Artist showing in Glenwood Springs lets subjects’ energy express itself |

Artist showing in Glenwood Springs lets subjects’ energy express itself

Stina Sieg
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Stina Sieg Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” If Sandy Sela-Smith had never stepped into the unknown, she can imagine how things would have been.

“The light would have gone out in my eyes,” she said. “And I couldn’t let that happen.”

In recent years, being a photographer has been a big part of keeping that vitality about her. So has writing and moving and getting her Ph.D., and even getting a divorce.

“All this stuff just kind of flows together,” she said.

As she explained this, she was setting up for her first show at The Artist’s Mercantile. She was surrounded by her nature photographs, which aren’t what you’d expect. Most are tweaked in some way, containing giant swirls or big sunburst-like shapes. At first, the pieces don’t make a lot of sense and seem full of random alterations. After just a bit of explanation, however, the point is clear.

As she sees it, she’s not adding anything to these pictures. She’s just expressing the energy that’s already there ” with the help of a few computer programs.

Her process is fairly simple. First, she finds something she wants to capture, and then she asks it silent permission. Even if it’s a flower or rock, she can sense if it accepts her. If it’s a go, she takes the photo, brings it home and loads it on her computer. Then, she lets it talk to her.

“And I ask it to let me see the energy it wants to come out, and I let that come out,” she said.

She knows the reason why it tends to express itself mostly in twists. Even on a cellular level, a nuclear level, she knows spinning wheels of energy are what bind everything. Regardless of whether it’s a bird or mountain, she wants to express its underlying playfulness. She wants people to feel it, be touched by it, even if they don’t know why. In her heart, she knows she’s really a teacher.

She smiled as she held up a photograph of Cone Mountain, twirling around another peak.

“It’s like they’re dancing,” she said.

Like all her pictures, that one was a long time in coming. Though she loved photography even as a child, she spent her life going on journeys that didn’t include picture taking. In her early 20s, she became a school teacher. In her 30s, she decided to work with her husband in his business. After more than 20 years of marriage, she realized she needed to leave him and sought a divorce.

At every change, every juncture of her past, she followed an internal compass that told her she had to make certain decisions in order to live joyfully. In this way, she was pushed to study spiritual healing in China and New Zealand. She continued to follow this introspective spark and earned a Ph.D. in psychology and moved down to Clearwater, Fla., where she opened a practice. Every year, she kept waiting for that direction to leave again. After a decade and a half, she finally got it.

“And I didn’t know where I was supposed to go,” she said. “I just knew I was supposed to go.”

Eventually, that “where” turned out to be Conifer. There, she still does satellite teaching and counseling, but has added writing and photography to her world, as well. Currently, she’s even penning a trilogy about healing. While she’s sort of been isolated since moving there two years ago, she’s finally feeling the need to get out, be with people, start to really interact with the world again. One thing’s for sure ” she’s certainly a different woman than she ever was before. When she looks back on her experiences, she sees so many different lifetimes behind her. And it seems impossible to know how many she might have in front of her.

With the loving way she talks about her photos, though, it seems she plans on sticking with this reality, at least for a little while.

“It makes me happy,” she said, that light definitely still in her eyes. “And I keep doing things when they make me happy.”

Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111

Post Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado

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