Jerry Poindexter

Jerry Poindexter

Jerry Poindexter

Exquisitely carved and perfectly detailed, the bird carvings of wood sculptor Jerry Poindexter look as if they are ready to take flight or burst into song. Poindexter, who has been carving birds for more than 20 years, gravitated toward the subject matter because of the birds’ sense of movement, as well as their colorful plumage.

Hours spent studying skins – preserved birds that are often kept in university or academic collections – has given Poindexter a keen eye for the physical attributes of birds – their plumage, coloration, size, and proportions. Poindexter draws upon his expertise in bird anatomy when he judges carving shows, and is a frequent juror at the Columbia Flyway Wildlife Show, an international exhibition held annually in Vancouver, WA.

two parakeets wood carving sculpture tupelo jerry poindexter

Carving Birds — The Creative Wings of Jerry Poindexter

two parakeets wood carving sculpture tupelo jerry poindexter

Two Parakeets, original bird carving in Tupelo wood by Spokane artist Jerry Poindexter

When it comes to carving birds, accuracy matters — a lot. Size, shape, color, the creature’s unique attributes — achieving these elements takes a blend of artistic skill and the scientific mind, the willingness to observe, take measurements, record data, and check and recheck the facts. And that’s before the very first cut is made on the wood.

bird carving tupelo wood sculpture jerry poindexter

Bird carving by Jerry Poindexter, woodworker artist from Spokane, WA

For artist Jerry Poindexter, who has been carving birds for more than 20 years, the success of the final sculpture depends upon this preliminary research, and before he embarks upon a project, he gets his hands on some study skins: actual birds, many killed by hitting windows or being hit by cars, dried and preserved, sometimes stuffed with cotton but other times not. Generally not mounted, the skins are stored in trays at places such as Eastern Washington University in Cheney, where Poindexter has spent hours drawing, measuring, and drafting patterns for carving.

After nine years, Poindexter  compiled 50 of these measured drawings, complete with coloration notes, into two books, Songbirds I and Songbirds II.

Drafting Patterns for Carving Birds

“The thought of publishing the books started in 2002 when I carved my first bird for the Ward’s World Championships in Ocean City, Maryland,” the Spokane woodcarver says. “It was after seeing the way people were carving their birds, some of which were too big, and others with the color not even close to the actual bird.

quail tupelo wood carving sculpture Jerry Poindexter

Quail wood carving in Tupelo Wood by woodcarver artist Jerry Poindexter of Spokane, WA

“Carvers had been asking me for my measured drawings at classes that I taught, and at the time I was giving them away.”

Poindexter attracted the eye of the carving world early on, when he entered a bird that no one had seen before at Ward’s, an international event which focuses exclusively on bird carvings.

“The bird was a Varied Thrush, which is well known in the West, but not in the East,” Poindexter says. “I did a half size and was awarded third in the world.” He was also approached by Wildfowl Carving Magazine, which took him on as a regular columnist addressing paint notes and bird measurements.

Judging Carvings as Well as Creating Them

For many years Poindexter has also served as judge at various shows throughout the Pacific Northwest, and is both a regular juror and contributor at the Columbia Flyway Wildlife Show in Vancouver, which attracts fish, wildlife, and bird carvers from throughout the Western United States and Canada. He has sold work to private collectors in Canada, Germany, Arizona, Kansas, Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, and throughout the Pacific Northwest.

snowy white owl bird carving tupelo wood sculpture jerry poindexter

Snowy White Owl wood carving in tupelo by woodcarver artist Jerry Poindexter of Spokane, WA

One commission he did for a collector is especially memorable. At a carving show, a man asked how much Poindexter would charge for carving a half-size barn own. Poindexter quoted a price, the man nodded, and walked away. Well, that’s that, Poindexter thought.

“One day, there’s a knock on the studio door, and here was the man holding a piece of firewood. He wanted to have the owl placed on the wood so that he could rotate the owl for different presentations.”

Before leaving, the man pointed to a hole in the firewood and said that he wanted to see a mouse coming out that hole, and the owl appearing to see it. Poindexter agreed, mentally running over the added complexity and difficulty that this would add to the piece.

