Spotlight on Sutter Street Pastels, an Art Studio & Gallery of Pastel Paintings and Training for Artists at 815 Sutter Street


We're pleased to include Sutter Street Pastels in our Business Spotlight Series.

We're spotlighting long-time favorites, new arrivals, and hidden gems alike. We encourage you to share these local stories and visit with merchants to get to know them firsthand.

We connected with Barry Jamison to learn more about Sutter Street Pastels at 815 Sutter Street, Suite C.

What is Sutter Street Pastels, how would you describe it to a friend?

Sutter Street Pastels is my studio away from home - it is a reflection of me.

I enjoy its welcoming presence and I try to extend this welcome feeling to guests.

It’s the place where I coach students of all skill levels in application of pastels (which is similar to chalk but far, far more permanent) from start to the completed painting. Everyone works individually on subject matter of their own choosing and they work at their own pace.

Why did you start the business? What do you hope to accomplish?

I started Sutter Street Pastels in 2002 primarily as a studio away from home. Shortly afterwards I began teaching there.

I hope to continue my art discoveries and to pass these discoveries along to my students.

My students’ styles of painting vary widely, as I have no interest for them to learn “my style,” whatever that is.  I want to teach them how to use the medium and to find their own artist within.

Pastel painting is satisfying because one applies it mostly in a drawing-like fashion, all the while keeping in mind painting methodology.

That’s what I teach and it’s great because there is no waiting for paint to dry. You can go from A to Z in your painting in one session if you want, and that’s fun!

What's something you wish people knew about your business?

I wish they knew how fun and engrossing the classes can be; how one can shut the door on the craziness of the world and create their own safe place. Or, they can open their doors to the world and show what’s inside them.

My bottom line is that it’s a fun endeavor, and when there is a desire to try this and a willingness to stumble at times, it doesn’t matter; my students will always have my support along the way.

What is a common question you get?

A common question I often get is “How long does it take me to complete a painting?” and I reply “About 55+ years.”

What is your most popular product or service?

I suppose my paintings are the product and teaching is the service I provide (along with commissioned work).

So, my most popular service is my teaching, but the best products are the ones that my students produce, when they feel like they have climbed a rung or two along the way.

What's the biggest compliment you've received?

It’s when my students have told me (and I’ve heard it numerous times over the years) that after taking classes for a couple of months they report that they notice so much around them, that they observe color, light, shadow, and form so much more.

That makes me feel good because they are learning to more closely observe the world around them.

Why did you choose to be in the Folsom Historic District?

It has a really nice, quaint feeling, friendly folks, and lots of foot traffic.

Being of historic nature, the district will evoke in me musings on who worked up and down the street before, what was day-to-day life like back then.

When I found this studio space it was the perfect size and affordable, and my landlord very accommodating.

Are you involved with or do you support any local nonprofits, community organizations or causes?

I will post posters in my window, but I screen them. I’d like to support more organizations but currently have my hands full.

I’m always open to “the perfect cause” should it present itself.

Are you a member of the chamber or any other networking organizations?

Not presently, I have belonged to painting and pastel societies in the past but it’s hard for me to attend meetings due to schedule conflicts that arise with my teaching schedule.

Do you have any upcoming events, specials or new products/services that people should know about?

I may have upcoming some drop-in Saturday sessions, perhaps  some mini-workshops.

I do have some spaces that are available presently in my afternoon classes.


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Brian Ostrovsky is CEO of Folsom-based startup Locable and excited to be working with the Historic District to share stories that make Folsom unique, and pretty much all-things-local.