Spokes on a Wheel

“In Search of the Sacred Path”

Throughout my professional life as an artist my interests have gone in several distinguishing directions, somewhat like spokes on a wheel.   As the artist, to me they all relate and always have.    In the 1980’s I created pastel paintings of  very minimal suburbanesque architectural themes drenched in Southern California light.   At  the same time I was obssessed with pattern, dramatic surface building through mixed media that were pure abstractions.   Concurrently I developed series based on psychological themes surrounding what was going on in my personal life through simple iconography.     It was on retrospect that I realized I had been continuing to work within these themes and constructs with varying media and processes over the course of the last thirty years.   Spokes on a Wheel.

Within the last decade  I have been actively developing my landscape/architectural paintings that are set within a psychological framework.   Simultaneously, and perhaps more currently I have  returned with vigor to abstractions on nature.     This body of work, by design is deliberate and contemplative.   Recently I was interviewed by writer Jason Marak,  Art Beat writer for The North Coast Journal for  an article titled “Different But Not”  where I discussed the history and core nature of the work.      I have a full body of work of these abstractions being shown together for the first time that include pastels and some prints as well as a suite of oils/charcoal on canvas.    The show is at Plaza, Arcata through February with an opening reception tonight  January 11, from 6 to 9 during Arts Arcata!     Whereas the representational work evokes a psychological landscape for me, the abstractions, or deconstructions, allow me to let go of those burdens, as interesting as they can be and float within the spiritual, visual and philosophical space of ideas and marks and color and light.    They are about allowing the purely intuitive to stage the course of action.  I imagine the process of creating these as a bit like a piece of the collective subconscious sketching the ideas of what nature would become.   With the ending of the Mayan calendar and the planetary alignment that was 26,000 years in the making, these ideas interest me.   And again, like spokes on a wheel, they always return to the center.

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Road Trip to La Quinta Arts Festival



Its satisfying to see a body of work framed and ready to go after months and months of working in the studio.    I couldn’t help but take a few pictures (below.)  La Quinta is in the desert of Southern California, near Palm Springs and is a show that I have never participated in because it falls in the middle of the school year.   With our daughter away at college, this is the first time we could take advantage of this well regarded event, which the Art Fair Sourcebook rated at #2 in the country in 2011.     I’m excited to visit southern California, to be in this show and to get out of dodge for a while!   It may be a working trip but for me I know it will feel like a vacation.   Here is a link to my featured page at the La Quinta Art Festival website. The show runs from March 8-11 and all of the information you need can be found here.   If you are in Southern California, check it out and come on by and see me in Booth #609.   Its a beautiful show!


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Getting a Jump on October

Vineyard hill evening

Busy time continues and I’ve been holed up in my studio for the past few weeks working away.    Sometimes the business of being an artist means juggling deadlines, details and most importantly, showing up.     In addition to a large commission, which thank goodness I have a few months to complete,  I have gallery shows and another art festival this opening this weekend.   This pastel is for a group  show at Studio Seven Fine Arts in Pleasanton, California through October.

This weekend is also the LaJolla Art and Wine Festival where I will be showing new work.   This is the last festival of the season and the year.   I’m looking forward to spending some time on the Southern California coast, visiting friends and family and taking a much needed break with my sweet husband.     I did a series of small paintings revisting my ocean series.   The beach is where I go to clear my mind and refresh my creative juices and it just seemed fitting to return to this imagery after a work filled season.    This was a long summer and I’m ready for fall.    Bring on the autumn color!

Where I Go

See you on the other side.

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New Gallery in Town

This coming weekend should be fun.   In addition to it being a 3 day holiday, the 4th of July is my birthday!   No big whoop there but there’s always fireworks!   Locally though, we have our first Saturday of the month’s Arts Alive and this month there’s a new gallery opening featuring some of the best of Humboldt’s artists.   Located in a LARGE space previously occupied by our beloved Plaza Design which relocated to G Street.    Jack Sewell, a local sculptor has taken over the space and along with his wife Amy they have done the leg work and homework needed to become not so small business owners in the form of this great new gallery.    There was a soft, soft opening last Friday for the artists where we all gave kudos to the Sewells for taking on this commitment to the art community, drank wine, ate great food prepared by John Sallizoni and basically shmoozed and saw folks we hadn’t seen in a while.  Here’s a link to an article in our local North Coast Journal about Jack and the opening of the gallery.   The inaugural exhibition begins in July and I will have a few pastels to show including this new landscape.

And then fireworks!  Have a Happy and Safe 4th!


"Into the Hills" 12x12" Pastel

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Open Studios Online Tour

I just wrapped up my annual open studio as part of  Humboldt County’s North Coast Open Studios.   I have a home based business so I’m opening my home as well as my studio.  This is the 8th year I have participated in the event and by now, my husband, daughter and I have our system down to a well oiled machine.   My daughter is graduating from high school in a few weeks and Saturday was senior prom so I didn’t expect to have her around to help – she has a job now and  a lot of freedom to come and go so when I saw that she was up and preparing the food for the guests it warmed my heart.    Taking prom pictures at 5;00 while wrapping up paintings that had sold was not easy….I had to pull in one of my neighbors who was visiting  to help with my daughter’s date’s boutonniere (thank you Sue!)  All in all the weekend was a success and we had a steady stream of visitors and placed a surprising amount of paintings with the locals, most of which were new collectors of my work.    THANK YOU HUMBOLDT COUNTY!

I thought it might be of interest to post some images from my Open Studio Tour to give you an idea of how I do it.   I showcase the framed originals in my great room and down our main hallway that leads directly to the studio which is located in two sections of our finished five car garage –  a major selling point when we bought our home nearly 10 years ago.   I have a separate “clean room” that is a finished one car garage with a skylight and has a door to the painting room.   The clean room is used for storage, packing and shipping and will soon be divided for use as an oil painting studio as well.    There is direct access to a half bath for cleanup.    The pastel studio is just the right size to keep the dust contained.   There is a nice big window and enough wall space for me to mount my surfaces to the acoustic panels to work on.    I prefer working standing up – I always have.   I think I am more the exception than the rule when it comes to how I work with pastels.   I usually see the easel approach utilized.   I work large sometimes and like to work on more than one piece at a time  and working on the wall makes that possible.   For Open Studios I showcased finished pieces on the studio walls -unframed and sold work  with a discount for framing at Eureka Art and Frame – my favorite framer on the north coast.   Enjoy the studio tour.  Additional photos can be seen on my Facebook page which can be accessed through the tab on the right.     I’m taking today to recuperate after working the last two weeks without a day off.  Would love your comments.

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Victoria Ryan