In 1974 Sondra and Jack Beal bought a former mill on the Ouleout Creek, They totally renovated the structure and with Sondra’s designs and models they built their home and studios there.
Sondra Freckelton is widely recognized for her well-planned, thoughtful, and expertly crafted watercolors she develops using principles that expand artistic expression; and she is appreciated for helping others learn those principles while gaining a concrete understanding of watercolor painting.
Sondra Freckelton was born in Dearborn, Michigan in 1936 and studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago along with her late husband, artist Jack Beal. She began her career as a sculptor working in wood and plastics, exhibiting under her married name, Sondra Beal.
During the early 1970’s Ms. Freckelton was one of several noted abstract artists who turned to realism in their work. She began working in transparent watercolor — a logical extension of the delicate watercolor studies she had done for her transparent cast-resin sculptures. Numerous museums, galleries and traveling shows throughout the United States have exhibited her watercolors. She has had solo exhibits at major galleries in New York, Chicago, Washington, D. C., and San Francisco. Various public and corporate collections include her paintings. Ms. Freckelton’s work and teaching philosophy are the subjects of the recent Watson-Guptill publication entitled Dynamic Still Lifes in Watercolor by M. Stephen Doherty. She also teaches watercolor workshops and judges art competitions. Sondra Freckelton lives and works near Oneonta, New York.
Sondra’s husband, Jack Beal, passed away on August 29, 2013. Sondra Freckelton lives and works in the renovated mill she designed, on the Delhi Stage Road, near Oneonta, New York.
Sondra Freckelton began making abstract sculptures in wood and plastic while a student at the Art Institute of Chicago. Although she met with resounding success as a sculptor, in the early 1970s she turned to realistic still lifes in watercolor. Freckelton now paints flowers, vegetables, and handmade objects associated with feminine family activities—quilts, garden implements, household objects that “are the quiet work of housewives and artisans.” Her subjects speak “about life—about how we slept, ate and dreamed and lived.” Recently Freckelton has exhibited oils and pastels for the first time and expanded her subject matter to include figures as well. She continues to celebrate the beauty of ordinary life in many of her canvases—one work, for example, shows a woman weeding a garden, another depicts Freckelton’s husband, Jack Beal, tucked into bed with milk, cookies, and the New York Times.
Virginia M. Mecklenburg Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987)
Sondra Freckelton at VMFA 1997