Sandra Orme – pastel artist

As%20Evening%20Falls%20II%20copy%203The view from Sandra Orme’s bedroom window is simply beautiful.

As I am led up to her studio at her Buxton home the artist cannot resist showing me what she wakes up to as every day dawns.

“You must come and see the view,” she says excitedly, explaining that she never tires of looking at the sky.

“I have a bit of a sky obsession… but you have probably guessed that,” she said.

Sandra names the hills we can see in front of us and says that on a better day you get a clear view of Kinder from her Harpur Hill cottage.

In her studio, which has walls painted a beautiful Andalucian-style duck egg blue, there is plenty to confirm her affinity with the sky – and the land and sea for that matter.

Her award-winning pastel paintings in various stages of completion surround us as she explains her technique to me and talks enthusiastically about new pastel paper that is changing the way she works.

“There have been interesting developments with the specialist paper and it means I can use so many more layers, I can build up maybe ten or 11, which gives me much more depth of colour which really works with the skies.”

By now we have migrated back down stairs to the sofa and Sandra points out the difference between one of her early paintings and her more recent work.

“It is quite different. Over the years my work has evolved and I believe that it is important that you keep moving forward. I like to keep trying different things.”

The 45-year-old artist was born in Peru. Her father worked for Cable and Wireless and had been posted abroad where he met her mother.

His job meant the family didn’t really settle anywhere they could call home but Sandra went to sixth form at Manningtree in Essex and studied for her foundation course at Colchester and at Canterbury for her Fine Art degree and then went on to teach art in London for 11 years.

She said that if she had let her early experience of art lessons influence her she would probably have never have got that far.

“Art lessons at my school were rubbish. We were basically baby sat by the cookery teacher and taught absolutely nothing. We had no inspiration at all. But I knew what I wanted to do and overcame that hurdle.”

She says that the one thing the poor lessons did do was make her want to prove that you could be a great art teacher.
“I really did want to show them it could be done and I worked hard at my job and was proud of what I achieved with the young people I taught,” she said.

In 2002 she and her teacher husband Mike decided they wanted to move away from the city and found their lovely cottage tucked away up a little lane just a short distance from Buxton.

“I wanted to become a full time artist and I could not have found anywhere more inspirational to live. I am a keen walker and I just love to be outside. I am inspired by the seasonal colours, the weather and the ever-changing light.

“Here I have a direct connection with the landscape that I like to recreate with my work. I use sketches, photographs and my own memories to recreate a sense of time and place,” she said.

To see more of Sandra’s work and to find out about her workshops, where she puts her teaching skills to good use, go to her website You can also follow her on facebook at SandraOrmePastelOriginals