Thursday, December 28, 2006

Latest Commissioned Portraits

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and was able to enjoy the festivities with family and friends. The month of December is especially busy for us artists who accept commissioned portraits as gifts for the holidays. I promised to post the ones I completed for my clients for you to view. Below are the three I completed in Nov/Dec. The first one is a 11x14 memorial portrait of a dog named Katherine. This portrait was painted with soft pastels on Moorman suede board with Mt. Katahdin in the background.

The next memorial portrait below is a 11x14 pastel pencil portrait on Canson paper, commissioned for a client in Vermont of his White Shepherd named Cain. The last portrait completed was a 11x14 Charcoal portrait of a young boy named Chase and his dog Jaxson for a client from Washington State. I hope you enjoyed viewing my latest work as much as I enjoyed painting them for my clients. Wishing everyone a very healthy and Happy New Year !

Friday, December 22, 2006

Loons of Tacoma Lakes book

Hello Everyone, hope most of your Christmas shopping is complete. Only a few days left before Christmas! Surprisingly, we still do not have any snow here in Maine. That is very unusual for us Mainers, and has been very hard to get into the Christmas spirit, but it has been nice to have 40-50 degree weather in the afternoons and easy driving conditions for traveling. Maybe Christmas Eve we will have a little dusting just to put us more in the spirit......

For those of you who would like to purchase a copy of my book Loons of Tacoma Lakes (ISBN#0-9785143-0-0) as a Christmas gift, please call your local bookstores or gift shops to see if they still have a copy on hand. I have restocked my book in 30 locations throughout Maine, NH and VT . If you are unable to locate my book and still wish to purchase an autographed copy please email and I would be happy to mail you a copy. Enclose a check for 24.95 plus 5% tax (Maine residents only). Mail to my studio: Animals in Pastels, 162 Main Street Lisbon Falls, ME 04252 . For those of you who enjoy viewing loon and scenes of New England photographs please visit my new gallery at here you will be able to view and order a selections of my new photographs captured in 2006 as prints, greeting cards, photo magnets and book markers.

For school librarians looking for a new book for their students, my book has been very well received not only with the adult nature lovers of this area but also the student photographers as well. The following is a review written for the Winter issue of the Maine Audubon Habitat Newspaper by Luke Seitz, a ninth grader at the Falmouth High School in Falmouth Maine. (permission to reprint courtesy of the editor:Marie Malin, of the Habitat Newspaper)

Loons of Tacoma Lakes is a spectacular book documenting a single family of common loons in the Tacoma Lakes region of central Maine. The author, Sandra Lee Huston, kayaked the lakes photographing and observing the loon family, and the book's wonderful, full-page images- over 40 of them-record the lives of the chicks from late summer through fall.
My favorites aspect of this book is the spectacular photography. On every spread, there is a full- page color photograph showing another stage in the breeding life of common loons. All images are extremely sharp and well exposed.
Natural history information about the loons is included in many of the photograph captions and descriptions. Some examples include the stage of molt the bird is in, feeding behavior, and the interactions between the adult and young loons. There is also basic life history information scattered throughout.
As a beginning photographer, I found the chapter explaining the author's photography process very rewarding. It was helpful to learn how Huston photographs the birds, and her tips on developing film. Overall, you can see that I enjoyed Loons of Tacoma Lakes immensely. The spectacular photographs, photography pointers and great information regarding the life of common loons made it a pleasurable read. I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in photography, loons or natural history in general. Luke Seitz - Falmouth, Maine

For librarians who are interested in purchasing my book, I offer a discount of 30% off the 24.95 retail price, your discounted price is 17.46 + 1.95 s&h for each book ordered (for two books ordered s&h would be 2.95). For more information on ordering books email: If you would like to view more information about my book just visit here you will be able to view 12 of the 40 photographs published in my book, read the preface page, bio and a sample of other review comments.

