acrylic pour abstract painting home decor art joyce klassen walla

Acrylic Pour — The Happy Abstract Art of Joyce Klassen

acrylic pour abstract painting home decor art joyce klassen walla

Acrylic Pour 9, original painting by Walla Walla artist Joyce Klassen

We’ve all heard of peculiar artists and capricious ones, edgy sculptors and angry painters, those who love to offend and shock, unsettle or antagonize. They are the stuff of movie fantasia and social media hype.

acrylic pour abstract painting home decor art joyce klassen walla walla

Acrylic Pour 5, original painting by Walla Walla artist, Joyce Klassen

But in the real world, populated by real people,  there is another kind of artist: a happy person, loving what they do, creating with the idea of making others happy as well. Fitting into this paradigm is Joyce Klassen, a Walla Walla artist who has worked in everything from watercolor realism to her present abstract acrylic pours. She uses words like “fun,” “rewarding,” and “beautiful” when she talks about her art, as well as life itself.

“I’ve been interested in art since I was in preschool when I cut up my mother’s Simplicity patterns to make my own paper dolls and dress them in pieces of fabric — I only did that ONCE!” Klassen remembers.

This is a person who launches into the room with a smile, who experiments with new techniques and recognizes that failure is as much a part of success as, well, success is. It’s an attitude worth honing when it comes to the challenge of acrylic pour, a process that involves layering multiple colors of paint in a cup and cascading it onto the canvas:

Fun, Caution, Wisdom

The FUN comes from quickly flipping the cup upside down.

The CAUTION demands that the artist upright the cup quickly, then tilt the canvas back and forth so the colors run from top to bottom and side to side.

The wisdom of EXPERIENCE shouts “Stop!” when the pattern looks just right.

“Knowing when to stop is the secret to a successful acrylic pour,” Klassen explains. “Once you have learned to do this — EXPERIMENT and come up with your own unique method.

acrylic pour abstract painting home decor art joyce klassen walla walla

Acrylic Pour 6, original painting by Walla Walla artist Joyce Klassen

“When you find something that really works for you, keep it a secret! You want this to be your creation.”

Acrylic Pour Discovery

Klassen discovered acrylic pour literally by accident when she spilled mixed paint on a surface. Fascinated by the resulting texture, color formation and shape, she researched the technique, spending “hours and hours” learning from YouTube.

“I’ve done many forms of art, but I think I love this one the very best because I get so excited as I watch the colors evolve and mix — it often gives me terrific surprises.

“If the surprise happens to not be a good one, I simply wash it down the drain (followed by a healthy dose of drain cleaner) and start over. It’s a ‘Can’t Lose’ process.”

Acrylic Pour: Breaking and Following Rules

As Klassen is discovering, acrylic pour painting involves breaking the rules at the same time one adheres strictly to them, celebrating spontaneity in perfect proportion to meticulous thought. In some ways, this mirrors the yin-yang relationship she enjoys with her husband Randy, also an artist, but in a polar opposite sort of way:

acrylic pour abstract painting home decor art joyce klassen walla walla

Acrylic Pour 1, original painting by Walla Walla artist, Joyce Klassen

She does abstract; he paints realism.

She’s messy; he’s neat.

She takes up three quarters of their shared studio; he carved out a small space against the window, just enough for his easel and palette.

“When I work on encaustic, he leaves when I light the blow torch.

“When I work on acrylic pour, he covers his work and leaves to avoid the mess.

“He has to find a lot of errands to run .  .  . ”

Oddly, for a person who describes her creative process as messy, Klassen spends a lot of time cleaning their house, because both she and Randy sell from the studio within their home.

“We never know when someone might ‘drop in’ to view the art. We love to share a glass of our local wine as we go from room to room looking at art.

“I’m often told that a viewer is amazed that I work in such a messy art form while still being such an intense ‘neatnik.'”

acrylic pour abstract painting home decor art joyce klassen walla walla

Acrylic Pour 8, original painting by Walla Walla artist, Joyce Klassen

Helping the Homeless

When she isn’t creating in the studio — something that can happen anytime of the day or even at 2 a.m. if she finds she can’t sleep — Klassen works with the homeless through the Walla Walla Alliance for the Homeless, coordinating the weekly shower project held Mondays at the Pioneer United Methodist Church.

She and her crew of 10 volunteers serve the needs of 10 to 17 people who would otherwise have nowhere else to shower, providing basic toiletry needs along with clean socks, underwear, and other clothing.

It’s all part of a happy artist’s life — giving, experimenting, dreaming, doing, making a mess and cleaning it up. With so much creativity and beauty, there is no place for angst, anger, shock, or awful.

“I love to watch ideas and colors evolve.

“And I love it when someone looks at an acrylic pour that I’ve done and sees something totally different than what I do — it’s almost like playing the game of ‘find Waldo.’

“Art should be rewarding, and especially, fun!”

