Contributed by Charice Chambers
For Sandra Falkner Chandler it wasn’t a special revelation or anything terribly overwhelming that compelled her to constantly doodle with brush, pen or chalk. She simply had the desire to record the beauty that surrounded her. Originally from Florida, Chandler was surrounded with lush vibrant vegetation that drenched her senses and filled her sketch books. A move to Alaska simply intensified her desire to interpret those surroundings and increased her drive to record all that she experienced.
Chandler believes that art is an expression, an interpretation of that which the senses perceive. Art is method for giving placement to and making sense of one’s experiences and observations. Art can be healing, and to that end Chandler has spent time as an art therapist working with troubled individuals. Through artistic creation many clients are able to examine their interpretation of the world around themselves. The artistic results are often gratifying.
Chandler’s own art runs the gamut, from iconic vistas of fireweed swaying in the breeze to a rustic trapper whose lined face and other worldly eyes reflect the joy, the pain, and the lonliness of living on the last frontier. In her composition “Old Dog” she vividly depicts the aging faithful sled dog that, though it can no longer pull the sled, still rises to its call. He rides, gently cradled, in the sled basket, a spot his musher has reserved for him alone. Then there is the “Running Wolf” who races to his den as a helicopter swoops low overhead and hunters prepare to shoot his comrades. While others scatter to the safety of the brush, he dies trying to protect his young. His single-minded determination is etched in his face as he falls to the bullets from above.
Chandler does not limit herself to a single medium, but works in pen and ink, pastel, acrylic, oil, charcoal and watercolor, giving her great versatility. Her pen and ink “Fly Fishing” captures both the excitement and grace of casting a line into a raging river. Her use of cross-hatching in many of her pen and ink compositions exhibits the complexity of her designs.
“The Eternal Triangle” is one of her most popular compositions. In black and white, this unusual print focuses on three ravens at close range—just their heads.
Ravens mate for life. The first two in this piece are a couple. Moving in from outside is the new suitor attempting to usurp the primary male’s position. The piece is stark and powerful, and must be seen. Chandler has also created a series depicting village life as viewed through the eyes of Alaskan Native women.
Sandra Falkner Chandler’s prints are currently available at Matsu Senior Services Gift Shop. Drop by and make one of her prints your own. Several of her pieces are included in the shop’s annual Permanent Fun Sale that continues throughout the month of October.
Located at 1132 South Chugach Street in Palmer across from Palmer Junior Middle School, the gift shop is open to both seniors and the public Monday through Friday from 10 am to 2 pm.