Thursday, November 13, 2014

New Paintings...The Tiny Show!

I have a couple of new watercolor paintings for the upcoming Tiny Show at Studio Gallery in San Francisco.

In a little ode to my wonderful city of San Francisco, here are the first two illustrations in my new series of "Infamous San Franciscans".  I hope you like them.

First up, is Lola Montez (Marie Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert), a young dancer and actress from Ireland, who made herself out to be a famous Spanish dancer and went on the steal men's hearts all over the world. She was even a mistress to a king, and would become Countess of Landsfeld.

Debra Styer, Lola Montez, 2014

Southworth & Hawes, Lola Montez, c. 1850


My second illustrated portrait is Emperor Norton (Joshua Abraham Norton). After moving to San Francisco and losing everything, he gets angered by the rules of the land and declares himself, Emperor of the United States.
At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.
—NORTON I, Emperor of the United States.
Emperor Norton's reign lasted for 21 years...

The Emperor...Unframed

The San Francisco legend...Emperor Norton c. 1850
Debra Styer, Emperor Norton, 2014
Want to see these two tiny portraits in person?

The Tiny Show opens this Friday, November 14th.
1641 Pacific Ave (Between Polk & Van Ness)
San Francisco

Opening Reception: Sunday, November 16th 1-6pm

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Illustration...Getting a Bit Batty for Halloween!

There is something so great about the ending of summer and upcoming autumn months. The fall is my favorite time of year and I am ready to for the cooler days and the changing color of the leaves. The energy in the air changes, it is time to get back to work and get serious.

That being said I am also mentally getting myself ready for Halloween. I know it is a bit early but I LOVE this time of year and I am creating some new work in honor of the upcoming spooky holiday...and "Everyday is Halloween", right?

So I would like to introduce you all to Herman! He a sweet little brown bat that pays a bit of a homage to all the tiny bats I grew up with that lived around my families barn. I imagine little Herman zooming around the night skies looking for new friends to fill his heart and perhaps a bug or two to fill his tummy.

This cutie is now available in the shop!

I hope you all like him!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New Writers Portrait Illustration: Miss Emily Bronte!

Here's my latest painting in my Writers Portrait series, the lovely Emily Bronte! She is best know for writing one the classics of English literature, the heartbreaking book, Wuthering Heights!

Debra Styer, Emily Bronte and her Wuthering Heights, 2014

When painting her, I imagined her standing amongst the windswept moors features at the center of her book. She is hand painted with watercolor and gouache on illustration board. It was pretty interesting to try to get a good likeness because all the portraits of Emily are different. But I feel that my painting managed to capture a good glimpse of her. What do you think?

In reality, Emily Bronte died young, at age 30, of tuberculosis, and sadly didn't have much a love life of her own (that we know about anyway). But she managed to created two of the most passionate, yet sad, characters ever created. Heathcliff and Catherine will remain one of the worlds most beloved romantic, and tortured, couples in literature.

You can find my Emily Bronte portrait in my shop!

Hope you like her! Who should I paint next?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

An Anniversary: Celebrating Four Years as Bluehour Studio

I'm so happy to be celebrating my illustration career anniversary! It seems hard to believe it's already 4 years since I quit my job and founded bluehour studio. So much has happened in these last few years. And I am happy to say, I'm feeling pretty good about it all.
Feel like dancing?

I'm so happy to be celebrating my illustration career anniversary! It seems hard to believe it's already 4 years since I quit my job and founded bluehour studio. So much has happened in these last few years. And I am happy to say, I'm feeling pretty good about it all.

Bluehour Studio started as a dream. I wasn't sure how to go about starting an career in illustration. Especially since, it had been 15 years since I graduated from art school. (Yikes, what the hell had I been doing all my life?) I was so scared to take a chance but equally scared if I didn't. In all honesty, I knew that I had to make the jump and quit my dead end job selling tickets and memberships at a museum or I would just let the artist dream fade away...

So on July 1st 2010, I quit my day job not knowing what I was going to do. And I'm not going to lie, it was really hard. There were a lot of tears. It took about a year to find some sort of direction. I tried new things, stumbled a bit and procrastinated a lot. I made so many lists and goals. I failed and was lost amongst a sea of millions of other hopeful artists, just trying to be found.