Soon after the holidays, I will post my new commissioned artwork completed this past month, for you to view. Until than, Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Sandy

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Happy Holidays

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends and is not getting too stressed out with shopping for Christmas. I have been very busy with commissioned pet portraits for clients and marketing my loon book "Loons of Tacoma Lakes". Sales continue to go strong and we have just passed the $8,000.00 mark. Unfortunately we have not paid the printers bill yet, but we are hoping for strong Christmas sales so that we will see a profit by the beginning of next year. My 5th and next book signing will be at Percy's Burrow - located at the Lewiston Mall on East Avenue in Lewiston, Maine. You can find us between the Radio Shack and the Silver Feather between 1 and 4 PM on December 16th. I will also have my new loon photographs, book markers, greeting cards and 4x6 loon photo magnets along with my autographed books for sale. Stop by and pick up some unique gifts for the loon lover on your gift list.

Our last book signing in Meredith, New Hamphsire on October 28th at the Innisfree Bookshop turned out to be very nice even though the weather was particularly rainy that day. On our way home we stopped at The Loon Center in Moultonborough, NH and they also purchased 2 dozen books to sell during their Christmas open house. Not only can you find my book in gift stores and many independent bookstores throughout Maine, but now NH and just recently Stowe, Vermont. For those of you who cannot find my book at your local book store or gift shop, please visit my website here you can order by email or phone. I will be happy to mail you an autographed copy of my book- with free shipping and handling for December. For additional gift ideas click on my Gift Shop page, here you will find an assortment of gift items to purchase including gift certificates for the animal lover on your gift list.

Starting in December I will have a new Photo Gallery Album complete with shopping cart from which you can order one of several items easily by clicking on the drop down menu after selecting an image. You will have your choice of ordering greeting cards, magnets, digital prints also book markers. This will be a new item, so if there are any problems please feel free to email me to let me know. This new photo album will showcase all my Scenes of New England Photographs including my most recent loon photographs captured in 2006. And do not miss checking out my unique 24- month custom made calendars located on my gift shop page. Many are now ordering them with a new loon picture. After the holidays I will post my newly finished artwork for your enjoyment. Until then, wishing you all a safe and happy holiday !
Sandy ~

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fall Splendor

Hello everyone, I hope you have had time to enjoy all the beautiful Indian summer weather we have been having. I know we have. During our vacation the first week in October, we enjoyed a nice walk on the beach also a visit to the Fryeburg Fair and just enjoyed the warm sunshine while catching up on some yard work. The Fryeburg Fair turn out this year was great, with the weather warm and sunny for most of the week. This year I took time to walk around behind the scenes at the draft horse barns and captured some unique photographs of the horses being harnessed, bathed and even captured a few draft teams during warm up before the pulling contests began. The photograph to the left and below are two from the 6-hitch draft horse show held on Wednesday October 4th. Notice the matching ribbons braided in the manes of the horses matching the color of the wagon they were pulling. All of the draft horses in this show were beautifully presented with their polished harness and shiny coats, all decked out in their best for this spectacular event.

If you would like to view more of the draft horse photographs captured that day visit my website at click on the link named My Gallery on each of the photography pages and or the gift shop page. Or click on this link: Look for the sub title horses album and you will view more photographs from the Fryeburg Fair also various new horse photographs will be featured here in the future. I took a total of 6 rolls of film in 2005 and again in 2006 of just the draft show at the Fryeburg Fair, so their is only a small fraction of the photographs displayed. If you would like to know if a particular draft team was captured and you do not see it, please email and I would be happy to look through my archives to see if I have one of your team. Please give me the name of the draft breed, color of the wagon, any possible distinguishing marking (or color of ribbons on the horses) that may help me identifly your team. You may come back periodically as more photographs will be added when time permits. This is a new item that should be up and ready to view sometime in November/December of 2006. Here you can go and view all the photographs available to purchase in a variety of styles ranging fro 8x10 digital photographs, to 24 month custom calendars, including greeting cards, 4x6 photo magnets and even bookmarkers. You will also have available an order form to download where you can easily fill in any order you would like and simply mail in to my studio with a money order or check. For those of you who love loons, check out my new loon photographs captured the summer of 2006 at the Tacoma Lakes area. Many have surpassed even the photographs I was able to capture last year that were published in my new book titled "Loons of Tacoma Lakes" in April. For those of you who are not familiar with my book click on this link Here you will be able to read the bio and preface page, also view 12 of the 40 photographs published while listening to the calls of the loons in the background. To date we have sold and distributed over $7,500.00 of my loon book in over 40 locations ranging from Kittery to Moosehead, Maine including independent bookstores, giftshops and sporting good outlets. If by any chance you are unable to locate my book in a location near you, just email me at and you can order an autographed copy mailed to your home. I am even extending my free shipping and handling for all individual orders mailed in the US as a Christmas special.

