CLARKS SUMMIT — For as long as she can remember, Sandy Holdridge, a South Abington Township resident, said she has always loved art.
Visitors to the Abington Community Library, 1200 W. Grove St., can see her exhibit of six pen and ink drawings and 10 acrylic paintings throughout the month of September.
“I’m the one who was always doing coloring books and my mom was a teacher, so I would help her with bulletin boards,” said Holdridge. “I had drawn animals in high school, but I felt they were very stiff.”
In 2011, at 52 years old, Holdridge experienced an awakening of her artistic spirit while with her husband, Don, over the Rocky Mountains on a plane bound for Seattle. Their destination was an Alaskan cruise they planned to commemorate their 25th wedding anniversary. With only a pen and napkin on hand, and perhaps in anticipation of being in Alaska, she drew her first eagle on a napkin and “that started it all,” she explained. The pencil and eraser she used to draw for years had become a crutch.
“You might as well have called me ‘eraser,’” Holdridge admitted.
On that trip, Holdridge believes her drawings seemed to “come alive all of a sudden.”
In the years that followed, the couple continued to travel extensively, providing Holdridge with countless opportunities to amass a vast collection of pen and ink illustrations of animals and wildlife. Her sketchbooks contain pages of intricately detailed drawings of cats, dogs, deer, primates, birds, bears and lizards.
From 2012 to 2014, while Don, a career army chaplain with a special operations unit was stationed in Hawaii, their landlord, a folk artist, encouraged Holdridge to further explore her artistic talents. Every morning at 5:30 a.m., Holdridge drove to the beach and while watching the sunrise, she drew mostly dogs, but sometimes different birds.
She also finds inspiration for her work during visits to parks, game lands, wildlife refuges and zoos and from photographs Don and the couple’s son D.J. take for her.
“What I see in nature and the world around me – the animals – I want to keep them alive and this is how it filters through. I can draw it on paper with a pen. I absolutely love details,” she said.
Holdridge recently began taking painting lessons at the Dunmore Senior Center.
“That (painting) is new to me. I’m still learning,” she said.
Abington Community Library Director Leah Ducato Rudolph described Holdridge’s pen and ink drawings as “very clever and whimsical.”
“I love her pen and ink drawings of the animals. I think they’re very clever and whimsical and could be used in so many places. I can see a lot of potential in her art,” Rudolph said. “We are very proud and pleased to give amateur and professional artists the opportunity to display their work at the library.”
In addition to drawing and painting, some of her other creative undertakings have included jewelry making, calligraphy, ceramics, cake decorating and china painting and her plan is to write and illustrate a children’s book under her pen name, Sandy Joy.
“I’ve been blessed with a god given talent and I’m thankful over and over again to be able to share my art,” Holdridge said.