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Beth SautterSketch Pad

Beth Sautter
A sense of what is possible
by Kathy Anderson

native of Bowling Green, Ohio, Beth Sautter has traveled all over Europe – England, Scotland, Wales, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal – thanks to her father's job as a geophysicist in the oil business. On her own, Beth made stops in Houston and Los Angeles, before moving to Portland in 1996.

Something in common
To Beth Sautter, still-life paintings depict the worlds we create for ourselves with the objects we choose to have around us.

"Common objects brought together into an uncommon composition can encourage our sense of what is possible," she said.

Bluebird and Vase
"Bluebird and Vase"

"Somehow, when certain objects are brought together, their beauty and meaning become evident."

Beth cites "Bluebird and Vase" as an example: the bird sits on an ornately decorated pitcher, which in turn sits on a plain wooden crate set against a spare background.

"These are the types of elements I like to bring together in my work," she said. "Three distinctively different objects somehow complement one another and are balanced to form a unified picture.

"The selection of objects and how they relate to one another is critical. Adding animals to a seemingly human environment serves to welcome an element of wildness and beauty into a domestic setting and moves the picture beyond a meditation of form, surface and spatial arrangement."


Still the one
Beth began exhibiting her still-life paintings in 1997. They are now showing at the Lawrence Gallery in Portland and the Zantman Galleries in Carmel and Palm Desert, Calif.

Last year her painting "Yo-yo" won second place at The Arts in Oregon Council's Celebration of the Arts.

Some of Beth's favorite artists – and those that influence her work – include: Andrew Wyeth, Vermeer, John Singer Sargent, Chardin and De Kooning; as well as living artists Jamie Wyeth, Daniel Sprick and Helen Frankenthaler.

Relative to art
With aunts, uncles and cousins being artists in one way or another, Beth's interest in art began at a young age.

"I got my first set of finger paints when I was four and have been painting ever since," she said, "but now I use acrylic paint and much better brushes.

Peonies and Vase
"Peonies and Vase"

"My parents were very creative, too. Mother sang, played the piano, wrote, made quilts, etc. Father was a scientist and liked to make things, especially with carpentry. So they were supportive of my interests and arranged for extra painting and photography classes in addition to what was offered at school."

Beth took drawing, painting and ceramics classes in high school. At the University of Texas, she studied advertising design, photography and illustration, graduating in 1984 with a bachelor of fine arts degree.

Star crossed
Work after college included jobs as a graphic designer in Surrey, England, and Houston, Texas. And for four years Beth was an assistant art director at Universal Studios in California. She worked on collateral pieces for several movies, including "Jurassic Park" and the "Beethoven" series.

Tin Can
"Tin Can"

"I was responsible for the development of print advertisements for feature films – from concept to final art," she said. "I also designed and supervised print production of posters, title treatments, standees, billboards and other related pieces. It was a hectic, fast-paced job, but it was also a lot of fun."

Some of that fun included riding the elevator with Jane Seymour and staring at Jean Claude van Damme until he said hello.

"It was one of those situations where you see someone and know that you know who they are, but draw a blank on the name," she said. "Well, once he spoke in that sexy, French accent of his, I knew who he was."

Allergy relief
Beth moved to Portland after "developing allergies to L.A."

"I guess I wasn't allergic to L.A. per se," she said, "but there was definitely something in the air ...


"I have family here so I thought I'd give the town a try. Portland has a much more 'human' pace of life than Los Angeles. I'm really happy here."

Beth now works as a freelance art director and graphic designer – even though she paints nearly full time.

"I don't have a huge dream or goal with my artwork," she said. "I just want to continue learning and painting.

"I believe art is a way to celebrate living … and it's really fun!

See more of Beth's artwork at her Web site, or e-mail her at bsautter@msn.com. Reach Kathy at kanderson138@attbi.com, and draw on other Sketch Pads.

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