For those of you who will be in the Meredith, NH area on Saturday Oct. 28th between 2 and 4 PM stop by at the Innisfree Bookshop where I have been invited to attend a book signing and give an informal talk about publishing my new loon book. I will also have my portfolio of my loon photographs available to view, including some gift items to purchase for all you loon lovers.

For those of you who would like to commission a custom portrait of your children or your beloved animal companion for Christmas there is still time to reserve a spot for this season if you contact me before Nov. 1st. After that date I have gift certificates that are available to purchase for that special someone on your gift list. Email for more information about commissioning a custom portrait in charcoal or pastel. Enjoy the fall season everyone! Take care,


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Newest Charcoal portrait....

Here is the digital photo of my latest portrait, hopefully it will upload today. This is of my husbands niece, Marlene and her 6 week old baby girl, Samantha.

If you would like to commission a portrait of your children in charcoal, visit my website at for prices and more information or email me at Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Busy in August....

Well, summer is over and fall is fast around the corner. August was a very busy month for me. The Winthrop Sidewalk Art show/ book signing hosted by the Apple Valley Bookstore on August 19th turned out to be a great day. The rain held off and the turn out was high. Although the 80+ artist's reported that art sales were down by 50% from last year. I not only displayed my book "Loons of Tacoma Lakes" ( ) but also my Scenes of Maine greeting cards, bookmarkers, 4x6 loon photo magnets, small 5x7 framed loon cards and a few 8x10 enlarged prints of loons. I did very well with my small items, it seemed that my bookmarkers, loon magnets and greeting cards made up most of the sales for the day.

Besides continuing to market my book to the NEBA independent bookstores throughout New England I also managed to complete a few commissioned portraits.

This 11x14 pastel portrait of an English Setter was for a client in NH. Jesse's dog portrait was painted on Rich Beige, Art Spectrum Colourfix Pastel Paper.

This next pastel portrait was also for a client in NH. This is a memorial portrait of their beloved cat, Casper. My client wished to have their cat portrayed full size with his toy mouse and large double paws showing. Casper's, 18x26 pastel portrait was painted on Blue Haze, Art Spectrum Colourfix pastel paper.

And I have also just complete a charcoal portrait of my husbands niece and her new baby girl, Samantha. Marlene's 11x14 charcoal portrait was drawn on Flannel Grey, Canson Mi-Tientes pastel paper. This is a new addition to my commissioned portraits advertised on my website. I have decided to also include commissioned portraits of families in charcoal besides children and pets. (sorry, it seems that is not uploading this new charcoal portrait for you to view, I will try again on another day)

For anyone who is interested in commissioning a portrait for a Christmas gift there is still time. I accept orders up until Nov 1st. Please visit my website at for more information on the styles of portraits that are available for you to commission. Gift certificates are also available for that someone special on your gift list.

On my weekends at camp, (when it hasn't rained that is) I have continued to capture some more beautiful loon photographs at Tacoma Lakes. These new loon photos will make a wonderful calendar that I hope to have published and begin to market next year on line and at giftshops and bookstores throughout New England.

Well, that is all my news for now, enjoy the Indian Summer weather everyone and have a great fall season.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Summer's Here !

Hello Everyone,

The Moxie Festival in Lisbon Falls, Maine on July 7th through the 9th was a great success, with lots of fun and sun for all, including great Fireworks to celebrate the festivities and of course our famous parade on Saturday morning. My book signing on the first two days of the festival was very encouraging. It was especially heartwarming to see people drive from as far away as Waterville just to meet me and have me sign their copy of my book, Loons of Tacoma Lakes. Sales from my new book continues to be strong. I now have my book distributed in over 28 locations throughout Maine, in bookstores, gift shops and sporting goods outlets. Reorders have started to come in as early as three weeks ago. Very encouraging!

