Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An Interview With The Artist: Sandra Busby

Meet Sandra Busby. She's gorgeous right? And talented, kind, charming, witty, humble, funny, and truly one of the most genuine people it has ever been my good fortune to 'meet' through blogging. I honestly can't say enough good things about her. She's just awesome. She is skilled in several different mediums and is one of the few people that I have ever seen who can truly capture that wonder of being a child, that curiosity like you're seeing things for the first time, through her work, which is beautiful and sensitive. I hope you enjoy this interview with her, because I really did. And here's the link to her blog which you must go visit.

Now, Onward to the interview!

Once again, this is me. And this is Sandra. :)

This is the heading of your blog and I absolutely LOVE it. “We assume when we see a lovely piece of art hanging on a wall that it would have come easy to an Artist, but of course this is not always so. Most Artists will generally only show their best pieces of work. What we don’t often see are the private sketches of the Artist, the ‘failures’ and the sleepless nights that often go in to achieving a successful painting. So with that in mind, whilst I will share with you some of my better work, this blog is largely about what it takes for me to get there.” Sharing the good works with the bad takes a lot of courage. Can you tell us a little more about what brought you to this decision?

Having an ‘honest blog’ was important to me from the very beginning. I remember stumbling across a few art blogs long before I ever thought of having my own. I was in total awe of the work on display, and though I longed to be able to produce such a standard of work, as a fledgling Artist it all seemed so unreachable. Then one day I came across an art blog called ‘Laurelines’. It was full of simple, yet lively sketches. Her sketches did seem reachable to me and so that was a huge inspiration for me to keep trying. That said I quickly found that sketching is not as simple as it looks. In fact I still find sketching to be more of a challenge than anything else! Eventually I felt inspired to start my own blog, not just as a motivation to sketch more frequently, but I also hoped that by sharing both good and bad work, it might inspire others to have a go too. That is awesome, I just love that mindset! Remembering how intimidated I had felt by some of the amazing blogs out there, I felt that it was important to show people that every artist is a beginner at some point and that the ‘failures’ are nothing to fear, but rather a means to an end, another lesson learned and a step closer to becoming a better Artist.

Feeling Bubbly
acrylic by Sandra Busby

We all want to know how artists began their creative path. Can you tell us a little about your path to becoming the artist you are today?

When I was little, my friend Kerry and I used to draw all the time! I’d draw people and animals, make posters, comic-strips etc... I suppose I drew a quite a bit until I was about twelve. But that’s probably the last time I picked up a pencil before discovering the world of being a teenage girl; fashion, make-up, boys, lol!  I don’t think I ever picked up a pencil again until about four years ago. We had taken a holiday in Scotland a few months before and my friend Kerry and her husband had joined us too. Kerry carried her sketchbook around with her everywhere, but never once did she open it! I was longing for her to draw something but she was just never in the right frame of mind. She let me look through her sketchbook though and when I did, it sparked something inside and I just knew that I wanted to draw again. When we returned home, the first thing I did was to buy myself a sketchbook and pencil, but it was at least six months before I drew anything in it. I was just too frightened to spoil the pages! Anyway, finally one day I picked up my pencil and sketched the bird-table in the garden. It was at that moment that I knew I would never put my pencils down again.

Motivation for artists is a major focus of my blog, what is it that inspires you to create your art and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

Sometimes it can be a simple object which catches my eye. The inspiration for the Baubles in a Cocktail Glass for example, came from simply un-loading the dishwasher! I had put some glasses on the side ready to put away and noticed their reflections on the shiny black surface of the hob. I really wanted to re-create that in paint. Generally anything either shiny, light reflecting, or of some sentiment, inspires me to want to paint it. Aside from my family who continuously encourage me, I also find other art blogs to be a constant source of inspiration, not just because of the huge variety of art on show, but because of the endless encouragement and support I get from those people who leave comments on my own blog. It’s those comments that keep me motivated when things aren’t going well in my art studio! I love that part about blogging too. :))

Ted's Bear
oil by Sandra Busby

I love all of your pieces, and I’m especially fond of your sketches and works featuring all kinds of different subject matter, from bubbles and glass work to teddy bears and portraits. What has been your favorite subject to paint so far and what is something you would really like to try in the future?

