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I begin my process by finding something beautiful in nature that moves me.  Then, I do several realistic sketches and watercolor studies of the scene until I have embodied it.  Once I feel I embody an intimate understanding of it, I let my hand freely move and sketch a deeply personal interpretation of the subject. 


My next step is to move to the canvas.  With india ink and a sumi brush, or a simple marker, I sketch my stylized interpretation of the subject I am exploring.  This is first layer of many.  My paintings unfold in layers.  Each painting has dozens of interwoven layers of ink, rice paper, and thin, translucent layers of paint. I also honor the history of the painting’s evolution. So, in my finished paintings, you can still see the ink drawings from the first few layers. I feel each stroke & mark adds richness and depth to the painting.  Through all the layers, I strive to create harmony, beauty and aesthetic pleasure.  I also work to achieve a certain lightness about them, as if the paintings shine from within.


Ultimately, what truly moves me to paint is the wonder of what is going to happen that day on the canvas. I am drawn to the moment and my favorite part of the painting process is when it takes on a life of it’s own.







Selected Solo Exhibitions

2019:   Arts Council of Santa Cruz, Open Studios Tour Invitational:  Juried

2019:  A New Day, Pleasant Valley Art Gallery, Aptos, CA

2017:  "AND"  PF Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA

2017:  "State of Grace,"  Wargin Wines, Soquel, CA

2016:   Arts Council of Santa Cruz, Open Studios Tour Invitational:  Juried

2016:   "From the Heart," Lille Aeske Art Gallery, Boulder Creek, CA

2014:   Cultural Council of Santa Cruz, Open Studios Tour Invitational:  Juried

2013:  “In Full View,”  Santa Cruz County Building, CA Oct 22 – Dec 19, Juried

2013:   “Wonderland” County Parks Office, Santa Cruz, CA, Feb 1- Mar 28

2012:   Cultural Council of Santa Cruz, Open Studios Tour Invitational:  Juried

2011:  “Encore”, Motiv, Santa Cruz, CA  March 1- 31

2011:  “Celebrating Nature”, Motiv, Santa Cruz, CA Feb 1-28

2001:  Bazaar Café, San Francisco, CA August 1-31

2001:  Starbucks, San Francisco, CA, July 1-31

2001:  Wallich Gallery, Columbus, OH, April 1-30

2000:  Bazar Café,  San Francisco, CA November 1-30

2000:  Mr. Ralph’s,  San Francisco, CA April 1 – June 1

1999:  Mr. Ralph’s, San Francisco, CA, November 1-30

1999:  Octavia’s Haze Art Gallery,  CA, October 1-14


Selected Group Exhibitions

2019:  Vote! Juried exhibit, Pajaro Valley Arts

2017-2019:  Chamber of Heart and Mystery, Juried exhibit, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History

2018:  Spoken/Unspoken, Juried exhibit, UCSC Senson Art Gallery

2018:  Spoken/Unspoken, Juried exhibit, Santa Cruz Art League

2017:  Indivisible, Juried exhibit, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History

2010:  PVAC Gallery, Juried exhibit, “Los Pajaros”, CA Sept 2 – Oct 10

            Jurors: Susan Matulich and Jane Gregorius

2010:   Selected Finalist, ArtPortfolio International Abstract Art Contest

           “Abstractions of the Mind”, Aug1 – 30.  Juror:  Ben Walker

2000:  Francisco and Molly, San Francisco, CA,  Jan 1 – June 30

2000:  City Art, San Francisco, CA,  May 1 – June 1

1999:  Francisco and Molly, San Francisco, CA,  Nov 1- Dec 1

1999:  City Art, San Francisco, CA, Aug 1 – Sept 30

Gallery Representation

John Roberts Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 2001 – 2005

Goldfish Gallery, Sarasota, FL 2001-2003


Select Commissions

2018:  Google Corp, 2 Rincon, San Francisco

2017:  The Bess Collection, Aptos, CA


1989-1994:   Major: Bachelor of Science, The University of Akron, Ohio

                     Minor:  Fine Art





Sandy Takashima Shaw was raised in a small town, Lexington, Ohio.   Growing up, she dreamed of traveling the world and painting.  She graduated from the University of Akron and one week later boarded a plane for Japan.  She lived and worked in Japan for a year and half.  Being half Japanese, she always wanted to know that side of herself more.  In Japan, she fell in love with Japanese culture, the arts and aesthetics.   She is inspired by the Japanese art of Ikebana, Shodo and especially Ukiyoe, wood block prints.  She also admires Gauguin, Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe and Tiffany.


After living in Japan and traveling around Asia, she moved to San Francisco where she worked as a marketing manager in the technology industry at the height of the dot-com hay day.  Although she worked full-time, she continued to paint nightly, in the evenings after work. Over time, she amassed a large collection of paintings and began exhibiting in the San Francisco galleries.  In 1999, she decided to resign from the corporate world and pursue her passion for art and painting full-time.


For the next year and a half, she traveled to Europe and Central America, painting all the inspiring beauty around her, and sent her paintings to the U.S galleries to exhibit.


In 2001, she married and started a family.  Although she continued painting, she took time off from the exhibiting to focus on her family.  Now that her children are in school, she has more time to devote to her artistic career.

She is thrilled to be back in the art studio daily, and is deeply inspired by the vitality of the garden.  In particular, she is drawn to the vibrant color, beauty and inner strength of the flowers and feels that she can creatively express her inner world through the abstract representation of them.


After Donald Trump was elected, Shaw felt compelled to create social/political art that would be rooted in a sense of optimism that a kinder and more compassionate world is possible if we can listen to one another with an open heart, and keep our minds open to searching for solutions.  Thus, she created the 'AND' Series, which explores the healing concept of the word 'AND' in a social/political context.  


In addition, she leads conversation events/art salons, to bring people together to exchange ideas and personal stories to create a bridge to understand one another better, ideally resulting in a healing, meaningful connection.

In addition to working on her own creative endeavors, she feels honored to share the gift of creative expression through teaching.  She feels privileged to teach middle school art at Mt. Madonna School.  She also loves teaching small classes for high school teenagers and adults at her private studio.  Her intention is to provide them with  a creative haven to feel safe to experience the joy of creative freedom and expression.

Sandy Shaw currently resides and works in Aptos, California, and continues to travel regularly on surf trips with her family. In addition to painting, Sandy is passionate about coaching women to thrive in all areas of their lives!  Sandy is a Certified Life Coach and to learn more, please click on  

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