through many years of growth and discovery, I’m always challenging myself to pursue opportunities for learning something new.  But I’m still most inspired by each memorable person who crosses my path, and becomes the subject of my next light-filled portrait.

I believe my desire to paint is God-given, and I hope to capture in every painting the essence of our Creator’s love and compassion for people.  I love portraying the beauty of the human spirit on canvas and am inspired to continue painting as my life’s work.” Sandra Harris