It is my Dad’s Bear that remains my favourite painting to date. That ole’ bear has inspired me to begin a whole series of bears, which I will be painting in a similar style :0) I did enjoy my portraits, but I think that I am only able to successfully draw the people I know on the inside as well as on the outside. I really don’t think I could paint a stranger and capture their personality successfully as you can. I didn’t enjoy painting for the course I was on because I never felt that the work I produced came from the real me. It is the paintings, which you speak of, that were not part of the course but rather the art that I chose to create from my own vision. I believe that’s what makes those pieces successful. The Bubbles, the Baubles in a Cocktail Glass, the Brandy Glass, the Marbles, all of them are what I consider to be paintings by the real me in my own style and not by the me that is trying to paint in someone else’s. I certainly intend to do far more paintings from my own heart in the future. Being a keen Scuba-Diver, I would like to paint some under-sea scenes one day. I’m really looking forward to experimenting with that subject. I would LOVE to see those! Especially one with a shark in it. :)

For My Dad
pencil portrait by Sandra Busby

Life as an artist is pretty awesome. But it’s not all glitter and rainbows. What do you think is the best part of being an artist? And the worst part?

For me, the best part of being an artist is when I paint something for someone and I am able to touch them in some way. It’s the silliest things, like when I sketched my Aunties cow ‘Blossom’, of course my Dads bear, which I gave him for Fathers Day and the portrait I did of my Daughter, Adele. These are the paintings which I know will be treasured and it’s a wonderful feeling being able to do that for someone. The worst part is the frustration I feel when a painting is unsuccessful, particularly when it has taken a long time to do. No, wait – even worse than that, it’s the part where I actually post those disasters on my blog for the world to see! Lol!! But I have never seen a disaster posted on your blog! Never. :)

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist so far?

I would say that in the first couple of years, about seven out of ten drawings I produced were disasters! I’m pleased to say that now that number has significantly reduced, Huzzah!! but it’s a real challenge to get past that first stage without giving up! The other thing I find challenging is to try to fit painting in around work commitments and family time. Luckily my family are all incredibly supportive and encouraging, but when we are all at home together, I tend to avoid painting unless they are busy themselves.

Pen and ink sketch by Sandra Busby

What is one thing you want viewers of your paintings to walk away with?

My painting of course, lol! ;0D  :D Okay seriously, if they walk away from my painting having experienced any kind of warming emotional response, then I am happy :0)

Let’s talk about artistic influences. Who has been your biggest source of inspiration? Dead or alive.

Ooh, now that’s a difficult one because I like so many! But if I had to choose, then my favourite Artist of all time has to be Rolf Harris! He is 81 years old and very much alive! He was a big part of my childhood as an overall entertainer, but his main talent has always been painting. I could listen to his lovely Australian voice all day long and watch him effortlessly paint whilst singing away, taking the occasional break to play the Wobble-Board or Didgeridoo… He always makes me feel like a little girl again :0) I hope that he will one day be remembered as an ‘Old Master’ of the 20th – 21st century because, entertainment factor aside, he is an incredibly talented Artist.

Baubles in a Cocktail Glass 
acrylic by Sandra Busby

 Let’s say life as we know it is about to end and you’re in charge of creating an artistic time capsule for the aliens who recolonize Earth to find. What art - both classic and contemporary – would you insist on including?

Well, it would be important to include some wonderful portraiture so they could see what we humans looked like – I can think of none better than a Crystal Cook painting to suit that purpose! Why you sweet thing you!! *beams* Thank you my dear!
Hmm, I would have to include two of my favourite paintings; Monet’s ‘Impression Sunrise’ and ‘Scarlett Sunset’ by J W Turner, if only to teach them that they can look at the landscape in such different ways other than what is merely in front of their eyes - or eye – depending on what type of aliens they are of course! :0)
Oh and I would include a whole selection of Rolf Harris paintings. He paints so many different subjects in so many different styles that those Aliens would have plenty to look at!