“When he arrived to pay and said, ‘How much?’ I told him that the owl was now free, but the cost of the mouse would be the original cost we had discussed.”

parrot wood carving tupelo sculpture jerry poindexter

Parrot wood carving from tupelo wood by artist Jerry Poindexter of Spokane, WA

The man not only agreed to the price, but commissioned a second piece.

Carving for Work and Pleasure

Carving started for Poindexter as a hobby, something to do after retirement, and in his early years he created Santas, bears, deer, fish, and even Nativity scenes, but once he discovered birds, he knew he had found his niche. It’s the motion, the texture, the variety and the coloration that draws him to  the world of birds, and it is a place well worth being. There are so many birds, so many projects, that he never runs out of something to create.

“If I kept a count of the number of birds I’ve carved, or the amount of time I’ve spent carving — something I did once and will never do again — I might have quit.

“But carving for yourself is pleasure.”

Purchase Jerry Poindexter’s art online at this link.

 

Wenaha Gallery

Jerry Poindexter is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, June 18, 2018, through Saturday, Saturday, July 14, 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.

Kirk Campana

Kirk Campana

Although the terms “medical school” and “spare time” generally have nothing to do with one another, Kirk Campaña never let this get in the way.

Presently an urgent care physician in Eagle, ID, Campaña is also an artist. Recalling those grueling, grinding med school days, Campaña says that, despite the heavy workload, he recognized he was unhappy if not making art, so he somehow always found the time.

“No matter where my personal life, education, training, or professional career took me, I have found that I need to make art,” Campaña says. “While studying biophysics at UC Berkeley or studying medicine at UCLA, I found time to take art classes or make art on my own.”

From a child, Campaña has always liked to paint, draw, and build things, and as an adult his artistic portfolio includes pastel, oil, and watercolor painting, as well as steel sculpture.

“I think art is a universal tool that humans practice in order to process and understand one’s world and self,” Campaña observes. “Although all of us explore this in childhood, most individuals have given up this practice as adults.

“I never did.”

As a physician, Campaña draws upon his knowledge of human anatomy for his figurative painting and sculpture. As a family man involved in his daughters’ livestock 4-H projects — the family is raising its second steer, third generation of St. Croix sheep, and a dozen laying hens — he expresses the beauty and complexity of the world through his landscape art. Nature in all her forms inspires him to spend time creating in his studios — a bonus room above the garage for painting and a shop attached to the house for sculpture.

bouchart pond country fantasy landscape pastel painting kirk compana

Physician and Artist — The Pastel Paintings of Kirk Campaña

bouchart pond country fantasy landscape pastel painting kirk compana

Japanese Garden, original pastel painting by physician artist Kirk Campaña of Eagle, ID

Although the terms “medical school” and “spare time” generally have nothing to do with one another, Kirk Campaña never let this get in the way.

Presently an urgent care physician in Eagle, ID, Campaña is also an artist. Recalling those grueling, grinding med school days, Campaña says that, despite the heavy workload, he recognized he was unhappy if not making art, so he somehow always found the time.

country landscape forest copse pastel painting kirk campana

Twisted Spring Moment, original pastel landscape painting by physician and artist Kirk Campaña of Eagle, ID

“No matter where my personal life, education, training, or professional career took me, I have found that I need to make art,” Campaña says. “While studying biophysics at UC Berkeley or studying medicine at UCLA, I found time to take art classes or make art on my own.”

An Artist before Becoming a Physician

From a child, Campaña has always liked to paint, draw, and build things, and as an adult his artistic portfolio includes pastel, oil, and watercolor painting, as well as steel sculpture.

“I think art is a universal tool that humans practice in order to process and understand one’s world and self,” Campaña observes. “Although all of us explore this in childhood, most individuals have given up this practice as adults.

“I never did.”

As a physician, Campaña draws upon his knowledge of human anatomy for his figurative painting and sculpture. As a family man involved in his daughters’ livestock 4-H projects — the family is raising its second steer, third generation of St. Croix sheep, and a dozen laying hens —  he expresses the beauty and complexity of the world through his landscape art. Nature in all her forms inspires him to spend time creating in his studios — a bonus room above the garage for painting and a shop attached to the house for sculpture.

butterfly insect country meadow flower pastel painting kirk campana

Butterfly, original pastel painting close-up of nature’s life by physician artist Kirk Campaña of Eagle, ID

“I have always found the form and function of the human body fascinating.

