Sandra Passmore Byland
Colored Pencil Artist Sandra Passmore Byland was born in Pasadena, California and grew up knowing that she was an artist. She began showing her work at the age of 17 and by the time she was 21, she had many regional awards under her belt. “Being an artist isn’t just what I do – it is who I am down to my core. My mother was a professional photographer and my father was a very fine artist, writer and musician. I entered the world immersed in this wonderful creative soup. I remember clearly at age two telling people that I was already an artist. My parents lovingly provided me with a continuous stream of professional art supplies growing up and wonderful support and encouragement.”
Sandra spent countless hours hoarding her mother’s beautiful black and white photography and quietly studying the images in her room. By thoughtfully examining the photographs throughout her childhood, she taught herself about contrast, shading, form and composition. Similarly, standing by her father’s side and watching him paint in pastels, she absorbed how to blend colors to create dynamic imagery and carefully considered his attention to detail. Her parents allowed Sandra the space and freedom to express herself and discover and develop her own techniques.
As an adult, Sandra became an Art Director and Graphic Designer, all the while pursuing her fine art. Her work has been highlighted in Horses and Art Magazine, Parelli Savvy Times Magazine and Cowboys and Indians Magazine. She took First Place twice in the Southern California Exposition in Del Mar, California as well as Best of Show. She is a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America and has been a member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.
In later years, Sandra became Head of Humane Education at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, where she created numerous programs on kindness to animals for children and adults across the nation. Her fine art was highlighted there with several one-woman shows at this magnificent and renowned animal refuge. During this time, she was also invited to be the Guest Artist at the International Parelli Horse Summit in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Horses have always been a passion for Sandra, both in her personal life and in her art. “Horses are a part of my spirit, and I see horses and my art as a blend of who I am. Extending out from this connection with horses is a love of all animals and the natural world. My art is an expression of the unity that I feel with all living things. And horses have always been the epicenter for that passion.”
Today Sandra makes her home in Sedona, Arizona with her husband and her animals. “Living in Sedona provides a continual source of inspiration. Whether I am absorbing the beautiful colors and forms of the landscape, bird watching, observing animals in the wild or spending precious time with my horse, Sedona is the ultimate backdrop for me. The sounds, the scents, the colors, the wildlife, the silence – it all combines to create the perfect palette for me as an artist.”
Sandra is a master of Colored Pencil and has been working in the medium for over 35 years. “It is through this media that I find my greatest artistic joy. I love the precision I can get, the detail and the control that drawing affords me. I am a completely self-taught artist and have developed my own colored pencil techniques over many decades. I blend layers and layers of colors to get textures and details. I have also discovered how to use some little known Old Master techniques not usually combined in colored pencil work. My pieces are also varnished, just as with oil paintings instead of framed under glass.”
As far as subject matter, Sandra’s passion for animals is a constant theme in her work. She concentrates on the eyes of the animals, “… to bring you closer to their spirit. My hope is that through gazing into their eyes, the viewer might be able to connect with the beauty of their souls and open up that part of us which is also a part of them.” When not drawing, Sandra can often be found out with her horse, renewing her inspiration for the next piece.
“Currently I am working on a body of work of the endangered species of the Southwest. I hope to capture their heart so that all can see their beauty before they are gone. And just maybe through my art I can help build an appreciation for these beautiful creatures and raise awareness of their plight so that they might be saved after all.”…..Dr. Sandra Passmore Byland