Every Work of Art has a Story.

Every Story is an Inspiration.

Entries in Amanda Corlies Sandos (5)


Roughing it with Puffins

Today I dropped this puffin painting off at it's new forever home with Miss Chelsea. She was so excited to know it was coming that she met me at the door before I had even knocked. Before I had driven the fifteen minute drive back to my house, she was already posting pictures of hanging it on her wall in a prominant spot over her bed. This made my entire week, that something I painted could already bring such joy to a friend who also happens to suffer from a dibilitating disease. So for the next story behind the painting, I thought it fitting that I tell the story of Chelsea's puffins. I hope you enjoy it as much as she did.


 Life at Sea

Puffins spend the majority of their lives at sea, only coming to land with their bond mate to dig a burrow into sheer rock cliffs, and breed. They lay and incubate their eggs on the cold rocks, and rear one to two voracious chicks. Even on land, they return to the sea continually, diving to depths of more than one hundred feet, in search of fish to feed themselves and their young.  When the chicks fledge the nest, they do so by literally jumping off a cliff and plunging into the sea. In fact, they spend the first five years of their lives at sea while they learn to dive and hunt the dark waters for themselves. When I think my life is tough, I think of the puffins and take comfort. 

This painting was commissioned by Chelsea Larigey, who suffers from a horribly debilitating disease known as ME or myalgic encephalomyelitis. 100% of the proceeds went to fund research for finding a cure and defining better treatments for ME. For more information on how to help those who suffer from ME/CFS visit solvecfs.org.

If you are interested in more about puffins, or you just want to spy on live ones for a bit, check out Audobon's new spy cam and their alerts from the Atlantic Puffins breeding grounds.



Animanity in Art

Come explore the state of being animal, what I call Animanity, at the latest showing of my art work. This Tuesday night, June 16th, at the Common Grounds Cafe, on Boonsboro Road in Lynchburg, Virginia, there will be an artist's reception and a viewing of my latest collection of Animanity paintings. Each painting is displayed along with the stories that have inspired and informed my work, stories that I hope will help others consider the world from a different perspective. As an example, I'm posting the story behind the painting that first brought this series together in my mind.

The A'la la.

Hawaiian Crows are extinct in the wild. This particular young male, named Nalu, lives at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center on the Big Island of Hawaii, where I worked as an intern. He is part of a partially successful captive breed and release program that has, so far, saved the species from total extinction. Though the program has successfully bred and raised captive A'lalas, they have been unable to reduce enough of the introduced diseases, and species on the islands, and have yet to clean up enough environmental toxins for the released birds to survive. 100% of those released either died quickly of illness, or predation, or were recaptured and placed back into captivity.

Of the twenty six intelligent, gregarious and amazing A'lalas I met at Keauhou, Nalu was my favorite, largely because this painting captures exactly what he did the moment we met. He came right over and stuck his face in mine, giving me a thorough inspection. And once he decided he liked the look of me, he proceeded to follow me everywhere attempting to "help" me do my job. Nalu deserves a home free from a cage, where he can hunt and explore the O'hia forests as he would have before the human species was introduced to his home.

















Creative Update: TRC Season Four and Art on 12th

Hello world. I am back from a long hiatus. Call it a creative retreat, if you will. The juices have been flowing. I have a few new paintings completed and lots of environmental art showing this weekend. There is an opening tomorrow at my studio, Art on 12th, on the corner of Grace and 12th Street in downtown Lynchburg from 2-4:30. Stop in for good food, good drinks, and lots of art. All of the studios will be open. Here are a couple of my new pieces that will show. Come by and join us tomorrow.











In other news, Season Four of The Ravens Crossing is in full swing. This season, my story, Wildwood Tides, posts every Friday.

Wildwood Tides is focused on Morgan's little brother, Darien, and a smoking hot Water Gaea named Lani he met summer before last while on vacation in Hawaii. Lani broke Darien's heart when he ditched Dare after he left the islands. But, now, Lani has moved to Wildwood, and he wants a second chance. For Darien, the past is not just water under the bridge. Dare's got mad Air Gaea skills that have forced him to be extremely guarded. He doesn't trust easily, and once that trust is broken? Lani is finding out Darien might be gone in a flash.

Check out the story online at www.theravenscrossing.org every Friday. You can also read Wildwood Knights by Andi Lea on Mondays, and Wildwood Dreams by West Thornhill on Wednesdays.  

This project has been running online for over three years, providing free quality YA LGBTQ fiction. The first three seasons are available as eBook anthologies at online booksellers everywhere. A portion of the proceeds from every sale go to our partnering QUILTBAG organizations like The Straight but not Narrow Campaign and The Make it Safe Project of the GSA. Check the book page on this website for links. Hope to see you around the Wildwood neighborhood


More from Marginalized: My Interdiscplinary Art Installation 

As promised, here are the images from the two largest installation pieces of my Marginalized show. The show opens May 4th in Lynchburg, Virginia. More about this two woman show, which includes my animal installations and Terri J. Miller's 4th world women portraits, can be found in my last post.

