Biography

Sophie BretonA spiritual being and often considered a beacon of hope in gloomy times. Many of Sophie’s friends and coworkers accuse her of being a Renaissance woman, and if that means one who focuses on the beauty of things and the moment, she is guilty. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Sophie was born to French Canadian immigrants. Her first language was French and she spent most of her early childhood summers with her sister Odile and her tante Yolande in La Durataye, Quebec. As a young child she danced ballet, tap and jazz. She also learned to knit and crochet. While living in Honolulu after college she discovered painting. By studying at home with the use of books, tapes and other works of art, she is essentially self-taught in painting.  “Well?  What choice did I have?  I had no money.  In fact I had debts to pay from after college.  But I had this seed of desire.  This knowing that this was what I was to commit my life too.  And so, I pressed on even without the support of my closest relations.”  The rest was learned by many hours on the canvas and paper and a few art workshops. She has been successfully creating works of art since around 1995, selling and exhibiting hundreds of originals and prints of her works.

Style

When I first started this website I was naive and looked to other artists for advice on this matter as I really had no idea what to say.  Having learned very little from the superficial examples I simply associated my style with those I felt it closely resembled.  The Impressionist.  In fact some of my work is along this style, but I refused to keep it as a label.

Later at the suggestion of one of my teachers I read a book on art marketing which said YOU MUST HAVE A STYLE.  Really?  An Artist box that the world can recognize but I can not escape out of?  Reluctantly in July of 2013 I rewrote the section but scarcely convinced myself of it’s authenticity.

Shortly after writing the piece on my style of “moodism” which much of my work was intended to create moods I drifted far from it and have hence come to the conclusion that for an Artist to confine oneself to a particular style that the world will recognize is hardly art at all.  At least it doesn’t work for me.  No real artist cares to make every piece the same as in a factory production center.  Rubbish.  This exterior imposed requirement belongs to men of no soul and depth of understanding of the purpose of it.  While this sort of work, the steadiness of constantly working to improve skills and learn is relevant and necessary it is hardly the end all objective of being an artist.  If in the end all of my work is recognizable than my soul has developed none in this life time.  While there may be hints and traces in each piece or series the viewer must be awestruck by the body of work taken as a whole and see change, expansion, diversity.  If there is no progression of this sort than I could hardly remain devoted to art.  FREEDOM is what the goal is and although freedom is achieved through self discipline it is not the result of having a style.

As of late summer I have been in contact with the writings of Kandinsky and for once in my life feel understood!  He wrote so clear and perfectly on painting and describes the path so well that I wish I had this in my possesion when I was 25 and just starting out.  Alas I had only just begun to discover who I was so may have not understood it anyway.  He specifically describes the predicament of artist vs the observers and arts purpose in the world and the possible crosses you will bear for it.  At this point I have been allowing my imaginative side free reigns on the canvas and have not been using props nor photographs to paint from.  I do however flow back to that technique often.  I guess if you must label it say a rebellious style!

I can best describe my current approach as using a beginners mind.  As each day is different so is each an every piece.  I am continually experimenting with old and new techniques.   It really depends on the compositions.  For a flower that is delicate I will apply a soft sensual touch to the canvas.  A gentle blending of the different shades.  But for a rough raging sea the stokes might become fast furious erratic with thick paint.  I often step back a say to myself “ooo the outer expression equals the inner impression and possibly what is going on in my inner world” as in “Conflict and Strife”.  On other occassions I say “wow, where the hec did that come from? Must be God working through me because its really pretty awesome.”

The works are primarily created using oils on linen, canvas and canvas mounted to museum quality boards.  I also use pastels on paper and  museum boards and sometimes even a splash of watercolor!

I enjoy listening to classical music (Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart) or the sounds of nature while painting, both of which greatly influence the mood created in the pieces.  And my studio mate and cat “Mischief” likes these too.  The subject matter ranges from Giant flowers orginating in Hawaii to Bridges in Paris and even the friendly neighborhood cat(s).  There are even still lifes, landscapes, exotic birds and some portraits.  Something for everyone who loves art! Abstractions are a future possibility…

“I become lost in my paintings almost morphing with the subject matter that I am in the process of expressing.  It is a great experience and difficult to explain in words.  Its as though time stands still and there is just me and the subject matter.  We are one.  And I’m not even smoking anything!  Must be all that deep yogic breathing!”

