Title: Proof of Peace
16 x 20
Weight: 8.0 lbs.
Along this river's edge all you can hear is a slight whisper of the wind and the occasional flutter of water beneath the swan's downy feathers.
This piece is UNFRAMED. Thank you for viewing my art.
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Byers’ is a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, West Coast Pastel Society, the Northwest Pastel Society and a member of Oil Painters of America.
Winning First Place in the animal/wildlife category in Pastel Journal magazine’s Pastel 100 competition in 2012 is a tribute to Byers’ skill in the medium of pastel. Byers work has consistently won awards in this annual competition since she first entered it in 2004. The winning piece, Dibs on the Red Chair, is featured in the April 2012 issue and another of her pieces, Kitchen Conversations is featured in the Showcase section of the same issue.
Sandy Byers was born in Monterey, California, in 1956 in a house a few blocks from the beaches of Seventeen Mile Drive. Though she did not live there long, the water she was born close to was the beginning of a lifelong bond with the sea. The daughter of a Navy officer, Byers’ younger years were spent moving often with her family. The most adventurous of which was a move, at age eight, to Cannes on the French Riviera. On the family’s trans-Atlantic return trip aboard the Leonardo da Vinci, they were tossed about in high seas as their cruise-liner tried, in vain, to rescue the British freighter Ambassador as she sank in turbulent waters a thousand miles off the coast of New York. Even this tragic experience could not wane Byers’ love of the sea.
Showing a strong and earnest interest in drawing from a young age was proof enough for Byers’ parents that Sandy would likely do well in private oil painting lessons. With the first stroke of her brush, Byers’ passion for painting began. Her natural style was of a realistic nature and it is what she is still known for today.
As a young adult, Byers pursued a career in the software industry and continued painting as time allowed. Her retirement from the software industry in 2002 enabled her to pursue a full-time art career and she began honing her pastel skills.
In 2004, Byers entered her first competition: The Pastel Journal’s Pastel 100 Competition. She won two awards in that juried competition. Her award-winning art has been published in six issues since then. Her latest works have hung next to world-renowned artists and Contemporary Masters such as Robert Bateman, Duffy Sheridan, David Gray and Jeff Legg. Byers continues to gain acceptance and win awards in a multitude of juried shows. Her works have been published in numerous magazines and hardbound books. A current list is available on her website (SandyByers.com).
Although Byers has produced works in a variety of media, her focus is working with oils and pastels. Many of her landscape and seascape paintings include scenes from her local area on Whidbey Island, in Washington State. Byers is well known for her heartfelt and expressive paintings of animals and she is passionately dedicated to supporting animal welfare organizations.
Oddly, my art is about sharing. It seems odd because the creation of the art is such a solitary process for me. However, I am driven to share the experiences of my life with others in a visual way. I find so much excitement and joy in the environment (animals, land, people, sea, skies and things) around me that I want to record those things through my personal lens for others to enjoy, too. I think of a work of art as being able to savor moments forever and, especially, being able to savor one of those moments when you might turn to the person next to you and say, “Did you see that? Wow! Wasn’t that amazing?”
One such experience was the first time I decided I wanted to photograph a field (and I mean a field) of snow geese. My husband drove me around in the freezing cold until we happened upon a gathering of them. I got out of the car, camera in hand, and just as I did “the wave” started. If you have experienced one of these you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t; seek it. As I stood below the flock, it flew directly overhead and I just stood there, wrapped in the thunder of their wings. For a moment I could fly. Tears were streaming down my face and I was completely frozen. Not because of the cold but because I was flying. In, what seemed like the far-off distance (twenty feet, maybe) I heard my husband bring me back to earth, “TAKE A PICTURE!” Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. I have never looked at a bird the same way since. And I assure you, I have never painted one the same way since.
Solidifying a composition, capturing the right lighting, and finding the perfect combination of colors is the goal for which I am always passionately striving. It is difficult to explain the exhilaration when these elements come together. I love being an artist and when I was young I could hardly wait to grow up and call myself one. Art is a way for me to openly share my thoughts, emotions, knowledge, and respect for this tremendous God-given gift that brings me so many ways to discover and enjoy the world around me.
The good Lord, my easel and a studio full of art magazines and books.
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