about the artist

For me, painting is a joyful, pleasant experience. I want people to smile when they see my work so I keep the objects fun and usually create playful interaction between them. I also want the viewer to appreciate the accuracy and precision that is evident in the craftsmanship so I paint realistically but with a painterly approach.

My current body of work, Fun with toys! was started after the hardest, worst year of my life. I was very depressed, because my 12 year old daughter almost died. During the time of her recovery, I started doing paintings of her baby toys to help give me some joy. These paintings portrayed happiness and playfulness. I got so much enjoyment out of creating these paintings that I continued on with the series and haven’t stopped.

My work is lighthearted... I keep the colors vibrant and saturated to portray the toys that are in the settings. The toys are often interacting with each other, as if they each have a personality. I want the paintings to portray the playful innocence of childhood: how when we played with toys they were alive, characters in our imaginary world.

Everywhere I look I see my next painting coming together: compositions, color combinations, value changes. Everyday situations that occur between people and children transfer themselves into the narratives of my paintings. The toys are chosen for the way their different textures play off each other; fur, woven fabric, plastic, rubber, metal and glass. When put together, it becomes very clear how they will begin to actually “play” together. Often when I when I come back and observe one of my set-ups, it’s as if they themselves are playing with toys.

I often play with either size, scale or perspective. The contrast of a small toy being painted quite large, looking down on toys as if the viewer is the child playing with the toy and zooming in to a very specific section of a toy are all ways of personalizing the paintings. Also, it’s amazing when you look at the toys how life-like they can seem.  I titled some of the paintings “Thumbs Up!” because most toys with arms and hands have this mitten shape; if they are positioned correctly, it looks like they are giving me the thumbs up sign. It makes me happy to paint them.


Saundra was born in 1971 in Santa Barbara California then moved up to Northern California where she has lived all her life. Always a creative individual, after high school Saundra started her art studies with a certificate in computer animation from Computer Arts Institute in San Francisco a certificate in graphic design from Santa Rosa Junior College.  After working in that field for 5 years she decided that computers weren’t her outlet for her creativity and started her own decorative painting business, doing murals and faux finishes, completely self taught.  Loving painting, but feeling the need for technical instruction, in 2010, after over a decade of decorative painting, Saundra returned to art school, this time in fine arts. She will complete her Bachelor of Fine Art Painting degree from the Academy of Art University in May, 2016.

Her studio and work are currently at Fulton Crossing and FX Gallery in Fulton, California.