Liz Breger a.k.a. Beth Pewther

    I am largely self taught. My only formal art training after completing high-school in Wichita, Kansas, was with Betty and William Dickerson of the Wichita Art Association. I studied both figure drawing and water-color/landscape painting with them.

    I left Wichita with my husband, artist Bob Branaman, in the summer of 1959 to move to San Francisco, under the illusion that Bob’s painting would soon make us rich and famous.  I shifted my creative energy at that time to writing poetry and short stories, while continuing to work as a commercial artist to support us both. Living in San Francisco, I became friends with and was influenced by other creative Wichita expatriates, such as the poet Mike McClure, and artist /film-maker Bruce Conner.   My experiences in San Francisco included doing a lot of writing, being featured in the Bruce Conner film “Cosmic Ray” and, in a spiritual quest for the real reality, trying every drug that came my way. I was especially drawn to psychedelics and was involved in an experimental  therapy group which used them.  I divorced Branaman.  Near the end of my stay in S.F., I took a trip back to Kansas for a family visit, and was converted to Christianity by my brother’s Ouija board. On my leaving San Francisco to live in New York City, I went via Mexico where I took Magic Mushrooms with an Indian Cunendero.

    From 1962 to 1969 I lived in New York City and married a Greenwich Village character 30 years older than myself, Reuben Greenspan. He took photographs and predicted earthquakes. After a 12-month fantasy pregnancy during which I stopped writing,  I began to express my creative energy and my ideas on life and spirituality in the form of pictures.  During this period I did many “Psychedelic Christian” paintings including two large murals on canvas.  This work was shown at several major churches in New York City. I also did my first art-clothing pieces, white shirts covered with psychedelic designs of birds, fishes and plant forms. I made a living as a commercial artist.

    Reuben and I left New York City in 1969 to live in Laguna Beach, California where I had been offered a one-person show of my paintings at “Mystic Arts World” Gallery.

    In December 1970 I left Laguna Beach, divorcing Reuben Greenspan, and moved back to San Francisco which I had come to feel,  and still feel, is my “Spiritual Home.”

    During the next 5-years in San Francisco I continued to make my living as a commercial artist, and in my  spiritual quest, began to explore the many growth movement groups that were arising at that time.  I did a lot of weekend workshops: Enlightenment Intensives, Primal Scream Therapy, Buddhist retreats, and EST.  I felt I got something useful from each of these experiences.  My painting continued, although not as focused on Christian themes as before. I was beginning to explore feminist subject matter.  My art clothing evolved, and I won a prize in a “Levi’s Denim Art” competition which toured the country for several years.  I showed my mystical/religious paintings around the Bay Area at galleries, bars and churches.

    In 1976 I married my present husband and life-mate, artist/teacher Leonard Breger. Leonard has been a major art influence, encouraging me in my quest for my own artistic path. In May 1996 I retired from commercial art to spend more time exploring the creative. In 2000 I joined the First Unitarian Universalist Society/Church of San Francisco and began using the name ‘Liz Breger.’ As a member in that society, I volunteered for the Art Committee and served 8 years doing many poster designs as well as other art show related tasks. I resigned from that responsibility at the end of 2008.

    My art growth has moved through various media:  painting/collage, art clothing, soft sculpture, wall hangings, large scale tile work on my home, painted furniture, super-8 film making, photography, and mixed-media painting/collage, using my own photos.  I have since 1996, also been exploring digital photo-collage producing high-quality ink-jet prints. I am currently involved in expanding my knowledge of computer use in art related projects.     —February 2010

About Beth