Wheatland Union High School Class of 1966 - Latest News
04-27-2011 - Jim Sanders -retired WHS German teacher
By Nancy Pasternack/Appeal-Democrat -- 2011-04-18 00:34:59
*Sister remembered for quixotic life*
Her paintings exhibited in Rome, Stockholm and Geneva as well as in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.
But Shirley "Shi" Pratini spent much of her Depression-era childhood in the Yuba-Sutter area, where her half-brother, James Sanders, lives now.
She died in 2007, and Sanders, a retired Wheatland High School German teacher, is on a mission to locate and archive her artwork â€” more than 300 paintings that have been sold over the course of half a century.
He also is in the process of making a coffee-table book that features some of her work.
"It's my last hurrah for her," Sanders says of his beloved big sister, nicknamed "Shi" because of her timidity.
But tracking down artwork that has made its way through the gallery world has not been easy.
"She didn't take pictures of them, and she didn't know who bought them," he says. "And she was all over the damn place."
In addition, Sanders, 75, does not make much use of the Internet â€” and the Internet is where disparate pieces of the art world connect.
The house he shares with his wife, Carolyn, set back a ways from Hammonton-Smartsville Road, owes much, he says, to Pratini's influence.
The artist had, in addition to painting, been a designer of living spaces; her two marriages were to architects.
Among her design works were Sanders' front door, his wood stove, a modern stained glass window, and a bathroom whose shower stall steps down to a deep tub and which is covered entirely in a pattern of circular blue tiles.
Often, she would design a project, and set her younger brother to work helping it come to fruition.
"If she'd left it up to me, I'd have had it all screwed up," he says.
As a young girl, Pratini's mother and stepfather moved frequently, and in 1932, young Shirley attended the second grade at Notre Dame in Marysville. In third grade, she went to Bridge Street Elementary in Yuba City. For a short time in the fourth grade, she attended a school in Biggs.
In pursuit of work building gold dredgers, Sanders' father (Pratini's stepfather) moved the family briefly to Colorado, and in the summer of 1935, according to biographical information he compiled for the book, into a tent in Merced Falls back in California.
When she wasn't looking after him, Sanders says, his big sister was engrossed in artwork.
"She was exceptional," he says of her ability in both areas.
"My mother was not a young chicken, and my father only had one child and was 17 years older than she was," Sanders says.
Pratini, he says, "was my surrogate mother."
In his biographical account of his sister's life, Sanders says the constant relocations through childhood were tough on her.
>>>>for the rest of the article, see: http://www.appeal-democrat.com/news/sanders-105770-artwork-mission.html