Category Archives: musings

Lapis meditation

Detail -- lapis lazuli pigment on kumohadamashi paper

Bev Byrnes — Detail of nihonga painting — lapis lazuli pigment on kumohadamashi paper

“Everything is gestation and then bringing forth. To let each impression and each germ of a feeling come to completion wholly in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s own intelligence, and await with deep humility and patience the birth-hour of a new clarity: that alone is living the artist’s life: in understanding as in creating.

There is here no measuring with time, no year matters, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful: patience is everything.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke


. . .

“The secret of beginning a life of deep awareness and sensitivity lies in our willingness to pay attention….

Our growth as conscious, awake human beings is marked not so much by grand gestures and visible renunciations as by extending loving attention to the minutest particulars of our lives…

Every relationship, every thought, every gesture is blessed with meaning through the wholehearted attention we bring to it.

…without attention we live only on the surface of existence.

It is just simple attention that allows us truly to listen to the song of a bird, to see deeply the glory of an autumn leaf, to touch the heart of another and be touched.

We need to be fully present in order to love a single thing wholeheartedly. We need to be fully awake in this moment if we are to receive and respond to the learning inherent in it.”

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Quote by Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield, from “Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart.”

Drawing by Fiona Robinson, charcoal and graphite on paper

Drawing by Fiona Robinson, charcoal and graphite on paper



Show opening — Yakima Valley Museum

My work is currently on view, through September 30th, at the Yakima Valley Museum. Below are photos from the opening night, a well-attended event thanks to the patrons and outreach efforts of the Yakima Valley Museum and the Yakima Light Project, as well as a wonderful article in the Yakima Herald Republic talking about my work and process. The show also features the work of artist Erin Schulz who paints beautiful still life and figurative works, much in the same style as my own work. At the start of the evening, Erin spoke to the attendees about her work and the recent resurgence of the genre of classical realism, and I spoke a bit about my painting process and the matter of making my own painting oils and pigments. By the end of the evening many of the paintings were sold. Of the ten paintings I have in the show, nine have now sold, so it’s back to the studio now to create new work. A big thanks to all who made this show happen, and to all who attended (many thanks to Dianne LaBissoniere and David Lynx who provided some of photos below).

display showing some of my pigments and oils and the tools I use

display showing some of my pigments and oils and the tools I use

picture of myself and the new owner of the painting, "Blouse"

picture of myself and the new owner of the painting, “Blouse”



Bowl with mandarins

Bowl with mandarins, 2015

Bev Byrnes — Bowl with mandarins, oil on linen, 2015

Finished this one a couple weeks back. Getting the shadows of the mandarins was a learning process. Going in with brown umbers just didn’t look right, like the fruit was badly bruised. I needed to keep more of the local color in the shadows, keeping it solidly in the orange/red family while also darkening enough to denote shadow. The green of the leaves was a challenge, too. Eventually found a Kremer pigment that worked perfectly as the base, then added yellows and blues as needed. Painting the bowl was fun. It had a subtle sienna-tinged glaze around the underside that played beautifully against the soft blue of the body.