'The Palm beach Artist'
By: Sandra Thompson
It is prophetic that Sandra Thompson is currently engaged in capturing the beauty of Palm Beach in a series of acrylic paintings. She married a man who came to the fabled Island in 1925 and she wrote sever memoirs depicting the early years at a time when it cost a nickel to traverse the wooden bridge from West Palm to Palm Beach. It was a time when Henry Flagler s Royal Poinciana Hotel hosted the world's wealthiest, the gentry, the Old Guard.
To author the history of Flagler's Church she researched the very earliest settlements along the shores of Lake Worth as well as up and down the east coast of Florida. Her appreciation for Palm Beach and the continuing sensitivity to maintaining the historic landmarks whetted her appetite for the ensuing series of fine art paintings. Unlike architectural renderings and delineations that are prevalent, Sandra's paintings incorporate vignettes that capture the many nuances that are found abounding on the enchanted Island. She fully appreciates the antiquity of another era.
Raised on the North, Shore of Long Island in Victorian, Sea Cliff, Sandra studied art at Cooper Union in Manhattan and worked for Grey Advertising, Chanel, Inc. and was Art Buyer for Redbook Magazine. The New York years provided exposure to fine art and photography that so greatly influenced the development of this accomplished artist and author.
When Sandra migrated with her family to Fort Lauderdale in the early sixties she became the Editorial Artist for the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun Sentinel.
It is there where her talents were called upon to perform finished art and design to decorate advertising as well as editorial pages. It is in Fort Lauderdale where she met and married businessman David R. Thompson who had come from Pennsylvania to Palm Beach in 1925.
During their courtship, romantic excursions to the fabled Island, Sandra vowed to eventually perform two creative mediums: To capture the beauty of Palm Beach in a visual art medium and write a memoir with David depicting his early years in the pristine enclave during the Colorful Old Guard era.
In addition to raising two sons Sandra enhanced and satiated artistic abilities by creating stained glass designs as well as fine line ink renderings, silver jewelry, stone sculpture, painted carpets and vases and various commission work. She also found time to become an avid golfer and tennis player.
When the couple retired from Fort Lauderdale the moved close to the place where David spent his formative years. It is at this time when the promised memoir was begun. PALM BEACH FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LAKE was published in 1992 and received accolade from an audience of readers who shared many memories of the Island and its environs during the twenties, thirties and forties. It also led to Sandra being asked to write other books. She worked for four years with famous French animal trainer Robert Baudy and produced BAUDY THE ANIMAL MAN. She wrote PALM BEACH AND BAR HARBOR ala TESTA with Joe Testa, an immigrant’s story of the venerable restaurant still operated after eighty years by the Testa family. Sandra's sense of Palm Beach history was evolving.
For ten years she produced thousands of pages on an Olympia upright manual typewriter. GOD'S CHURCH HENRY FLAGLER'S LEGACY, HISTORY OF THE ROYAL POINCIANA CHAPEL added to her love and respect for the special Island. However, she had abandoned the visual arts was eager to return.
David and Sandra had retired to a golf community. When they rented an apartment on Palm Beach to be her studio she began painting the many colorful scenes that enchanted her. This from a person who wondered when she left New York, "what am I going to paint in Florida...palm trees?" "When I began painting the Palm Beach series in earnest, Bruce Webber offered a one woman show. It was extremely successful and inspired the ~continuing work which has grown to well over a hundred images." Sandra's work often adorns the Palm Beach Real' Estate Guide bringing recognition and the realization that there is a keen audience for her unique perspectives. She has been commissioned to paint house portraits as well as pets and enjoys capturing the complicated detail of intricate gardens and treasures of art and sculpture. "There is a feast of magnificent material everywhere I look and I have grown to love painting palm trees."
When not at the easel the prolific lady is working on a personal memoir - sequel to David's story about the early years. It has grown to six hundred pages and as her multi-faceted life continues it is impossible to write the final chapter.
Sandra has joined other artists Cecily Hangen, Vicki Cohen, Sylvia Jaffe and Robert Burger as a member of the ARTISTS' GALLERY, a co-op gallery at 326 Peruvian Avenue. Find your way to Via De Mario on Worth Avenue and walk back through the via to the small gallery and feast your eyes on one artist's view of paradise. Addison Mizner and Maurice Fatio would be well pleased with her vivid interpretations of their European masterpieces.
About the author:
Sandra's work is now included in some of the finest collections on the Island and her reputation for being ‘the PALM BEACH artist' is growing.