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When did you decide to become an artist?

The Quad at UCLA

The Quad at UCLA

After studying geology and learning about the three different kinds of rocks: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic…after studying botany and learning about deoxyribonucleic acid and the theorem for photosynthesis…after studying James Joyce … I was getting nowhere fast. Actually, it wasn’t so fast. I was at UCLA, taking all of the required courses and didn’t care about any of them. I was just going through the motions and incredibly frustrated  by my lack of involvement.

The Janss Steps at UCLA

The Janss Steps at UCLA

Out of frustration and boredom, I knew I had to find something else to study. So, I thought, with undeniable logic, “WelI, I’m neat, why don’t I try the art department?” How’s that for personal insight? I registered for Art 101. This was a prerequisite design class with emphasis on line and color. I attended my first class and listened to the professor describe our homework assignment. We were to render a series of lines to achieve a design, or something like that. As he spoke, it was like  a laser beamed  through my brain, targeting exactly what I needed to create. It immediately triggered a vision  and I instantly  understood what he wanted us to do. It was just there, and I saw it in three dimensions.

Me at UCLA in the 1960’s

It was a magical experience, and I’d never had one like it before, a thunderbolt. The French call it a “coup de foudre” –– a shot to the heart. This was a “coup de brain!” I went home with my India Ink and drawing paper under my arm and completed the assignment. At our next meeting, the professor held up the designs that best illustrated the assignment. Mine was the best in the class. Shockingly, I was the only one who drew the design in a three-dimensional way. The only one. This continued through the semester. There was a visceral connection between the assignments and my artistic sensibility. You might remember that I’d been denying this part of me all of my life.

At last, I was beginning to realize that there was a side of me that I had been rejecting for years and it had emerged. Throughout the semester, I was either the best in the class or close to it. And by the way, the class was filled with people who had been studying art for years. This was quite startling to me.

You’re wondering where the examples of this artwork are? They were being stored in a friend’s basement. Their water heater burst and my artwork was destroyed. Gone!

I’ll be posting more from my years at UCLA’s School of Fine Art. Stay tuned.

You can see more of my art at my website www.sandrasallin.com

UCLA photographs from UCLA: The First Century,  Brent Hellickson, and Don Lewis

All images appearing on When did you decide to become an artist? are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!



  • Rex - Wonderful entry!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Rex. I appreciate the approval of a world class poet.ReplyCancel

  • SilverFoxyBlog - Great blog, loved the pictures of UCLA and you. Quite a beauty!!!! I know just how you felt about art, I wanted to be an Architect. Keep up the great work!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you. Wasn’t UCLA beautiful in it’s day? Architect? You must be good at math.ReplyCancel

      • SilverFoxyBlog - Math and art, was told by college counselors a woman would always be just a draftsman in someones’ office. Who knew women’s lib was coming!ReplyCancel

        • sandra - It was the same in the art department. Women were less than and it was not easy to get a Masters. That was for the men! We’ve come a long way baby!ReplyCancel

  • Harriet - You were gorgeous in college….. no surprise because you still are!ReplyCancel

  • B. (Barbi) Anne Reed - Great Blog!…Stunning you! Of course, you were the best!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you. It certainly was an awakening.ReplyCancel

  • jayne - Great photo of you – just a bit before the Haight-Ashbury era I assume.ReplyCancel

  • linda - love this!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Linda. Crazy way to think I could be an artist because I was “neat.”ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - You were almost as much of a beauty then as you are now:).ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Wow, I’m really blown away by all this attention to my “beauty.” I certainly didn’t see it in myself, still don’t. I think I’m going to post a blog about that time in my life and the way I saw myself and how others saw me. Just never saw myself as a beauty. But, thank you.

      To be honest, I’m blogging about subjects I never thought I would be blogging about. It seems the blog takes me to where it wants to go as opposed to where I thought I’d be going.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Daniel - You were a beauty with presence! And how wonderful that you found art in that way. I enjoy your comments at amidprivilege.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you so much. I still wonder at how that happened. So happy you found me.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - Sandy, what a great post and the photo of you is fabulous. Beautiful then and beautiful now.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you. I’ll be posting more of the story. The blog drives me as opposed to me driving the blog.ReplyCancel

  • E. L. von Schreiber - Came to visit via Lisa and Privilege.

    Oh, how the photo of you takes me back to wearing scarves in just that way. I was small then, but had a neighbor whom I adored and wanted to emulate, an older girl four years my senior. She was 14 y.o. in 1968 and like a big sister to me. She would wear a scarf that way.

    Naturally, I had to wear a scarf that way, too.

    Everyone commenting is so right. Your beauty is radiant and timeless. The camera loves you.

    The uni shots are fabulous as well, but it’s you who captures our collective attention.

    ~ Elsa LouiseReplyCancel

    • sandra - Oh, my goodness. Thank you for such a beautiful and thoughtful comment. I loved that scarf and wore it for years. It was made of white pique.

      Your name is very familiar to us. My husbands mother’s name was Schreiber!ReplyCancel

  • Tabitha - Yes, beautiful then and now, that’s a wonderful photograph, you are glowing with promise.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Tabitha. I took it all for granted. Just seemed like that’s who I was.ReplyCancel

  • Leora - I took one year of art, then I took even more art when my boys were little (it was my one break from caring for them), but I always crave more. Looking forward to more of your artsy posts.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - One is coming tomorrow. Keep painting and looking. 🙂ReplyCancel

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