Sandra Place was born and raised in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, a small town surrounded by farmland on the shores of Lake Michigan. She developed an interest in drawing as a small child and drew mostly children and horses at the time. Although her activities, as prescribed by her family, were not geared towards an artistic pursuit, as an only child she had many opportunities for solitary explorations of the nearby natural world. This was the beginning of a connection to nature and the intrigue of following her own path, which has deepened with time. Early travels with her parents and grandparents to Florida, the Gulf Coast and Europe, where her mother was born and grew up, planted the seeds of a life-long interest in travel and other landscapes, cultures and languages.

When she went to college, she found that the art courses were not geared to her way of seeing and wanting to paint, so she followed a more traditional path and received a B.A. in French from Northwestern University. This led to a year in Europe with further studies in French and German, and then to a career in the travel industry in Chicago. Her work opened a new door, providing an opportunity to visit exotic lands and discover the richness of other cultures. As she photographed the people and their surroundings in these places, her eye for composition began to develop; these travels fueled her later interest in painting people of other cultures.

After her career in the travel industry, Sandra decided to pursue her original desire of becoming an artist and studied full-time for two years at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. After then spending several years in Boulder, Colorado, where she focused on painting children's portraits, she moved to Santa Fe in 1984, drawn by the physical and spiritual beauty of the environment, the clarity of the high desert light and the diversity of the cultures.

She continues to enjoy travelling to other lands, painting the beautiful and colorful people of ancient cultures as they interact with their fast-changing environments, and learning more about these peoples' own artistic expression of their life experiences through the ages. In addition to a love of painting birds, she is drawn to the varied and beautiful landscapes she finds throughout the U.S. and Europe, and she continues to develop a deeper appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the northern New Mexico land and people. 
Most of Sandra's current work focuses on landscape and is inspired by light, weather and natural beauty. She is very concerned about climate change and continues to be alarmed and saddened by the effects of careless human activity on the environment and people of our amazing planet.

Sandra has donated artwork and percentages of sales proceeds to benefit non-profit organizations for over 25 years. Please see the section "Support for Conservation" below for additional details. She has also supported humanitarian organizations including Medecins sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders; Friendship Bridge; Santa Fe (NM) Artists Emergency Medical Fund; Child-Rite (Taos, NM), and others in this way. In addition, she held a benefit exhibition for American Friends Service Committee in 2005 in Pasadena, CA; and produced a line of greeting cards from some of her Guatemala paintings to benefit Friendship Bridge, an organization providing microcredit to indigenous women in rural Guatemala, which are sold by the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM and other venues. 

Her paintings are in many national and international collections and are featured in several juried art and photography books.  She teaches workshops in pastels and acrylics and is on the faculty of The Clearing in Door County, Wisconsin and the Naples Art Association in Naples, Florida; she also teaches privately.  “I swore in my earlier years that I would never teach as I have inherent stage fright; but I have been teaching now for 25 years and absolutely love it.  I gain great satisfaction from giving back and sharing my knowledge, in the hopes of encouraging others to pursue their real or perhaps as yet undiscovered passion for painting.”

Solo gallery and museum exhibitions: 

  • 2016: Base Camp, Sister Bay, WI: ITALY, JOURNEYS AND INSPIRATIONS
  • 2015: Collected Works, Santa Fe, NM: UZBEKISTAN, PAINTINGS FROM THE SILK ROAD
  • 2012: Base Camp, Sister Bay, WI: SEASONS OF SNOW 
  • 2008: Salon 322 Delgado, Santa Fe, NM 
  • 2007,2006: SanTaos Gallery, Santa Fe, NM 
  • 2006: Santa Fe Woman's Club,Santa Fe, NM 
  • 2004,2002,2000,1998,1996: Laurel Seth Gallery, Santa Fe,NM 
  • 2004: The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI
  • 2003,1998: The Linden Gallery, Ellison Bay, WI 
  • 1999: Rahr-West Art Museum, Manitowoc, WI: A PAINTER'S JOURNEY, 43 paintings 
  • 1995,1994,1993: New Masters Fine Art, Taos, NM 

Two-person exhibitions:

  •  2018  Collected Works, Santa Fe, NM: JOURNEYS
  •  2010  Java Joe's, Santa Fe, NM  Benefit for Friendship Bridge (4 person)
  •  2005: American Friends Service Committee, Pasadena, CA           
  • 2002,2001,2000: The Linden Gallery, Ellison Bay, WI 
  • 1999: St. John's College, Santa Fe, NM: THIS LAND
  • 1992: Twin Cranes Gallery, Seattle, WA

National and international juried museum and gallery exhibitions (partial list): 

            2022  Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, OR 28th Annual Maritime Art Exhibit   

