Sandra Alanko

Hometown: Tilghman Island

Sandy Alanko has a master’s degree in art, studied Renaissance art in Florence, Italy, and taught art in public and private schools for thirty years. On a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts she learned firsthand about Native American art forms while on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. And, along with the science teacher from her school, Sandy took 15 students to the Amazon Rainforest of Peru to study the art and culture of the Riberanos, as well as to learn about the rainforest ecosystem.
Sandy’s other passion besides art, has been her lifelong fascination and reverence for animals and wild places. She is an avid birder and kayaker and loves the salt marshes, ponds, forests and shorelines that surround her Tilghman Island home.

For part of each winter, Sandy and her husband manage a Smithsonian Research field station located on the barrier coral reef of Belize where they assist biologists from all over the world in their work to conserve the magnificent, but threatened coral reef ecosystem.

Although Sandy paints in all media she has developed a watercolor technique which features 3D elements. These may include wings that protrude outward or portions on an image that spill out onto the mat, adding depth, texture and interest to the painting.

She hopes that her portrayal of animals and natural landscapes inspire a desire to protect and preserve our precious wild heritage.