“I also find nature and the natural world beautiful, complex, and full of patterns and rhythms — similar to the human body.”

The Inspired Physician

Campaña is presently focusing upon pastels, a medium he describes as forgiving of mistakes and welcoming to experimentation. He enjoys the medium’s encouragement to tactile involvement, describing the joy of smudging and smearing pigment about with his finger and whole hand.

“I like being able to draw, smear, scuff, drag, and erase with graceful strokes or urgent percussion and repetition.”

The land around which he lives provides endless inspiration, and Campaña, never one to be still, discovers secluded copses and remote, quiet streams when he hikes or bikes through the region. Closer in, a series of landscaped gardens he has designed on his property find themselves highlighted in paintings. Sometimes he sketches or paints watercolor plein air, but mostly he prefers creating in his studio, based upon notes, reference photos, and the plein air sketches.

paintbrush canyon mountain country landscape kirk campagna physician artist

Paintbrush Canyon, capturing the wild landscape of Idaho by physician artist Kirk Campaña

Through the years, Campaña has participated in various group shows and been accepted into juried exhibitions, and the most memorable took place the final year of medical school. Upon the urging of a surgical pathologist who taught at UCLA and was also an artist, Campaña entered his work in the Los Angeles Physician Artist Society annual art show and took Best of Show. Describing himself as “quite amazed and flattered,” Campaña marvels that the judge was a Los Angeles artist, not a physician.

Since moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2012, Campaña has juried into the Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts in Joseph, OR, where he has won awards for pastel and sculpture.

The Artistic Physician

With a “really basic goal” of conveying what seems interesting or meaningful visually, Campaña seeks to express, through his art, how he responds to his world.

“Beauty, complexity, rhythm, mystery, and surprise all make me feel alive and end up in my art (hopefully!).”

Keeping busy — whether it’s at the clinic, in the studio, with the family, or on the property fixing the fences that always need fixing — is its own form of inspiration, and Campaña never finds himself short of ideas for the next artistic project. What he’s always looking to find, as he did in medical school, is a little more time. But then again, he’s well practiced at finding the time he needs to do his art.

“As I spend more time on art, I discover more about myself, who I am meant to be and what I want to express as an artist.”

To purchase Campana’s work online, click here.

 

Wenaha Gallery

Kirk Campaña is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, June 4, 2018, through Saturday, Saturday, June 30, 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.

bracelet colorful bead jewelry mary calanche dayton

Beads, Beads, and Beads — The Jewelry of Mary Calanche

bracelet colorful beads jewelry mary calanche dayton

A selection of bracelets, beaded using various techniques and beads, by Dayton jewelry artist Mary Calanche

It sounds like one of those alarming math story problems people avoid if they possibly can:

“How many beads — of all sizes, shapes, and colors — fit into a 12 x 20 storage shed, with room left for the artist to work?”

finger weave jewelry beads blue bracelet mary calanche

Finger weave bead bracelet with blue and aqua beads, by jewelry artist Mary Calanche of Dayton

Beading artist Mary Calanche of Dayton, whose studio is in such a shed, doesn’t have the answer, but she does know this:

“It’s stuffed full!”

Insulated, wired, and lighted, Calanche’s unique workroom is a place for intense concentration, meticulous attention to detail, and now and then, judicious use of the vacuum with a nylon stocking over the nozzle — one of the best ways to remedy the calamity of a flipped tray of tiny, tiny beads.

“If you haven’t ever dropped beads, then you’re just getting started into the craft,” Calanche, who has been creating beaded jewelry and other items for 25 years, says.

beaded necklace blue green beads mary calanche dayton

Beaded necklace by Wenaha Gallery artist Mary Calanche of Dayton

Beads, and This n That

Under the business name, This n That, Calanche fashions earrings, necklaces, and bracelets using  a variety of techniques: stringing beads onto wire or thread, weaving, wirework (which involves coiling, looping, and twisting wire that holds the beads), and bead embroidery (using a needle and thread to attach beads to a surface like fabric, suede or leather). She also experiments with finger weaving, metal work, and kumihimo, a Japanese technique of braiding silk strands to create colored cords.

“This is why I chose This n That as my name!”

