Sandy on Sandy: Raising the Bar

You’ll definitely see “a bird with attitude” when you look at the cover of this year’s Sitka Harbor Guide.

So says artist Sandy Greba, who is lighting up a Harbor Guide cover for the second time in five years – this time with her watercolor painting, “Hooded Merganser.”

Sandy has a knack with color, light and water – you can see this both in “Hooded Merganser” and in her earlier cover art, “No Vacancy,” whose sea lions-atop-a-buoy-in-water graced the cover of the 2013 Harbor Guide.

The moving ripples and changing play of light on water can often be a challenge for the Alaska-born, Sitka-based artist. She specializes in paintings of birds and flowers but also tries, “to keep raising the bar and trying different things.”

When asked what made her pick this particular subject, Sandy says the hooded merganser is her favorite duck because “he’s got attitude and always seems to be saying, ‘Bring it on!’” Singled out by the Juneau Audubon Society and Robert Armstrong’s “Guide to the Birds of Alaska” for his extravagant head comb, this attitudinal bird has been observed in SE Alaska. Sandy says she may have seen the duck at Swan Lake and notes that she pulls her painting ideas from everywhere.

This artist is also an ardent beachcomber – as you can see in her photo, taken at Sitka’s Sandy Beach on Christmas Day, 2016, by daughter Hannah Keller. Spending Christmas on a beach – in Sitka or elsewhere – is a personal tradition of Sandy’s.

Keeping in the spirit of trying out new things, Sandy has many other projects (jewelry, note cards, and custom-designed birdhouses), plus this year plans to expand her stained glass artwork. She is also an active supporter of her colleagues and co-owner with three other Sitka artists of Cabin Fever, a small downtown gallery focusing on local artists “who celebrate the one-of-a-kind.”**

Since 1986 Sandy has also operated the homey and eponymous “Hannah’s Bed-and-Breakfast.”

And just how would an interested person get a print of the assertive Hooded Merganser? You can do so through Cabin Fever or by emailing sandy@hannahsbandb.com .

**Cabin Fever is co-owned by Sandy, Kay McCarty, Kelly Goeden & Tracy Harang; the gallery features their work and that of other local artists, including Tracy’s daughter Grace.

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