Sunday, 16 August 2015


Dear Friends, Followers, all beautiful crafty souls out there!

Welcome back to Mixed Media World! Today is a very special day for me. If you've been following this blog you know that we run a series that we call 'Star Designers'. The clue is in the name. It is all about inviting and introducing well-known mixed media artists from all around the world not only to talk about their wonderful achievements, to tell you about new products or publications they released, but mainly for them to come to us to connect with you and vice versa! And today really is special and if you are reading this I suggest that you make a cuppa and enjoy!

Today I have a great pleasure of introducing the one and only abstract collage artist...

Sandra Duran Wilson

"The senses become mixed and intertwined in the mind of the artist. Sounds appear in colors, numbers sing songs and frequencies dance in her head. Synesthesia is a crossing of the senses. The paintings and works on paper are a beautiful blending of sounds, science, and nature.

Sandra Duran Wilson comes from a family of artists and scientists. She grew up in a world where everything was possible, where she would look through the microscope in her father’s office and then draw what she saw. Sandra’s early years were spent on the border of Mexico where the people, animals, landscape, drama of the religious rituals, and stories of the curanderas shaped her reality. Years later she would return frequently to Mexico and South America to absorb the culture, traditions, and art. Her spirituality combined with her scientific studies has directed her work from realism to abstract mixed media.

Her work is influenced by abstract scientific concepts in physics, biology and chemistry. The pure fun of exploring what paint can do and her natural curiosity keeps the work fresh and lively. Her work is represented in the US and Australia and is found in many corporate, civic, and educational collections and in private collections worldwide.

She experiments, paints, writes and teaches at her studio in Santa Fe, NM, and also teaches around the US, Europe and Australia. She is the author of five art technique books and several instructional DVDs."

I have been a big fan for quite some time! Sandra and I seem to have one thing in common and that is our love for exploring and using various materials to create interesting textures! I, however, am still learning whereas Sandra has been a professional artist for about 20 years now, released five fantastic books to this date and have enriched many lives by her gorgeous art! If you want to learn about the techniques Sandra uses in her art and have a go at your very own abstract collage you can learn so much just by attending one of Sandra's workshops.
The way she uses textures, colours and adds interest to her artworks is out of this world. If you cannot travel don't worry! There are wonderful books (Alternative Art Surfaces, Mixed Media Revolution, Surface Treatment Workshop, Image Transfer Workshop and her most recent book Acrylic Painting for Encaustic Effects) that you can purchase, learn from and explore in a comfort of your own home! You can purchase all via Amazon and even pre-order her latest book! Christmas or not, I'm buying one!! :)

I must salute Sandra for releasing this book. You ask why... she shares 45 wax free techniques to achieve encaustic effects! She's saving the bees!!! A big virtual hi-five, Sandra! I explained that I bought a small and rather expensive 100g pot of organic bees wax not so long ago, but couldn't stop feeling guilty using it despite the fact I made an inchie to test it ;/ Bees are exploited enough for all their by-products by food, cosmetic and other industries. The art and craft world is huge and we should be a little more considerate with the way we approach encaustic art. Ok, the eco-warrior in me is starting to surface so back to the point. Sandra has done a brilliant job releasing a book on using alternatives and I would like to support and congratulate her on the idea and would like to spread the news. You will find a link to her book on the side bar. Please note, this is not an affiliate link, i.e. I will not get paid when you click on it, I put it there to support the overall idea.

A couple of sample pics you'll find in the book...

Gorgeous! Enough from me though, Sandra has written a wonderful article for you, Ladies and Gentlemen, provided us with an exclusive interview by answering a few of our questions and is sharing a few examples of her gorgeous art. I bet you can't wait and are as excited as I am so here's our little interview....

What inspires you most to create? / Where does your inspiration come from?
Concepts, like ideas in science. I love to experiment and see what materials can be pushed to do. I have a background in science and my studio is like a laboratory, complete with test tubes and a microscope.

Do you pre plan your pieces, or are they often the result of just 'going with the flow'?
Yes and no. If you were to peek inside my sketch books you would see a lot of writing. I am usually working on ideas that I would like to express, like astrophysics on the edge of space. My sketches are very rudimentary and I will often add color concepts. I pull ideas from magazines on architecture and design to inspire me. I may see an interesting color combination in fashion and I jot the idea down in my sketch book. But, when I begin to create the painting often has other plans. I have learned to listen to the painting and follow it where it leads.
Sometimes I just begin with materials and products and push and play until I have something cool to work with.

What is your favourite medium to work with?
Acrylic and all of the wonderful mediums, gels and pastes that go along with acrylics.

Do you have a tool which you couldn't live without?
My hands! I do paint with my hands a lot. I also like to use silicone color shaper tools. I also will grab unusual materials to create texture like cardboard cup holders, wood skewers and deli papers.

What's your craft space like?
I have worked in tiny closet spaces, on my bed, in garages, on the dining room table, the extra room, but now I have a fantastic space where I create and teach. I designed my studio and when we bought this home it was because it had space for the future studio. It has never mattered what the space was like to create-I just needed to create. I am sure you all feel this way too.

Here is a video of my studio

Do you have a favourite colour combo?