Wenaha Gallery

Joyce Klassen is the featured Art Event artists at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, September 24, 2018, through Saturday, October 20, 2018.  She will be at the gallery Saturday, October 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as part of Wenaha Gallery’s Autumn Art Show, which also features jewelry artist Venita Simpson, a tribute to the late astronaut/artist Alan Bean, and a talk and visit by retired astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Joyce Klassen

Joyce Klassen

Joyce Klassen is an extremely versatile artist from Walla Walla, Washington — she has been painting, and experimenting with all different forms of art for as long as she can remember. Joyce designs, finding precisely what she needs in piles that look suspiciously like random jumbles of indiscriminate stuff. Joyce, in addition to creating mixed media works spanning abstract to realism, participates in community theater across three states. Klassen’s work with encaustic drives her eye to look everywhere, all the time, for potential “junque” to incorporate within an artwork, the less perfect, the better.

Joyce Klassen

LuAnn Ostergaard

LuAnn Ostergaard

LuAnn Ostergaard is an award winning artist and photographer who works with photo-based digital imaging as her primary medium.

LuAnn’s work crosses the lines between photography and painting and she displays knowledge of painterly composition and color theory.  She considers herself a ‘painter of light’, using captured light photons rather than paint pigments to create her work, which are many times mistaken for ‘paintings’.  She works from the heart to create images that are poetic and evocative, and her mysterious and magical images go beyond reality or surrealism.

She is most interested in rusty, oxidized metal and other weathered surfaces as subjects of her photos. She sometimes combines more than one image to create stunning landscapes images and interesting abstract compositions.  “Very few would see the potential of a shot as you see it and the fact that you do, singles you out as far more than an ordinary photographer” UK Ranger states.

She prints her work in the studio using archival pigment inks on fine art cotton fiber paper.  The prints are mounted to custom made cradle back frames and print surfaces are hand textured with clear acrylic medium for beautiful and UV protective finish.

Her work hangs in many corporate environments and fine homes across the U.S and beyond.

LuAnn Ostergaard is a full time artist and lives and works in Kennewick, WA.

LuAnn Ostergaard

dragonfly insect watercolor bright color painting suzi vitulli richland

Bright Color and Happy Dreams — Watercolors by Suzi Vitulli

dragonfly insect watercolor bright color painting suzi vitulli richland

Dragonfly, original watercolor painting by Suzi Vitulli of Richland, WA, celebrating bright colors and happy images.

Artists are their own worst critics.

Intense, determined, passionate, sometimes frustrated but obstinately tenacious, professional artists know full well what they are doing — most of the time.

“One of the favorite awards I ever received is the WSU Chancellor award for a painting that I threw in the garbage,” says watercolor painter and private art teacher Suzi Vitulli of Richland.

dewdrop morning abstract expressionist watercolor painting suzi vitulli

Dewdrop Morning, original expressionistic watercolor, celebrating bright colors and shapes, by Richland painter Suzi Vitulli

“My husband pulled it out and said he liked the painting. So I tried to see what he saw in the painting, and it spoke to me in a way that allowed me to add a few tweaks to complete it in a way that I felt improved it. I then submitted it to the Chancellor exhibit and won.”

From Blank Paper to Bright Color

It was an amazing experience, she adds. And a humbling one. For that matter, the very act of starting with a blank piece of paper and palette full of paint, and winding up with a finished, successful image, is a continuously amazing, humbling experience.

“People say that watercolor is the most challenging medium to learn and master, and maybe that’s why I like it,” Vitulli — who doesn’t remember when she first decided to be an artist because she can’t recall not wanting to be one — adds.

“It’s like a puzzle — you get to put together something colorful and create new sections of it, until this fabulous piece of artwork forms right before your eyes. At least, hopefully that’s what happens: sometimes a big muddy mess is formed, and that’s okay too, because I always learn from each experience when I paint.”

Layers of Color

Due to its transparent nature, watercolor does not take kindly to mistakes, Vitulli explains, because once an area is painted, it’s challenging to lift out the color, especially transforming a darker color into a lighter one. Because the viewer can see through the layers, it is difficult, if not impossible, to cover up errors. But that’s if the artist persists in calling them errors.

Fingers God country forest landscape suzi vitulli watercolor

Fingers of God, capturing sunlight and color in the forest, watercolor painting by Richland artist Suzi Vitulli

“So you ask yourself, ‘How can I incorporate this into my painting?’ and it becomes even more of an opportunity to be creative in the process.

“We call these, ‘flopportunities.'”

For Vitulli, flopportunities and opportunities abound, in both her own work and in teaching her skills to others, and the act of painting requires the entire brain, mind, and soul of the artist. To teach, which she does in regional workshops as well as at Richland Parks and Recreation and Kennewick Community Education, she depends upon analytical thinking, math, timing, and planning, while in the studio, alone behind the easel, she dampens relentless logic so that the creative side has its say. Maintaining balance is crucial.

nature abstract lichen watercolor painting suzi vitulli richland

Nature’s Abstracts, focusing on color and shape of the natural world, original watercolor by Richland artist Suzi Vitullli

“Finding inspiration is the most difficult part,” Vitulli adds. “Sometimes I feel like the paper is staring at me, waiting for me to do something, my mind feeling as blank as the paper.

“But then other times I have so many ideas I feel like I might explode, and I clamor to get them noted somewhere so I don’t forget them.”

64 Colors and More

Vitulli is an unabashed fan of color, describing how she entered heaven itself when, as a child, she received the iconic 64-pack of Crayola crayons. Initially in her adult art career, she created handcrafted jewelry, her designs selling at Nordstrom’s and other boutiques throughout five western states. Later, her designs were published in the Hot off the Press book, Fast and Friendly Plastic by Susan Alexandra.

After her kids were in school and she went to work as a secretary (“Not very artsy, I know, but there was a regular paycheck”), Vitulli dabbled in watercolor and quickly discovered that she had found her niche. Weaving between impressionism and expressionism, Vitulli explores texture along with strong color, with the ultimate intent of creating something beautiful and inviting, enticing the viewer to step in and take a closer  look.

Serene pond enhanced lilies water painting suzi vitulli

Serene Pond Enhanced, an abstract impressionist look at lilies and color on the water, by Richland painter Suzi Vitulli

She has sold her work throughout the U.S. and across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom, and her accolades include creating posters for regional art, music, and wildlife festivals as well as a number of wins from the Eastern Washington Watercolor Society. An especial honor was a painting featured in the Splash Watercolor Series books, a juried display of work selected from entries by thousands of artists.

Living the Dream — In Full Color

With a personal motto of, “I’m in my ‘right’ mind and living my dream!” Vitulli’s goal with her art is not to make a political statement, but a rather more meaningful one:

“My art is about another very important issue — happy people and a happy society.

“My goal is to create beautiful, colorful, interesting and sometimes funny pieces of art, giving people a place to find a few moments to relax into the right side of our brains for awhile.

“It’s a mini getaway, so to speak, to give us balance in this crazy busy left-brained world we live in.”

 

Wenaha Gallery

Suzi Vitulli is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, March 12, 2018, through Saturday, Saturday, April 7, 2018.  

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

talented trio artists rastovich ostergaard

Talented Trio — Three Different Artists Keep it All in the Family

talented trio artists rastovich ostergaard

The Talented Trio of Michael Rastovich, LuAnn Ostergaard, and Joseph Rastovich inspire one another to heightened creativity

We’ve all heard that two heads are better than one.

But then again, too many cooks spoil the broth. And because it’s wise to take all maxims with a grain of salt, we recognize that the truth lies somewhere in between.

Numachi abstract photograph print LuAnn Ostergaard talented trio

Numachi, abstract photograph print by LuAnn Ostergaard, one of the Talented Trio family of artists

Such is the experience of the Talented Trio — a husband/wife, parent/son amalgamation consisting of Michael Rastovich, illustrator and animator; his wife LuAnn Ostergaard, digital abstract photographer; and their son Joseph Rastovich, metal sculpture artist of both home decor and public art.

The Kennewick family works, lives, collaborates, encourages, critiques, and innovates together as professional artists, or as LuAnn puts it,

“We are closely connected in our personal lives, and it shows in our collaborative, creative professions as artists. There’s a lot of cooperation. We work together to help the others with inspiration, new ideas, and methods of creating.”

Joseph agrees, wryly observing:

“Art by committee is fraught with difficulties.

“However, when the right minds come together, the synergy can create outstanding results.”

Joseph: “Powerful Brainstorming” by the Talented Trio

Crediting his parents as critical mentors in his creative career, Joseph describes “powerful brainstorming” sessions featuring (three) different perspectives, sometimes vastly contrasting, with an outcome that is often superior to the original single perspective.

metal sculpture home decor furniture lamp joseph rastovich talented trio

A metal sculpture home decor lamp by Joseph Rastovich, the youngest member of the Talented Trio

For Joseph, art has been a part of his life since childhood, growing up with full-time artist parents, and being “unschooled” in a creative environment that allowed him to have the time, freedom, and tools to create whenever he wanted. By the age of 25, he had installed 11 public art projects throughout the Pacific Northwest, in addition to creating an array of home decor wall art and furniture that he sells through various art galleries, festivals, and retail stores.

“He literally grew up with a paintbrush in his hand, and flourished as a young artist,” LuAnn says.

LuAnn: Leaving the Corporate World

She, however, experienced a different world before she entered that of a full-time independent artist. Though LuAnn comes from a long line of artists dating back to her great grandfather, she started out in a corporate work environment. The memory of a different way of doing things enhances her gratitude for the way things are now.

“After spending five years working in a windowless office with a powerful, good -paying job in the corporate world, I made the decision to take the journey as an artist,” LuAnn says.

“Some evenings, when I came out of the building to go home after work, I would see a glorious sunset and realize I was missing it. I would just stand there, reveling in it as it quickly faded away.”

chalice drawing colorful michael rastovich illustration talented trio

Chalice, original drawing by Michael Rastovich, the patriarch of the Talented Trio

She wanted to do work that she believed in, experiencing a flow of creativity in which she expressed her own ideas. Seeing the world with an intensity that caused her to notice thing other people didn’t, she wanted to bring her creative visions to tangible reality. So when she walked away from her corporate job, she never looked back: every day since then reaffirms that decision.

“I take pride and have a sense of accomplishment when completing my creative work for the day.”