Artists’ Statement

I love painting. It really is that simple. My desire has always been to create something beautiful to look upon. And of course to have fun doing so! Desire is everything. My desire is to have people look at the work and think “that’s beautiful” or “that’s cool”, “I love it!”.  I know it’s terrible when someone asks “what is it?”.  Those don’t make it to the website for viewing.

My purpose in being a painter it to add beauty, love and light to this world.  In that sense I am also a humanitarian as I wish to improve the lives of others.  The visual arts are a great medium for this.  My experience has been that ones spirits can be lifted simply by gazing upon beautiful works of art.  I first became aware of this in my early 20’s as art has influenced me in this way;  from the Impressionists to some more modern artists.  Recently I had the opportunity to share this knowing by contributing works to organizations that have similar values and experiences such as Ronald McDonald House for Children and the Hasbo Childrens Hospital, both in Providence, RI.  I am very happy that many people have felt this way after looking at my work.  I think it is important to do things for the love of it and the positive influences they have in the world.

In addition, I have sold and exhibited hundreds of works of art and prints in my career to date.  Most clients purchase multiple pieces and really enjoy having original works of art in their homes and offices.  I am so happy the work really is uplifting and so well received.  I feel blessed to share in creating a beautiful world and contributing to the happiness of so many others.

A very warm thank you to all the people that have believed in me…… they were really kind even when my work wasn’t so hot!  Thank you so much for your support and sharing!  Om Shanti!  Love you too!

Be Happy, Have Fun, Do what you love, MEOW!

Sophie

 

