quail run birds chatting monica stobie print

Stay Chatting: Quail Talk by Monica Stobie

quail run birds chatting monica stobie print

Chatting is a pleasurable activity that we do every day as we interact with one another. Quail Talking, art print by Monica Stobie.

Thanks to modern technology, the word “chatting” doesn’t mean what it used to mean.

Now, the word implies texting, or typing on Messenger, or responding to a social media post. Emojis add depth to the conversation, or at least prevent misunderstanding, or soften an insult.

But chatting is a verbal thing, light and easy conversation among friends, families, and even acquaintances. When we check out at the grocery we chat with the cashier (and the person bagging our goods — they get overlooked a lot). At the library we chat with the librarian, sharing books we have read and picking up some good ideas from each other. On the street, we chat with people we bump into. In line, we chat with the person next to us. At night, we chat with family members and friends about our day. We tell stories, swap anecdotes, banter lightly back and forth about the “news” and the “newsworthy.”

Chatting, while it is not the in-depth, intense conversation that is so necessary to freedom of thought, matters. It transitions total strangers into acquaintances, and from acquaintances, we can become friends. Even if our conversation never progresses beyond the light and easy, that’s okay. Each friendly social interaction is a reminder that we share more than we think. In a society that is regularly polarized by politics and mass media, that’s important.

Family, Friends, Acquaintances — We Chat

Monica Stobie’s artwork Quail Talk, invites us to step into the world of chatting. Here we have a family — little ones, big ones, aunts and uncles and moms and dads — poking about their day and keeping up a cheep of communication. It’s a friendly, gregarious moment, an interaction that adds pleasure to the day.

Chatting is delightful. Let’s keep doing it.

Stay Chatting — It Mitigates Polarization

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Quail Talk by Monica Stobie. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Monica Stobie are at this link.

If this post has encouraged you, please pass it on.

 

blue jay bird contemplative animal carl brenders

Stay Contemplative: Flash of Sapphire by Carl Brenders

blue jay bird contemplative animal carl brenders

Still for a moment, the Blue Jay appears to be in a state of thought. Flash of Sapphire by Carl Brenders

It can’t be easy being a small bird. After all, there are lots of larger creatures — raccoons, skunks, birds of prey, and of course, cats — who would like to have a close relationship with you that isn’t necessarily the kind you’re looking for.

It’s no wonder that birds hop about, take to flight, keep moving, seem nervous somehow.

But the bird in Carl Brenders artwork, Flash of Sapphire, is quiet and still — one could imagine that it is contemplative. Because quietness and stillness are what it takes to be contemplative, thoughtful, engaging in the deep thought that only humans, really, can engage in. And while birds and animals are not able to engage in that deep thinking, they do have an advantage over us humans that we might consider adopting: they don’t glue themselves to social media, allowing it to permeate their thoughts and actions, making them more nervous than they already are.

“But you’re promoting your own words on social media!” one can imagine the outcry.

That’s a good observation. So . . . let’s bring it back to our ability to engage in deep thinking: not everything we read online is true — that’s a statement we’ve been hearing for years. Let us contemplate that thought . . .

Add a Contemplative Image to Your Day

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Flash of Sapphire by Carl Brenders. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Carl Brenders are at this link.

If this post has encouraged you, please pass it on.

scarlet tanager bird blossoms wildlife rod frederick

Stay Outside the Fray: Scarlet Tanager by Rod Frederick

scarlet tanager bird blossoms wildlife rod frederick

What a beautiful place to stop and be for awhile, enjoying the silence and a time for thought? Scarlet Tanager by Rod Frederick.

Have you ever been at a big sale, when people are pushing and shoving at one another, intent upon buying some loss leader item at a box store, as if it were something worth getting so intent about? You find yourself right in the middle of the fray, pushing back, when you suddenly think,

“What on earth am I doing? Did I just push that person aside????”

Maybe you’ve never done this. That’s good to hear. But, all of us, in some way, are tempted to jump into the fray sometimes, to enter the room swinging, to determinedly push another person aside. One of the frays of our day is social media. This is a place, we’re told, that’s like a party, a social gathering where people are free to say what they want and the others in the room, like polite people, nod if they agree. And if they don’t, they may pass by and get another drink, or politely — like polite people — engage in a meaningful dialogue of dissent.

Hmm. I wonder where that particular platform could be . . .

The artwork, Scarlet Tanager by Rod Frederick, shows a most beautiful little bird, set within a riotous environment of spring blossoms. The scene is serene, the bird quiet.  He (she?) isn’t squawking, scolding, screeching, but rather, stands poised in an attitude of thought, of contemplation. Out of the fray of the flock, the Tanager is in place of peace and beauty. Should another Tanager show up, perhaps they will chat — face to face, because that is the best form of communication — but for now, the Tanager is able to just . . . think.

Out of the fray.

Stay Outside the Fray in a Quiet Place of Thought

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Scarlet Tanager by Rod Frederick.  You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Rod Frederick  are at this link.

If this post has encouraged you, please pass it on.

Morning joy bird bible promises Psalms Shawna Wright

Bible Promises and Song Birds — Watercolor by Shawna Wright

Isaiah never forgotten bird bible promises shawna wright

Never Forgotten, inspirational watercolor painting featuring Bible promises from Isaiah 49:15, by Shawna Wright

The Comfort of Bible Promises

When someone we know is hurt and needing, we so often want to help, but just as often do not know how. What gesture can we make, what action can we take, to bring comfort?

