Artist Spotlight: Sandy Ostrau

The California artist will be exhibiting her work in Meyer Vogl Gallery’s show, Raw, in March.


Crimson Field by Sandy Ostrau
36×36 oil on canvas

1. What is it about painting figures in a landscape that delights you?

Once you add a figure to a landscape it becomes the focal point. I like to play with composition to make it intriguing and unexpected. I like the elements to be just a little bit off balance so the painting will be even more interesting to the viewer. I also feel that placing a figure in the landscape pulls the viewer into the piece in a more intimate way. It’s a challenge to introduce a figure but not give away too much information about who that figure might be. I want the viewer to invent the story. I want to provide a prompt, not the whole story.

2.How do you decide what to paint next? Are you inspired by everyday scenes, particular moments, your travels?

I am often inspired by the landscape and city scenes around me. I spend a lot of time outdoors and the colors and shapes in nature are endlessly inspiring. Whenever I travel or even when I am in a cafe or restaurant at home I bring a sketch book and sketch the scenes and scenery I encounter. These sketches will then be used in my paintings whether simply a tree or an entire scene with multiple figures.

3. Artist you idolize (alive): Raimonds Staprans

4. Artist you idolize (not alive): Nicolas De Stael

5. Biggest challenge as an artist:

It’s a job that never quits, so my mind is constantly revolving around what to paint next or what I am working on in my painting. It keeps me awake at night sometimes.

6. If you weren’t a professional artist, you’d most likely be: An architect

7. Have you ever painted yourself into one of your figures in a landscape painting?

They always say every painting is autobiographical, but I don’t think I put myself into my work. I actually aim to create figures that are not identifiable at all. I like them to be anonymous and to represent whomever the viewer sees in the work.