Calanche started her foray into beading shortly after marrying her husband, GrayEagle. Watching him do projects for his dance regalia, Calanche decided to give it a try, with her first project being a flat, beaded rose. It remains a favorite piece because of its leather backing, which came from the last deer her father shot.

“It took a long time for me to finish,” Calanche remembers. But from that point, she was unstoppable, poring through books and magazines for project ideas and teaching techniques. There is no end to potential projects, Calanche says.

blue beads necklace bracelet earrings jewelry mary calanche

A selected of blue beaded jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Mary Calanche of Dayton

Beads of Every Shape, Size and Color

“New beads of every shape, size, and color come out constantly,” she explains. “You can take an old pattern and change it up. Or you see a new project and change it into something of your own.” Sometimes, if enough time and learning curve has gone by, she revisits something that was once impossibly difficult and discovers that, somehow, it’s not so impossible anymore.

“My favorite project is whatever I am working on! It doesn’t matter if it is a new project or one I’ve done before, I just love to bead!”

The process is soothing, she adds, describing her time in “the shack,” with the family Corgis to keep her company, as crucial me time. Even when a tray of beads drop, or she must undo an “oops,” or the beads on a project are so small that it’s difficult to see the holes, it’s simply an opportunity to practice yet another skill — patience.

“Patience is something I need to practice, and beading is a marvelous instructor.”

black white beads bracelet mary calanche jewelry

A black and white, patterned beaded bracelet by Wenaha Gallery artist Mary Calanche.

Beads around the World

Calanche has entered her work in the Columbia County Fair, and maintains inventory at both Wenaha Gallery in Dayton and Divine Serendipity Spa in Walla Walla. She has sold her creations to buyers as far away as South Korea, Australia, Scotland, and Thailand. When she isn’t beading or learning a new technique in beading, she continues to tackle her storage shed studio, which she describes as being in a state of turmoil ever since she took it over.

“I have painted, changed the tabletops, built shelving. In between all that, I have tried to organize and tidy things up — I think I will get it done in a few years.”

Or . . . not.

What matters is that there is room for the beads and all their accoutrements, and time to transform them into something unique and beautiful. Story problem or not, it’s not the number of beads, but what you do with them, that counts.

To purchase Mary Calanche’s jewelry online, click on this link.

 

Wenaha Gallery

Mary Calanche is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, May 21, 2018, through Saturday, Saturday, June 16, 2018.  Calanche will be in the gallery in person during a special Art Show Saturday, May 26, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., as part of Dayton Days.

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.

 

Florist and Painter — Watercolor Art by Deborah Bruce

still life watercolor floral flowers deborah bruce retired florist

Joy in a Bowl, floral and flower still life watercolor painting by Deborah Bruce, Walla Walla artist and 30-year career florist.

The major rule about crossing the Grand Canyon on a tightrope — assuming that there is a list of rules somewhere — is that you don’t stop in the middle. Not an option.

forest reflections country landscape deborah bruce retired florist

Forest Reflections, watercolor country landscape by Walla Walla painter, and retired florist, Deborah Bruce

And while creating a watercolor painting is not fraught with as many perils, the same requisites apply: you don’t stop in the middle, throw up your hands in consternation, and give up, whether the painting is going stunningly well, or teetering on the edge of collapse.

“My biggest challenge when I’m working on a piece is when I am about halfway through it,” says Deborah Bruce, a Walla Walla painter and retired florist who has focused on watercolor for the last 20 years.

“If I have gotten to where I really like it, I become terrified that I am going to do something to ruin it.

“If I am not liking it, I struggle to keep going.

“I have one rule when I paint, and that is to finish regardless of how I feel about it in the middle. At times I am successful, and sometimes not, but I have found that what I think is a real mess can actually be fine if I just finish and don’t give up in the middle.”

The Florist Philosopher

Wise words, ones that get you over the scary part and to the other side. The medium of watercolor, Bruce explains, is neither forgiving nor easy, but its very difficulties are what make it fun to work with and wonderful to experience. Without the option of painting over mistakes, watercolor artists must plan out carefully where they want to start and end.

Gus Wonder Dog Terrier Pet portrait Deborah Bruce florist

Gus the Wonder Dog, watercolor portrait by Walla Walla painter and retired florist, Deborah Bruce

“It’s more about letting the light come through, knowing what to leave, and allowing the transparency and light and dark values to bring out drama and color,” she adds.

