Immersing and Emerging

"Beside Myself"  Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

“Beside Myself” Acrylic and mixed media on canvas


True to form I’m coming up for air after months of taking the road less travelled (at least for me.)   This has been a time for introspection and experimentation as well as relaxation by default (by physician’s orders.)    I’m decades into this, my chosen profession, and past the mid century of my lifetime as this person, this artist.   So just as a personal life has chapters and evolves, so does my life as a painter.

My interest has always had a juxtapositional point of view from creating images that while  tipping more to the representational side, are at their core explorations of psychological states versus stepping into a more ambiguous and intuitively created visual space while holding onto natural themes.  This has been a continual push and pull for me.    I’m certainly not the first artist to this dance between divergent yet related themes.

As a painter I’m an introvert and what drives me is emotion, both in life and in my studio. This can be a strength and weakness simultaneously.   Just as our dream states create a landscape in which to work out issues, for me so does the workspace, the blank canvas.

For a good long while now I’ve been diverging from spending most of my time with my beloved pastels back to my brushes and wet media.    Its been an interesting journey and one I’ve been shy to share.     I have a new fondness for acrylics and mixed media, combined with casein, graphite and charcoal as well as my longstanding love for oils.    The challenge has been allowing myself to wander – the visual space of my abstractions in pastel is specific and immediate while the substrates and media in my “wet paint” studio encourages me to wander.    With exterior nature and the emotional landscape are at the core of these series, there is a degree of divergence in my path that I have surrendered to and embraced.

This summer I am featured in several galleries and the work in each show evolved around the theme of water.

At Robert Allen Fine Art in Sausalito, I have new pastels and acrylics featured in “Water Abstracted”Milwaukee, I have some earlier abstractions freatured  in “H2O in Art” David Barnett Gallery  and finally at Sewell Gallery in my town of Eureka I have work from my pastel series of abstractions on view.      Water is a fitting theme and common denominator not only in my recent work but as a metaphor for my recent past.

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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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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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“Nature’s Way” Solo Show at Art Brokers, Inc.


"Harmony"  20x27"  Pastel

"Harmony" 20x27" Pastel


 March 27-April 26….New Pastels at Art Brokers Inc., 2660 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA


Opening Reception:  March 27 from 6-9 PM.    Please come celebrate with me.   This latest body of work is a decisively more intimate view of the landscape with emphasis on painterly images of streams and other waterways, a commonly explored theme in my work.   New prints will also be unveiled at this show.

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Victoria Ryan