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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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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Victoria Ryan