About the Artist

Sam Liberman Bio

Sam Liberman - Biography

Sam Liberman did not take to painting until he was in his early 40s. He was trained as a lawyer and conducted civil rights litigation in his home town of St. Louis, Missouri for many years. He says that he turned to art partly as an escape from the people-oriented and verbal –oriented tasks of the law. He immediately fell in love with the painting process because he could do it without thinking of the consequences for anyone else, and because he could finish a piece of work in three or four hours rather than three or four years. 


At a time when he was teaching at the Washington University Law School, he decided to sit in on the introductory painting class taught by a friend, Sheldon Helfman , at the Architecture School. Helfman is a water color master, but at the time Sam started out with acrylics.

“The thing I remember most is that Shelly told us that a painting is a visual statement about the subject,” says Sam. “Although I did not understand how a statement could be visual rather than verbal, I accepted the definition, and I still think of a painting in this way. I think it has helped me to realize that I can’t really think very far verbally about a painting, and it keeps me focused on the visual effect where I am comfortable. It may also account for the fact that I have difficulty of producing a satisfactory abstract painting.”

Sam stuck to acrylics for several years, and tried to learn something about drawing in various figure drawing groups in St. Louis, and in other places where he has lived. He was fortunate in having several good artist friends. One of them, Minerva Durham, had been working in pastels for many years, and that influenced Sam to try them.

When he finally retired from the law altogether, Sam managed to attend a number of pastel workshops with some of the best pastelists in the world, including Doug Dawson, Albert Handell, Colleen Howe and others. Since then he has worked with his mentor Bill Herring, and attended numerous painting sessions in New Mexico with Bill and other  artists working in various media.

Although he had previously submitted work accepted into some of the many competitive pastel shows, had joined various groups starting with The Gateway Pastel Society in St. Louis, and had occasionally sold a few pastel paintings, he did not consider himself a complete professional artist until the 1990s when he gradually wound down his law practice. In the late 90s, he and his wife, Terri LaBriola moved to Sacramento, where in addition to the Sierra Pastel Society he is connected to the Capitol Art Center . He often paints and draws there, as well as exhibiting his work.

Sam has taken up oil painting along the way, and has widened his subject matter to include figurative work as well as the various kinds of landscapes that he specializes in. He is a person who prefers being outdoors to indoors, and in California, it is much easier to work outdoors all year round than it was in St. Louis. Much of his work is  done in the studio. He paints landscapes and other organic subjects in his home studio, using photos and memory. His figures are done mostly at the  studio where models are available for painting and drawing on a regular basis, and he enjoys the companionship and learning  with other artists.

Sam’s work is always based on a realistic subject, but he departs from realism in his use of color. The colors express his feelings about the subject and whatever it may suggest to him. They are intended to free his and your thoughts and emotions. He is an amateur pianist and guitarist, and music plays a part in his painting. He often plays music  in the studio, and occasionally dances when things are going well. He leans towards jazz, standards, folk and country music. Late in the day, he will usually put on Louis Armstrong to keep things going. If you look at his painting titles you may discover snatches of song lyrics, sometimes correctly recalled and sometimes a little off.

Many painters try to completely visualize their paintings before they paint, even selecting the title before they start. Sam follows a different process. He usually does a rough drawing of the surface , and then starts filling in the forms and lines with dancing colors. If something doesn’t work he takes it out and tries something else. He finds that pastel is a particularly forgiving medium in this respect. Since he is not trying to duplicate the color of the subject, pastel usually works best for him in trying to make the painting match his feelings. In any event, he does not complete the painting in order to produce the painting he had in his head to start with. Rather, he tries to locate the feeling that he had about the subject from the beginning or the feelings he develops as the painting goes along. The process leads where the painting will go. It finishes when he sees no further path. He says that when the changes don’t seem to make much difference or to make things worse, it is a good time to stop.

Finally in the late 1990s he decided to wind down his legal practice and concentrate on painting. An advantage of retiring from the law was the ability to do some travel. He and his wife, Terri LaBriola have taken trips to Europe, China, Viet Nam,Peru and many places in the United States. On these trips Sam doesn’t paint much, but he takes numerous photos and does a few drawings, both of which provide much of his future subject matter.

Among his teachers, Albert Handell admires the freshness of his work and his ability to tackle almost any subject. Bill Herring likes his color harmonies. His collectors are often taken with the simplicity, directness and harmony of his composition. What Sam likes best is the unlimited opportunity to learn about painting and about himself.


