"Wine Country Afternoon"

Opening on April 7 at Robert Allen Fine Art in Sausalito, California,  is “Northern California Landscapes” consisting of paintings from yours truly and a handful of other regional greats.   Robert Allen has created a beautiful setting in which to showcase his artists and it is definitely worth the visit.

Continuing at Studio 7 Fine Arts in Pleasanton, a series of recent landscapes can be found.   If you are in the Tri Valley Area, this gallery is a must see having one of the largest exhibition spaces in the Bay Area.

Be sure to check the Upcoming Events Section for where to find me in the months to come.

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Pink Rhododendran

Pink Rhododendran

Its North Coast Open Studio Tour time.   Artists from all over Humboldt County open their studios during this annual event held the first few weekends of June.    My studio will be open the first weekend, June 5 &6 from 11 am to 5pm.  If you are in the area and would like to see newly released original pastels, as well as oils, prints and  the ability to purchase work straight from the studio wall please come by.   Refreshments served.   For further information visit    North Coast Open Studios .

Hope to see you here!

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Why I Paint What I Paint

Red Shutters

"Red Shutters" 19x25 Pastel

Water Tower Mid Day

"Water Tower at Mid Day" 23x31" Pastel

The question of what a painter chooses as subject matter can sometimes be compared to an author.  The best writing tends to come from what you know.   I’ve been concentrating on landscapes for years more on than off and as my surroundings have changed so has my focus and direction.   I started painting in Southern California and my early work  dealt with that light and color sense.   I also lived in the suburbs so I found inspiration in suburban architecture.   Living in the Bay Area of California opened me up to the carved and othewise altered landscape of vineyards and farmland which for me was like stepping to an abundant waterfall of inspiration.   Living in Humboldt County for the past 8 years has  opened me up to a different sense of light, mood and terrain.   I love the muse my area provides yet I still am drawn to the geometry and colors of the vineyards that pepper the landscape from California into Oregon.   This is my visual playground and with my road trips and ever burgeoning photo library I have a plethora of imagery that continues to call me.    While I am usually excited about a recent expedition to go into the studio to explore I return often to trips and images from my past and revisit them in the studio.   There are many times I do not know what I am going to be painting on a particular day.   I visit my Iphoto libarary and a sequence of images will speak to me visually and I am on my way.

Here are some recent paintings.  I have been hooked on rural architecture for months now, segueing back into vineyards.  Other new pastels are posted in the Pastel Library and under Rural Architecture.

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 Its been an exciting month.    Open Studios was successful thanks to my loyal repeat and new collectors here in Humboldt County.    I spent the next few weeks working on commissions while attending my daughter’s softball Tournament of Champions in the evenings.   They won!   Now its on to All Stars for the summer.    I guess I know what we’ll be doing.

I also have been completing new pastels including the piece above which is from the Winter Wildflower series.   That subtle winter light drew me in once more….this painting had to be done but now I’m drawn to the light of early summer that is just now peeking out on the North Coast of California.  

I also was forced to update my whole computer system which is still a work in progress insofar as transferring files and data over to my new system goes.   I’m determined to figure this all out as much as I can on my own.   Even my pragmatism has a right brain slant so my technological skills are no different.   I will say though, that this new IMAC system is pretty much how I expected computers to work 12 years ago….but they didn’t.   At least this system has prompts!  

Lastly, Bruce and I had a wonderful weekend in the Bay Area that included completing an installation for new collectors S & D.   Thank you so much for acquiring 10 original pastels for your beautiful home!   I think we were all delirious by the time we left (it was after all over 100 degrees that day) but the entire collection is looking incredible!

I’ll post more new images soon!

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A Bit About Art Coaching

In addition to being a full time artist, wife and mom and other self induced labels,  I also have been a marketing coach to artists for years.   Locally I am a consultant to the Humboldt Del Norte Small Business Development Center. Its a great little gig…I get to meet with artists at various stages of their careers and help them launch further.     Its interesting because I’ve found that it has as much to do with coaching as consulting.   Artists sometimes need to know they are as ready and worthy as they think they are.   Sometimes they need guidance and a little remedial training before putting out a full scale effort.     Whatever the case may be I truly love watching these artists succeed.    In addition to the marketing advice (that is also available in freeaffiliatemarketingbusiness.com site) I am their hand holder, mother, guide, cheerleader.   I am truly inspired by these artists and their willingness to try at all cost to make their livelihoods creating art and for the most part I’ve been duly impressed by their work.

When I was just getting out of college in 1982 my expectations were low but I put my work in juried shows and had some beginners luck in establishing myself in the corporate collector market.  I parlayed that into further gallery exposure combined with teaching for a while.   In the late 1990’s the internet opened everything up and access to information was like a gift from the universe.   No more going to the museum bookstore to purchase the latest book on art marketing.   I was in heaven and completely overhauled my business plan.    I was about as happy as a parent maintaining a career could be until this bloodbath of a recession blew across the planet.  Though it has been rumbling for a while I’d say that for most it hit hard this past fall.   I’ve ridden through a few recessions in the past without incident but I dare say this could be different.   I have no illusions and neither should anyone else.   This is serious.  I’m still in the holding my breath phase as it hasn’t had a deleterious affect as of yet but I wonder about the upcoming months and even years.

  On the flip side its also a very good time to produce your best work in the studio, network, reassess, and revisit your business plan.    Social networking has produced a brave new world for artists to source out new audiences and perhaps new venues for exhibition and representation.   Take advantage of Facebook, Linkedin and even Twitter (which I am slow to learn.)    Or start a blog.   I admit, I’ve a little lax on developing my own but hey, I’m wearing many hats these days and didn’t feel the need until, well, last fall.   But I am the eternal optimist and I continue to plug along and encourage others to do the same.   Collectors still want their art and when all this messiness is sorted out we artists will still be here, producing away.   Ultimately its not about marketing at all but rather the creative impulse, the urge to forge ideas and visual delights.  I’m hanging in there and encourage everyone else to do the same.

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Victoria Ryan