Beth Stafford, Multi-Media Artist

My art has taken me down many side roads since I started out as a “realist” painter in 1978. I worked exclusively with gouache (opaque watercolor) in my paintings and then in fabric design sketches that I did as a free-lancer for 15 years.

By 2000 I was burned out by the intricate designs and my own work was becoming increasingly simple and “abstract” – and boring. I don’t like using the labels as if they are two separate forms of art, because all art is essentially abstracted, whether it is from a feeling or from something seen. Some artists just take it further than others! Getting a computer totally revolutionized my approach – I could dive into photos of flowers and other subjects to a degree not previously possible, seeing shapes and colors that would have been missed before, and switched to oil pastels to wean away from the precise edges of my previous works.

In 2004 I received a Regional Artist Project Grant to study marketing of my new body of work, and for the past 10 years have continued to explore other mediums and forms of art, including wood sculpture and murals. My biggest “aha” moment came in 2007, when I discovered that my dog was making more interesting art than I was, recording her wild enthusiasm for life on the door and windows of our home. She was totally uninhibited by convention, which was how I wanted to paint but couldn’t , so I began photographing her lovely marks and had a blast translating them into colorful digital prints. She freed my inner artist and my alter ego “PiCassieO” was born. I always loved Picasso for his sense of play and fun as an artist. My dog’s name was Cassie (aka “Cassandra, Queen of the Universe”), so I put her in her usual place in the center of everything, and voila – PiCassieO! The digital prints have also been used to create some amazing jewelry, and coming full circle have inspired me to paint again. I’m still debating which of my “alters” should sign those.

It’s funny – my “serious” art is in some notable collections in a few states and the UK, but the PiCassieO art and jewelry (which is pure fun) is in about half the US states now, plus Canada, UK, Norway, and Australia.

So far I haven’t participated in Kaleidoscope, but hope to be able to do it soon. My latest Airedale art partner Calli has epilepsy, so I don’t leave her for more than a couple of hours at a time yet. We have been working on “CalliGraphy”, which is quite different from PICassieO, so I look forward to sharing that art as well. Examples of my work can be seen at the following: