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Meet Sonoma County Artist Bernadette Howard

Nestled in the grass-covered hills of western Sonoma County, Bernadette Howard’s studio has views of oak trees, and rows of flowers and vegetables in her family’s expansive gardens. Inside there may be several canvases, both large and small, that the artist is currently working on.

Bernadette works fluently in both representational as well as abstract styles, and at times both styles merge in the same painting. Much of her inspiration comes from dreams and, according to Bernadette, “That ability to flow from the literal to the abstract and back again reflects that specific moment of waking from a dream, where fleeting images blend with residual emotions or physical feelings.”

By reflecting on this threshold, she expresses herself by creating works that represent a sense of mystery and ambiguity, and “vacillating feelings of uncertainty and awe.”

Social and political issues are also important influences for Bernadette. In these paintings, her feelings combine with observations of the external world.

 “The images I create are based on both the external/physical world and the internal/psychological world of action and reaction, creating a response to key current issues, such as pollution, climate change, water depletion, land use, and sustainability,” she explained. (Paintng to the left: "After the Rains")

But whether realistic or abstract, her paintings are visually suggestive of “some time or thing known, felt or experienced.”

Bernadette has lived in Sonoma County for 34 years. “Besides the power of the ocean, what influences me most is the air and light as they change through the seasons,” she said. “I’m awed by the underlying gold that seems to resonate through the blades of grass; the silver-lavender of the fog; the fur-like quality when the wind rushes along the hillsides; and the variety of colors within our lakes, creeks, soils, sunrises, and sunsets.”

Right now Bernadette’s work can be seen locally in the offices of Fairweather & Associates, http://fairweather-assoc.com, 140 Todd Road, Santa Rosa, and in October she will be participating in the Sonoma County Art Trails 2014 Open Studio tours. In November, she will have a solo show at Radio-Coteau’s Fall 2014 Open House, 1240 Barlow Lane, in Sebastopol. Her work can always be seen on her website, www.bernadettehoward.com.

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