My Story

I grew up in rural south east Ohio and spent my childhood years caring for animals and creating anything and everything my imagination desired including dolls and their clothes, baskets, drawings and paintings, pet residences and even little wooden boats to float down local streams. I spent my summers feeding my creativity through exploring the vast outdoors with my ever present cat and golden retriever companions at my side. When I wasn’t drawing, my winters were spent designing dream houses, ball gowns and landscapes on paper, baking and decorating cookies, sewing garments or cat toys, and reading fantasy fiction novels or writing short stories and poems. 

After falling ill to a mysterious and physically debilitating illness caused by Chinese Drywall, I wasn’t sure I would have the opportunity to chase my dreams and imagination again. Lying in bed in terrible pain, unable to walk or stand for more than a couple of minutes at a time or even grip a pencil, I wasn’t sure I would be able to physically paint as much or as well as I wanted but knew that I had to try. Of all the things I hadn’t accomplished in life before I fell ill at age 30, not pursuing my art was my biggest regret. (Like so many, I thought that I would have the time and opportunity once I retired.) I decided painting as well as I possibly could so I could create a figure painting masterpiece would become my main goal and focus in life. 

I studied everything I could get my hands on and thought about painting all day every day. Studying painting was invigorating and a much needed distraction from the pain and loss of autonomy. I savored the mere minutes I would be able to sit behind the easel a couple of days a week. My body forced me to take frequent breaks. During those breaks I would intently focus on the brush strokes I had laid down in the previous 30 seconds and what I needed to correct and accomplish with the next precious 30 seconds before I would have to rest for a few minutes yet again. It was a formula of constant analysis and thoughtful execution that helped me to become the artist that I am today. 

Fast forward to four years later, despite numerous setbacks, I had worked my way up to painting for a couple of hours a day. I decided it was time to leave still life behind and try to tackle my goal; not one but two large scale figure painting masterpieces inspired by and in honor of my favorite painters William Bouguereau and Elizabeth Gardner. I was still requiring the use of a wheel chair and the thought of accomplishing something grand was both irresistible and terrifying. If I could make these paintings happen it would mean that I was well again. I found a way to have tiny, manageable for me, steps up and down using adjustable aerobic steps, the kind you find in gyms, to help me reach the top of the painting.

Every day I gave it my all and the process was so physically exhausting that by the end of the day my body had literally nothing left to give; I was in a lot of pain and could barely stand or feed myself but it was so satisfying that I was making these paintings happen that I got up and did it all over again the next day. Because I loved painting so much and was so focused on the simple act of painting instead of how my body was feeling, I was able to push my physical limits. Through bravely tackling two very large 7 and 9 foot paintings (“Companionship” and “Feeding Love”), I was able to get stronger bit by bit. After their completion, I was able to stand, walk and paint again for longer periods of time as well as hold the paint brush again without pain and stiffness. Flatlands hiking became possible again and so did baking, cooking for my husband and short travel excursions. Through sheer determination, tenacity, and an unyielding desire to make these large scale paintings happen my art helped me to heal and I didn’t need the wheelchair anymore; I got my life back. I had worked my way out of the wheel chair 12 times before but this was the first time that I did so through doing something in which I was passionate about, painting, and it this time it stuck! The first painting got me out of the chair and the second kept me out for good. I am so thankful for having art in my life as well as my amazing supportive husband who was there for me in so many incredible ways.

Though I continue to work on my strength and endurance, today I am no longer limited by pain and weakness can paint as much as I wish. After all of this, bringing Candyland to life is so far beyond the dreams and goals I had set so many years ago that it is what I call the dream within a dream. In this Candyland Realm, I have brought together all the childhood delights I still hold dear. Everything creative I’ve ever done in life has lead up to these paintings. I get to play architect and design fanciful houses and patisserie shops, I get to play the role of fashion designer and create other worldly costumes for my human and anthropomorphized animal characters and even play the role of pastry chef to design delightful desserts. It is all a dream within a dream for me to make this work. I hope you will enjoy my Candyland paintings as much as I do and if there is something that you are passionate about, take steps to incorporate it into your life today. Please don’t wait. I share my story with you only in hopes that if a follower of mine is in need of inspiration they can find it within themselves to push just that little bit harder to achieve their dreams!