I also had a delightful meeting with the ladies of Altrusa International Inc. of the Pejepscot Area on Wednesday evening, July 12th. Jane Long the President, asked me to give their group a little demonstration of my artwork and talk about my new loon book. This is a great group of ladies getting together to volunteer their services in projects dedicated to community betterment. I had a wonderful evening talking with these ladies about my new book and artwork and enjoyed a nice supper with them at the Brunswick Cafe.

I also continue to photograph the breeding loons at Tacoma Lakes on Sunday morning. I have documented 3 new breeding pairs on film, from Woodbury Pond so far this year, each pair with one newly hatched chick and also a pair that renested for the second time since the end of June. Below is one of the new breeding pairs captured on July 4th with its young chick hiding behind its parent. I should title this one peek-a-boo.

I was also extremely lucky to capture this shot below of a Great Blue Heron in the cove between Sand and Woodbury Pond from my kayak on Monday July 3rd.

Its unbelievable but my photographic opportunities on Woodbury this year have actually outshined last years. Maybe not in quantity, because of all the rain we had this past month, but certainly quality. Once again I have been extremely fortunate capturing the new breeding loons of the area ponds. I will be bringing many of my new loon photographs to my next book signing Saturday, on August 19 at the Winthrop Art Show in the form of bookmarkers, note cards and 4x6 photo magnets for all you loon lovers. Look for me set up in front of the Apply Valley Book Store between 10 AM and 3 PM. Until then, enjoy the summer, have fun and stay cool! Sandy

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Catching up ....

Hello, trying to catch up, as I have not been able to post as often on my blog page as I would have liked in the past 2 weeks. Memorial Weekend Photo opportunities were pretty good although not the best. I was able to capture some lady slippers and a few loon photographs at camp, even though the rain has been on and off for the last 3 weeks (mostly on)! The birds and ducks are happy with all this rain, but it does not make for good photography outings for sure. Even the flowers in my garden are starting to develop rain rot. Not good at all. For all you floral lovers, here are a few of the lady slipper photographs I was able to capture at Beaver Park in Lisbon, ME. Even on this day it was partly cloudy and the pictures did not come out as bright as I would have liked. For those of you who enjoy florals you can visit my website at this link will bring you to my floral page to view some of the other flowers I have captured over the years . At home I have been busy with my own garden and have tried to keep up with the weeds, when the rain has stopped. This is a picture of our back yard garden that we built when we removed our old above ground pool several years ago.
This is a beautiful place to enjoy the sound of the water fountain and hear the birds singing while eating breakfast and to also retire in the evenings in our enclosed screened gazebo watching the sun set. (The screen gazebo is the only way to enjoy the outdoors in the evening in Maine as the black flies and mosquitoes will surly carry you away) hee hee. For you loon lovers who have been keeping up with my earlier posting. Yes, I was able to capture some great loon photographs last weekend. Actually the only weekend out of 3 that did not rain all weekend. The photograph below is one I captured last Sunday while at camp, with this years new loons chicks just hatched. This baby is about one and a half weeks old. I was also fortunate to capture a few shots with a loon chick on the parents back, but will have to wait to finish the film before I can share those with you. Speaking about loons, sales for my "Loons of Tacoma Lakes" book are still growing strong. It has been nearly 2 months since I published my new book and we have reached just under $4,000.00 in distribution and sales so far. Hopefully by the end of the fall season we will start to show a profit, as all money goes to pay the printer bill first. It has been a great learning experience publishing my own book and I will probably do it again. Please if anyone tells you that you can make a lot of money writing and publishing a full color book, do not believe them. The truth is, it will be 2 years before we see any real profits and that is if sales continue to be strong throughout this season and into Christmas. Honestly though, it was a labor of love for me to write this loon book and I still continue to enjoy the marketing part, although to be truthful, taking the photographs are much more enjoyable. For those of you who have not seen my new book, click on this link: Loons of Tacoma Lakes . It will direct you to my website where you can view some of the photographs that were published in my book while listening to the calls of the loons in the background. Here you will also be able to read the preface page, back cover bio and some of the review comments. If you are interesting in purchasing a copy for yourself or for a loon lover in your family, please email me at and I would be happy to mail you a signed copy (free shipping and handling is still available for single orders in the US). For those of you who will be in the area of Lisbon Falls, Maine on July 7th & 8th, stop by at the Moxie Festival on Friday evening July 7th between 4 and 7 PM. I am scheduled for a two day book signing event at the Teen Center on Main Street located between the fire station and the bank. For those of you who will only be attending the festival on Saturday , I will also be available between 10 PM and 2 PM sharing space with the Lisbon Library book fair, at the teen center. I promise to bring a few of my new photographs as bookmarkers and 4x6 photo magnets for all you loon lovers out there. Looking forward to seeing you at the book signing during the Moxie Festival. Until then, take care, have fun and pray for sunshine! Sandy