Any tips or words of advice for beginning artists?

Yes – never see an unsuccessful drawing as a failure, but rather as another lesson learned and a step closer to becoming a better artist. They say there are 2000 awful paintings in every artist – so best get them all out of the way as soon as possible!

What do you like to do when you’re not painting?

Well I’m never more at home than I am when I’m Scuba-Diving, preferably surrounded by sharks, which are beautiful and gentle creatures contrary to their reputation - but the UK is not the best place for Scuba-Diving unfortunately, so I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. I also love to write (a kindred spirit!) and I once began writing a novel!  Unfortunately I didn’t choose the best time to do it since my children where so young, but creative writing is something I have always enjoyed. Finally, aside from enjoying evenings out together with friends and family, I equally love a cosy evening in with my family in front of the log fire :0)

Mummy, I've Been!
watercolor by Sandra


Dawn or dusk? Dusk
Sweet or salty? Sweet… Yum!
Winter or Summer? Autumn, lol! Oh, okay then – Summer.
Zombies or Unicorns? A Zombie riding a Unicorn? No? Oh, well, then I’ll have to say… Zombie :0)
Dine in or eat out? Eat out
All-time favorite book? Bridget Jones Diary (Oh, how I wish I could give you a more cultural answer without telling fibs!) That is an excellent choice!! :)
All-time favorite movie? I have two – Grease and Harry Potter!
All-time favorite food? My Nanny Molly’s Mousse, and Haagan Daz Pecan Nut and Caramel ice-cream. I have been known to eat an entire family size tub in one sitting – oo-er!
Housework or yardwork? Housework – I am useless at gardening!
Strong heart or strong mind? Strong Heart :0)

Thank you SO much Sandra! This interview was so fun and you are such an inspiration!! :))

Until Thursday everyone! Huzzah!


  1. Cool interview. Sandra's work is gorgeous xx

  2. great interview, Crystal....Sandra's blog is awesome

  3. wonderful, delightful and such a great way to get to know someone whose work and personality i truly admire!

  4. Yay!! Two of my favorite people talking to each other in a post!! Love this and think that you are both terrific!

  5. Wonderful post, Crystal!! As far as Sandra...she's incredibly talented!

  6. Wonderful post, Crystal. Love your interviews!

  7. First thanks to Crystal for doing such a fabulous job on these interviews. It is plain awesomeness going through these. And Sandra it was great to know about you too. But I am still jealous of your trip to the gallery. :)

  8. Oh Crystal, thank you for featuring Sandra! She sounds just great. It's nice reading extended answers - we usually know our blogger friends just from one-line comments : ). What a brave one! Swimming with sharks? Holy smokes. Beautiful work - I especially love her mouse sketch. Don't remember ever having seen it before.

  9. Wonderful!!! I have long been a big fan of Sandra and her work. As someone who also posts his poor efforts in order to show beginners it's ok to mess up, I share her philosophy totally. Well done SAndra and thank you Crystal. ;-)

  10. interesting dialogue...
    the pictures i met in your blog are very beautiful...
    special congrats for that...

  11. Crystal, thanks for the interview with Sandra, and as I follow both of you it was a double treat!
    Sandra is a joy, her art is inspiring , and she is truly talented. BJ

  12. I have just had the pleasure of reading these comments and I really want to say thank you to everyone. I am simply gushing!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :0D

  13. great interview crystal sandra is wonderful ! i remember watching rolf harris as a child !

  14. Terrific interview Sandra. I love the bubble! I haven't seen that painting and I didn't realize you we're such a master at painting glass!! Cheers.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment they really do mean so much to me! Because not all bloggers have their email enabled so I can reply directly through email I will try to reply here in the comments. If I don't please forgive me, life must have been hectic that day! :)) Huzzah!!

Related Posts with Thumbnails