Bio

Beth's work has been exhibited in many prestigious galleries including 1261 Gallery, the Richard J. Demato Gallery in the Hamptons, Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA, Robert Lange Studios, ABEND Gallery and Dacia Gallery in NYC as well as numerous museums throughout the country in juried national and international exhibitions. Her work as appeared in American Art Collector Magazine, Southwest Art Magazine, Long Island Pulse, Strokes of Genius, The Art Renewal Center Catalog as well as many other notable digital and printed media. Sistrunk also won Best of Show in the Bold Brush Painting Competition, several awards for Creative Innovation and Achievement as well as other notable awards. Beth is a member of the Oil Painters of America and the International Guild of Realism. Her work can be found in private collections throughout the United States and Beth has Representation with Rehs Contemporary Galleries in New York City and Mary Martin Gallery in Charleston, SC. She received her training at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and also studied painting and drawing privately with Douglas Flynt. Beth resides and works in Naples, Florida where she paints full time.

Artist Statement

In Beth's latest series of works she turns to a fanciful candy land for her muse and source of inspiration... Imagine a world where anything can happen. Mischief, intrigue and dreams abound in an imaginary candy land where Beth’s female characters find themselves. Visiting this candy land is a little like going on vacation where no one knows your name, who you are or what you are about. Themes of sweet over indulgence, temptation and forbidden fruit can be had without affecting your waistline. The possibilities are endless for good fun and adventure.


Professional Affiliations

International Guild of Realism
Oil Painters of America
National Oil & Acrylic Painter Society
Naples Art Association
United Arts Council of Collier County
Allied Artist of America

Education

Private Instruction with Douglas Flynt
Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Graphic Design


Selected Exhibition History

2017

     - Richard J. Demato Gallery, Women Painting Women, Bridgehampton, NY

     - Winfield Gallery, International Guild of Realism 12th Annual Exhibition, Carmel by the Sea, CA      

     - The Marshall Gallery, International Guild of Realism Winter Salon, Scottsdale, AZ

     - Abend Gallery, 27th Annual Holiday Miniatures Group Show, Denver, CO

2016

     - Abend Gallery, 26th Annual Holiday Miniatures Group Show, Denver, CO

     - Principle Gallery, Root to Bloom, Alexandria, VA      

     - The Lodge Gallery, Point of Origin, New York, NY

     - Gallery 1261, International Guild of Realism 11th Annual International Juried Exhibition, Denver, CO

     - Linus Galleries, All in Due Time Online Juried Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA      

     - Figure50, The National Online Juried Exhibition of Figurative Art, www.figure50.com

     - Linus Galleries, Monochrome, Online Juried Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA

     - Albany Museum of Art, Masterworks from the International Guild of Realism Museum Tour, Albany, GA


2015

     - Dacia Gallery, Five Year Anniversary Group Exhibition, New York, NY

     - Richard J. Demato Gallery, Women Painting Women, Sag Harbor, NY

     - Principle Gallery, International Guild of Realism: 10th Annual International Juried Exhibition, Alexandria, VA

     - The R.W. Norton Art Gallery, International Guild of Realism Museum Tour, Shreveport, LA

     - Appleton Museum of ArtInternational Guild of Realism Museum Tour, Ocala, FL     

     - Albany Museum of Art, International Guild of Realism Museum Tour, Albany, GA          

     - Bennington Center for the Arts, Winter Small Works, Bennington, VT

2014

     - Robert Lange Studios, International Guild of Realism: 9th Annual International Juried Exhibition, Charleston, NC

     - Eisele Gallery of Fine ArtOil Painters of America Eastern Regional Exhibition, Cincinnati, OH 

     - The Bennington Center for the Arts, Small Works, Bennington, VT

     - The Baker Museum- Hayes Hall Galleries, Florida Contemporary Exhibition, Naples, FL

     - Art Alliance Naples, Gallery Openings, Naples, FL

2013

     - Greenhouse Gallery, Salon International 2013: A Project of the Internat'l Museum of Contemporary Masters of Fine Art, San Antonio, TX

     - Tempe Center for the Arts, International Guild of Realism: 8th Annual Juried Exhibition, Tempe, AZ

     - The Richeson Gallery, Richeson 75 International Small Works Exhibition, Kimberly, WI

     - Dunnegan Gallery of Fine Art, National Oil & Acrylic Painters' Society:  Best of America Exhibition, Bolivar, MO & 

     - The Vine Wine Bar & Gallery, National Oil & Acrylic Painters' Society:  Best of America Exhibition, Osage Beach/ Lake of the Ozarks, MO

     - National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society, On-line International Exhibition