    Information about accomplishments and recognition: 

    (This has not been updated since 2010. Sam will update or at least start adding new material in the near future)

   Juried Exhibitions


             2010    Northern Californian Arts, Inc "Bold Expressions"

            2010   Sierra Pastel Society, "Pastels On High"

            2010    The Wichita Center for the Arts, the Pastel National  
            2009    Chicago Pastel Painters, "Pastels Chicago"
            2008    SierraPastel Society, "Pastels On High"
            2008    Pastel National, Wichita Center for the Arts, "Bold Expressions"             
            2007    Pastel Society of the Southwest
            2007    Northern California Arts, Inc
            2007    Connecticut Pastel Society, 14th Annual National Exhibition
            2007    Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod
            2007    Chicago Pastel Painters, First Biennial Show, 
            2006    Northern California Arts Association
            2006    Pastel Painters of Cape Cod, Pastels Only, On Cape Cod
            2006    Pastel Society of Colorado, Mile High Exhibition
            2006    Emerald Art Association, Emerald Art Center National Juried Spring Art Exhibition
            2006    The Wichita Center for the Arts, The Pastel National
            2006    The Arts Guild of Old Forge, Northeast National Pastel Exhibition
            2006    Charlotte County Art Guild. Inc., National Art Exhibit
            2005    The American Artists Professional League, Seventy-seventh Grand National Exhibition
            2005    Connecticut Pastel Society, “Renaissance in Pastels”
            2005    Northern California Arts, Inc., 50th Annual Exhibition “Bold Expressions” 
            2005   Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod, 10th Annual “For Pastels Only”   
            2005    Pastel Society of Eastern Canada, 10th Anniversary International      
            2005    Northeast National Pastel Exhibition in Old Forge, New York
            2005    Associated Art of Ocean Shores, 36th Annual Fine Arts Show
            2005    Maryland Pastel Society, Shades of Pastel Exhibition 2005
            2004    Connecticut Pastel Society, Renaissance In Pastel
            2004   Pastel Society of New Mexico, 13th Annual National Pastel Painting Exhibition  
            2004   Northwest Pastel Society, 18th International Open Exhibit
            2004    Northern California Arts, Inc., 49th International Open Exhibition “Bold Expressions”
            2004    Placerville Art Association, 37th Annual Mother Lode Art Exhibition
            2004    Pastel Painters of Maine, Fifth Annual Juried Exhibition, Pastels Only    
            2004    Pastel Society of North Florida, Eighth Biennial National Exhibition
            2004    Associated Arts of Ocean Shores, Annual Juried Fine Arts Show
            2004    Charlotte County Art Guild, Inc., National Art Exhibit
            2004    The Wichita Center for the Arts, The Pastel National  
            2003    Sierra Pastel Society, “Pastels on High” 
            2003    Mother Lode National Art Exhibition  
            2003    Pastel Painters of Maine, “Pastels Only” 
            2002    Connecticut Pastel Society, “Renaissance in Pastel 2002”  
            2002    Pastel Painters of Maine, “Pastels Only” 2002    
            2002    Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod, “For Pastels Only, on Cape Cod”                                   
            2002    Sacramento FineArts Center, 5330-B Gibbons Drive, Carmichael, California            
            2002     Pastel Society of North Florida, Seventh Biennial National Exhibition, “Pastels 2000”
            2001    Pastel Painters of Maine, “PASTELS ONLY”  
            2001    St. Louis Artists’ Guild, Prints, Drawings and Pastels
            2000    St. Louis Artists’ Guild, Not Under Glass 
            2000    Connecticut Pastel Society, Seventh Annual National Exhibition, "Renaissance in Pastels" 
            2000    Pastel Painters of Maine, Annual Open Exhibition for “Pastels Only” 
            2000    Mother Lode International Art Exhibition             
            2000   Impact Artists’ Gallery, National Pastel Exhibition 
            1999    Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod 
            1999    Pastel Society of New Mexico 
            1993-1998       Competition Sabbatical 
            1992   Pastel Society of the West Coast, "Pastels U.S.A."
            1989   Pastel Society of the West Coast, "Pastels U.S.A." 
            1988   Pastel Society of the West Coast, "Pastels U.S.A." 
            1988   Kansas Pastel Society 
            1987   Kansas Pastel Society 
            1987   Springfield Realistic Fine Arts Society, Best In The USA Competition  