Michael: A Passion for Drawing

Michael knew from a very young age that he was an artist, incorporating both commercial and independent work into his professional dossier: he does design, animation, illustration, etching, digital, and graphics, with his true passion being drawing.

“I have spent my life trying to understand our world, by drawing it,” he says. “The challenge of seeing the world, and suggesting its forms with accuracy, economy and simple tools is joyful for me.”

Michael studied under master artists Siegfried Hahn and Howard Wexler, living in an adobe hut in the New Mexico desert while honing and perfecting his skills. He has worked for a museum design company in Portland, OR, creating conceptual drawings for the creation of new museums through the U.S., and presently develops animation projects for businesses of all sizes and scope. He also custom builds the framing boxes upon which LuAnn mounts her digitally enhanced, abstract photographs.

A Trio of Talent and Collaboration

It’s all part of working together.

“As a family of working artists, we spend nearly every waking moment creating and helping each other with our creations,” Michael says. “Over the years, we have each developed specific skills, and we depend on each other for support in this sometimes challenging, but always rewarding, life as artists.”

“Holidays, weekends, and down-time are meaningless,” LuAnn adds. “You are an artist, and your life’s work is all that matters.

“You were born to be an artist, and it is your purpose in life and your life’s work — you can do nothing else.”

Wenaha Gallery

LuAnn Ostergaard, Michael Rastovich, and Joseph Rastovich are the featured Pacific Northwest artists at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, November 6 through Saturday, December 2, 2017.   The Talented Trio will be at the gallery in person Saturday, November 24 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., for a special show also featuring Kennewick watercolor artist Laura Gable.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

.

 

 

Sunflowers impressionist abstract bold colorful watercolor maja shaw

Flowers — Bold, Bright Beautiful Watercolors by Maja Shaw

Sunflowers impressionist abstract bold colorful watercolor maja shaw

Bold, bright yellow sunflowers against a blue background in Maja Shaw’s watercolor, Sunflowers II

People who are not early risers get tired of this catching the worm thing, which, frankly, is literally for the birds. As watercolor painter Maja Shaw knows, there’s plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee and still get the perfect photo reference for her next painting.

shasta daisy flowers colorful impressionist watercolor painting Maja Shaw

Shasta Daisies, a close-up view of bold, impressionist watercolor flowers set against an abstract background, by Maja Shaw

“Conventional wisdom says photographs are better made in early morning, or late  evening,” the Richland, WA, artist says. “But I’m not a morning person, so my reference photos are made in the middle of the day, which is bad for people  shots, but great for flowers.”

Shaw, whose first name is pronounced Maya, as in the ancient Central American people, focuses on florals with bold, sculptural shapes and exuberant color. Inspired by a childhood spent with art-collector parents, Shaw explores ways of rendering images using negative space, as opposed to intricate detail, to define a form. The resultant paintings blend the best of both worlds: representational and abstract.

Flowers, Landscapes, and Brushwork

“Highlights and contrast are characteristic of many of my paintings,” Shaw says. “Two of my favorite painters are Andrew Wyeth and John Singer Sargent.

“If you look at their paintings, especially watercolors, their subjects are defined as much by what is not painted, as what is. I take some of my inspiration from them by trying to define forms with a few strokes which convey enough visual clues so that the viewer’s eye can fill in the rest.”

Palouse Harvest watercolor impressionist abstract painting Maja Shaw

Palouse Harvest II, an impressionist landscape painting in watercolor by Richland artist Maja Shaw, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Shaw, who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Washington, credits one of her art professors with providing a working definition of the category in which her artwork fits — organizational, as opposed to decorative or expressive.

“It’s a style that is concerned with shape, color, and composition and is not so concerned with making a philosophical statement, or, as my professor said, ‘What is the state of man in the world,'” Shaw explains.

People React to Color

“I don’t make social commentary with my art, and I’m not trying to make the viewer figure out any obscure meaning.

“I find people react emotionally to color and to subject matter: if my paintings are  appealing to a viewer in either of these, then that is fine with me.”

lily family flower watercolor impressionist painting Maja Shaw

Lily Family, white flowers against a deep blue background, impressionist watercolor by Richland artist Maja Shaw

In the spirit of being inspired by the masters, both old and new, Shaw also experiments with collage, in which she takes watercolor paintings with which she is not 100 percent satisfied, cuts them into shapes, and “repurposes” them into a new art form.

“I have taken inspiration for these from Henri Matisse and Eric Carle,” Shaw says, explaining that when 20th century French artist Matisse could no longer paint because of failing eyesight, he cut out shapes and had assistants paste them on large pieces of paper at his direction.

“They were mostly semi-abstract shapes, many with lots of white space around them, although many were reminiscent of plant shapes or body shapes.”

Regional and National Shows

One of Shaw’s early cut paper piece won third place in the Waterworks Art Center Show in Miles City, MT, for an exhibit with a paper theme.

Golden River southeast washington landscape watercolor maja shaw

Golden River, an impressionist interpretation of the Southeast Washington landscape, by watercolor painter Maja Shaw

“Mine are different from most collage work because I put them together to actually form a recognizable subject, rather than the mishmash of most collage artists.”

