Sandra Murphy is a Toronto-area artist. Although she had always been interested in art, it wasn’t until mid-life that she took her first class. She had seen an advertisement for classes at the Art Gallery of Ontario, mentioned to her son that it sounded like a lot of fun, and promptly forgot about it. That Christmas, Murphy’s children presented her with a gift certificate for a beginners’ watercolour class at the AGO. Murphy was thrilled and terrified. With great trepidation, she attended her first class, was enchanted and has never looked back. That gift changed her life!
For several years, Murphy attended evening art classes at the AGO while continuing to work fulltime in the field of advertising. Upon losing her job, Murphy decided the time was right to follow her dream and enrol at the Academy of Realist Art (ARA). The ARA is a private institution teaching realism using classical techniques and teaching methods for drawing and painting based on those used by the 19th Century European academies. For five years, Murphy studied there under the expert guidance of Fernando Freitas, Ryan Gauvin, Juan Martinez and, for a short time, David Gluck and Matthew Mancini.
Upon graduation, Murphy pursued a full-time art career. She paints daily in her studio and, once a week, gets together with a small group to paint models from life.
Murphy is currently working on a series of nostalgic still lifes reflective of a kinder, gentler age. These paintings are worked sight-size from still life arrangements she sets up beside her easel. She usually does a carefully rendered drawing on paper which she then transfers to a custom-cut Dibond panel covered in fine linen. She does a thin underpainting separating the lights and darks, and follows that with multiple layers of paint and thin glazes to achieve rich, luminous colours.