Abstract Pastels at Robert Allen Fine Art

I’ve not been one to daily or weekly blog, maybe one day, but when I saw that I hadn’t put anything here since January of 2013 my own dropped.   Life does intervene in many ways that do not lend themselves to all aspects of an artist’s life and I suppose that is what has been happening here.    I am still here however and so happily blessed to have the support of my wonderful collectors, my trusted gallery reps and friends and family who keep me grounded.   2013 was what I would call a challenging time.  In retrospect the ups were sweet and the downs trying.   The passing of my dear dad at just shy of 96 was bittersweet.   I am finding myself talking with him every day – he’s so much more accessible now that he is solidly in my heart and mind, not 700 miles away from me.   I’ll write more about him later.   I’ve lots to write about so maybe this year will be the year of the weekly blog for me.   I have a backlog of essays in my swimming brain on issues such as a recent award from Pastel Journal Magazine, inclusion in a coffee table book by E. Ashley Rooney, arts advocacy, dealing with galleries, staying hopeful while physically impaired and the journey through the second half of my life as an artist.

For now its about a current show at Robert Allen – one of my favorite art dealers and gallery owners I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.   I have a selection of abstract pastels in a group show there  through March.  Robert has a beautiful gallery there – slightly off the main track where most tourists devote time.   He is also an approachable, personable guy who believes deeply in his artists.   If you are in Sausalito, his gallery is a must!

Until next time!    Thanks for reading!


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“My California Dream”

Coastal Ranch

There has been a lot going on in the studio , not the least which is the culmination of an exhibition of a body of work at Sewell Gallery in my city of Eureka, California opening next week with a reception Saturday Night, October 6 during Arts Alive!

Its always interesting putting together a show, especially one like this that has been in the works for a while.  Beyond the landscape theme there is a narrative surrounding each piece and the group of work as a whole.   There were motifs I had been exploring throughout the past few years and more that were revealed when looking at the body of work as whole.    The show title,  “My California Dream”  came as organically as the paintings.   In addition to many rides over our local scenic Highway 36, and 299, I had made several road trips from one end of the state to the other over the past few years crisscrossing every bit of California’s terrain, and the landscapes and architecture I depicted in the ensuing work reflected varying physical, emotional and spiritual states of  my own psyche,  from blissful happiness, contentment to sadness and overwhelm.   Working out these subtle states of mind and emotional being through the depiction of a landscape is not new for me but its never been more apparent to me how an attempt at creating something beautiful is cathartic and satisfying on a deeper level.       I find myself utilizing pattern (vineyards and farms and streams zig zagging through Elk River Valley) to achieve a sense of order.   In a similar way, trees create a sense of stability and strength  and the contrast of light emerging from darkness is a reflection of a changing inner mood.   The richness of pastel pulls it all together for me.  Like writing down a dream first thing in the morning, the goal is to capture  the essence of the emotion quickly and spontaneously and then continue to work out the formal elements at a more measured pace.

Its always curious what jumps out at me visually — being visually aware is a constant for me when traveling and so the compositions that end up being painted are very deliberate if not randomly odd.  A big round tree next to a farm on the highway,  rain puddles in the rows of a fall vineyard, a bleached white house in the summer sun, a peek of blue siding beyond an overgrown garden peeking out like a secret,  a single rain cloud hiding the sun over the ocean….there’s usually something else revealed  with the longer gaze.

I find I am continually drawn to rural architecture, farm houses and barns.   I might not be if they hadn’t become part of my everyday experience living in Humboldt County.  Now I identify with them.    There is a quiet solitude that attracts me to include specific architecture prominently in a painting, almost like portraiture.

Together, these paintings tell a story not of high drama but of the subtle ebbs and flows of life and its challenges and triumphs.    I can remember exactly how I felt whenI painted every one of these paintings.   The viewer may have a similar response or they may evoke something entirely different.    For me,  its a form of a solidified visual, psychological and spiritual memory, like a dream.   It is my California Dream.

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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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The Road To Happy



Let’s just say, I’m a Sensitive Cancerian and its been an interesting few months, few years.   The beauty of living the life of an artist is that to be in pain is to be alive and deeply felt emotion begets art.   The images that I find myself compelled to paint, tell an inner story.     The patterns I’ve been attracted to are an attempt to create order, the use of color is a direct reflection of mood.   I continue to be drawn to dwellings and architecture as a symbol of humanity or at times an anthropomorphic  entity.   I just posted more original work so have a look in the New Pastels Section on the right.   I’m emerging from my studio to prepare to go on the road for the LaQuinta Arts Festival, a new venue for me.   I’m excited about a trip to the desert!  More on that in a few days.

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Happy Holidays and Let’s Paint!

"Farmhouse Evening" - Private Collection Installation -Christmas 2011

Christmas was sweet this year.   The kids came home and they’re both doing so well this year that our biggest wish in life has already manifested.

Now comes that distracting week where I really want to be back in the studio. Here’s hoping I get my wish by tomorrow.   I’ve got some big shows to plan for including the La Quinta Arts Festival in March and a feature show at Sewell Gallery in April.  I also have lots of paintings in my head that want to come out, two of which were started before the holidays.   The truth is, the artist just wants to make art!

Thank you Lindy and Rob for sending me this beautiful pic of your mantle all dressed up with “Farmhouse Evening.”    xxooo!


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Victoria Ryan