Sandra "Sandy" Trinter is a 65-year-old house painter.

Sandra "Sandy" Trinter is a 65-year-old house painter.

She's done 189 of them since 2009.

No scaffolding was involved.

Clintonville resident Trinter, who retired in June 2008 from what she described as a thoroughly enjoyable 31-year career with Columbus City Schools, the last four as principal of Stewart Alternative Elementary School in German Village, is a watercolor artist who does paintings mostly of homes.

Some she does for her own enjoyment, like her childhood home at 165 W. Como Ave. or the house where her husband, Tom, grew up in at 85 E. North Broadway. Others have been commissioned by or on behalf of people entering nursing homes or those who have moved far away from central Ohio and want some reminder of the past.

"I want it to bring warm memories," Sandy Trinter said.

She recalled doing a painting from a photograph of a house in West Union. It's practically falling down now, but it was a place where the woman who asked her to paint it used to visit a favorite aunt. The finished product was intended to restore the structure to what it was like many years ago. Trinter said she was gratified by the comment she received upon presenting it to the woman:

"I can smell the green beans cooking."

Save for her four years at Muskingum College, Trinter has lived in Clintonville all her life. Both she and her husband, who retired three years ago from Nationwide Insurance, have deep ties to education. Sandy Trinter said that her father, Bob Darrow, was the first principal of Whetstone High School while Tom Trinter's dad was the first principal of Beechcroft High School. A son teaches high school in Chicago.

"I started watercolor lessons in 2006, and I realized I loved painting," Sandy Trinter said.

She studied the medium, at the invitation of an old friend from high school, under Brenda St. Clair, who runs the beauty shop at the Westminster-Thurber Community retirement facility in the Short North. Although some had warned her watercolor is among the more unforgiving of the painting disciplines, Trinter said she was encouraged when St. Clair, during the very first lessons, said that it was possible to fix virtually any mistake.

"I make myself do the laundry and pay the bills and do all the things I have to do before I let myself do painting," Trinter said.

The specialization in structures came about in 2009 when the Trinters learned, somewhat erroneously as it turned out, that the home of Sandy's grandfather in Lennox, Ohio, had burned down. Working from a photograph in an old magazine of an architectural detail of the home, and filling in much from her own memories of the place, Trinter produced a watercolor work that she found to be quite pleasing. Then, in April, when some good friends were going to be celebrating birthdays, Trinter rendered paintings of their Clintonville homes as gifts.

Soon, the result of word of mouth, others were beating a path to her door, or calling her on the phone or reaching out via email.

In 2010, Trinter said that she did $1,250 worth of "house painting." She brought in $4,000 last year.

The little cottage industry grew so fast that she got a Web domain from a son for Christmas, but Trinter's not certain she wants to go that route; it might bring in too much business, and she and Tom like to travel.

"In one week, I had eight requests, and I filled them," Sandy Trinter said, "but that wasn't very enjoyable." About three houses a week is about as many as she cares to take on.

Former neighbors now living in California, a former Columbus resident who resides in northern Virginia and some people living in New Mexico who once called Clintonville home have been among the clients, said Tom Trinter, who is very active with the Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni Association.

While education appears to have been in the very genes of Sandy and Tom Trinter, the watercolor painter thinks they may have passed some of her artistic abilities on to another generation. A painting by a grandson in the first grade was chosen for display at a gallery in Worthington, and Sandy Trinter said she was so taken by his color scheme that she asked how he'd chosen it.

"I was at the red table," was the reply.