by LYDIA COBB | photo by Spark Photography

Painting, Teaching, and Living in the Present with Dr. Sabine Lawless-Reljic

Painted utility boxes express the reflections of local artists. Dr. Sabine Lawless-Reljic’s first box is an abstract flower garden. “Rancho Bernardo is bursting with colors everywhere,” said Sabine. Her second painting features an egret, honoring a frequent visitor to her yard. “I notice beautiful things and get inspired by nature for a lot of my art.” Sabine was chosen as one of the outdoor artists by the Rancho Bernardo Community Council’s beautification project. Her palettes have evolved over time.

Name: Dr. Sabine Lawless-Reljic
Profession: Online Faculty
Community: Rancho Bernardo since 2012
Interests: Painting, upcycling crafts and art, gardening, reading
Favorite Local Spots: Bernardo Winery, Urge American Gastropub, The Barrel Room


Sabine was a foreign student when she came to the U.S. 23 years ago from a small country village in Normandy, France. She lived in the Midwest and South before moving here in 2012. Working within her budget then, she shared, led her to upcycle. “I realized I like the challenge of figuring out what to do with objects that would otherwise go to the recycling bins,” shared Sabine. Today she paints with acrylic mostly and enjoys working with other media in her drawings, paintings, and crafted art.

At home the family communicates in several languages. She and her husband, who’s originally from Bosnia, have three children: a seventh grader who plays saxophone and soccer, a fifth grader who plays xylophone and guitar and performs in musical theater, and their kindergartener, “Whose goal in life,” added Sabine, “is to visit every public jungle gym in towns we visit.”

Professionally, Dr. Sabine Lawless-Reljic is an online faculty member with Ashford University. She holds a doctorate in education technology from a joint program at SDSU and USD. She and her students communicate via email, forum discussions, and assignment feedback. Sabine cherishes that most of her students are nontraditional, and elaborated, “I have the privilege to work with dedicated learners who have a substantial life experience: careers, family, and other commitments, including military.” She provides French/English translation services and also consults on immersive 3D environments for teaching.

“I notice beautiful things and get inspired by nature for a lot of my art.”

Living in the present (her self-described style), Sabine volunteers as the gala organizer with the Metropolitan Educational Theatre Network 2 (Met2), where her middle child performs. She is creating decorations for the Annie, Jr. pre-show reception – centerpieces, wall décor, a photo corner. Art is expression, and Sabine Lawless-Reljic is proud to make an impact for the community, just as she’s left her mark by beautifying Rancho Bernardo’s utility boxes.