Andres Amador and one of his assistants rake the top layer of dry sand to expose wet sand giving his designs contrast and dimension.
Getting to the beach early, about an hour before the ocean recedes and usually under a full moon, is where and when it all begins for Andres. He starts with a fine-tip stick, drawing the framework and giving structure for his designs. Once outlined in the sand, he then adjusts his home-made painting utensil to a thicker line (about an 8″ rake) to “fill in” the lines, making the sketch come alive. Once this is complete, he uses an even thicker rake to shade in different areas of the design before seeking higher ground to capture the sand painting on film.
“Sand is wonderful,” says Amador, “When I come to the beach it’s all ready for me as it’s been smoothed flat by the ocean.” Much like fellow landscape artist Sonja Hinrichsen’s snow drawings, cleanup isn’t an issue with Andre’s sand painting as nature takes care of this for him. “It’s ephemeral,” he explains, “It cannot last and it cannot be maintained.” That’s the beauty of it – but that’s also why he and his team have to work fast.
He does preliminary sketches based on the area he’ll be working, and gives himself about a two-hour window to complete the painting and capture the image. And painting on a canvas anywhere between a few thousand square feet, to 30,000 square feet, this can often be a race against time. “The perspective is the hardest part.” explains Amador, “To be aware of where I am in the image, and what’s happening in the image and hold it all together, that’s the biggest challenge.”
If you want to learn more about Andres’ practice, you can take his Playa Painting Workshop where you’ll discover the true meaning behind his artwork, and with the artist’s guidance, create a sand painting of your own.
+ Andres Amador