Kristine Byars uses vivid color to create paintings that are often playful, and yet evoke warm emotions. One consistent theme in her art is a great love of nature and all creatures. Horses hold a particularly special place in Kris' heart, and when not painting she can often be found with her quarter horse, Sparky. Kris lives a life surrounded by nature in Texas with her husband Steve, cat, golden retriever, and Sparky.
How old were you when you realized you were an “artist”?
In second grade I was the only child who could draw a fireplace.
The kids all said…"She's an artist" … but I could never used that term till midlife. In fact I still stumble sometimes when asked "What do I do?"
Who or what inspired you to make art in the beginning?
I believe it was instinctive to draw as a way to express myself.
My Uncle Roy recognized my talent and encouraged me. He sent me art supplies and art books and I sent him most all my drawings… None of which survive today except a self portrait at age 6 years. (See my website)
What is my art background:
Art classes in high school (and a great art teacher who believed in me;) Art history in college; studying art history at the University of Bologna, Italy, for a year; teaching art at all grade levels at a county school in Ohio: 2 years as illustrator for a book company; graduate degree in Environmental Design which led to a career in interior design; and finally the decision to embrace the artist within and "BE AN ARTIST" when my dying father said to me " you have always been an artist, go now and do that."
I then turned my interior design studio into an art studio.
What role do you feel an artist has in society?
Today I openly share that I am a professional artist and
encourage other folks to embrace whatever passions motivate them. I was not encouraged growing up to be an artist beyond the"hobby" role. Sadly Art school was not an option. Therefore it was in midlife that I finally had the confidence and courage to be who and what I am.
Do you have a vision or a reason for the art you create?
There are certain subjects that interest/affect me so I explore them through the process of making art. I am passionate about all aspects of the horse. Since I do not have horses now, my art keeps that passion alive in me. My current goal Is to create a body of work about our wild horses/mustangs that are being eradicated from our nation, not unlike how we nearly eliminated our Native Americans .
What part of you do you see in your artwork?
My love and knowledge of horses is evident. Horse images occur continually in my art. I prefer strong colors and bold images and I like to imply stories in
the compositions. My personality is also often bold and straightforward and I like telling stories in conversation
How do you know when your art if complete or finished?
Usually I know innately when the composition and color scheme works. Sometimes however I revisit a work and adjust an area of color or add line work. Yet often when I am tempted to do that, I tell myself…stop… that was then, this is now. Don't overwork it. Let it stand as it and use it to learn.
Today, who has had the greatest influence on your work?
And continue to inspire me today…
Still The Renaissance masters and today… all the artists who have the freedom and courage to use quick, bold brushstrokes and strong color with lots of movement.
Name three artists you would like to be compared to.
William Hook, our own David Forks, and Vincent Van Gogh.
What is your artistic medium of choice? Why?
Acrylic and watercolors… any water-based media; I cannot tolerate oil based products
What food, drink or song inspires you or gets your creative juices flowing?
Contemporary Christian music, a trip to Santa Fe or the southwest, and a good red wine
Has your art evolved or changed in the past ten years? If so, how?
I "let go" of my interior design career in early 2000s and totally embraced making art in a new studio with 40 some other artists. I visit galleries and museums often and glean all I can from computer videos. I am not at the level I want to be and will keep on till I get closer and closer.
What are your strengths and weakness?
My weakness is seeking perfection. My strength is knowing I cannot achieve it but keep trying to improve.
Do you have a favorite piece of art
See my own images of "Wildfire" and "Shall We Dance" in attached file.
Do you find the artistic Life lonely?
No! I am in a building with 40+ other artists many who are my friends and colleagues.
How do you counteract the solitude? I often seek solitude to focus and work hard to balance the social interaction with other artists. I also listen to the radio.
If you could picture yourself 5 or 10 years from now, where would you be and what would you be doing?
Making really good art in my studio. Perhaps being represented by a couple galleries and have a strong online presence. And being proud of my work.
My favorite TV shows are:
Downton Abbey, Gunsmoke and Justifed
What is the best piece of advice you could give to an artist just getting started?
Take all the workshops/classes you can afford; visit galleries, create or get involved with a small group of 2 or 3 other artists you admire and paint regularly with them and gently critique each other. Make art every day!
Find a well- organized art group and get involved.
Getting to know you Q&A
How long have you lived in Texas? I relocated to Texas from Ohio in 1973.
Where in Texas do you live now? Dallas, in the Oak Lawn area
What is your favorite restaurant in Texas? My husband's kitchen
What color is your bedroom? Light tan.
What book are you reading now? For Whom the Bell Tolls? By Ernest Hemingway
Do you have a favorite television show or movie? Downton Abbey, Gunsmoke and Justified
What is your favorite color? Red
What color do you avoid? beige
What are you most proud of in your life? Being able to embrace my talent and build a life around it.
What has been your most embarrassing moment? Being "kicked out" or "asked to leave" a formal dance class in jr. high school because I would not quit talking!
What jobs have you done other than being an artist? I am a Texas Registered Interior designer and had a 35 year career in commercial interior design. Earlier "teaching art at grade school, jr high, high school and college levels. I currently offer workshops in my studio and other venues.
Do you have a passion or hobby other than painting? What is it? Even though I do not own a horse now, I seek out any opportunity to be around or near them (including the mounted Dallas police) .
Who would you love to portray in mixed media or in paint? All the tv cowboys/cowgirls and their horses from the 1950s on up (it just occurred to me there is no reason why I cannot now do it!!??)
