“Days End,” a watercolor painted by Sandra Pealer. Submitted photo

PARIS — Sandra Pealer has won the Award of Merit for her painting, “Days End,” at the West Virginia Watercolor Society Exhibition at the Parkersburg Art Center in West Virginia.

The award was one of three given out during the show, which featured 47 paintings created in a water-based aqueous manner from six states: Maine, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

The show, titled “Aqueous Plus 2022,” is a nationally juried exhibition which opened on May 7 and will remain open through June 7.

An artist for more than 30 years, Pealer has won Best in Show awards at several exhibitions in West Virginia, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine. In 2021, two of her paintings, “Frosty Morning” and “Moonlit Lake,” were chosen for submission at Aqueous 2021.

One of her paintings was awarded Best in Show in that exhibition in 2016.


Her paintings are featured in private and public collections throughout the United States and Canada.

Last year, the Sun Journal spoke with Pealer, who said she discovered the beauty of Maine during a trip to Monhegan Island in 2001. The landscapes and lighting were the perfect backdrops for her watercolors, and Pealer and her husband moved to the Oxford Hills area in 2009 and became immersed with the Western Maine Arts Group.

Sandra Pealer Submitted photo

According to Pealer, she has always created art. Her mother was an artist and her family encouraged her to pursue art. When she was in college, she produced portraits for classmates and got started with oil paints. Later, when her children were born, she switched to watercolors as a way of keeping those babies safe from the oils. She said she had always been intrigued by watercolors, so at that time watercolors became her main medium.

“Watercolor appeals to me by the way it captures the light and also by its fluidity. Also, it is easily transported and can be cleaned up quickly, so it has a practical side which appealed to me,” she said.

Her art is influenced by painters like Dean Mitchell and Mary Whyte, both painters of interesting portraits and dynamic design, she said. In the past, she had been heavily influenced by book illustrators, N.C. Wyeth primarily.

She said she was also impacted by a childhood picture book which was her mother’s and published in the 1930s. It was a large book called “A Child’s Garden of Verses” by Robert Louis Stevenson and it was beautifully illustrated by Juanita C. Bennett.


“It was filled with delightful large paintings in watercolor, which triggered my imagination. The cover was an unforgettable painting of a small boy in a white brimmed hat sitting in the sand surrounded by blue waters, a toy sailboat which he had launched and a sand bucket and shovel at his side. I loved that book because it showed me the possibilities of communicating with watercolors,” she said.

Pealer chooses her painting subjects by having an emotional response to a particular scene or by how the light illuminates an ordinary object, transforming it. “I am drawn to paintings of people, but also love to paint landscapes, particularly of water and gardens. Trees always command my attention in any landscape, so I most often give them a prime role and often choose a particular scene because of a dramatic tree.”

Asked what advice she would give to an aspiring young artist, Pealer said, “to an aspiring young artist I would say paint what you love and your audience will come. Be a ‘maker’ and keep on working and producing. Also, find good art societies to join and to get encouragement from.”

Pealer and her husband, Judson Pealer, live on a micro-farm in Paris. Judson Pealer is also an accomplished artist who works in watercolor, ink and acrylics.

The two are active in the The Western Maine Art Group, which has a gallery on Main Street in Norway.

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