For many years Sandy painted in a very realistic style using acrylics. In 2010 she was bored painting every feather. She started experimenting with a new style that focused less on every feather and more on the “design” of each subject.
Some works are created by making detailed drawings using permanent inks, which are then scanned into her computer. Others are hand drawn directly into a computer using either a mouse or special pen and pad. Next she creates a unique palette of colors to layer over the drawings. Her tools have changed, but the mental processes used to create the art have not.
Seeing things in a new way – experimenting with new ideas – that’s what artists do, and this new style has been well-received by her followers.
Born in 1958 and raised in a small town in Iowa called La Porte City, Sandy loved exploring the area around the local Wolf Creek. She worked in her family’s small restaurant after school and during the summers, and eventually started painting as a teenager. She was an excellent student and excelled in math and science, but still chose to pursue a career in art… which seemed to be much more interesting… but worried her parents.
Being a practical person, and knowing she needed to make money with her art, she enrolled and graduated from Hawkeye Institute of Technology with a 2-year degree in Commercial Art and shortly thereafter worked at a variety of Ad Agencies in Iowa and North Dakota (where she met her future husband, Greg).
Eventually they both roosted in the Rochester, MN area, halfway between both families. Sandy found work as the in-house Art Director of Think Mutual Bank where she continues to create their advertising and promotional materials. She joined and became very active in the South Eastern Minnesota Visual Artists (SEMVA) group, which started their own Gallery in downtown Rochester. There Sandy exhibited and sold her bird art for more than 20 years until the Gallery was forced to close in 2015 due to urban development.
To learn more about her favorite subjects (birds), Sandy joined the local Audubon chapter and volunteers with them often. She leads walks, staffs outreach events and, using her graphic design skills, manages their website at www.ZumbroValleyAudubon.org and produces their Enewsletters and printed materials. She also does freelance and volunteer graphic design work for several Olmsted County Parks.
“Staplers and paper clips and cell phones … those things are nice to have. But the really, really good stuff … that stuff is outside … where birds fly thousands of miles to nest in just the right spot, where the sun’s rays pass through a forest of leaves creating a natural cathedral, where earth’s creatures pass quietly by… I want to be out there.” Sandy Hokanson