Retired from a career as professional florist for more than 30 years, Bruce is especially drawn to painting flowers, citing their variety, color, shape, and form. And while she loves the bright colors of many blooms, Bruce is intrigued by white flowers, which, when they’re painted, frequently involve no white paint at all. They’re really filled with subtle, but definite, color.

The Florist Painter

Bruce began painting seriously in high school, encouraged by a teacher who saw potential, but like many artists, set the pursuit aside as family and career demanded her limited time. When her sons entered high school she decided to take a watercolor class at Walla Walla Community College, taught by longtime teacher and painter Joyce Anderson, and from that point never looked back.

“I felt like a very important part of me came alive again in that first class.”

downtown walla walla deborah bruce watercolor painter florist

Downtown Walla Walla by watercolor painter and 30-year florist Deborah Bruce

Since then, Bruce has taken several more classes with Anderson, as well as attended workshops by Eric Wiegardt, Birgit O’Conner, Lian Quan Zhen, Tom Lynch, and Soon Warren. Bruce actively participates in Walla Walla Art Walk and the annual Art Squared event, and has shown her art locally at Saviah Cellars, Blue Mountain Cider Company, Plumb Cellars, and a number of area restaurants. She created a wine label for Tricycle Cellars Viognier, and most recently is focusing on commissioned dog portraits.

“I am a dog lover myself and find their faces intriguing. They are all so different and so delightful.”

Gimignano watercolor flower floral landscape arch deborah bruce florist watercolor painter

Gimignano, a cascading floral array and archway by Walla Walla watercolor painter and former florist, Deborah Bruce

The Realist Florist

Working out of a studio fashioned from a spare bedroom in her home, Bruce is highly aware of the season of the year, explaining that she can’t create a snow scene in the middle of summer. Detail minded, she stops short of putting in every point and line, allowing the viewer’s imagination to play. She has never forgotten a conversation in her youth she had with an art instructor, in which Bruce expressed her amazement at the realism of a particular painting:

When Bruce observed that the image looked like a photograph, the instructor replied that it was much better than a photograph, because it was created through a human heart.

“I hope in my paintings the viewer will see a piece of my heart,” Bruce says.

“I hope I can take the viewer someplace they want to be — I love it when a painting brings a smile, and it is my ultimate win when a commissioned piece or a painting I have done for someone brings tears of joy.”

That’s definitely a good end goal to pursue, and an excellent reason for not stopping in the middle.

Wenaha Gallery

Deborah Bruce is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, May 7, 2018, through Saturday, Saturday, June 2, 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.

 

farmhouse winter country quilt landscape catherine little

The Quest to Quilt — Fabric Art by Catherine Little

farmhouse winter country quilt landscape catherine little

Farmhouse in Winter, a country landscape art quilt by textile and fabric artist Catherine Little

Many people, when they undertake a project unlike anything they’ve ever done before, prefer to go gently, starting small, picking up skills, and learning from little mistakes that are quickly fixed.

ocean fish placemats quilt textile fabric art Catherine Little

Ocean Fish Placemats, art quilt home decor by textile and fabric artist Catherine Little of White Bird, ID.

And then there are those who take a flying leap over the crevasse, convinced that one way or another they’ll make it to the other side. Quite often they do, even if they had to spend a few tense moments dangling over the abyss, feet flailing and hands clawing the edge. It makes for a memorable event.

So it was for quilt artist Cathy Little who, long before she was a quilt artist or even dreamed of becoming one, dabbled in drawing and painting. With marriage, work, and kids she set these aside and focused on sewing: clothes for her daughters, curtains for windows, and pillows for the couch.

The First Quilt Was the Biggest Quilt

“After the kids were grown and gone, I thought about painting again, but then my oldest daughter convinced me to make a quilt for her as a wedding gift,” says the White Bird, ID, textile virtuoso.

It wasn’t just any quilt: California king-sized, and log cabin style requiring hundreds upon hundreds of inch-wide strips, all of which had to be cut, arranged, and accurately sewn to fulfill the design. Oh, and it was quilted by hand, spread out on the living room floor inside of a giant embroidery hoop.

rose beige crib quilt vintage fabrics catherine little

Rose and Beige Crib Quilt, incorporating vintage 1930s style fabrics, by White Bird fabric artist Catherine Little

“For a first time quilter, it was quite a challenge.”