I love complimentary colors like blue/turquoise-red/orange or purple, orange and green.
I have a crossing of the senses, synesthesia. When I hear music I see colors and numbers have sounds. Sometimes I paint to specific music or lectures. I did a painting based on Richard Feynmans physics lecture on gravity and space. It is now in the home of a college dean.

What is your favourite creation to date?
Hard to say. I have many favorites but now I am challenging myself with sculptures. I have a few favorites, but they all have new homes. I do keep a few paintings, but I give them to my husband so I am not tempted to sell them.

Sandra also wrote a fab article that we'd like to share with you today: 

"I have always sensed things in non-traditional ways. I would “hear” numbers, feel others sensations, see wavelengths and textures always captivated me. I grew up on the border of Texas where my family was all doctors, nurses and healers. The Catholic Church played a big role with the drama of the rituals and the small but colorful churches. I remember someone speaking of eternity and I asked what it was. They said endless space and time. I was probably about 4 or 5 years old, so I had not even developed abstract reasoning. I imagined going out into space beyond the solar system and then there was a brick wall, but what was beyond that? My mind would create all kinds of worlds beyond the walls, but I never got to comprehending eternity. In my work, circles represent this non-linear time.
I sometimes would stand on my head and look at the world upside down. I would imagine walking on the ceiling and having to jump to go through a doorway. Throughout my life, when confronted with a thought dilemma, I would turn my thinking upside down to come up with new answers or lines of thinking.
I grew up with scientists and artists both and was always encouraged to use all of my talents. I learned color mixing sitting next to my great-aunt Santa Duran, who taught me to paint at the age of 5. She showed me how to mix colors, but I always heard and felt them. It was a very intuitive process. Later when I studied science and optics, I would know all about color perceptions and wavelengths, but I would still sense color. I could feel it. 
When I was studying science at UNM, I had many statistics classes and experimental science classes. When I would be working with numbers, I would hear songs; and these songs would produce certain colors in my mind. When I would be working in the garden, poems would flow into my mind and I would say them aloud to the plants. This poems led to stories and paintings too. For me, math and numbers were frequencies which were songs that led to colors and the movement and the poems would aid in creating the compositions. 
When I am working in my studio I only listen to music or lectures when I want to be influenced by them. The gallery recently sold a painting and the collector wanted to know what I was listening to when I created it. I laughed because I was listening to a lecture by Richard Feynman on the uncertainty of knowing. Some pieces are created in silence and I am hoping to create songs from the paintings. I have been working with a simple online synthesizer but I am looking to collaborate on some future projects.
I see the world as a matrix, sometimes it is moving slowly and I can get a glimpse between the pixels; and sometimes it is moving so fast it is like a blur that takes on a whole new sensation of sound, taste, feel and color. I think I have always experienced altered sensations. As a child I felt I could hear the animals talking to me and the sounds of the breeze, the running water and even the rain had stories to tell me. Math and science are like a poetic language that weaves its way into my work.
Experimenting and mixing things up has intrigued me all of my life and I have always done these things in one way or another. As a jeweler or a bartender, I would stir things up to make new patinas or a new margarita. This is my passion as an artist. My training as an experimental scientist plays out in my experiments. I have written 5 books on art techniques. My favorite book was on alternative surfaces because I really got to explore and experiment with many materials and surfaces not commonly used in art. My first question of the day is always, What if?
The sculptures I am now creating using cast acrylic, resin and steel are a compilation of all the techniques and knowledge I have acquired over the last 30 years of making art. I am using many painting techniques along with developing and creating textures. I am employing my knowledge of printmaking, which is what my fine art degree is in and I am I am continually challenging myself to experiment and explore. The technical challenges keep me intrigued and I have never run out of ideas for making sound and beauty visible."

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Sandra a little more. The samples of her work we're sharing here are exquisite and I personally would love to get a closer look! 

The dimension on the last piece is amazing! I think you'll agree with me when I say that Sandra Duran Wilson certainly is a star in the world of art. Each and of her artworks is a true reflection of her talent and her curious soul. I would like to invite you to explore her website as well as her blog and join her via social media. You will certainly find the inspiration that you crave. 

Feel free to say hi and share your thoughts in the comments below, we're look forward to hearing from you! 

Seeing all of these wonderful textured wonders created by Sandra I hope you're feeling inspired and ready to create your very own art for our current challenge 'Gorgeous textures'! I can't wait to see what you'll make. Have a quick read of our simple rules and join, join! ;)

A BIG THANK YOU to Sandra for her time and for coming to share her own mixed media world with us! Thank you, Sandra! You rock! xx

Thank you, dear reader, for spending some time with us today! See you soon! 

Big hugs, 

Ingrid xxx 


  1. yes ! Duran Wilson is a star in the world of art.
    thank you for this fabulous discovery
    I love abstract art
    corinne de france ( Hello of costa del sol )

  2. Totally awestruck after looking at the work

  3. Wow - so interesting. Thanks bunches for so much inspiration here.... j.

  4. So wonderful to learn so much more about Sandra, her process and her work. A wonderful choice!!

  5. Beautiful work, really fascinating way of creating, love all the examples shown here
    Donna xxx

  6. Fabulous!! I need to follow you Sandra!
    Thank you Ingrid for a fantastic spotlight and interview! xx

  7. thank you for this fabulous discovery


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