Major Works For Sale, Private Collections and Installations

2013

  • “Le Chat Noir, Enlightened” Series. Six 6 x 12 oil on canvas “Manifesta”; :Speaks Volumes”; “Dozing Cat”; “Pet Me”; “Opening the Heart”; “The Enlightened Chat Noir”
  • “Fall Leaves & Fruit” Series. Three 6 x 12 oil on canvas “The Reality Behind the Skin”; “Subordination”; “Two Autumn Leaves”; Six 8 x 8 oil on canvas “Three Leaves and a Star”; “Autumn Leaves”; “The Fat Eggplant”; “Hot Chili from the Garden”; “A Whirling Wind”; “Deep Inside”; Eight 9 x 12 oil on canvas “A Red Pansey”; “Swan Gourd, I”; “Swan Gourd, II”; “Gathering of Fall Leaves”; “The Magic of Fall Leaves”; “Guilt & Remorse”; “The Many Layers’; “Red Hot Out & Cool Center”
  • “Paco – Le Chat Noir de Caribbean” Series. Nine 8 x 10 oil on museum board “Lickety Lick!”; “My Next Victim”; “Paco qui fait sa Round”; “Bonjour Je Suis Paco”; “Paco and his Murder Victim”; “Those Poor Birds”; “What to Do”; “Paco Dits, C’est Bon!”; “Paco dans les feuilles rouge”; Four 9 x 12 oil on canvas “Along the Ledge”; “To the Moon!”; “I Will Catch My Prey”; “Paco faire une Sieste”; Three 8 x 8 oil on museum board “Paco est supris”; “Paco dits, ce qui se Passe?”; “Paco, le petit”; Two 6 x 6 oil on museum board “Paco Promenade”; “Paco sur la chaise”; one 6 x 6 oil on museum board “Paco Promenade”
  • “Simon Says” Series. One 5 x 7 oil on museum board “Open Sesame”; Three 8 x 8 oil on museum board “C’mon let me in!”; “Are they deaf?”; “Nobody Home”; Three 8 x 10 oil on museum board “I know they’re in there!”; “Simon at the back door”; “Simon comes to get Me”
  • “Lulu Aloha” & “Le Gecko” Series. Three 8 x 8 oil on museum board “Mink Protea”; “Torchie”; “King Protea”; Eleven 6 x 6 oil on museum board “Ooo la la j’ai ete trouve”; “Le gecko me regarde”; “Le gecko se trouve”; “Gecko playing circus”; “Gecko in Camouflage, I”; “Gecko in Camouflage, II”; “Gecko playing Hide & Seek”; King Heliconia”; “Yellow Heliconia, I”; “Yellow Heliconia, II”; “Bugle Boys”; One 8 x 10 oil on museum board “Reaching for the Stars”; Nine 5 x 7 oil on museum board “Water Lily at Academy of Arts, I”; “Water Lily at Academy of Arts, II”; “Bird in Hiding”; “Heliconia in the Jungle”; “My Ginger”; “Birds of a Feather”; “Candy Cane Heliconias”; “Mirage”; “Orange Spledor”; One 9 x 12 oil on canvas “Pave your own Road”
  • “Paris – The Mini” Series. Nine 6 x 6 oil on museum board “La Seine au Printems, I”; “La Seine au Printems, II”; “Somewhere in Paris”; “Somewhere Else in Paris”; “Musee D’Orsay”; “La Tour Eiffel”; “La Catherdral e Notre Dame, I”; “Notre Dame, II”; “Le Pont Neuf”; One 9 x 12 oil on canvas “Late Winter in Paris”
  • “Le Café” Series. Eight 6 x 6 oil on museum board “In the Pink, I”; “In the Pink, II”; “Blue Café”; “Blue Bowl”; “The Stripes, I”; “The Stripes, II”; “Red Dot, I”; “Red Dot, II”
  • “Cayman Cocks & other Birds” Series. Seven 6 x 6 oil on museum board “My First Cock”; “The Cock’s Hen”; “Waiting to Cross”; “Cayman Cock Running”; “Should I stay or should I go?”; “Promenading for You”; “The Parrot of Cayman Island”; Tow 8 x 8 oil on museum board “Ibisis, I”; “Ibisis, II”; one 8 x 10 oil on museum board “Water Hole”
  • Moo Cows, Italy, Flowers & Food et al. Fourteen 6 x 6 oil on museum board “Thirsy”; “Morning Light”; “Summer Grazing”; “Grazing”; “Ponte Pietra I, Verona”; “Ponte Pietra II, Verona”; “Sunset at Ponte Pietra”; “Attraverso Fiume Adige”; “Over the Edge”; “Waking Up”; “Midnight Affair”; “Garden on Tulips”; “Rainbow French Tulip”; “Rosey Tulip” One 9 x 12 oil on canvas “M&M the Cows”; one 6x 6 oil on museum board “Mexican Brownie was good”
  • Other Cats…One 8 x 10 oil on museum board “Barney & the Legs”; One 9 x 12 oil on canvas “ Barney & Clementine”; One 8 x 8 oil on museum board “Hemmingway”
  • “Shoes…Shoes…Shoes…”Series. Three 8 x 8 oil on museum board “Madd About Shoes”; “Not Your Mama’s Slippers”; “So Da Anyone?”; One 12 x 12 oil on canvas “Fembots at Large”; Nineteen 6 x 6 oil on museum board “Tangerine Suede, CJP”; “A Bigger Size Please”; “Mini Fembots”; “Lipstick on the Go”; “Black Patent”; “Little Polka Dot”; “Made in Spain”; “Les Zebra”; Kick off those Colehans”; “Mini Madd About Shoes”; “Lilac Dr. Scholls”; “Red Dr Scholls”; “The Berkenstocks”; “Blue Suede, CJP”; “Beach Bound”; “A Good Read”; “Open Book”; “Cool Cucumber”; “Basic Necessities”
  • “Aruba, Jamaica, Ooo I wanna” Series. Twelve 6 x 6 oil on museum board “Sunset at Seven Mile Beach”; “Gorgeous Sunset”; “Cayman Island Sunset”; “Glowing Sunset”; “Sunset in the Caymans”; “Seven Miles of Heaven”; “The Perfect Beach”; Le Chein a la plage”; “Seclusion”; “Sunset on the Horizon”; “Sailing the Caymans, I”; “Sailing the Caymans, II”; One 8 x 8 oil on museum board “Dream Vacation Spot”