Understatement is the first word that comes to mind.

But apparently, Little enjoyed the leap, and arriving on the other side she saw the possibilities:

“More marriages and many grandchildren later found me making lots of pieced quilts, using various blocks and patterns,” Little explains. “After 9/11, I began making small memory quilts for children who lost a parent at the World Trade Center or Pentagon.”

Applique and the Art Quilt

It was while making these memory quilts that Little discovered applique, which opened, in her words, the sewing room door to a technique that developed into art quilts, many of them focused upon wildlife and the landscapes it inhabits. Living out in the country, Little takes photos of her animal and bird neighbors, transfers the photos into drawing form, then creates a unique, original design resulting in a one-of-a-kind wall hanging or home decor, embellished by permanent fabric paints and machine embroidery.

sage grouse bird wildlife art quilt catherine little

Sage-grouse, art quilt by fabric and textile artist Catherine Little of White Bird, ID

One noted project, commissioned by a couple who are avid hunters, is a triptych featuring every game animal and bird found in Idaho.

Another project, Picturing Idaho’s Past, took first place in a quilting competition and incorporated objects, pictures, and books,  all related to Idaho’s history. Little created a fabric hutch, patterned after furniture that belonged to her husband’s grandmother, and then appliqued the historical images within.

“I did get a bit carried away with that project, and hand wrote on the back of the quilt a history of Idaho using the state shape to outline the text in permanent fabric ink.”

Fabric, Fabric Everywhere & Just Enough Space to Quilt

Adding to her repertoire of textile skills, Little learned to freeform quilt on her sewing machine, and complements the quilting to the applique. Using primarily batik fabrics for their vivid colors, she turns out wall hangings, coasters, placemats, hot pads, memory quilts, and tea cozies, as well as pieced-block baby quilts in 1930s, vintage-style fabrics. She especially enjoys special order commissions, as the final project is markedly unique to the client requesting it.

Loving what she does, her only complaint is the size of her sewing room.

“With boxes of fabrics, shelves of patterns and books, drawers of threads, three sewing/quilting machines, and an old dining room table to sew on, there is barely enough room to get around.”

It is a definite improvement, however, to folds of fabric spilling out all over her living room, and a long ways forward from that first ambitious, grandiose, California king-sized quilt. Well worth the leap, Little’s willingness to cross the crevasse, was a big — not a little — jump forward and beyond.

 

Wenaha Gallery

Catherine Little is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, April 23, 2018, through Saturday, Saturday, May 19, 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.

autumn sunflower floral mixed media photographic art gay waldman

Digital Revolution — The Enhanced Photographic Art of Gay Waldman

autumn sunflower floral mixed media photographic art gay waldman

Autumn Sunflower, mixed media photographic digital art by Spokane artist Gay Waldman.

The great thing about the digital revolution is that Gay Waldman can now wash clothes in her laundry room.

For years, the Spokane artist — who creates digitally enhanced photographs through Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter and Nik Software  — set up a darkroom in either her bath or laundry room so that she could build collages and enlarged images of her abstract/representational fusion art.

autumn gold trees woods forest digital art gay waldman spokane

Autumn Gold Sentinels, digital photographic art by Spokane artist, Gay Waldman — celebrating the world of nature with an abstract twist.

Leaping into the Digital Revolution

“I am very fortunate to have taken the leap into the digital world in 1994,” Waldman says, explaining that she build upon computer skills in marketing and bookkeeping to  achieve prowess in photo-restoration. As the Internet improved, so did her abilities, to the point that she eventually built her own computer to meet the unique digital needs of her art. She also dismantled her physical darkroom and turned to professional photo lab processors for her printing needs, allowing her to focus exclusively on multimedia photomontage that integrates the light, color, texture, and form of natural images.

“My photographs record reality and are the starting point of all my images,” Waldman says. “When I depress the shutter, the image is captured, and I will use it at a later date as a component in a new work of art.”