But, I think the most important thing I did was start my Etsy shop. Finally, I was able to show my work to the world. I joined my local Etsy team, SFEtsy, and got to meet some amazingly supportive and like minded folks. Through them, I battled my shyness and lack of confidence, and starting doing craft shows and group art shows. I was able to get myself out there and in a few local shops and online.

Nothing is perfect, I still need to figure out how to make a living with my art and being a resident of San Francisco makes it even harder. So, in order to make ends meet, I started working for my husband's  his sign shop in May and am feeling much better about my world.

As you may know, I've also been collaborating on my first book. It is a true learning experience and I will be so happy share it all with you when it's done. It should be published and out in the world by early 2015.

Cheers to the first 4 years!!! Here's to the next!
In other news...

I am the July featured artist at Farley's Coffee on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. There are 13 new paintings up. Stop by an see the show!

Farley's Coffee
1315 18th St
San Francisco, CA

Laura, age 8, hopeful rider of the Orphan Train

Owen, age 27, San Francisco Gold Miner

Selina, 18 months, hoping for a family to love her

So now I must ask, what are you celebrating this summer?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

New Artwork: The Wish

Here's my latest Edwardian inspired illustration, "The Wish".

As a kid I lived on a small farm where we had fields of dandelions, I couldn't help myself making wishes and then blowing the seeds into the wind. I have a pretty amazing life, I guess my wishes did come true!

I have to wonder, do kids still do this?

I am also absolutely in love with the beautiful white lawn dresses the girls wore in the early 1900's and loved being able to include one in my drawings.
Debra Styer, The Wish, 2014

If you want to check out some amazing lawn dresses, I highly recommend checking out one of my all time favorite films, Peter Weir's 1975 masterpiece, "A Picnic at Hanging Rock". First of all, the film takes place in 1900, and the sets and costumes design are amazing. Secondly, it is based on a true story that blends a perfect amount of of mystery and spookiness. It is truly a breathtaking film to watch...

"The Wish" is now available in the shop!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New Writers Portrait Illustration: Lewis Carroll Portrait

Here is my latest portrait for my illustrated watercolor series, "The Writers Project". Say hello to Lewis Carroll, one of my all time favorite writers. I was always in love with his writing as a teenager and as I grew older, I found a deep love of his photography.
 “There is a place, like no place on earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger. Some say, to survive it, you need to be as mad as a hatter. Which, luckily, I am.” 
Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll and the Cheshire Cat

Lewis Carroll byOscar Gustav Rejlander, 1863

Lewis is now available in the shop here.

In other news, I've started working at my husbands' sign shop part time. And I must admit, I think it will be really good for me. As a freelance illustrator, I spend a lot of time by working by myself. I think you really need to have the right personality be able do that well. I given my freelance illustration world  almost four years of my life trying to make it work, and I think it does to some point, but now I am ready to get back to working and being around people. I truly am a people person. I think I have learned enough to be able to balance my illustration career with my job.

Quick question...Is anyone else more successful at getting work done when they have less time to procrastinate?'s to more work, excepting new challenges and finding a better balance in my life.

Monday, April 28, 2014

On Making Custom Portrait Illustration...Love/Make Wedding Expo

This weekend was a first. I took part of a Wedding Expo called Love/Make put on by The Bold Italic. I teamed out with a few folks from my  SFEtsy team and showed off my custom portraits for the first time to a hopefully appreciative audience.

I think it went well. The space was filled with newly engaged folks that seems to be floating around on air a bit. I talked to a bunch of them, and gave out business cards and info. Now it's time to wait. I wonder if I will get any orders from this. Who knows. Some people weren't getting married for quite some time. Everyone seemed to be in a dream world, I think the flowing wine and Champagne helped a bit too.

All in all, not a bad day, I got to hang out with friends and check out all things wedding. It's pretty amazing how much stuff is available for your special day...

Here's my spot at the wedding expo!

Custom Portrait (detail)

Forever Yours!
As for my contribution. My sample portrait was based mostly on my own lovely relationship. I used one of my own wedding photos to work on the faces and get a extra sweetness in our expressions. And I think it came out pretty cute.

Ok, a question for all of you? Would you ever get a portrait painted to celebrate your wedding or anniversary? I'm asking as a way to figure out the whole wedding world. What do people really want? I know that it's probably not where I'm heading with my artwork but it is still an interesting place to investigate as an illustrator. There are just so many possibilities...

 If you like this portrait or something like it, you can find out more in my shop!

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