2012

      • 2012 Mini Lotus” Series.  Seventeen 5 x 7 pastels on museum board “Mini Blue Lotus”; “Mini Hot Pink Lotus Flower”; Mini Purple Lotus with Water Mark”; “Mini Light Blue Lotus”; “Mini Yellow Lotus Bud”; “Mini Pink & Yellow Lotus”; “Mini Blue Lotus with Green”; “Mini Light Purple Lotus”; “Mini Light Pink Lotus”; “Mini Purple Lotus with Green”; “Mini Hot Pink Lotus with bud”; “Mini Light Purple Lotus – horizontal”; “Mini Lilac Lotus”; “Mini Purple Sage Lotus with Sage”; “Mini Sage Lotus Root”; One 11 x 14 pastel on museum board “Blue Turquoise Lotus”
      •   “Red Tulip” Series.  Two 5 x 7 pastels on museum board “Mini Red Tulip I”; “Mini Red Tulip II”; Two 9 x 12 pastel on paper “Red Tulip Opening I”; “Red Tulip Opening II”;
      • 2012 Overflows from 2011 with Lotus” Series.  Fifteen 9 x 12 pastel on paper “Pink Red Lotus with Sage Leaves”; “Lilac Lotus”; “Light Purple Lotus Opening”; Light Purple Lotus”; “Purple Lotus I”; “Purple Lotus II”; “Purple Lotus III”; “Purple Lotus IV”; “Lilac Lotus I”; “Lilac Lotus II”; “Yellow Lotus with Bud”; “Blue Turquoise Lotuses”; “Fushia Lotus”; “Red Lotus Bud”; “Red Lotus Open”; One 12 x 12 oil on canvas “Pink Lotus”
      • Le Chat Noir Prowls On! Series.  Thirteen 9 x 12 pastel on paper “Le Chat Noir avec Pink Lilac”; “Les Duex Chat Noir”; “Le Chat Noir avec Rouge”; “Le Chat Noir Avec Ballet Pink”; :Le Chat Noir avec la neige I”; “Le Chat Noir avec la neige II”; “Le Chat Noir Reflects”; “Le Chat Noir on the Prowl”; “Le Chat Noir on Steps”; “Le Chat Noir avec light blue”; “Le Chat Noir dans Waikiki I, II, and III”
      • “Le Chat Noir (Prowls on) and the Red Lion Cat(Simon)” Series.  Four 5 x 7 pastel on museum board “Le Chat Noir avec les daisies”; “Le chat noir avec blanc”; “Le Chat Noir avec light blue”; “Le chat noir est blue”; Three 9 x 12 oil on canvas “Le Chat Noir dans les tulips”; “Le Chat Noir scent les tulips”; “Le Chat Noir dans l’herbe”; Three 12 x 12 oil on canvas “Le Chat Noir sur le pounce”; “Le Chat Noir Observateur”; “Le Deux Chat Noir”; Four 6 x 6 oil on canvas museum board “Le Chat Noir traque sa priore, I”; “Le Chat Noir traque sa priore, II”; “Les deux Chat Noir (mini), I”; “Les deux Chat Noir (mini), II”; One 30 x 40 Oil on Canvas “Contemplation”; Three 6 x 6 oil on canvas museum board “Simon at the back door”; “Simon says, anyone home?”; “Simon says, I’m on the porch”
      • Food & Flowers Minis.  Twenty Five 6 x 6 oil on canvas museum board “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”; “Breakfast Anyone”; “Green Banana Smoothie”; “My First Aubergine”; “Me and My Shadow”; “Nick’s First Aubergine”; “Nick’s second Aubergine”; “Tomato and Basil”; “Fried Egg with Chives”; “Cracked Open”; “Papaya Slice”; “Three limes and a Daisy”; “Shasta Daisy”; “Love that Pear”; “Pear with a figure”; “Who ate my Cookie?”; “Sorry Santa”; “Watermelon Slices”; “Watermelon Heaven”; “Pink Echinacea, I’; “Pink Echinacea, II”; “Papaya Echinacea”; “Cookies and Figs”; “Hawaiian Papaya”; “Waiting to Ripen”; Ten 8 x 8 on canvas museum board “Tomate Heirloom”; “Encore un Tomate Heirloom”; “My Eggplant Grows Wild”; “Une Bonne Poire”; “Un Autre Bonne Poire”; “Chrysanthemum”; “Midnight (snack) Oranges”; “Where’s my Milk?”; “Ranier Cherries for You”; “Shrub Roses in Vase”; One 8 x 8 oil on linen “Avocado and Lime Delight”
      • Hawaii LuLu Aloha” Series. (to be completed in 2-3 years)  Two 8 x 8 oil on linen “Le Gecko se Cache”; “Le Gecko dans sa feuille”
      • Exhibit/Show at Salon 241, Northampton, MA, Solo
      • Exhibit (group) at Café Che Pasta, via the First Look Committee, Honolulu, HI
      • Exhibit/Show at Hawaii Pacific University Gallery, Featured Artist
      • Exhibit at Hawaii Theatre Center, Honolulu Hawaii, Solo
      • Exhibit at Senator Ben Downing’s Offices, Pittsfield, Massachusetts
      • Works at Radiance Yoga, Pittsfield, Massachusetts,Solo
      • Group Exhibits with Dalton Art League ( 4 area locations in the Berkshires)
      • Exhibit at Terpsichore Dance Center, Solo
      • Note cards in print & or artwork for sale at Nejaime’s, Red Lion Inn Gift Shop, Trillium, Kelly’s, Art & Chocolate, Sati, Ronde de Jamb, Spencer House, The Great Exchange, Arts & Chocolate and on the website and at all exhibits.
      • www.sophiemuseum.blogspot.com launched

2011

      • “It’s all about Hawaii” Floral Series.  Three 9 x 12 pastel on paper framed of pink bananas, Three 9 x 12 pastel on paper framed of mystery fruit om hawaii, Three 9 x 12 pastel on paper of red birds of paradise; Six oil on linen paintings of fruits and flowers and landscape of Hawaii; Two 24 x 36 oil on canvas birds of paradise, Two 18 x 24 oil on canvas red bird of paradise, Two 18 x 24 oil on canvas shrimp plant; Six 18 x 24 oil on canvas plumeria; One 18 x 24 oil on canvas Gecko and One 24 x 36 oil on canvas of Gecko; Two 18 x 24 oil on canvas Heliconia; Two 9 x 12 oil on canvas baby shrimp plants; One 18 x 24 Bird om Paradise.
      • Landscapes.  Three 16 x 20 oil on canvas of Haystacks in Williamstown.
      • “Wine Grapes” Series Continues.  One 18 x 24 oil on canvas and Two 11 x 14 oil on canvas paitnings of wine grapes for Kelly’s of Dalton, MA
      • “Le Chat Noir dans 2011”.  Three 11 x 14 oil on canvas of “Guido”.  Many 9 x 12 pastels on paper.
      • “2011 Year of the Lotus” Series.  One 24 x 24 Oil on canvas, Two 24 x 36 oil on canvas, Two 11 x 14 oil on canvas, One 16 x 20 oil on canvas, Five 18 x 24 oil on canvas paintings of lotus flowers and their centers.  Many 9 x 12 pastel on paper of lotus as well.
      • Exhibit at Hawaii Theatre Center, Honolulu, HI
      • Exhibit at Senator Downing’s Office in Pittsfield, MA
      • Exhibit/Show at Yoga Great Barrington
      • Exhibit/Show at Shot’s Cafe
      • Ongoing Exhibit at Terpsichore Dance Center

2010

      • “Orange Tulips” Series. Five 18 x 24; One 30 x 40; One 36 x 48 oil on canvas paintings of orange hued tulips.  Four 9 x 12 pastel on paper
      • Pink Tulips” Series.  Eleven 9 x 12 pastel on paper paintings of pink hued tulips.
      • “Wine Grapes” Series.  Five 18 x 24; One 12 x 12; One 24 x 36 oil on canvas paintings of various wine grape varieties.  Three 9 x 12 pastel on paper painting of the same subject matter, framed.
      • “Le Chat Noir Dans 2010” Series.  Six 9 x 12; Two 11 x 14 pastel on paper painting.  Three 9 x 12; One 11 x 14 oil on canvas paintings of le chat noir and peek-a-boo kitty.
      • “Bird Om Paradise”.  One 30 x 40 Oil on canvas painting in private collection in Honolulu, Hawaii
      • On going series into 2011 and carrying forward from prior years include “The Lotus” – 5 works; “Garden of So” – 3 works; “Dance Girls” – 3 works and “Oooo La La” – 6 works
      • 2 Exhibits at Senator Ben Downing’s Offices in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
      • Exhibit at Terpsichore Dance Center
      • Note cards in print and artwork for sale in stores in Massachusetts
      • Dance images used for Terpsichore Dance Studio Annual Recital on t-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts and cover of program and continues exhibit of dance paintings
      • website launched after beginning planning in 2009

2009

      • “Ocean Escapes” Series. Two 16×20 oil paintings of beach scenes from around the world (private collection); Two 18 x 24 oil paintings of beach scenes (private collection); One 24 x 30 oil painting of beach scene.
      • One 24 x 36 “Here Comes the Sun” oil painting; Two 9 x 12 oil paintings “Cat Tail” and “Cat Tails”; Two 18 x 24 oil paintings “Reeds and Water I & II”; Two 18 x 24 oil paintings “Serenity Beach Waves I & II”
      • Exhibit at Terpsichore Dance Center

2008

      • Paris” Series. Seven 18×24 oil paintings of the bridges in Paris. One 9×16 oil painting of bridge in Paris. One 9×12 oil painting of “La Conciergerie”. One 9×12 oil painting of “L’Arc de Triomphe”.
      • Ongoing Exhibit at Terpsichore Dance Center

2006-2007

      • “Le Chat Noir” Series. Four 9×12 oil paintings:
        “On the Prowl;” “Ocean View I” and “Ocean View II;” and “Bathing.”
      • “I Love New York” Series. Two 9×12; three 18×24; two 11×16 cityscape oil paintings of the Manhattan skyline at dawn or dusk. Some titles include: “I Love New York I, II and III.” Additional paintings from the series include two pastel paintings of Manhattan skyline.
      • “Lavender Fields” Series. Four 9×12 oil paintings all containing lavender fields in the foreground of the landscape.
      • “Poppy Fields” Series. Four 8×10 and one 18×24 landscape oil paintings with poppy fields in the foreground.
      • “What’s Your Pointe” Series. Three 18×24 oil paintings of satin Pointe shoes for ballet with wall background.
      • Exhibit at Terpsichore Dance Center

2002-2005

      • “Center of the Soul” Series. Eight 18×24 oil paintings:
        “Hibiscus;” “Forget Me Not;” “Cosmo;” “My Impatience;” “Pansy;” “Wild Flower;” “Verbena;” and “Petunia.”
      • “Ballet Class” Series. Nine 9×12 oil paintings:
        “Ballet Slippers;” “All that Jazz;” “Pointe Shoes;” “Demi Plie;” “Tendu;” “Barre Stretch;” “Tendu Derriere;” “Degage;” and “Arabesque.”
      • Eight 18×24 oil paintings:
        “Pointe Shoes;” “Need Feet;” “Sissone Passé;” “On Pointe;” “Demi Plie II;” “Les Deux Arabesque;” “Pose Ecarte Derriere” and “Ecarte.” Additionally six 4×6 miniature paintings completed of ballet slippers and jazz shoes. Numerous paintings from the above two collections are on exhibit at Terpsichore Dance Center, Pittsfield, MA.
      • Three 11×16 oil paintings:
        “Back Attitude at the Barre;” “Arabesque Plie at the Barre” and “Grande Battement at the Barre.”
      • Three 18×24 oil paintings:
        “The Yellow Tutu;’ “Steele Blue Tutu;” and “Taper with the Miss Liberty.”
      • “Ballerinas Belong Everywhere” Series. Five 18×24 oil paintings:
        “In the Midst of Ruins;” “In the Midst of Eruptions;” “On the Sea;” “Overlooking Diamond Head;” “Hawaiian Ballerina.”
      • “Hawaiian Floral” Series. Two12x24 oil painting:
        “King Protea”; “Plumeria”
      • Eight 18×24 oil paintings:
        “Heleconia;” “Two Birds of Paradise;” “Two of a Kind;” “Perfect Pair;” “Slide;” “Orange Orchids;” “Passion” and “White Plumerias.” Additionally completed 9×12 preliminary paintings for the birds of paradise and watercolor drafts.
      • One 24×36 oil painting:
        “Necking” (Birds of Paradise)
      • “The Tulip” Series. Four 24×24 oil paintings of tulips – Private Collection; One 18×24 oil on canvas tulip with bulb.

1995-2001

      • Circa 100+ works of art created / sold / commissioned and on exhibit during these years.

Many additional works of art created but are not recorded above