North Coast Open Studios


"Blue on Blue" 14"x28" Pastel

Its that time of year again…… Open Studios.   What does that mean?   Among other things it means I have to clean my cluttered studio.     The hardest part is deciding when to stop painting and start cleaning.    I often wonder about other artists’ habits in this regard.   Some people by virtue of their temperment and personality are very organized and tidy.   I do keep a pretty clean home overall and things are for the most part in their place but somehow I do tend to just want to get down to business when I get into my work space while I try to keep it simple – I can see that I could use some downsizing in the area of useless stored materials.     I have promised myself to “get on that” and “deal with the pile” that is taking over valuable real estate that could otherwise be used for secondary painting space.   It could be time to hire an organizer because it just seems to not happen and now my guests will have to gingerly navigate through the junk.   Its really not that bad.   I’d just rather paint up to the last minute!

Open Studios is always lovely because the studio is tidied and presented and paintings are available for exhibition and sale throughout my home and studio space.   I have an “Off the Wall” sale where collectors can negotiate on purchase pastels unframed right off the studio wall complete with a discounted coupon for framing at Eureka Art and Frame.    There is usually a nice flow of visitors throughout the weekend and my family chips in and hosts our guests and gives tours  and offers refreshments.    Living in an arts friendly area is rewarding and always amazes me.      I’ve gotten to know some pretty cool folks over the years in my own home!

If you are in or near Eureka this weekend please do come by Open Studios.    I will be open from 11-5 Saturday and Sunday at 2286 Ralphs Ct., Eureka.   Guidebooks will be available in the paper and around town.    Posted above is a recent local landscape from a day in Loleta.   Winters in Humboldt have their own beauty.   As I was painting, the song “Blue on Blue” kept going through my mind, thus the title.   I guess its an old song but if you’re a boomer it’ll come to you. 😉

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I love spring!  I’ve been painting with spring in mind.  I just dropped off a series of new work to Studio 7 Fine Art in Pleasanton, Ca last week and they already sold one of the new vineyard paintings.   I will be exhibiting in their May exhibit titled “Florals and the Feminine Figure” opening May 6.    Be sure to stop by this lovely gallery.

Also continuing through May is a group show of Northern California Landscapes including “moi” at Robert Allen Fine Art in Sausalito, CA.  If you are in the Bay Area this is a beautiful gallery to visit.   Robert has been in the San Francisco gallery business for decades and opened this gorgeous space several years ago.   I am always blown away when I see how aesthetically engaging his exhibitions are presented.    That and his warm and inviting personality make for a positive experience for the gallery browser or serious collector.

Meanwhile, back in the studio, I’ve been continuing with my abstract drawings.   These are wonderful meditations for me to produce and I enjoy the back and forth between the two series and the way they relate to each other.


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Bellevue wrap up

Thank you to my Pacific Northwest collectors, friends and community.   I had a very successful show at the Bellevue Museum Fair this year and am so appreciative for everyone’s support and patronage.   Some of my favorite paintings sold at the show including the newly completed  “Applegate Valley  Vines” which sold on the first morning.   Fortunately the collector let me hold onto that piece until Sunday so others could see it.   I had finished it and had it framed just a few days before we left for the show so it was nice to be able to look at it for a few more days before having to part with it.

The Bellevue show is long hours (12 hour days) but when you are in the company of funny, friendly artists it is a lot of fun.    On the way up and down we broke up our trip and stayed at a wonderful b&b in Eugene, Oregon called  The Augusta House.  If you are looking for a luxury inn in that area, I cannot recommend this place enough.     It is truly a cut above and as frequent travellers we tend to be picky.

I’m back in the studio working on commissions from the show as well as preparing for the Sausalito Art Festival coming up over Labor Day weekend.   I have some paintings that were nearly finished prior to Bellevue and will be posting those soon.

Its back to the studio for me.   Until next time…..


Bellevue Booth Display

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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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Early Heroes and the Rural Landscape

"Green Roofs"  Pastel

"Green Roofs" Pastel

When I was a kid one of my favorite artists was Andrew Wyeth.   I had a bookon his art and I remember studying it and admiring  the beautiful starkness of mood he was able to create with his gorgeous watercolors and egg tempera paintings, two media that I myself delved into “back in the day.”   Later it was Edward Hopper who I meditated on with abandon.   My dear friend from art school, Terry Jane and I flew to San Francisco from L.A. to see his retrospective at SF’s MOMA in 1981.   We still laugh because we had to carry our luggage through the museum.   Apparently we would have done anything to see a once in a lifetime event like that.   Hopper’s landscapes propelled the painter within me.    The common thread between the two is the sense of stillness, of solitude these artists so beautifully achieve in their depictions of scenes from their  surroundings and their travels.

In the series of work I have been developing over the past several years involving rural architecture, I feel a sense of going back to my roots as a painter to the initial inspirations that guided what my painting has always been about at its core.  Though my earliest work was decidedly more suburban in subject matter – as was my actual surroundings,  the thread of my early obsession with painting masters Wyeth and Hopper was always there.

In my work, and with pastel specifically there is a tendency for it to create a dreamlike atmospheric feeling in the finished work.    Since I continue to play with the premise of a heightened sense of reality or a dreamlike version of same, it continues to be my favorite medium of choice.   My latest completed pastel landscape painting in the rural architecture series is “Green Roofs.”  I was very attracted to this composition for its sense of disquieting calm amidst a blaze of color, pattern and light.

And the journey continues…..


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Victoria Ryan