Twenty-four years of teaching future artists has built certain character traits in me. Each day, with little people innocent of criticism, I learn to take risks, enjoy the process, and celebrate art in every way. These unhindered imaginations have helped develop me into the artist I am today. I have studied at Oxbow the SAIC, and opened Bandstra Studio in my hometown, Grand Haven, Michigan in 2010. In 2016 I brought a group of wonderful people together to start a non-profit Lakeshore Visual Arts Collective. The mission of Lakeshore Visual Arts Collective is to create a sustainable artist community by partnering with businesses, community organizations and private individuals to create diverse visual arts events. These events will provide a platform for artists to thrive, grow and connect with the community.
Living in Michigan, I cannot help being inspired by nature, particularly shadows and light that shift from hour to hour, month to month, and season to season. I experience a physical change while walking in the woods, taking in the lake, or watching the sky, and I am compelled to represent not only the vision but the emotion of these small moments of peace. The modern art movement has taught me to see things other than the obvious, and I am drawn to the figures that emerge after sketching shadows and trees. Painting satisfies my desire to interpret visual scenarios into painted expressions and this dominates my current work. My paintings are oil paint on hand-stretched Italian linen. Following tradition, I stretch with copper tacks, infusing each pull and tug with positive energy. I prepare the painting surface myself with three layers of Gesso, creating a lovely foundation for my sketch and stroke. My art represents stillness and motion, comfort and intrigue, known and unknown, giving viewers a specialized experience all their own.