Over the last several years, Shaw has juried into major regional and national shows, and recently garnered First Place at the 311 Gallery Flowers and Garden Show in Raleigh, NC, where she won Honorable Mention last year. She has collected First, Second, and Third Place winnings at shows in Michigan, Colorado, Montana, and Washington, and has been the featured artist at the Crossroads Carnegie Art Center in Baker City, OR and the Cheryl Sallee Gallery in Auburn, WA.

Showcasing Eastern Washington

A member of CyberArt509, an artist’s cooperative encompassing artists in the 509 phone area code, and the Mid-Columbia Watercolor Society, Shaw shows her work throughout the Tri-Cities. In addition to painting flowers, which she describes as being good subjects because they don’t move around, except in the wind, and are as close as her backyard, Shaw also creates landscapes in the same spontaneous, colorful style.

“I strive to create recognizable images without being photographic,” Shaw says.

“While some compositions lend themselves to metaphors, mostly I want the viewer to enjoy the beauty of color and shapes based on the world around us.”

Wenaha Gallery

Maja Shaw is the featured Pacific Northwest artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, September 25 through Saturday, October 21, 2017.  She will be at the gallery in person Saturday, October 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., during Wenaha Gallery’s Art Walk, part of the Dayton on Tour and Fall Festival Celebration. She will be joined by Dayton watercolor artist Jill Ingram; Walla Walla musician Roy Anderson; Winthrop basket weaver and singer Lauralee Northcott; and Walla Walla felt artist Linnea Keatts.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

mountain river pass abstract scrapyard photograph LuAnn Ostergaard

Scrapyard Beauty — The Fine Art Photography of LuAnn Ostergaard

scrapyard photography color beauty texture LuAnn Ostergaard

Beauty from the scrapyard: Evening Shimmer III, fine at photography by LuAnn Ostergaard

Etiquette matters. And when you’re visiting a scrapyard, the rules of behavior are even stricter, because they have to be.

“Stay far away from the large pieces of heavy equipment being operated, employing big swinging arms with grasping tools or huge magnets that lift metal from place to place,” advises LuAnn Ostergaard, a fine art photographer who creates abstract art using digital images taken from . . . scrapyards.

mountain river pass abstract scrapyard photograph LuAnn Ostergaard

Mountain River Pass, photographic beauty from the scrapyard by LuAnn Ostergaard

“The equipment may back over you, so watch their movements,” she adds. One must also be aware of protruding points; razor sharp edges; slippery, oily areas; and huge piles of metal that may cascade down on visitors at any time.

While not a particularly friendly place, scrapyards are special locales unknown by many, the Kennewick artist explains. She first discovered them as a child, accompanying her father on his quest to glean car parts; she now visits with her son, Joseph Rastovich, a Kennewick public sculptor who buys metal there for his huge-scale projects, as well as watches out for his mom while she loses herself “in the moment and into the flow of capturing images.”

Ostergaard, who has identified herself as an artist since the first grade, comes from a long line of artists: her mother; her grandmother the singer and seamstress; her great-grandfather the concert pianist and sketcher. She married an artist, illustrator and animator Michael Rastovich, and with their son, Joseph, the three — dubbed the Talented Trio by friends — make their living creating in a home studio blurring any distinction between the two words.

“Our entire house is a studio, office, work space! We live, eat, and breathe our work.”

scrapyard photograph abstract landscape LuAnn Ostergaard

Evening Shadows, scrapyard photographic image by LuAnn Ostergaard

Upon first viewing Ostergaard’s art, many people regard her photographic images as paintings, and indeed, one of the most difficult aspects of her artwork is explaining what it actually is. They are photographs, with an attention to shape, texture, color and contrast, captured from the harsh places of the world and transformed into images enticing and enchanting.

“On the computer, I bring up the saturation and contrast, and that usually reveals gorgeous color combinations and textures that I would never think of creating on my own,” Ostergaard says.

“It’s magical, and I feel a bit of an alchemist as I transform an image of scrapyard castoffs to a thing of beauty that resonates with harmony and balance.”

Ostergaard sells her work to both private and corporate collectors, with pieces throughout the U.S. and in Sweden, Germany, UK, and Australia. One of her images is at 3 Lincoln Center, New York, NY, the building in which singer and actress Liza Minnelli lives. Others are at the Grand Hyatt Lodge, Denver, CO; Hilton Hotel, Charleston, SC; and Atlantis Hotel, Bahamas; and closer to home at the Trios Hospital in Kennewick. She sells her work at galleries, furniture stores, and jewelers throughout the Pacific Northwest.

abstract photograph landscape scrapyard art LuAnn Ostergaard

Beautiful Dream, abstract scrapyard-inspired photographic artwork by LuAnn Ostergaard

Clients exude enthusiasm, with one purchaser commenting,

“Your camera skills are so evident — that, combined with your painting gift, puts your work in a special field: painterly photographs transposed to imaginative paintings bordering on modernity from your unique application and expression.”

