Friday, November 1, 2013

ARTIST CLOSEUP • Carol Astaire

Gallery at Marina Square Presents a “Close Up” of Artist:

Carol Astaire

Carol Astaire
I absolutely love the ocean! Being on it, in it, or hiking beside it brings me pure joy. Every day is a new experience and I always start to smile and sing when I take off in my kayak. Born and raised on the California coast it is just simply in my blood.

Anacapa © Carol Astaire
Wet Wednesday Regatta © Carol Astaire

With a lifetime of education, teaching, exhibiting and traveling to draw upon, I have devoted the last five years to exploring the ocean south of Port of Los Angeles and north of Monterey County, photographing extensively in all conditions year round. Then I use my reference photos to help remind me of my experiences on the water when I return to my studio and get to work.

Calm Shore © Carol Astaire
Bluffs at Montaña de Oro © Carol Astaire

I now try to bring it all together in a free and joyful expression of the things of the sea I love most. Still using the old masters’ techniques of multiple layers, glazes and traditional mediums to produce the luminosity and visceral qualities that are so rich; I hope to share all of it with anyone who views my work.
Click COMMENTS below to leave a comment.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Gallery at Marina Square Presents a “Close Up” of Artist:

Beth Sargent

Beth Sargent

Golden Light Halfdome
© Beth Sargent
I have always loved photography. When I was young, I would sneak off with the family’s brownie camera. I loved the thrill of seeing what I had captured when the film was developed. In my late teens I purchased a Yashica Single Lens Reflex Film Camera. I never went anywhere without it capturing moments in time. I would get together with friends and family to share a slide show. It was always a big hit.

Hawk Profile © Beth Sargent

Nothing gave me more joy than wondering off on my own to capture sunsets, take close up shots of flowers, or photograph star trails at night… nature and landscape photography was my real love.

Soon work and life seemed to get in the way of my photography. There was a large gap in time before I picked up a camera again to shoot images that inspired me. I am not sure what made me decide to give in to my creative side and capture nature’s beauty. One reason could have been that digital technology was improving so much that I liked the results I had been seeing. But whatever the reason, it was like I had been waiting most of my life to photograph nature again. It was like coming home. 

Stormy Seas © Beth Sargent

Yellow Barn © Beth Sargent

In 2008 I purchased my first Digital SLR camera and joined The San Luis Obispo Camera Club. Joining a local camera club can really improve anyone’s photography. At my very first meeting, a really talented photographer talked about High Dynamic Range Photography, also known as HDR. I went home that evening and downloaded an HDR program. The rest is history. HDR Photography seemed to resonate with me. Most of my landscapes and seascapes incorporate this technique. HDR allows me to get the light levels in my finished image that I can’t get with just one shot. The result is a shot that looks exactly as the scene actually appeared.

Landscapes and nature photography, especially birds, are my main focus. Early morning and late afternoon are my favorite times to photograph. I just love coastal sunsets, sunrises, rural and nature scenes.

Silent Hunter © Beth Sargent

Though all birds are of great interest to me, raptors are my favorite. What is it about photographing birds that has me hiding out in bushes and wearing silly looking camouflage clothing? I am not quite sure. I think it is the wildness, the freedom of flight, and the determination of nature to survive. Whatever it is, I am driven to seek out birds of prey and capture them in action. I almost always get to witness some incredible action. I absolutely love it.

There are times when someone will say to me, “Photography is your hobby.” I smile and say, “Not true.” It is way more than a hobby. It is what I do. For me, photography is a passion.

I found a quote from a poem that really says it all for me…
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”
Rumi, Sufi Poet
Click COMMENTS below to leave a comment.