Sandra Peterken was born and brought up in Camden Town, London but studied History at the University of Manchester, rather than her first love, Art. After teaching and bringing up a family, she journeyed through other creative arts, including sculpture, ceramics, metal work and stained glass, eventually studying painting part time at St Martins and set up her first studio in a garden shed at her home in Crouch End, London.
Sandra’s paintings are often inspired by walking, cycling and paddle boarding on the north Cornish coast and the Camel Estuary around Padstow, where she spends a lot of her time. The never-ending sky, the hedgerows, and fields, the changing light on the sea, the movement of the waves and tonal variations in the headlands provides a continuous source of inspiration.
All her work is done in oils, with the layers being built up to capture the luminescence of the sea.
Starting from observations of the coast in all weathers, the action of the sea on the land and the shapes of clouds, often captured in quick photographs taken on a phone. These images are posted around the studio to provide a starting point for Sandra translating her impressions onto the canvas. Paintings are often begun in her Cornish studio before coming to London for finishing. Many of Sandra’s paintings are held in private collections.
This is Sandra’s third ‘Land & Sea’ exhibition. Many of the paintings on display are seascapes which form part of a larger ‘Ripple’ series where the focus has been on exploring the movement of waves in the shallows.
This is the swash zone, a place of wave action. The paintings capture where waves which have travelled across the Atlantic first meet the Cornish land, rearing up as the sea bed rises to form the beach, then breaking and forming a turbulent layer of water that washes up the uncovered beach after the wave has broken, water spreading across the sand only a few inches deep, all energy transformed into noise and speed.