What she is looking for, Ostergaard says, is an essence of genuineness, revealing the most simple bit of beauty in something that, at first glance, may appear decrepit and ugly — junk, say, in a scrapyard. It is in these harsh and forgotten places that beauty resides, hidden within and around substances that are imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, many in a state of deterioration or decomposition from entropy, the gradual decline into disorder that is a part of life on earth.

abstract photograph multnomah falls landscape LuAnn Ostergaard scrapyard

Multnomah Falls II, fine art photography from scrapyard images by LuAnn Ostergaard

Ostergaard describes this concept of entropy in conjunction with Wabi Sabi, the Japanese aesthetic philosophy that prizes the essential beauty of imperfect and impermanent things, and to which she ascribes inspiration.

“This is represented in my art by rough textures as well as marks that time and use leave behind,” Ostergaard says.

“Think of the story that can be told by the face of a very old person — the beauty of their perseverance and of the experiences they have gone through.

“This is what I want to relay through my photography: the beauty of time and experience.”

It is what keeps her going back to the dusty, noisy, aromatic, dangerous world of the scrapyard, a place with a sweet, oily smell emanating from the mixture of every imaginable chemical thrown together, including, she suspects, possible radiation from the loads of materials received from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation for more than 70 years. It is a harsh, acrid, inhospitable, gritty, forgotten place, but it is Ostergaard’s wild, wonderful, wilderness world, one to which she invites the viewer.

“I want the viewer to see the subtle beauty all around them, and that beauty can be found even in things that are far from beautiful at first glance.”

Wenaha Gallery

LuAnn Ostergaard is the Featured Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, May 22 through Saturday, June 16, 2017. Ostergaard will be at the gallery Saturday, May 27 for a special two-person art show with Portland painter David Schatz, and both artists will be on hand to meet and greet visitors from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free refreshments are provided.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

Blues, encaustic painting by Walla Walla painter Lauri Borer, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Kindled by Encaustic — The Paintings of Lauri Borer

Blues, encaustic painting by Walla Walla painter Lauri Borer, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Blues, encaustic painting by Walla Walla painter Lauri Borer, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

While Lauri Borer did not learn all she really needed to know in kindergarten, she did pick up a lot from the world of Walt Disney. The Walla Walla artist, before she moved to the Land of Many Waters in 2005, lived in Florida and worked with merchandising and human resources at the Walt Disney Company.

Who'll Stop the Rain Encaustic landscape painting by Walla Walla artist Lauri Borer

Who’ll Stop the Rain Encaustic landscape painting by Walla Walla artist Lauri Borer

“It’s worth remembering the characteristics that made me successful in my positions there,” the painter — who specializes in hot wax (encaustic) creation — describes how she applies past experiences to present endeavors. “Show up every day and do the work. Be flexible and open-minded. Don’t give up when something doesn’t work.

“Call it a lesson, not failure.”

Borer, who has been creating art since she was 7 and holds a fine arts degree from the University of South Florida in Tampa, focuses on the landscapes of wherever she finds herself, capturing that world in both representational and abstract formats.

Currently, that capture employs “the seductive mediums of encaustic painting and oil and cold wax,” Borer says, explaining encaustic as an ancient art form dating back to at least ancient Greece.

“The derivation of the word is from the Greek word enkaustikos which means to burn in. Heat is necessary to call the work encaustic as opposed to painting with cold wax.”

Mixing molten beeswax with damar resin – a hardening agent which increases the melting point of the wax — Borer paints on wood substrates that do not flex and thereby cause the cooled wax of the finished work to crack. Her preferred surface shape is square, a non-traditional dimension that adds a sense of stability, solidity, and balance.

Nailed It, Encaustic landscape painting by Walla Walla painter Lauri Borer

Nailed It, Encaustic landscape painting by Walla Walla painter Lauri Borer

“The versatility of the medium is unlimited,” Borer says.

“Paintings can be finished to a smooth polished surface; transparent layers reveal colors and dimension as wax cures and hardens over time.

“Textures can be created, marks made with ink or graphite, ephemera added . . . on and on.”

Frequently, she finds a work takes on a life of its own, starting initially with her plan for its existence, but resulting in something pleasingly, uniquely different.

“One of the paintings that I had in the last show in Joseph (Wallowa Valley Valley Festival of Arts) began its life as a very realistic landscape — it looked exactly like the photo from which I drew my inspiration.

Lauri Borer's encaustic artwork in the permanent collection of The Encaustic Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM

Lauri Borer’s encaustic artwork in the permanent collection of The Encaustic Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM

“But the photo was perfect — it didn’t need to be copied.

“So I scraped and moved the paint around until it was almost broken, a de-constructed and abstract interpretation of a Hell’s Canyon sunset.”

In addition to creating her artwork, Borer draws upon her organizational skills to showcase area and regional art, encouraged by the first person she met in Walla Walla, former area artist Bonnie Griffith, to volunteer at the Carnegie Art Center, then active as a community gallery.

“I became part of the gallery committee responsible for hanging the shows each month, and became close friends with Bonnie and the other committee members, M’Lisse Moerk and Dianna Woolley.

“I found my tribe.”