   Awards and Honors          


            2010     Award Of Excellence, Northern California Arts, Bold Expressions

            2010     Award Of Merit, Sierra Pastel Society                                   

            2009    Captal Art Project, First Annual Pleine Air Paintout, Noah Sanchez Award
            2009    Pastel Society of America Award, Chicago Pastel Painters, Pastels Chicago
            2007    Merit Award, Northern California Arts, Bold Expressions
            2007    Terry Ludwig Award, Chicago Pastel Painters First Biennial Show
            2007    Fifth Place, Abstract Category, The Pastel 100, April 2007, The Pastel Journal
            2005    Landscape Award, Pastel Society of the Southwest
            2004    Women Painters of Washington Award, Northwest Pastel Society 
            2004   Watercolor Society of New Mexico and Ampersand Art Award, P. S.    of NM.          
            2004   Award of Excellence, Northern California Arts, Inc, “Bold Expressions
            2004   Pastel Society of the West Coast Award, Placerville Arts Assn. 38th Ann, Mother Lode
            2002   2nd Merit Award, Pastel Society Of The Southwest Annual Juried Member Exhibition
            2002   The Royal and Langnickel Award, Pastel Painters of Maine Annual National Exhibition
            2000   Will Rudolph Memorial Prize, St Louis Artists’ Guild, Not Under Glass
            1999   First Prize, Gateway Pastel Society
            1989   Honorable Mention, The St. Louis Artists Guild 66th Annual Watercolor and Pastel Exhibition
            1987   Second Place, Best in the USA Art Competition, Springfield Fine Arts

    Selected Private Collections
            The Donna Freireich Collection, New York, New York
            The Peter Johl Collection, New York, New York
            The Schulman Collection
            Mr. and Ms. Richard Kellner New York, New York
            Lois Vander Waerdt, St. Louis, Missouri
            Jane and Tom Mendelson, St. Louis, Missouri
            Mr. and Ms. Ira Bernstein, St. Louis, Missouri
            Mr. and Ms. Richard Goldstein, Bluefield, West Virginia
            Ms. Carol Stubbs, Sacramento, California
            Susan Speigel and Stewart Halperin, St. Louis, Missouri
            Leslie and Stephen LaBriola, Atlanta, Georgia
            Susan and Jonathan Goldstein, St. Louis, Missouri
            Lynn and Sandy Chaitovits, Rockville, Maryland
            Pat and Jay Jacobson, New York, New York 

    Selected Corporate Collections
           SL Green Collection, New York, New York
           Barnes-Jewish Hospital Collection, St Louis, Missouri
           Woodland Healthcare, Woodland, California

    Selected one person exhibitions

            2013    Artistic EdgeGallery, Sacramento, Califfornia       

           2012     Capital ArtWorks, Sacramento, California
           2010    KOH Library, Sacramento, California           2009    The Butler Institute of American Art,Youngstown, Ohio
           2009    The Blue Wing Gallery, Woodland ,California
           2007    Benvenuti Performing Arts Center,Sacramento, California 
           2007    West Coast Wellness, Sacramento, California      
           2006    The Learning Center, Woodland, California
           2006    Featured Artist, Art Foundry Gallery, Sacramento, California 
           2006    Featured Artist, Gold Country Artists Cooperative Gallery, Placerville, California
           2004    Café Millazo, Sacramento, California, July, 2004 
           2001    Regional Commerce and Growth Association, St. Louis, Missouri
           2001    JCCA Art Gallery, ST. Louis, Missouri
           1999    Interior Accents Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri
           1999    Off The Eaten Path, St. Louis, Missouri
           1993    Bethesda General Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri   
           1991    Jay Brandt’s, St. Louis, Missouri
           1983    The Atrium, Perryville, Missouri

         'Letting Color Lead', The Pastel Journal, December, 2011 
         Best of America Pastel, Vol. II, Dec. 2009, Kennedy Publishing Co.
         The Richeson 75 International, Landscape, Seascape& Architectural 2009, Finalist Book
         The Pastel Journal, March 2007, profile and photo of prize winning painting
         N Magazine, Jan 2007, Cover, Artist/Profile, p6
         International Artist Magazine, Dec/Jan 2006, p.141, “On Location, Sam Liberman”
         Pastel Artist International Magazine, May-June-July 2000 Issue, page 132 
         The Journal, the Jewish Community Center of St. Louis, January, 2001, page 18, “Art Gallery

    Gallery Affiliations

          Patris Gallery, 3460 2d Ave., Sacramento, CA

          Artistic Edge Gallery, Alta Arden & Watt Ave.Sacramento, CA

          Capital ArtWorks, Sacramento, California        
         Art Exchange.com, 804 Central Avenue, Hot Springs, Arkansas 71901

 contact at samhalib@hotmail.com or 916-213-5282

Sam Liberman - Biography
Artist Websites by FineArtStudioOnline
Mobile Site | iPhone Site | Regular Site