By Heather Prouty
The writing was on the walls for Sandra Bierman to become an artist. "Art has always been very important to me," she says. "From the time I could hold a pencil I was drawing on the walls." Since her days of infantile scribbling, Bierman has burgeoned into an internationally recognized artist, showcasing her work as far away as England and Hong Kong and gathering awards from prestigious art guilds across the country But it's no surprise that Bierman's canvases, which she paints from the backyard studio of her turn-of-the-century Boulder home, have gained such sweeping recognition. Her powerful depictions of women, babies and families are magnetic, timeless and universal in their appeal.
Bierman, who moved to Colorado from New York nine years ago, paints intuitively, without a preconceived image, and allows the canvas to guide her. "All of my work is inspired subliminally-it develops as it's going," she says. Because she paints from her imagination, Bierman uses nontraditional light sources that add a surreal aura to her pieces. "I like to create light that comes from within-an inner light that glows." In one painting, a baby is illuminated by his mother's breast; in another, a glow radiates from a mother's arms, wrapped around her child. In addition to light, Bierman's pieces are characterized by a deep sense of nurturing and security, which Bierman attributes to the strong relationship she shared with her maternal grandmother, a part-Cherokee woman from Oklahoma. "She was the most stable person in my life," says Bierman. "She was like a big, nurturing Mother Earth woman." And like Mother Earth, Bierman's work exudes a circular, primordial sense of caring.
A mother and grandmother herself, Bierman gave up painting in 1977 to help financially support her three children. It wasn't until 1986 that she retired from a corporate career in New York to pursue her lifelong passion. "I longed to be back into my art," she says. After brushing up with two years of intensive workshops, which she admits were scary after such a long hiatus, Bierman quickly rediscovered her talents- and she has no intention of putting down her palette any time soon. "It's very important for me to paint," she says. "It's just something I need to do."
Exerpted from Mountain Living, Spring 1997
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