Keizertimes intern

Sandra Palmer rolled through Keizer on Monday, Dec. 4 to spread the spirit of Christmas in a unique way: holiday window-painting. Palmer runs a henna shop in Seaside, but goes south every winter to paint Christmas scenes and slogans on the windows of local businesses.

She’s been painting windows since high school. “A teacher asked me to go out and paint a snowman on a gas station, guy gave me five dollars and a five-dollar tip,” Palmer said. “I was hooked right then. I’ve been doing it ever since.”

This is Palmer’s first season painting in Keizer.

“There’s a lot of mom-and-pop shops here and that’s my kind of shop,” she explained. “So I decided to stay for the day before heading to Lebanon.”

One of her favorite subjects to depict is Frosty the Snowman, often adding a twist to fit the theme of the business it’s painted on. She adorned the Keizertimes office with a Frosty holding a rolled up newspaper. “Over at Nancy’s, he’s holding a burger and shake,” Palmer said, punctuated with a laugh.

Her partner Greg Dyer, who rides passenger in her henna-advertisement-covered truck, is happy to play the part of helper. “She’s the artist,” Dyer explained. “She just lets me do the colors.”

The two have established quite a rapport; Dyer buzzes around, writing receipts and taking payments while Palmer colors, highlights, and shapes her art. Dyer works as a contractor back in Seaside, so window-painting is new to him. “I can put those windows in, but I don’t paint ‘em.”

Palmer starts with a white base for every window, a technique she learned by trial-and-error to help with the contrast of her colors. She goes back and forth along the window, adding each layer of color one at a time. “I don’t fool around with too much detail,” Palmer said, preferring to trust her instinct and experience to shape the final product.

Once the colors are in, it’s time for outlines. “See, when I take out that black brush and get a little black on there, everything pops.”

After that’s done, she takes a step back to take it all in. “It’s really all about spacing,” she remarked. “I kinda make it look like Christmas cards.”

Palmer started henna tattooing five years ago, after two separate occasions of being approached while painting windows by individuals who suggested she should do henna. She looked into it and began teaching herself by watching YouTube videos. “It was like I had a knack for it,” she said.

Palmer’s shop in Seaside is called Five Star Henna, and she encourages anyone with an interest to stop by next time they visit the Oregon coast.

“I started out that summer with a little table, now I have a 1,300-square-foot building in Seaside,” she said.