Digital Art: More Than Pressing Buttons

It’s much more than pressing a button or clicking on a few keyboard keys, she adds, with even seemingly simple images requiring a good eye, technical prowess, and experience stemming from years of exploration and experimentation. Originally trained as a painter, Waldman also employs traditional media such as colored pencils, pastel, acrylic paint, and oil to add detail and color, resulting in a mixed media melange that encourages the viewer to pause a moment, absorb the image, and make a connection with form in color, line and shape.

women's medical center gritman moscow idaho gay waldman digital photography art

In the reception area of the Women’s Imaging Center of Gritman Medical Center in Moscow, ID, four of Gay Waldman’s digital photographic artworks add a glow of color and form.

“My artwork making is a never-ending, intuitive journey of my fascination of the relationship between organic object and man-made objects,” Waldman says. “I love the intricacy of leaves, tree patterns, flower petals, vines, how light falls everywhere, shadows, horizons, water, and all sorts of growth.”

Endless Ideas

Never far from a notebook to jot down ideas which exhibit no sign of stopping, Waldman draws upon a vast collection of photographs taken through the years to develop concepts expressing an appreciation for design.

“Art making is my addiction: I crave the exploration and the creative process of manipulating images, and my passion is to push my photographs into images that expose my originality.”

why we live here public art installation spokane convention center gay waldman

“Why We Live Here,” Gay Waldman’s public art installation at the Spokane Convention Center.

Waldman sells her work through galleries, her studio, her website, and at Northwest festivals including those in Boise, Seattle, and Coeur d’Alene.  A permanent collection of 24 of her works hangs in the Women’s Imaging Center of Gritman Medical Center in Moscow, ID. Additional public art includes “Celebrate Our City,” a five-panel installation at the Wells Fargo Building in Spokane, as well as “Why We Live Here,” an 85-foot wide by 20-foot tall mural at the Spokane Convention Center.

This latter project, which Waldman identifies as her most notable to date, involved a two-year process of applying, presentation, designing, and engineering, and the benefits have been enormous. Most gratifying is when individuals enter Waldman’s booth at an art festival and recognize her work from a public installation.

“When they meet me, it provides them a connection between the art and the artist.”

Samba garden floral flower digital photographic art gay waldman spokane

Samba Garden, a digital array of flower blossoms and petals by photograph enhancer Gay Waldman of Spokane, WA

An Artist before the Digital Age

Like many highly creative people, Waldman has wanted to be an artist for as long as she can remember, and has never forgotten her kindergarten teacher’s comment on a report card — “Gay might be a great artist one day!” Her unique niche in photography came about because of a lack of time: upon graduating from the university and working many, many jobs to get by, Waldman found time and money short for painting. When she was approached about exhibiting her artwork at a special show, she supplemented paintings with photographs she had taken with the intent to paint someday. The next gallery show was all photographs, incorporating mixed media and collage, and a career was born.

“At that time, I didn’t realize photographs would be the foundation of all my artwork.

“My artwork and I keep growing with every exhibit, festival, and commission.

Pleasantly Busy

It’s a lifestyle that keeps an artist consistently but pleasantly busy, and while there may not be enough time to fold clothes in neat, organized piles, it’s nice to know that they don’t have to share space with bins of liquid chemicals. And while any given day looks remarkably different — from photographing to interior design consulting, from providing custom framing services for other artists to participating in an invitational, juried show, it’s all about art — and that’s worth spending time on.

“I am completely captivated with making art, because it’s the only thing in my life where I have total control of the outcome.”

Wenaha Gallery

Gay Waldman is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, April 9, 2018, through Saturday, Saturday, May 5, 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.

two kittens cats snuggling family pet ellen heath dixie watercolor painting

Simple Living and Joy — The Watercolor Art of Ellen Heath

two kittens cats snuggling family pet simple living ellen heath dixie watercolor painting

Two Kittens Snuggling, watercolor painting by Dixie artist Ellen Heath, capturing the simple living of life with our pets.

Much of life’s most profound philosophy shows up on dish towels.

crab apple blossoms spring flowers simple living ellen heath dixie watercolor

Crab Apples, watercolor painting by Dixie artist Ellen Heath, celebrating the simple living of springtime blossoms

Most of us have seen a sunny little potted flower image on fabric, with “Bloom Where You Are Planted,” written in script underneath. But with wisdom reduced to one-liners, it’s easy to overlook perspicacity.