To Sleep, Encaustic painting by Walla Walla artist Lauri Borer

To Sleep, Encaustic painting by Walla Walla artist Lauri Borer

Later, Borer jumped into ArtSquared, Art Walla’s annual fundraiser benefiting arts education, becoming active on the committee from the event’s inception in 2013, and from there, joined a series of local artists producing a regular winter group show at CAVU Cellars.

“Half a dozen artists of various mediums share our work in a lively, colorful, and diverse, yet cohesive show.”

Presently showing at Wenaha Gallery, Borer is preparing for a summer exhibition at Initial Point Gallery in Meridian, Idaho. With artworks found in personal and corporate collections throughout the U.S., Borer has participated in juried shows in the Pacific Northwest; Santa Fe, NM; California, and Montana. One of her pieces is in the permanent collection of the Encaustic Art Institute in Santa Fe.

She’s busy, active, moving, creating, snapping reference photos with an enthusiasm and diligence that even has her husband alert to a potential painting.

“He’s become an expert at quickly pulling over or spotting vistas he knows I’ll want to capture.

“I see ideas for paintings everywhere, even abstract paintings.”

In the spring, summer, and early fall the couple goes fly-fishing (with camera) on the Wallowa River. Summer finds them (with camera) on their small boat on the Snake River, fishing for bass and scavenging for flotsam for Borer’s art. All year round is studio time, and studio time is creation time.

“I paint landscapes because I love nature,” Borer says.

“From wide vistas to macro views, towering mountains and crashing seas, stormy lines of hurricane clouds and endless blues of a summer sky — it’s all inspiration.”

Wenaha GalleryLauri Borer is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, February 13, through Saturday, March 11.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

 

 

David Wyatt, simultaneously flying and photographing

Flying to New Heights — The Aerial Photography of David Wyatt

Infinite Palouse, aerial photograph by Wenaha Gallery guest artist, David Wyatt.

Infinite Palouse, aerial photograph by Wenaha Gallery guest artist, David Wyatt.

“You need more elective credits.”

While few university students rejoice when told that they require additional classes, it takes a measure of adventure with practicality to come up with the solution that David Wyatt did. It was 30 years ago, and he was transferring to Oklahoma State University for his engineering degree.

Fingers of the Jolly Green Giant, aerial photography by David Wyatt

Fingers of the Jolly Green Giant, aerial photography by David Wyatt

“OSU offered Private Pilot Ground School, which I enjoyed so immensely, that I spent the next summer working three jobs in Alaska to earn money to do the flight training,” the Kennewick artist remembers. “But it wasn’t until I bought a small airplane in 2005 and started carrying a camera that I discovered my eye and passion for artistic aerial photography.”

That’s right: he flies and takes photos at the same time. And yes, it’s challenging.

“Combine photography with flying an airplane, and the challenges increase exponentially!” Wyatt says. “Weather, of course, can aid or hinder the drama of the aerial photo. And then there’s equipment cleanliness and maintenance — both the photography gear and the aircraft. Regulations, air traffic control, licensing, terrain!

“If it gets too complicated, I hire a pilot to handle the flying so I can focus on the photography.”

David Wyatt, simultaneously flying and photographing

David Wyatt, simultaneously flying and photographing; photo credit Brian Powers

Focusing on photography has taken Wyatt to new heights, literally, and his views of Eastern Washington’s landscape from above are resonant of textured paintings, almost abstract in their lines and form, but recognizable as fields, rivers, hills, and plains. He has garnered awards locally and nationally, this year being named the 2016 EPSON Aerial Photographer of the Year by the international Professional Aerial Photographer’s Association.

A number of Wyatt’s works, including Canyon Gold — an overhead view of the Palouse River Canyon at Lion’s Ferry State Park — have received awards at PAPA’s annual competitions, and in May he received People’s Choice at Tri-Art for Giving’s regional and community show, for an aerial view of humpback whales in Hawaii. People are drawn, Wyatt says, to the different view of things.

Canyon Gold, aerial photography by Kennewick artist David Wyatt

Canyon Gold, aerial photography by Kennewick artist David Wyatt

“A couple from Boston walked into a local winery and saw my award-winning Canyon Gold. Realizing that just one day before they had been kayaking on the stretch of river featured in the photograph, they bought the piece.”

A licensed professional engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Wyatt flies and shoots as schedule and weather permit, and participates in a number of local activities each year, including Art in the Park in Richland, winery events, open studio tours, soirees, and holiday festivals. In addition to fine art prints of his work, he has created stone tile coasters, and this year began printing on, appropriately, metal aircraft aluminum.

Clients and customers live as far away as Spain, France, Australia, the Ukraine, Uganda, and Honduras. Wyatt mentally gathers ideas for future subject matter based on a location, season, or event, constantly thinking ahead about a particular place in the sky from which to photograph for a uniquely different perspective. Viewing things from above, he muses, brings one’s thoughts to a higher plain.

“It doesn’t jump out at you when you see my aerial artistic images, but if you get to know me and listen to the stories of how I ‘got the shot,’ there is a core belief — that is, that God is the Creator,” Wyatt says. “I give Him the honor and glory for allowing me to be at a point in the sky where I can capture in a photograph the amazing moment and grandeur of the earth He made.”

