Weekend Sun   

The fine art of sand

Nancy with one of the exhibition pieces ‘Time to Exhale’ she made from sand. Photo: Supplied.

The materials in Hamilton artist Nancy Tschetner’s studio are a little different from normal.

Armed with just sand, adhesive, and a paint brush, she lovingly creates works of art that she hopes bring a sense of peace to people.

Her exhibition ‘Connection to Nature’ opens at The Art Lounge in Willow Street Tauranga on September 11 and runs through to October 8.

A graphic artist by profession, Nancy came to New Zealand from Germany 17 years ago and it was here she found black sand for the first time.

I started out using black sand on acrylic paintings to begin with, then started collecting white sand and working with the two together, she says.

The texture and contrast that sand gave to her acrylic paintings inspired Nancy to innovate with using just sand alone in her artwork.

“Nobody was doing sand art so I thought this is going to be my thing,” she says.

“Over the past 17 years it’s just evolved into fine art.”

The creative process, she says, is not a quick one.

“I have to wait until each layer dries before I can apply the next one. It’s not like painting where you can mix colours and just overpaint.

“It can take quite a while so I usually work on more than one piece at a time. The big ones can take between 30 and 60 hours.”

First painting the details in adhesive for the shade of sand she wants to use, Nancy then sprinkles on that colour and shakes off whatever doesn’t stick.

The process is repeated for each different shade until the picture is complete.

“Gradually each sand grain becomes part of a larger image represented in my artwork. I liken this to people when we come together, the strength that can be created and the visions that can be achieved,” she says.

“I often think of myself as a little sand grain that got carried all the way over to New Zealand and over the years collected friends, made a home, and hopefully changed something for the better,” she says.

As for the range of colours at her disposal Nancy says she currently has around an impressive 60 shades of sand on her shelf.

“I started collecting it from different beaches and noticed that even if you drive just a kilometre up the coast the shades would be different.

“Then when I began markets and exhibitions people began sending me sand or bringing me some back from their holidays.”

One client returning from an overseas trip gifted her a bag containing sand collected from 27 beaches around the world.

A commission artist, Nancy has done wedding portraits incorporating sand from different coasts and special locations that have significance to her clients.

The exhibition will feature at least 10 of Nancy’s artworks and all are for sale.

Coming to New Zealand and connecting with some of what she considers the most beautiful nature in the world is behind the name of her new exhibition.

“For me it was back to basics,” she says. “Working with media that occurs naturally in nature.

“We have so many colours of sand that I don’t need to go and buy paint.”

By bringing the beauty of her art into people’s homes Nancy hopes to remind them of ‘what’s waiting out there’ for them.

“When a person looks at my work I want them to feel calm,” she says.

 “We’ve got everything we need in nature. My biggest passion is nutrition, and mindset, and art so the three combined…if you feel depressed, instead of going to the doctor go outside.”

“I appreciate people’s support,” she says.

“Art heals and is the highest form of hope.”

Anyone interested in commissioning Nancy or seeing examples of her work can visit: www.nancytschetner.com

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