If you were stranded on the Texas Prairie and could only take three things, what would they be? A Bible, My husband who would save us; and a photo of my beloved buckskin horse Mr.Dillon.
If you could live anywhere in Texas, where would you live? The Hill Country
Share something with us that few people know about you. My family is descendant of Duncan Hines of Kentucky who created the first reference books of fine food in restaurants in America. Many still use the term: "recommended by Duncan Hines"
Name something you love and why. I love the act of painting because I can best express myself with this art form and I believe I am closest to God when doing this.
Describe yourself in one word. talented
What is the one thing you would like to be remembered As??
Anne the Artist
Dreams of the Turtle King: Poems Inspired by South Florida Beaches
You can find so much more than just sand on the beach. You can find people, animals, interesting and unusual objects, and occasionally, deep thoughts! In this collection of free verse poems, Denise Bossarte takes you on an adventure to explore the things you can find on the beach. Each poem's imagery is reflected in a paired watercolor illustration by award winning artist Nancy Standlee.
It had always been my dream to publish the poems I had written on my walks on the beaches of South Florida.
While living in Florida, I often went out walking on the beaches before the crowds arrived, when I could experience the beach intimately without having to avoid stepping on sunbathers!
I found particular images would grab my eye, and I would walk along the beach composing poems to capture the imagery.
Once I had enough poems composed that I couldn't remember any more that morning, I would go home and write them down.
I didn't want to use pencil and paper while walking on the beach but would let the poem be formed and edited in memory to keep the process part of the overall experience of the morning.
This was long before I became a serious photographer or learned about Miksang Contemplative Photography. I now know that these images were Miksang "flashes" and the poems were Contemplative poems.
Many years passed before the world of publishing became independent enough I could self-publish my poems.
I wanted to have illustrations for each poem. I decided against photographs, because (1) there was no way to easily recreate the images through photographs so many years later, and (2) I didn't want the reader to have a photograph that might be too "solid" and replace the imagery that the poems brought to mind.
When I saw Nancy's posts of her journaling in watercolors, I knew that I had found just the artist to do the illustrations for my book.
Such lively colors, so detailed, yet whimsical!
I reached out to Nancy and we worked through how to do the book. We were both novices at creating a book, so we just figured it out as we went along.
Nancy was doing a 30 paintings in 30 day challenge so the 24 images for the book fit right into that challenge.
She did research into each poems' subjects, like sea turtles, and worked to align her watercolors with the individual poems.
Quite a daunting task, but she was wonderfully successful. I've had people say they don't know whether the poems or the illustrations came first!
Once Nancy was done with a number of paintings, she mailed them to me to have a local printer do a high quality scan, then I mailed them back.
She was able to offer the originals for sale on her website and I had the images for the book.
I bought the cover image as soon as I saw it, as it was done in stunning color and metallic paints!
A local graphic artist friend of mine helped me put together the book cover which included the painting of Nancy's of the Turtle King, and Nancy and my head shots.
She was able to match the colors in the Turtle King painting perfectly to create a beautiful cover for the book.
It was published as a soft copy book and a Kindle e-book, both available on Amazon.com
It was really a dream come true to see the beautiful book that Nancy and I created out there for the world to read!
Reviews from Amazon.com
"Having been raised on the beaches of Southern California, I found myself back there through the eyes of this author and artist. I received DREAMS OF A TURTLE KING in my Christmas stocking. Such a little treasure chest of dreams and memories and sand under my toes."
"I grew up near beaches and both the author and illustrator captured the scenes and thoughts of beach life. As I was reading the words and looking at the lovely watercolors it even brought to my mind the sounds of the waves rolling in from the ocean. Lovely book Denise and Nancy."
Found Worlds Photography
Artist of Texas Signature Member
"BLOWIN' OFF STEAM" won First Place and Judge's Choice at the West Texas Art Guild Art Show. This watercolor painting of my aluminum teapots (and one coffee pot) was painted in the hospital while my husband was recovering from surgery. It has won 3 First Place Awards. It has found a new home at my friend's ranch house, which is perfect because she is the friend that I would blow off steam to during our long stay in the hospital.
"Appalachian Retreat" - Autumn
16" x 20" Oil on Canvas
Here is another version of the Noah "Bud" Ogle Cabin, located in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Could not resist doing one in fall colors. May eventually do a winter/snow scene and perhaps a summer version of the cabin. Enjoy!
This is an inset from some of our artists that is in the December Issue of Visual Language Magazine.
Click the magazine to enjoy the art.
Even in Texas we often see a white Christmas. People joke and laugh at the thought of longhorns pulling a sleigh over the prairie fields. Never the less, the Artists of Texas paint in full living color capturing holiday pieces from deep in the Heart of Texas. Amy Hillenbrand, Barbara Haviland, Barbara Mason, Carolyn Hancock, Cheryl Smith, Debra Latham, Deran Wright, Ed Crumley, James Loveless, Janet Broussard, Joan Eure, Judy Mackey, Judy WIlder Dalton, Kristine Byars, Kristine Kainer, Kyle Wood, Laurie Pace, Leada Wood, Melissa Torres, Nancy Medina, Patsy Lindamood, Rebecca Zook, Roseanne Snyder, Suzy Pal Powell, and Vernita Bridges Hoyt.
You can read the full December issue of Visual Language by Visiting the VL website.