            2022  Pastel Society of the West Coast 36th Pastels USA Intl.,Art Center Morro Bay, CA       

            2022 Pastel Society of America - Pastel Showcase - Wildlife (March); Cityscape (Apr.)

             2022 Colorado Pastel Society Mile High Intl/ Exh., Central City, CO - Apr.-May                 

  • 2021  Laguna Plein Air Painters Art Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA - "Art & Nature" - Nov.
  •  2021  Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay, WI, Biennial Wildlife Exhibition - Nov.-Dec. 
  •  2021  NM Painters Exhibition Invitational, NM Hi
  • ghlands University, Las Vegas, NMl - Sept.-Oct.
  • 2021  UNC Charlotte, NC, Botanical Gardens, Flower Encounters, online July-Sept.
  • 2021  Pastel Society of America - Pastel Showcase - "Wildlife (April); "Figure" (May)
  •  2021  Pastel Society of the West Coast online exhibit, March 
  • 2020  Randy HIgbee Gallery Annual 6x6 Squared Exhibit (Online), Dec. 5-21   
  •  2020  California Art Club "Welcome to California" Exhibition
  • 2020  Pastel Guild of Europe online exhibition, Dec. 1-31 
  • 2020  Laguna Plein Air Painters 8" x 8" Exhibition
  • 2020/19/18  New Mexico Painters Exhibition, NM Highlands University & online - Oct./Nov.
  • 2020   Pastel Society of Colorado, Mary Williams Fine Arts, Boulder, CO - Oct.
  • 2019/17/15/13/11/09  Wildlife Biennial Invitationals, Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay, WI   
  • 2019/15  Pastel Society of the West Coast Annual Int'l. Exhibitions, Haggin Museum, Stockton, CA
  • 2019  "Magnificent Migrations: A Journey Through Central California", Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Pacific Grove, CA
  • 2018  Pastel Society of Colorado Annual National Exhibition, Parker, CO
  • 2018  Sonoran Plein Air Painters Exhibition, Tucson Desert Art Museum, Tucson, AZ
  • 2019/17  6x6 Annual Painting Exhibitions, Randy Higbee Gallery, Costa Mesa, CA
  • 2017: Artists for Conservation Exhibition, LanWan Art Gallery, LanWan Park, Qingdao, China
  • 2017: "Less is More", Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. Forest & Ocean Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA.
  • 2017:"The Garden" Invitational, Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay, WI
  • 2017/15/14: Plein Air Southwest Salon, Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX
  • 2016: Faculty Invitational Biennial, Naples Art Assn., Von Liebig Art Center, Naples, FL
  • 2016:California Art Club Show "Golden State Sunshine" Altadena Town & Country Club
  • 2015:Artists for Conservation Juried Annual Virtual Show
  • 2015: Old West Museum, Cheyenne, WY
  • 2014: Debra Huse Gallery, CA, "Holiday Treasures"
  • 2014: Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay, WI, "Artists on the Road" Invitational
  • 2012: Mountain Oyster Club, Tucson, AZ
  • 2012: Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay, WI, "This Land Is Your Land" Invitational
  • 2011: Bosque Art Classic Clifton, TX
  • 2008: New Concept Gallery Invitational, Santa Fe, NM
  • 2008: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ (Tucson Plein Air Painters Society)
  • 2006,2004,2003: Laguna Plein Air Painters Society, Laguna Beach, CA 
  • 2005: Santa Fe Botanical Gardens Invitational Benefit, Selby Fleetwood Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
  • 2003: "Barns & Farms", Barnsite Gallery, Kewaunee, WI
  • 1996: Pastel Society of America, Jo Anne Chappel Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  • 1992/1994: Pastel Society of America Annual National Exhibitions, New York, NY


  • New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, NM
  • Rahr-West Art Museum, Manitowoc, WI
  • Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay, WI
  • Kentucky Highlands Museum, Ashland, KY
  • The Nature Conservancy, Santa Fe, NM
  • The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI
  • Many private collections in Europe, Japan, Canada and throughout the United States.

Juried Books:

  • 'Artists For Conservation 2015, International Exhibit of Nature in Art'
  • 'Celebrating Door County's Wild Places'
  • 'Visions of Santa Fe: Photographers See The City Different'


           Artists for Conservation, Signature Member (;

           Pastel Society of America Associate Member; California Art Club Associate Member;

           Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. Artist Member; Pastel Society of the West Coast, ASMA

          (Prior) – Cassatt Pastel Society - President, 1991-94


  • New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, NM, Eli Levin Purchase Prize
  • Tucson Plein Air Painters Society, 3rd Place, Annual Members Show
  • Artists for Conservation August Conservation Artist Award 
  •  Rahr-West Art Museum Exhibition, Manitowoc, WI, Artists Choice Award
  • Karin Newby Gallery, Tubac, AZ, TPAPS juried Plein Air Exhibition, Best of Show
  • Barnsite Art Gallery "Barns & Farms", Honorable Mention from Ramon Kelley
  • Kentucky Highlands Museum, Ashland, KY, Honorable Mention & Purchase Award
  • Prior: Cheyenne, WY Audubon Society, 2nd Place; Foothills Art Center, Golden, CO, Best of Show; Laramie, WY, National Miniature Show, 2nd Place & Honorable Mention.


Faculty: (Annual workshops in pastel and acrylic)

  • The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI (20 years)
  • The Naples Art Association., Naples, FL (8 years)
  • Private workshops

If you wish to make a purchase, please contact one of the galleries in "Galleries" listing on sidebar, or contact Sandra directly for gallery referral. Gallery representation, see "Galleries" on sidebar for details:

  • The Gallery Collection at La Posada, Santa Fe, NM
  • Hand Artes Gallery, Truchas, NM 
  • The Paint Box Gallery, Ephraim, WI 
  • Clay Bay Pottery and Gallery, Ellison Bay, WI 



Support for Conservation: 

For over 25 years, I have used my artwork to benefit various organizations.

Some examples include: 

  • The Nature Conservancy of New Mexico: donated artwork for newsletters; conducted plein air painting workshops for members for 8 years; donated a portion of proceeds from painting sales at solo gallery and museum shows in NM and WI, including a solo gallery exhibition in Santa Fe, NM, in 2007.
  • Wild Earth Guardians, Santa Fe, NM: donated a portion of proceeds from painting sales at a solo gallery exhibition in Santa Fe, NM, in 2007; donated art lessons at several annual fundraiser silent auctions; donated an afternoon paintout package at 2009 annual fundraiser.
  • Door County (WI) Land Trust: donated an afternoon paintout package for 16 people at 2008 annual fundraiser live auction; cover art for magazine; and donation of paintings for raffles-2010 & 2015.