There are people, however, like Dixie watercolor painter Ellen Heath, who get it. With or without reassurance from the kitchen aisle at the local box store, Heath understands, and lives, the simple life that adds depth to our existence.

“It would be great to travel to exotic places, but I don’t need to,” Heath, who focuses on floral paintings, wildlife, and domestic animals, says. “I look around me, right now, where I am.”

The Profundity of Living Simple

From her home and studio in the foothills of the Blue Mountains outside of Dixie, Heath finds an abundance of inspiration and ideas by doing nothing more than looking through her window, where mother deer show up with their fawns to eat and play under two ancient apple trees. A country walk with her husband Cliff results in more deer sightings, along with owls, squirrels, and the occasional bear or cougar.

doe fawn wildlife animal spring simple living ellen heath dixie watercolor

A doe and fawn, by Dixie watercolor artist Ellen Heath, capturing the simple living of wildlife in the country

On another outing — with the purpose of viewing newborn twin baby cows — a kitten stole the show when it bounced in their path and arched its back.

“He looked so brave and tiny that I took lots of pictures, which I used as reference for ‘Kitten Attack.'”

Heath sells her original paintings, as well as prints and boxes of note cards, to clients who love color and the allure of country life, and she is especially pleased when she hears that a work has been hung in a spot where it can be readily seen and often enjoyed: one couple hung the commissioned painting of their kittens right above the box where the cats sleep. Another purchaser showcases in his hallway a painting of his father’s favorite fishing spot.

Simple Living, Beauty, and Joy

“I want people to catch a glimpse of the beauty and joy that I see in the world around us,” Heath says. “I know all is not this way, but I hope people get a warm, good feeling inside when they look at my paintings.”

leafy bridge country rural forest woods simple living ellen heath watercolor

Leafy Bridge by Dixie watercolor artist Ellen Heath, capturing the simple country life of the rural woods and forest.

It may not sound deep and artsy, she adds, but her primary subject matter revolves around happiness.

“I don’t want to spend my days probing the dark and deep depths of the world.”

Heath, who retired from teaching elementary school a year and half ago, transformed an extra bedroom in her house into a studio. She credits her mother, still active and dynamic at 95, for inspiring her from childhood to do art — “She was always painting, creating things, sewing, cooking, and more. There were art supplies, beads, ribbons, yarn, pressed flowers, cards to make.”

Through the years, Heath has studied art at workshops and college classes, and acknowledges Walla Walla painter Joyce Anderson as the major influence toward her decision to focus on watercolor, which is anything but an easy medium in which to work. But the difficulties, Heath adds, are also the advantages.

Watercolor: Anything BUT Simple

“The challenges and benefits of watercolor for me are the same, as in the rest of life,” she says. “It seems that those things that are the most difficult also bring the most joy.”

cat family pet animal simple living ellen heath watercolor painting dixie

Cat, watercolor painting by Ellen Heath of Dixie. Simple living is normal living for our house cat friends.

Watercolor paint doesn’t necessarily stay where you put it, she explains. It can sink into the paper, creating  darker or lighter spots, or it can flow with the water. Sometimes, this results in colorful, swirling images, but other times — not planned and certainly not desired — the hues turn into mud.

To take full advantage of the translucent, exquisite color of the medium, Heath builds a painting in layers, starting with the lightest colors, and often leans the incomplete picture against the wall to dry while she reviews the areas of light and shadow.

“I’ll put it up again and again, sometimes waiting a couple of days in between. It may be a couple of weeks or even more before I’m finished.” And even then, she admits, it’s tempting to go back and “fix” it up after it’s matted and framed.

Simplicity, Tranquility, Clarity

But there’s no reason to overwork things, to add complications where they are not needed, to fret and fuss and brood — ultimately, the image itself announces that it is done, and ready to be launched into the world. What matters is the joy, the beauty, the invitation to the viewer to step into a world of simplicity, tranquility, and clarity.

“I paint things that make me happy and relaxed, either because of the bright colors of the subject matter.

“I hope others will also find a smile or a bit of joy in them.”

Wenaha Gallery

Ellen Heath is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, March 26, 2018, through Saturday, Saturday, April 21, 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.

 

 

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.