Many Thanks to Karen Fetter for writing the following article for Inspiring Times in Westmoreland County. 

Local Artist Paints Images of Angels
by Karen Fetter


Sandra Monier has always had a deep relationship with God. It wasn’t until one Sunday afternoon in 2001 that she understood her prayer could be expressed in a different way. Nearly eight years later, Sandra is continuing her journey with God and has her angel artwork to prove it.

“This is my way of expressing my prayer to God,” said Sandra. “I pray throughout my work.”

Sandra’s artwork is unlike any other paintings. She uses dyes and creates images on silk. Sandra said she knows God’s guidance has influenced her artistry because she was able to do it without any training. It all began with a request from her parish in Harrison City.

It was just before Christmas and they asked Sandra to paint angels on long pieces of silk. At this point she had an art background, but it was in interior design and art, not painting. The parish representative insisted she give it a try. The following Sunday afternoon she decided to see what she could accomplish. Sandra lit a candle and said a prayer asking for guidance from God. Then she started to paint. Within 20 minutes, Sandra’s efforts produced the beautiful image of an angel.

“The next day I decided to try it again. I prayed, surrendered my will, and He brought forth beautiful angels. Since that time I have been painting Angels, Our Lady, and Christ,” said Sandra.

The process of using dyes on silk to create images is a complex one. First, Sandra stretches the silk out onto a stretcher. Then she uses gutta, which helps to stop the dyes from bleeding. She typically draws an outline of the image that she wants to create and then transfers it onto the silk. Afterward, Sandra begins painting with the dyes, the consistency of which is similar to using water colors.

After images are created and the silk has dried, Sandra then uses high resolution scans to copy the images into a file. From this file she can create note cards that are personalized with original prayers from Sandra.

In addition to the note cards, Sandra can create scarves and stoles. Each one of these silk scarves is custom dyed with angels hand drawn onto the fabric in a coordinating color. The intention is that you pray the scripture verse as you put the scarf on and repeat this prayer throughout the day as you wear it.

Sandra says that the scarves are all original works of art with no two color schemes, patterns, or angels alike. The scarves are 100 percent silk and can be hand washed in cold water, hung to dry, and touched up with a cool iron. She uses 100 percent silk thread and several different types of silk when making the scarves.

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Sandra has also created stoles for special priest in her life. The first stole went to Rev. Douglas E. Dorula from the Diocese of Greensburg, PA. “Father Doug has given invaluable support as I journey to discover how and where God is calling me to serve Him through lay ecclesial ministry. His insights led me to a special devotion to St. Mary Magdalene and her call as one of Christ's first disciples.”

“It is with good humor, kindness, and compassion that Father Doug leads those around him to a deeper understanding of what it means to be Catholic Christians. Most of all, it is through his priestly heart that those blessed to know him encounter Jesus,” said Sandra.

After years of deepening her relationship with God through artwork, Sandra decided to go a step further and enroll in the Diocese of Greensburg's Certificate in Pastoral Ministry Program offered in conjunction with Seton Hill University in 2006.

The program requirements involved classes in Theology and Social Work, days and evenings of reflection offered through the diocese, and volunteer work within their own parish. Sandra recently graduated in May of 2009 with a Certificate. Another part of the program was to complete an internship at a work site of choice. Sandra’s internship was in the area of Retreat Ministry with the Passionists at St. Paul of the Cross in Pittsburgh.

Sandra has now re-enrolled into Seton Hill University with the intent of completing work towards a Bachelor's Degree in Theology/Pastoral Ministry Specialty along with a minor in Art History.

“It was my hope when I began studying Theology that the education would give my work more depth and credibility,” said Sandra. “Even though the quantity of artwork has diminished since starting school, I can see the quality has risen and continues to do so the more I study.”

If you are interested in purchasing the note cards, scarves, or stoles, contact Sandra at 724-744-0159. In addition, Sandra’s merchandise is also available at St. Emma’s Gift Shop in Greensburg, Pa along Route 819. If you want to be inspired, take the opportunity to purchase one of Sandra’s pieces of artwork and “be touched by an angel.”
 

You can view Sandra’s artwork and images at
 


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