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October featured artist: Nora Sanders

By Linda Michael | Foothills Art Association

Nora Sanders Curran fell in love with Chinese brush painting (better known as Sumi-e in the U.S.) while living in China. Then, while living in London, she studied with Chinese masters Qu Lei Lei, Cao Xiao Li and Xu Jongming. Now a resident of La Mesa, she will be the October featured artist at the Foothills Gallery in La Mesa.

A Chinese brush painting by Nora Sanders Curran (Courtesy Foothills Art Association)

The former Londoner came to the U.S. 12 years ago to marry John Curran. Nora jokes that John is from New England and she is from Old England. At the time, John lived in New Mexico, and Nora soon immersed herself in the art and cultural scene of her community. She joined the New Mexico Art League and the Rio Grande Art Association. She edited and published the Art League’s monthly newsletter The Palette. She also served on Rio Rancho’s Cultural Task Force.

Nora gave talks and demonstrations on Chinese brush painting at local libraries and was the featured artist at the Blue Lily Atelier for Chinese New Year. She also taught her mix of Western and Asian art she calls “East meets West” at the local Hobby Lobby and from home.

“It takes years to master Chinese brush painting and get those calligraphy strokes just right,” she says. “My Chinese teacher would not let us use color for three years. We had to use only ink, Chinese brushes and rice paper.”

By combining Asian art techniques, brushstrokes and philosophy, she has expanded her portfolio to include a more Western style in watercolor and acrylics — hence the meeting of East and West.

Nora, who paints under the name Nora Sanders, moved to La Mesa in 2017 with her husband John and is now a member of the Foothills Art Association and the San Diego Watercolor Society.

The public is invited to her artist’s reception on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2–4 p.m. at the Foothills Gallery at Porter Hall, 4910 Memorial Drive, La Mesa.

—Linda Michael is the editor of the Foothills Art Association newsletter Footnotes. Reach her at

Source: La Mesa Currier

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