Thursday, June 08, 2006

New additions to the family....

Just wanted to say that I am happy to start my new blog spot, to be able to keep in touch with everyone and let you know what's new. I wanted to announce that I have just published my new loon book called "Loons of Tacoma Lakes" and wanted to report that sales have been very promising for the first month. I have sold and distributed over $3,200.00 throughout Maine since my book was first published on April 28th and I have enjoyed reading all the wonderful comments that everyone has emailed and mailed to me. I also wanted to thank Edward Turner of Bidderford, for his glowing review of my new book in the Book Nook section "On Maine Writers" in the Sunday - Sun Journal Newspaper on June 4th.

If you would like to purchase a copy of my new loon book, you can visit your local book store and ask if they have it available or order it directly from the author (myself) for $24.95 (note my promotional special on my website: free shipping and handling in the US for the first 100 copies). To order, just email :, let me know your shipping address and if you would like me to autograph a copy for you. Send check or money order made out to Sandra Huston or Animals in Pastels, mail to my studio at 162 Main St. Lisbon Falls, ME 04252. Maine residents please add 5% sales tax (1.25). You should receive your book in 7 business days. Below are just a few of the review comments I have received so far:

" You have created a very special volume. It is much more than a book of beautiful photographs of loons. The Completeness of the description of the life of the loons makes this a very superior volume, very unique. "

" Your week by week journaling of this aspect of nature is fantastic, educational and profound. I welcome this gem to my classroom library."

"My wife and I wish to compliment you on your fine work. We thoroughly enjoyed your book celebrating the love of loons and will cherish it for many, many years to come."

If you would like more information about my book you can visit my website at click on the loon book cover at the top of the page and it will bring you to a dedicated page where you will hear calls of the loons in the background while reading about my new book and view some of the photographs published. Loons of Tacoma Lakes is a book documenting the raising of two loon chicks from 3 weeks old to when they are fully fledged and ready to fly. There are 40- 5x7 full color photographs in this large format 72 page book. My books make perfect gifts and a beautiful addition to any loon lovers library.

Besides working on marketing my new book I have been busy taking care of the new additions to our family. Two- Five year old pygmy goats: Butterbean and Pepper. These little munchkins are fun to watch and have bonded very well with my Morgan mare "Rosie" in the month they have been with us. Below is a picture of them grazing in our back pasture.

On Memorial weekend my husband and I were busy at camp on Woodbury Pond opening up our RV camper, cleaning and attaching the screened in porch. This is where I photographed all the pictures for my book(Tacoma Lakes) and will continue with documenting the loons again this year. I did notice that one of the breeding pairs is still nesting and the chicks had not hatched yet. Even as late as last weekend when we drove by the inlet during the rain on June 4th she was still sitting on the nest. Hopefully this weekend the rain will end and I will be able to kayak around the ponds and capture some more new and exciting photographs of the new babies just hatched. I promise to upload a few for you loon lovers out their to view if I capture a special one. Until then, take care, and have fun.