     - Bennington Center for the Arts, Small Works, Bennington, VT

     - Shirley Street Galleries & Studios, Gallery Openings, Naples, FL

2012

     - The Bennington Center for the Arts, Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Exhibition, Bennington, VT

     - Shirley Street Galleries & Studios, Gallery Openings, Naples, FL

 

Publications

Printed Media

2016

     - Southwest Art Magazine, Artist to Watch Feature, Bonnie GanglehoffJanuary 2016

2015

     - Hamptons Art Hub, Women Painting Women Reveal Diverse Stories at RJD Gallery, October 3, 2015

     - Long Island Pulse Magazine, RJD Gallery in Sag Harbor Features Women Painting Women, Drew Moss, Sept. 25, 2015

     - American Art Collector Magazine, Issue #119September

     - Strokes of Genius 7: Depth, Dimension & Space! The Best of Drawing 2014, North Light Books, 2015

     - Monroe County Beacon, Salute to 4-H: Lessons Learned Through 4-H Help Successful Artist, Woodsfield, OH, March 12, 2015

2014

     - Christi, D.K., Southwest Spotlight Magazine, Cover, Sistrunk Chases Beauty with Art, July Issue, 2014

     - Winters, V., Art Lessons in Realist Drawing, Painting and Beyond: Interviews and Step-by-Step Demonstrations with  International Artists. UltraMax Publications, LLC. 2014.

     - Venetian Village Gallery Opening and Florida Contemporary, Naples Daily News, Naples, FL, page 5D, March 13, 2014

2013

     - Art Renewal Center, Salon Catalog 2012-2013

     - Hall, Thomas, www.examiner.com, This Weekend - Art Returns to North Naples Design/Gallery District, January, 16, 2013

     - Christi, D.K., Southwest Spotlight Magazine, Feature Story, February Issue, 2013

     - Hamilton, Elaine, Backstage PassNaples Daily News, Naples, FL, page 4D, November 14, 2013 

2012

     - Sistrunk Wins Spot, Naples Daily News, Naples, FL, page 3D, October 11, 2012

Digital Media

2016
     - Informed Collector, Daily Briefs About Today's Finest Artists, Recommended Artist, January, Issue #1789
     - The Huffington Post, Daniel Maidman, Point of Origin, October 27, 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com
     - Quiet Lunch, Point of Origin at The Lodge Gallery, October 2016, www.quietlunch.com
     - UFunk, When Artists turn their palettes into beautiful works of artOctober 23, 2016, www.ufunk.net
     - Buzzfeed News, Matthew Tucker, These Artists Have Turned Their Palettes Into Stunning Paintings, October 19, 2016, www.buzzfeed.com
     - Fine Art Connoisseur, Andrew Webster, The Palette as Tool, and Surface, October 13, 2016, www.fineartconnoisseur.com
     - The Creators Project, Dana Shi, In This Show, The Paintings Are on the Palettes, October 22, 2016, www.thecreatorproject.vice.com
     - My Modern Met, Painters are Turning Their Palettes Into Exquisite Works of Art, Pintar, October 12, 2016, www.mymodernmet.com
     - Florida winner of the Figure 50, www.figure50.com

2015

     - The New York Optimist, Feature Artist, www.thenewyorkoptimist.com, July

2014

     - The Artrepreneur Now iTunes Podcast, How to Captivate Viewers Through Beautiful Art, interview by Heath Armstrong, Podcast #36, October, www.artsynow.com

2013

     - Carlson, Jeffrey, Fine Art Connoisseur, Award Winners Announced from NOAPS Online Exhibition, www.fineartconnoisseur.com, 2013

Awards

2016

     - Finalist, Figurative Category, Art Renewal Center Annual International Salon 

     - Florida winner of the Figure 50, www.figure50.com

2015

     - Best in Show - November 2015 Bold Brush Painting Competition

     - Most Innovative Award - National Oil & Acrylic Painter's Society Fall 2015 International Online Exhibition

     - The Creative Achievement Award, International Guild of Realism's 10th Annual Exhibition, Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA

     - Top 150, top 10%, National Oil & Acrylic Painter's Society Spring 2015 International Online Exhibition

2013

     - The Ganem Jewelry Creative Achievement Award, International Guild of Realism's 8th Annual Exhibition, Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe, AZ

     - Finalist in the Art Renewal Center's Annual Salon in Drawing

     - Finalist in the Art Renewal Center's Annual Salon in Still Life Painting

     - Award of Merit in the National Oil & Acrylic Painters' Society On-line International Exhibition