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Sandi Ciaramitaro: “Cook with Love & Paint with Passion”

Shea Stanfield~ 11/12/2014

SCOTTSDALE – Much like the master painters of the American West, Thomas Moran, Edgar Payne and Charles M. Russell, local artist Sandi Ciaramitaro exquisitely captures the mystery and magic of today’s whispering natural landscapes in true en plein air, alla prima style (in the fresh air, in one go).  Mesmerized by the vast expanses of red sandstone formed over centuries by swirling wind and rushing water, the daily routine of native inhabitants and the simplicity of life that teams on the land’s surface today, Sandi finds great joy in going off road to open areas of Arizona, New Mexico, and California.

This vast, silent landscape and simple lifestyle is a long way from East Detroit, Michigan where Sandi grew up and worked for 15 years for one of the top three automakers. Her training in Auto Body Design with a styling specialty eventually landed her top spot as coordinator of the small truck design. Her free, expansive, and bold painting style today would give you no hint of her draftsperson, engineering roots. Alas, not finding her free and most creative spirit nurtured by the button down world of auto manufacturing, Sandi enrolled in several painting class.  Soon she realized if she was going to “truly release that artist within,” she would need to strike out on her own adventurous path developing her own techniques.

Sandi has found her passion in a variety of paint mediums. She describes her watercolor process as extremely delicate and taking months to complete. For this reason, she will work on these in her studio loft, high above the Sonoran Desert overlooking the Tonto National Forest, where she lives in Arizona. As for her oils, she typically creates a few pieces every year, and in-studio, from the ones she paints on location, just as the Old Masters expanded their collections from their subject studies. In keeping with the “close to the earth and natural” theme of Sandi’s work, it is boarded with handmade frames crafted from 25-100 year old reclaimed Arizona wood. Her originals are truly original, which is a point highly appreciated by Sandi’s many collectors.  They enjoy the first show and pick of each new series produced before the items preview in the current season’s shows.

This year marks Sandi’s introduction into bronze relief. In this process, Sandi uses materials in her clay that provide unique texture to the piece, (i.e., stone, granite, mesquite, pyrite, etc). She plans to use turquoise and other materials that will be embedded, in some of the reliefs, as accents. This process was developed from a series of watercolors and oils that Sandi has titled “With Respect.” Her subject is the pueblo of Walpi on the 1st Mesa, one of the oldest continuously inhabited pueblos in the North America, dating to 900AD.  One of the pieces, a 7’ by 14” oil, is an accurate depiction of the full side of Walpi.  She is now using that painting as her reference to create the 7’ bronze relief of this beautifully, serene, and spiritual place. The bronze reliefs will debut at Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour in November, with the3D pieces making their entrance, in Sandi’s art productions, in 2015.

If all of this does not keep Sandi Ciaramitaro busy enough, she is also is the author of three coffee table Art gallery/Cookbooks that contain her work and her Tuscan Family recipes, entitled “Cook with Love & Paint with Passion” volumes I, II, III. All three are available on Amazon or at any of her shows this season.

Sandi has a busy season coming up and a number of wonderful opportunities for you to see her work, talk to her about her work, and become a collector. Sandi is Studio #20 on The Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour, the last two weekends in November (www.sonoranartsleague.org) and at the Arizona Fine Art EXPO, booth #56 and 61, Jan. 16-March 28, 2015. (www.arizonafineartexpo.com). To see the variety of projects Sandi is engaged in, publications where she has been featured, or to contact her with questions or purchases, visit her Web site at (www.SandiC.me).

Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield at flowingquill@yahoo.com.