Art has been one of Sandi Ciaramitaro’s great passions in life –– a fervor fueled by her extensive background in design, which has always existed at the heart of her career. While many of her years was spent as an autobody designer, she eventually pivoted to embrace her knack for creating fine art, including oil paintings and bronze sculptures.

Today Sandi considers herself a historic preservationist artist focusing on the Southwest region of the United States. She spends months researching her subject areas and regularly collaborates with Native American historians and museum curators to get details just right.

Take, for example, her bronze piece, Good Thoughts. It was created after Sandi met a woman at Canyon de Chelly who she found captivating. The elderly woman is the matriarch of her family, and, through a translator, they spoke about her long life. At the end of the conversation, Sandi asked the woman for her permission to create a piece of art inspired by her. The woman agreed, but with a few caveats.

The woman asked that Sandi include a peach tree, because decades earlier at the bottom of the canyon she’d found a seed, planted it and watched the tree grow and grow. The woman also requested that Sandi’s piece show the viewer she was having “good thoughts.”

Sandi obliged and sculpted a work of art with these specifications in mind. The result is breathtaking. The woman’s face communicates her warmth, her hands showcase her wisdom and the peach tree highlights her history. Sandi even worked with a Navajo silversmith to recreate the turquoise jewelry the woman wore the day they met, adding them to the piece as removable objects so that those who buy the piece have the option of wearing them.

“When it was complete, I brought it back to her and she saw the piece and ran her hands over it,” Sandi says. “She said she couldn’t believe she was going to be remembered in this way. Her family was so excited.”

The woman’s family told Sandi that her work made them proud. And for an artist so dedicated to showing respect and capturing history, this is the ultimate compliment.

Find out more about this special piece of art below: