We had the good fortune of connecting with Cydette Vikander and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cydette, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
HAPPINESS The question of happiness, is one I feel I can answer with sincerity. I have been so blessed with family and friends. Not only did I have a happy childhood, filled with adventure, I had my own children, that to this day, fill me with pride and joy. I learned from the beginning to recognize every moment and seize the time; it’s precious. Look at everything around you, breathe the pureness of life and elevate the spirit. I say this knowing that there are dark days too, which we must embrace as part of our course in being human. Everyday we must balance our choices. Life is full of choices, why not choose happiness?

For me, having a passion like art has been the way for me to channel my energy. It consumes all else and in some way becomes the truth of who I am.

Having goals is something we can work toward, accomplish and mark down on our list. It is the act of pursuit that we humans like to chase. Passion is something you’re born with and have to become aware of. Sometimes it’s hard to know what it is . If we find our own truth then we can stay on course through all life’s trials.

Art interested me as a child and stayed with me throughout my life. I became Art in my whole being and feel a sense of accomplishment . I strive to learn each time I paint and realize that it is the quest of being a painter. A sense of purpose. Which equates to my sense of happiness. Art has been a lifetime of pure joy. From the very beginning as a child, I thrilled at receiving a giant set of crayons with seemingly every color imaginable. At every chance, I occupied my time on the kitchen table drawing horses and funny faces and making up stories.. My grandmother, who was an actress and singer, influenced me when she took up painting in her later life . I remember the smell of turpentine so well when I entered her studio on her lanai. She had studied painting with, Dederick Stuber, a California painter known for his landscape paintings. She let me try a little oil painting one time and took me to a variety of art lessons. I loved working with watercolor, pen and ink, any kind of paint would do. I studied through my father’s library of art books sometimes hour upon hour thumbing through the iconic paintings of the renaissance and my favorite Impressionistic painter’s, while listening to classical music. I was told I would become a painter one day. High School ended and the Vietnam War was raging. I won a scholarship to San Francisco art Academy. I wasn’t ready to settle down and instead decided to explore all opportunities of travel. My best girlfriend and I hitch hiked across America to the East Coast, up to Nova Scotia, down to Florida then back to Vermont. Two blond hair California girls out in the world finding acceptance of our boldness and riding on our unique built up confidence to last and keep us 10 months on the road. The variety of landscape and excitement of exploration left an everlasting drive to expand travel experiences across the globe, thus Europe became my next destination. That first time I went to Europe I was on a spontaneous tour, fun and alive. Everything was arresting my senses .

After a year abroad I went home to save up for the next adventure. I decided to work in Hawaii. I began designing leather works, jewelry and painting scenes of tropical fish and fauna in watercolor that were placed in an art gallery. I started working in oil and began working en plein air. I took one lesson with an artist named Haber, and it was then I realized how much I wanted to become a good painter. I knew then it was my destiny and that it was time I go back to Europe and study fine art painting. I would go to Paris and fully engage in an artist life.

From then on I have practiced painting. Through a variety of mediums, watercolor, pen and ink, pastel and oil, my work has evolved. All an expression of emotionally charged intuitive choices. For me, planet earth exudes such beauty. I feel honored to experience this ultimate exultation of nature. I am inspired by the Plein Air painter’s of California, the Bay Area Expressionist, and continue to love Impressionism like Monet, Gauguin and Van Gogh, as everyone does. I paint in oil, to achieve my own style. With bold brush and palette knife I thrive in glorious color combined together celebrating landscape. It can be called traditional Plein Air, Impressionism and Expressionistic Impressionism for lack of a correct title. To be successful at anything, I believe one must put hard work in, to get the best results. Being a painter one must be self- motivated because no one is tracking your efforts but you. It is self guided in every way from the actual painting to presentation, to sales. When it finds a place with a collector, the satisfaction of knowing that what inspired you to create it, has now connected to others. This connection feels almost miraculous and extremely joyful. So not only is painting an ongoing journey or pursuit in one’s own creation but also reaches out to the soul’s of the audience. Art interested me as a child and stayed with me throughout my life. I became Art in my whole being and feel a sense of accomplishment . I strive to learn each time I paint and realize that it is the quest of being a painter. A sense of purpose. Which equates to my sense of happiness.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
From Childhood, my dad would always say, Cydette, you are going to be an artist when you grow up. I liked hearing that, not knowing exactly what that really meant or entailed. Right out of High School I went on the road with an insatiable appetite to experience the world. I spent much of my time seeing and learning about society and culture from around the world. I did end up in art school for a semester at Paris American Academy, Paris, France. When I returned home to California, I continued my art education at Otis Art School of Fine Art and Design.

My first real art job was painting in watercolor on Antique Prints in a gallery in the Beverly Hills Design Center. Learning framing and gallery management I enjoyed working with some of the top knotch designers of that time. I was also fortunate to have my originals paintings purchased by a wholesale gallery on a regular basis.

Soon I was married and began raising three incredible children.To become a fine artist it has taken every ounce of dedication. To balance adulthood work, children, household and finances is not easy for anyone. Being a creative you can’t choose when you feel like painting. You have to fit it into the chaos of life.Somehow I got through it.

Moving from Los Angeles to Montana was a very good choice that we made with three small children. It launched my career. I started painting in Pastel, painting or drawing mostly on Arches black 300Lb pastel paper. I was greatly influenced by Russell Chatham and Bruce Parks. I developed a style in landscape paintings of the Rocky Mountain region and I was accepted into several galleries. I enjoyed a growing art career and becoming part of the Bozeman community. I decided to open a gallery of my own, called Savant Clair Galerie. My husband was a photographer, so we both worked hard to make ends meet. In 2004, I moved to Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach has been recognized as a plein air haven since the weather is conducive to being outdoors. I began painting in oil which has led to joining the Laguna Plein Air Painter Association. I continue to have open studio while sharing with the community Art Walks that coincide with the variety of galleries on first Thursday of each month. My work has been accepted in, several galleries in Orange County and Sawdust Art festival where I have enjoyed much success.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Since living in Laguna Beach is one of the most beautiful places in Southern California, It’s easy to entertain . Of course the beaches are all a must.

From my studio, we can walk across the street and we are there. My favorite is Crescent Bay and Woods Cove on the North side of the village, all walking distance. I like walking up on the hills above Laguna for the exercise and the view. We could do the hike up and hour and half, then crossover to Crescent Bay Beach, take a swim, dry in the sun. for the rest of the day or have lunch at Zeytoons before we headed back to my studio for sunset and shower. I like watching sunset at my own deck and having wine and dinner since my view is to the Pacific Ocean. Newport beach is fun to go bike riding along the board walk and there are a myriad of restaurants to go to.We would visit my daughter Lauren. We could take an electric boat out in Newport Harbor for sunset and wine. In the summer, there are three Art festivals. I am in the Sawdust Art Festival which is a blast. THey have three venues on the gounds with live music, beer, wine, food and great art buys! There is a beer garden type restaurant around the corner too! Walking the neighborhoods is interesting. It’s like a botanical garden. With it there are so many charming homes to enjoy and parks. On Sunday afternoons 4pm, in the summer, they have Music in Park, at Bluebird Park. Of course, there are a dozen galleries that can be visited. On the first Thursday of each month , Laguna galleries host, Art Walk from 6pm-9pm. San Clemente is not too far driving South , where a trip to the main street leads to the pier . It’s fun to watch the surfers taking off under the Pier . There a a couple of restaurants there too and fun the eat Prawns and have a wine or beer. San Juan Capistrano is where you can ealk back into time two hundred years at the San Juan Mission. It’s spectacular and I love painting there too! There is a great dive bar, The Swallow Inn live music at night, Weird crazy cowboy crowd. Endless fun and even right here in my little art studio, where I have frequent visitors. My favorite restaurant for Salmon is Nick’s, though if you want a incredible view the Rooftop on Casa del Camino is superb. They have a terrific bar and sunset is perfect but crowded.

Sometimes you can’t get in. Also the Cliff across the street from my studio is good. Every restaurant has pretty darn good food.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To all my ongoing collectors, family and friends who have encouraged and supported my efforts.

Cheers to all with gratefulness heart and soul, Cydette

Website: www.cydettestudio.com

Instagram: cydettevikander

Linkedin: cydettevikander

Facebook: cydette studio, cydettevikanderknoop

Other: yelp: Cydette Studio

Image Credits
Vincent Caruso Photographer – One Photo of me painting in the foliage flowers etc. the rest are mine.

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