Ancient Flood Rhythmites, aerial photography by David Wyatt.

Ancient Flood Rhythmites, aerial photography by David Wyatt.

One morning, he continues, he awoke while it was still dark and drove to the airport, where he performed the preflight inspection of the aircraft while sunrise’s first light appeared on the horizon.

“Before I started the engine to take flight, I prayed, ‘Lord, I have no idea where you are taking me this morning. I ask that you lead me to something beautiful and amazing.'”

Strong winds carried him east, where he spent three hours over the Snake River and the Palouse taking photos of a spectacular landscape.

“It was an answer to my prayer.”

So, perhaps, was OSU’s demand for more elective credits — what initially seems vexatious turned into a boon.

Or as contemporary Turkish playwrite Mehmet Murat Ildan puts it,

“Flying is not only the art of the birds, but it is also the art of the artists.”

Wenaha GalleryDavid Wyatt is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, October 24 through Saturday, November 19.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

Desert Grass, public art piece in Richland, WA, by Joseph Rastovich

Public and Private Art — The Metal Sculpture of Joseph Rastovich

Desert Grass, public art piece in Richland, WA, by Joseph Rastovich

Desert Grass, public art piece in Richland, WA, by Joseph Rastovich

Falling metal, flying shrapnel, punishing heat, blinding light, loud noises — it doesn’t sound like an artist’s studio, but then again, the making of Joseph Rastovich’s art doesn’t fit into a small space. The Kennewick artist, whose primary medium is fabricated sculpture in steel, designs wall art, furniture, and lamps, in addition to significantly sized public art pieces.

Lady Tree, side table furniture, by Joseph Rastovich

Lady Tree, side table furniture, by Joseph Rastovich

He started working with metal when he was 14 years old, after inheriting classic cars from both sides of his family.

“I had to learn metal work to fix these cars, and that quickly transformed into my art career,” Rastovich says. “I had a job as a dishwasher at a jazz and wine club during that time and spent my paychecks solely on metal working tools.”

Ten years later, Rastovich’s studio, which is primarily outside his home (“luckily all my neighbors like me and accommodate my unusual profession”), boasts a plethora of the specialty tools necessary for metalwork: welders, plasma cutters, air compressors, grinders, sheet metal roller, clamps, gantry cranes, vises, sandblasters, an oxyacetylene kit, and forklift among others. These are just the tools. Finding the supplies with which to create is another matter.

“Unlike most artists, when I go to an art supply store, there effectively is nothing I can use,” Rastovich says. “Instead, I source my materials and supplies from industrial stores such as steel yards, welding supply stores, and industrial paint stores.”

Tree of Zen, wall art by Joseph Rastovich

Tree of Zen, wall art by Joseph Rastovich

The son of two artists — LuAnn Ostergaard, whose box mounted art prints are sold to private and corporate collections nationwide, and Michael Rastovich, an artist of multiple mediums whose resume includes creating a float for the Portland Rose Parade — Rastovich was “unschooled” for much of his educational career, an experience that allowed him to pursue creative endeavors with full focus.

“Curiosity and awe is the foundation of which intelligence is built,” Rastovich says.

“I was free to study philosophy, learn quantum mechanics, create music, look at great art, witness the running of a business, build things, and commune with nature.” The result, for him, is a 21st century Renaissance Man who not only has a passion about everything, but is extremely fit.

“It is a very physical profession,” he explains, one of the reasons he calls himself a metal wrangler, complete with signature cowboy hat, that is, when the situation doesn’t require a hard one.

Vortex sculpture by Joseph Rastovich

Vortex sculpture by Joseph Rastovich

“Everything is heavy. Before I bought my forklift, half my time was spent just moving steel plate with pry bars, rollers, and blocking.” And while the forklift has made certain aspects of his job easier, it still isn’t . . . easy. Because the work takes place primarily outside, Rastovich finds himself in all types of weather, ranging from 120 degrees to 0 degrees, from full, blazing sun to pouring rain and falling snow.

Rastovich sells his smaller work through galleries as well as furniture, gift, and jewelry stores throughout the Pacific Northwest. His larger, public works are installed in parks, schools, business districts and hospitals in the Tri-Cities, Spokane, and Tualatin, OR. He also attends select art festivals, including the Sausalito Art Festival in California and the Bellevue Art Festival, both prestigiously difficult to get into.

“At art festivals, I often admire jewelers because their entire inventory fits in a suitcase,” he observes wryly. “I have had shows where I needed to bring a forklift. But alas! I enjoy the scale and gravity of my work.”

Visual art, he believes, is like a static form of music, and like music, has the ability to bring forth powerful emotions in the viewer, from tears to joy, from quiet contemplation to the impulse to dance. It is his goal that his own art, large pieces or small, bring on a sense of awe and inspiration.

“I create art to provide relief from normalcy.

“What was a bare wall of insignificance becomes a reason to stop and slow down.

“What was empty space becomes a place for inspiration.

“What was a normal average day can be transformed into a power memory, when one encounters art.”

Wenaha GalleryJoseph Rastovich is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, October 10 through Saturday, November 5.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.