Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Writers Portrait... William Shakespeare

Just a quick post to show off my latest writers portrait illustration, William Shakespeare! He was really fun to draw and it was great to break out of the Victorian era for a bit.


Debra Styer, Much Ado About Shakespeare, 2015


It is a special challenge to draw portraits of people before the invention of photography. All of the existing paintings of him done are so different. For reference, I used the younger Cobbe portrait from 1610,


and the more traditional Droeshout Portrait from 1622. I suppose I like the older version of Shakespeare myself. I think we all have a certain vision of writing legends in our minds. I hope I was able to capture a good creation of the Bard.


Of course, he is now available in the shop! Hope you like him!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014/ Hello to an Amazing 2015!

Hello Everyone. Sorry it's been so quiet around here lately. But that's all about to change.
It's that time of the year...

My both at the SFEtsy Indie Holiday Emporium 2014
 2014 was a pretty whirlwind year for me. I made so many changes. I took some pretty scary steps this year, but looking back, I feel pretty good about them . Here's a bit of a look back in my year.
  1.  I managed to have two solo art shows.  One at a vintage clothing store, The Mysterious Rack, and at Farley's cafe. It was really amazing to create such a huge amount of new work. I've put some of the new portraits here in my Etsy shop if you would like to check them out. I will be adding more original work soon.
  2. I had my best art fair ever this November. Thanks so much SFEtsy! I'm still learning about the art fair world but am less scared of it now.
  3. As some of you know, I started working 3 days a week at New Bohemia Signs. It's been a pretty interesting adjustment from working for myself for 4 years. But man, it was something I really needed.   
  4. I was really excited to receive a mentioned on this blog post about my custom portraits. Thanks Cool Moms!
I suppose the last day of the year is the time for resolutions...here's my plans for 2015! I am so ready for a new year of challenges and successes!
  1. First off, redo my artist website!Well, I will confirm that I working on it! I'm building a brand new one from scratch and pretty excited about it. It is time to take myself much more serious as an professional artist and illustrator.
  2. Get back to writing more on the blog...ooops.
  3. Get involved with more artist groups. I love being one of the leaders in SFEtsy, and plan on getting more involved. I've also joined the Academy of Handmade.
  4. Getting published. Getting my work out there in the real world. Etsy has been great, but I have to keep reminding myself that it is a small world there, and I need to expand.
  5. Adding more work to my shop...weekly.
  6. Finally finish the book I've been working on the last couple of years. Get it published (we are self publishing)...printed...and make it real. 
  7. Get into more galleries and shops. Bonus: To get into larger art galleries beyond where I am now. 
  8. Learn how to hand lettering!
  9. Find some kind of healthy exersise that I enjoy. The last month or so my health has not been the best. (Mostly just a string of really bad colds). Being sick really reminded me that I need to find ways to take care of myself and stay strong.
  10. Read more books and turn off the internet more.  
Well that about wraps it up. I suppose I will call these plans not resolutions. They might have better luck being accomplished that way. But alas, here's to a awesome 2015 to all of you. May all your plans be successful, and this year be filled with new and exciting surprises for us all!

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

Lola...Unframed







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

www.studiogallerysf.com

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!
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