Robert M. Sandford is an oil painter from Lexington, Kentucky, who specializes in Plein Air landscape, painting on-location. Since his graduation from Eastern Kentucky University he has participated in many local, regional and national exhibits. His mission to travel and paint the landscapes of the world has taken him throughout the US and Europe.
Most of the time you’ll find him painting the lakes, trees and hills of the Bluegrass area of Kentucky. However several times a year he needs to see the ocean and paint the beaches, marshes and boats of the southern coast.
Sandford’s training has included studying with some of the most successful landscape painters in the country, including Bill Fletcher, Scott Christensen, Kenn Backhaus, Dee Beard Dean, Chris Groves and Dan Young. Sandford has a studio at the Artist’s Attic in Victorian Square in downtown Lexington.
On Format: I typically paint in standard sizes. It seems to work better for me. Occasionally I'll do something really large. There are large standard sizes, I know -- I know that. My paintings don't seem to have the impact, the visual impact when they are real big. My plan for the future, because I always have a plan, is to paint bigger and see if I can get that same kind of visual impact on a larger scale.
I try to do at least five (paintings per week), which is a lot in some ways, not a lot in other ways. I may not get a painting on a daily basis because some paintings require that you go back into them. Some paintings go smoothly, it just seems effortless, and some are a wrestling match, and they win.
On Building Community: The Lexington Art League is an active organization. They have a lot of ideas and they do a lot of activities. Naturally, every artist, young artist, wants an opportunity to exhibit, and I know that they have had opportunities and exhibit opportunities in the past.
I would just say more are a good thing. A lot of galleries, places give that young artist a chance that is certainly open.
On Painting: I love to focus on the outdoors. I like man made objects within the landscape. Some people prefer natural features. I like something man made, a bridge, a fence, a building. My paintings reflect that. Every now and then I'll do something that is overwhelmingly man made with very little landscape, and then sometimes I'll do 100 percent landscape.
Sometimes I'll put people in the paintings. I don't do it often. I have painted a figure in the past but it -- it doesn't capture my attention like natural features or things that you will see outside.
Water would be a favorite, and I like the things that are on the water or next to the water, kind of like Monet who said, you know, he loved the water, not that I compare myself to Monet.
But I like the water, there is something that speaks to me.
On His Process: Sketch, draw, composition, orchestration, changes that I might make, move something over, take something out.
Tips to Aspiring Artists: Draw every day.
On Sketching as Practice: Whether they are good or bad, it's just calisthenics, it's like exercise for the artist, so sometimes they are quick studies.
On Photographs and Impressionism: I draw from life. I try to let the photograph be only a resource, not to copy the photograph.
I don't want to explain everything to the viewer. I, again, am interested in the shape, the value and the color.