Mention the name Sandra Wood, and many Boyertown Elementary School graduates over a 40-year period remember an energetic art teacher who created and brought her wide-mouth frog puppet Ollie to classes to demonstrate the techniques of van Gogh, Cezanne, and Matisse or the wedding for Ollie and Clara Jean, in which the entire school participated.
Others recall her work in local theatre, Crayola Art and Literacy and Art in Math programs, or—most recently—her 2009 summer classes at Studio B, Boyertown’s art gallery and teaching studio, during “I Can Be a Puppeteer” or “I Can Be a Storyteller” weeks.
But for her friends and fans, Wood’s “second act” as the poster child for a satisfying and successful life as a fine artist who travels the globe as a plein air painter is most inspiring. Her wide-ranging travels, teaching, and natural energy and enthusiasm for life combine to inspire landscapes and still life paintings that reflect her delight in refreshing images lush in color taken from her environment.
Sandra Wood brings her world to Boyertown in an array of paintings demonstrating this prolific painter’s love affair with color and form.
“I like starting with something realistic like the three pears that appear on the exhibit’s promotional poster and postcard,” Wood shared. “I like the paint and color to be loose and juicy, yet I want to control the contour of the shape and the shading.”
“We live in an age when our world is bathed in artificial light and fast-paced altered images. My work focuses on reacquainting the viewer with the nuances of natural light, color, and form. All my images are personal expressions of actual objects or places in my environment,” she noted.
“My work reflects a continuous effort,” Wood explains. “Like an athlete in training, you have to work at it every day to improve and push yourself to go beyond the next level.” During her travels Wood makes sketches and paintings of the many sites and places she visits and binds her sketches into booklets.
Always the teacher, Wood is dedicated to promoting art education and happy to have a chance to continue to teach locally. Wood is a long-time board member of the Pennsylvania Art Education Association–awarded recently as the Outstanding Retired Educator Award–and offers perspectives gained from her travels.
Global changes to teaching art fuel her dedication. “Art is essential in the growth of children,” Wood offered. “When I visited China, I learned it is changing its approach. They have discovered that graduates need verbal, interpersonal, and higher-level thinking skills to ensure their success. They recognize that enhancing creativity and problem-solving skills is an integral part of a successful education.”
Bob and Sandy Wood Interview, Studio B, Boyertown, PA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXpgOP93eqQ&t=8s