The first installation piece is called Animanity. It's about our disconnection from the snake and our learned, often irrational fear of them. 

Animanity Installation by Amanda Corlies Sandos

The central quote is, "A Snake Lurks in the Grass" from Virgil's Aenied. The other quotes are from Milton's Paradise Lost, The Holy Bible, The Tao Te Cheng, and The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead.

The second installation piece is called Humanimality, and it consideres the chimp. I chose to depict a cute and furry critter that we are no less disconnected from. Though chimpanzees are the species we now know as our closest living relative on earth, we still marginalize them, abuse them, and destroy their homes.

Humanimality Installation by Amanda Corlies SandosThe quotes included here are Charles Darwin's "with all [his] exalted powers, Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." This is from The Descent of Man. I also chose two non-hierarchical quotes, one from Jane Goodall, and one from Dian Fossey which serve to show chimps as beings separate from and distinct from us who are no less deserving of respect than our fellow humans.

The two installations together with Miller's portraits of many indigenous women of the world create a powerful look at marginalization. I hope those of you who live in the area will come out on First Friday in May at the Soul Cafe in Lynchburg.

Don't forget to pop over to The Ravens Crossing to catch up on Sharon & Alex's story today. Sharon is about to face her father and stand up for her beliefs. Sparks fly. Literally. Don't miss it.

Here are a couple more of the individual images from each of the installations above for your enjoyment.

Eyelash Viper by Amanda Corlies SandosReticulated Boa by Amanda Corlies SandosNurture by Amanda Corlies SandosThe Missing Link by Amanda Corlies Sandos

Most of these works are for sale as individual pieces, or an installation can be purchased in its entirety. Several of the images are already sold, however, and will be replaced with different images for future installations. Feel free to contact me here for more information.


The Poetry Nerd

April is National Poetry Month. The perfect time to come out of the closet and admit that I am a poetry nerd. I love poetry. I read it. I write it. I've even published some in lit mags and the like, entered a few in contests, won some awards here and there. I have several shelves dedicated to poetry in my library that are stacked full and still the collection grows every year. It includes everything from William Shakespeare to Camille Dungy to Adrienne Rich, who I was sad to hear passed away the other day. I can recite quite a few poems off the top of my head. Yes, I was one of those kids who didn't mind the assignment from my lit professors. I've actually memorized a few just because I wanted to. But, then again, I literally live my life by the inspiration of Robert Frost, who told me to "take the road less traveled by," and I truly believe it's made all the difference.

I'm proudest of learning every line from T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Yep, that pretty much clinched things on my nerd status. I particularly like it when Prufrock says, "Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?/ I shall wear white flannel trousers and walk upon the beach./ I can hear the Mermaids singing, each to each./ I do not think they will sing for me." Yes, I love that nerdy man and all his quirky language. And who doesn't love Edgar Allan Poe, who not only made The Raven quoth "Nevermore," but made up fabulous words like "Tintinabulation?" Or Emily Dickinson who told us how the sun rose "one ribbon at a time," or Sanda Cisneros who sleeps with her cat when no one will have her. Stop me, before things get out of hand.

Reigning it in here, I write poetry, not because I find myself wanting to be the next great poet, nor to try in vain to out word Wordsworth, I write poetry simply to add my words to a wondrous tradition that has given so much joy and inspiration to me. And, I hope my words will give back, in that tradition, a little inspiration to someone else. So, in honor of poetry month, I give you a poem by Amanda Corlies Sandos, first published in The Canary by Hip Pocket Press.

Oh, and don't forget to stop by The Ravens Crossing today, where my latest flash fiction excerpt from Morgan & Holly's story has posted. Okay, we now return to our regularly scheduled poetry. Happy Poetry Month!

Greater Flamingo (Pheonocopterous roseus)

On the shore of this parched bowl, at the base of a volcano, ten thousand

birds flag their heads from side to side, necks stretched, marching in rows.

Quills on their backs click like the beads of Masai women walking, barely heard over

the honking chaos. Every year when the rains come, the lake rises from cracked earth,

they wade through bubbles, mixing blue-green algae and brine shrimp. If the earth

is quenched they build, scooping and stamping, stamping and scooping, clapping

their feet, molding mounds, growing thinner, feathers frayed, caked, matted. She’ll perch

at the top of her turret and sing – soft, lyrical – stretching towards any who walk past,

resting her neck against the one who stops, hoping he’ll rub his neck to hers. She’ll close

her eyes and return the caress of the one standing with her in this boiling lake,

the one who will share their roost, turn their chalky egg, tend their chick, preen and feed,

protect until these waters recede.

This year they waited for the sky to open, but no rains came. Tonight, as the sun sinks,

they lift their wings and fly, without ritual, without young.

© Amanda Corlies Sandos