I picked up the brush, I couldn't get enough of it. I was painting
every night when I got home from work. I'd get home on a Friday
and paint until one or two in the morning. I never knew I could
started painting wine bottles. The paintings received positive
notice. She then painted vineyards, wine bottle labels and even
pets, usually on commission.
But her artwork took a sudden turn when she discovered a passion
for painting romantic scenes with people figurative art.
She took a leave of absence from her day job to paint full time
for three weeks with local artist Mike Fitzpatrick.
day she found herself crying during a lesson. "I was so happy,"
she explained. "This is what my life is supposed to be about.
And I'm so lucky that I found it." Crist, however, is mostly
painting of a couple flirting in a nightclub (entitled "What")
is the most talked about painting in Napa. Everyones trying
to figure out who the couple is. She admits shes a die-hard
romantic; shes still hoping for that one sweet love after
her first marriage didnt work.
is a beautiful blonde living in a toney valley that has produced
almost as many beautiful blondes, brunettes and redheads as it
has pinot noir grapes. But Crist stands out as the only woman
with paint spatters on every pair of Seven jeans she owns.
also a rare lung cancer survivor. A long-time smoker, Crist went
in for a physical at age 50, where her doctor found a tiny lump
on a chest x-ray, which turned out to be malignant on furthere
testing. A surgeon removed the entire upper right lobe of her
lung, as well as a portion of rib.
a huge operation. They almost cut you in half," she said.
"It was scary. You don't know what you're really in for."
was a long time before she could paint again due to the surgery.
She didnt understand why she went into a huge depression
afterward, but found that is common with major surgery.
never come home since then on a Friday night and painted until
one in the morning. I just don't have that energy any more,"
doctor said shes cured. But Crist knows lung cancer returns
to a lot of people whove survived surgery. Twice a year,
she goes for checkups that give her hope.
like this huge relief. It makes you think, okay, I've got another
is trying hard to sell enough paintings so she can retire early
and live her dream: painting full time. There are still all those
say you have to wait until you're 55 to retire. If you're looking
from year to year and you don't know if you're going to be around
she said. "It makes you look at your priorities differently.
I should be doing what I love to do."
*** It's 2010 and for the last two years Sandi has been retired
from her work at the Assessors Office and has been devoting
herself full time to her "real job" making beautiful