Artist Sylvia Bower

I‘ve had a longing to paint in oils since childhood. My parents collected large books of paintings that I wore out, wondering how it might feel to be able to paint like that! My father, a musician, never stopped talking about Florence, Italy, the art and music since he was stationed there in WWII. I started piano and Italian language lessons at the age of 5. At the age of eight I got the easel and oil painting materials I begged for ...but no teacher! I won scholarships and competitions playing piano so that took most of my time and creative energy. When I had time to relax I laid in a wheelbarrow staring at clouds and the miracle of light, transparency and color in the sky. I was a serious appreciator of the visual world and knew I would paint someday. This led me through an array of visual art forms as an adult ...and finally to painting what I adore - Life and Light!

As an adult I have always made my living in art and design, as did my husband, Ron Bower. In I980 we began sharing life and a joint studio, both showing our very different styles of ceramic work in galleries, museum shows and national wholesale shows. After developing back problems, we created two design companies, selling our designs internationally. The design world was interesting, but it did not fill our hearts or satisfy our wonderment. So we retired in I994 (in our forties), choosing to be what we called 'independently poor.' We redesigned a vintage Airstream, sold our businesses and home in Vermont, and headed west to 'marinate' quietly in nature as long as we felt like it.

For three years we lived and hiked all over the West, Canada and Mexico allowing us to live in breath-taking beauty every day. After a few years we built a straw-bale home and studio/gallery in Ajo, Arizona, where we lived for half the year. We became friends with Bob Grogan and took some of his painting classes, then later with Matt Smith at the Scottsdale Artist School. We painted with friends 'en plein aire' in the Sonora Desert outside our door and helped create an art community.

For two summers we rented a house in Guanajuato, Mexico so we could paint entirely new material. I fell in love with Central Mexico's Spanish Colonial architecture, the lovely people, color and extraordinary light. The depth of culture in this very old city gave me a surge of inspiration . . .symphony, ancient hacienda gardens hosting string quartets, great food, art, poetry and film festivals.

In 2005 we moved to Central Kentucky - to get to know another new place, and to grow our own food, lush flower gardens and landscaping. Creating beauty at home is always a priority in our daily life. I became interested in looking more closely at the eloquent beauty of ordinary 'things' that we take for granted - an onion in beautiful light, for example. Our gardens are filled with beautiful flowers, vegetables and fruits and Central Kentucky is filled with lovely Southern architecture and gardens to paint. I won a scholarship to study Still Life Painting at the Scottsdale Artist School so I am focusing on still life, but I enjoy a wide variety of subjects - whatever grabs my eye and sensibilities.

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