Sand in art

Sand in paintings

In Gregorian times the Japanese tray painting was taken over and artists established who decorated white table cloths for feudal banquets with sand and sugar.
In the 19th century on Isle of Wight pictures painted with sand were produced sold as souvenirs showing the beautiful cliffs. Painting with bond sand became a popular medium and it is to mention that a few of the famous artists of the 20th century blended their oil colours with sand to enhance their pompous colour applications.
"Pre-war souvenir sand picture postcard of Godshill I.o.Wight" by The Sandpainter

Sand sculptures

The very same artists of the Isle of Wight filled loose sand into bottles and jars. Between 1860 and 1890 the deaf artist Andrew Clemens of Dubuque, Iowa produced Sandpictures of breath taking beauty and precision into bottles. Many people know the sand bottle fillers which preferable in desert countries or along beaches make their money with stunned tourists.
But the real 3-D you can get when you visit one of the many sand sculpture festivals, where the traditional sand castle building is brought to its dictum. Sand artists build Cinderella castles, over-dimensional statues or bizarre scenery made of beach sand. And a must see are Peter Donelly's beach art works in Christchurch New Zealand.

Moving Sandpictures

The following information is based on my modest research in the field of sand. Some details are still hidden in the fog of the past so I've to tell the story with the facts I found. Thanks to everybody who can bring light into the past and telling me more details about how it really was.


In the early 20th century patents have been released covering the method of filling sand pictures similar to those of the American sand artist Andrew Clemens.
In the early 60ies another patent covered a do-it-yourself version made of two glass panes divided by a wood frame with an open gap on top. You could fill coloured sand with the result of landscapes or dunes.
When you got tired of the picture you could pour out the sand and produce a new image. Or you could fix it by pouring glue on top.

Hour of birth

At the same time at a California art college students held an art contest for kinetic art. One idea was putting an egg timer into two-dimensional shape. Two glass panes with a divider in the center became the first moving Sandpicture. Through a gap in the middle allowed the sand to move through and create a mountain shape.
It was the first moving Sandpicture.

Different colours

Wham-O who became famous with their Frisbees and other nice toys together with the physician Ron L. Cloutier developed the Magic Window which has been produced between 1971 and 1974. Between two oval acrylic glasses different minerals were loose filled. When turning the device the colours separated because of the different densities. A beautiful toy.

With water

In the mid seventies the first pictures with water appeared. Who came up with them, I don't know. With or without middle barriers - the water slowed down the game and helped the separation of the different weighted minerals.
Because of the physical conditions it was just a matter of time that air appeared inside, which turned out to a benefit because air slowed down the moving process even more and the formations became more spectacular.

Boom in the 1980ies

Between the early and middle eighties there was a boom with Sandpictures. In Paris there was Imaginoscope, a company employing 20 people. According to a French gentleman who lived in Japan and sold Imaginoscope there, the owner passed 1989. Already in 1986 a Taiwan company applied a patent in US for a Sanpicture with a built in clock. The same company still produces Sandpictures. In Germany at the same time there was Sternschnuppe and Miracle Pictures. In America Exotic Sands started - they are still actively producing Sandpictures..
Besides them a couple of garage productions are going on - mostly there where tourist enjoy walking beach promenades in Italy, Spain or Miami Beach.
Juan, a guy from Barcelona was one of them. At that time he was the only one who understood making fine sand blends made of 3 or 4 kinds of sand. His pictures were outstanding and beautiful compared to the rest of the producers. So he became my first measuring scale.

Sandman's approach

In 1986 thanks to my friend Werner Pieper I held a Sandpicture in my hands for the first time. At that time basically raw versions were available, only three kinds of sand with or without the air bubbles inside the picture.
In both versions I found a lot of improvement possible and started to discover the secrets of Sandpicture with the target making them with all the colours of the rainbow inside.
Therefore my creations were named Rainbow Vision Sandpictures from 1987 - 2014.
After only two years I reached the target musing colourful sand blends of 4 kinds of minerals.
Soon five different kinds of sand became the standard of my secret sand blends.
Luckily I never tried copying anyone elses technique. I discovered the basics by research and testing many different materials. That way I found a completely different recipe, which still makes a distinct to any other Sandpicture nowadays.
Still my daily thoughts are about improvement. I test and try new materials enabling new mixtures and creations.
That tireless exploratory urge is the basic of the beauty, quality and durability of the KB collection.

Sandman's vision

The compiled knowledge about function, technique and details in Sandpictures is absolutely essential when it is about big scale works or custom designs.
The balance between the elements and forces playing a role in a big scale Sandpicture are so delicate that slightest deviations make them dysfunctional.
When talking about design works, art pieces or installations ranging from 3,000 $ up the future owner wants to be sure that his investment is a durable one.
At present I can guarantee for a size of 100 x 200 cm / 3 x 6 ft.
There are limits in terms or size when it is about glass, sealant and water pressure etc.
Here we are striving around details which are in the area of production secrets and therefore kept unrevealed.
Fact is that every observer of a big scale Sandpicture is stunned, even put into trance somehow.
The healing effect of Sandpictures should be used to provide people with the positive vibes they are emanating. My next target is filling this gap in future and installing big size Sandpictures everywhere where they can unfold their effect best, namely in spa areas, doctor's offices, hospitals, therapy centers, retirement homes, in waiting areas of train stations, air ports, authorities, hotels or shopping malls.
Sandpictures as a calm pole and center of relaxation and energizing.