Morning joy bird bible promises Psalms Shawna Wright

Joy Comes in the Morning, inspirational watercolor painting by Milton-Freewater, OR, artist Shawna Wright

The answer that watercolor painter Shawna Wright found for this question not only made a difference for the person she was trying to help, but launched her on an unexpected life journey. After earnest prayers to God that He would show her a ministry, something to do for Him, she found herself creating paintings of birds incorporating hand-written promises from the Bible.

And those paintings are resonating with people.

But first, let’s go back to the beginning:

It Started with Stick Men

“In January 2015, my father was in excruciating pain from a severe injury,” the Milton-Freewater, OR, artist remembers.

“Dad was over 2,500 miles away, and my heart ached, wanting to help him. I was inspired to make him a journal of Bible promises and hymns. It wasn’t beautiful — in fact, it was rather rough as my art ability at that time stopped at stick men — but it was from my heart.”

Every morning for two years Wright emailed her father a scanned copy from her journal. Every day, the pages became more detailed and colorful as, bit by bit, Wright began experimenting with her images. On her father’s birthday, inspired by the desire to do something distinctive, she created her first bird painting.

Possible with God bird watercolor Luke Shawna Wright

It’s Possible with God, original inspirational watercolor painting by Shawna Wright

“Both Dad and I knew that something special had happened,” Wright says.

Within two months, she was sharing her work on Facebook, had launched a website, and published her first set of inspirational calendars.

Birds and Bible Promises

Crediting God for her artistic advancements (“Little did I know that He had enrolled me in His own art class”), Wright has published her sixth yearly calendar, as well as numerous prints, cards, and recently, two prayer journals for mothers featuring 100 of her works. She writes a weekly blog of short stories and thoughts on the topic of Bible promises, pairing each article with one of her paintings. She has created numerous commissioned paintings for people who want a customized work in memory of a loved one. And she finds herself invited to share her story at local events, on podcasts, and in televised interviews.

“Bible promises have been a key part of my life, one that has given me comfort, hope, and happiness.

“My goal is to encourage the discouraged, bring hope to the helpless, and comfort to the grieving.”

A Memorable Commission

One of her most memorable commissions involved a woman who sewed blankets for children who have cancer. The client wanted Wright to design a tag to accompany the blankets.

strong courageous joshua bible promises bird hand shawna wright

Be Strong and Courageous, art tags commissioned for pediatric brain cancer awareness by Shawna Wright

“I felt a tender spot in my heart for the families of these children, and agreed to do it free of charge,” Wright says.

“Not long before I took on this project, an eight-year-old girl, Julianna Sayler from Walla Walla, lost her fight with brain cancer. Julianna’s favorite Bible verse had been Joshua 1:9.” (Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.)

Wright drew a golden bird and hand, symbolizing both pediatric cancer awareness and the concept of Jesus holding people in the palm of his hand.

“It is titled, ‘Jesus has me,’ quoting Julianna’s words right until the end.”

Wright gave the original painting to Julianna’s parents. All proceeds from the hundreds of mini-cards, tags and prints that have been sold of this image are donated to the Julianna Sayler Foundation, which helps families of children with cancer.

Each Calendar Has a Feeling of Its Own

With the exception of some commissions, all of Wright’s work features birds with Bible promises. Designed around a theme — courage, faithfulness, assurance, etc. — the calendars are the driver of each year’s art. One year the images were rustic and country, another focused on bold colors and bright flowers.

“I like to mix it up so that each calendar has a feel of its own.

“A theme and harmony is important to me; it’s the glue that holds what I do together.”

She’s come a long way from stick men and scanned journal pages. And she knows, as with any journey, there are many paths ahead, many twists and bends and switchbacks. But she takes seriously the Bible promises she incorporates into her artwork, and she knows that her Art Teacher is serious about working with her.

“I have never taken classes, watched YouTube, or read books. I’ve kept my story true — ‘God Taught.’ It’s what gives my work a unique style.”

Wenaha GalleryShawna Wright is the featured  Art Event from Monday, March 9 through Saturday, April 4 at Wenaha Gallery.

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.

 

open meadow bird flying batik watercolor painting denise elizabeth stone

Batik Beauty — The Watercolor Paintings of Denise Elizabeth Stone

open meadow bird flying batik watercolor painting denise elizabeth stone

Open Meadow, original batik watercolor of bird in flight, by Wenaha Gallery artist Denise Elizabeth Stone.

An artist’s creativity is not limited to what they do, but also where and how they do it. And while a separate, spacious studio is ideal, it is not always reality.

birds flying tall grass swamp herons batik watercolor painting

Birds in the Tall Grass, batik watercolor painting by Wenaha Gallery artist, Denise Elizabeth Stone

“I’ve worked at kitchen tables, office desks, and on the back porch at various times, with all the accompanying frustrations of clearing and  moving around for other activities, such as dinner,” says Denise Elizabeth Stone, a painter whose preferred medium, batik watercolor, demands substantial space and time.

“Batik watercolor is a long process, involving many steps and materials,” the LaGrande, OR, artist continues.

“Painting is done on Asian papers, then it is waxed with beeswax or paraffin, crumpled, inked, and the wax is ironed out. The paper is absorbent, so it is challenging to paint on, rather like painting on tissue paper.

“For many paintings, there may be multiple waxing and painting stages, so it requires much thought and planning to map out the process each time.”

It’s no understatement to say that she doesn’t want to put away the latest project with every meal. Fortunately for Stone, the house in which she now lives includes a 20 x 20 foot room that housed the original owner’s basement art supply shop:

“When I first walked into the space it was as though I heard my art future calling to me!”

The Clarion Call of Batik Watercolor

Actually, Stone’s art future has been calling to her for a long time, beginning in her childhood, when she drew, doodled, colored and, upon entering her “tiny” high school, signed up for the first art class it ever offered. The daughter of a photographer, Stone relied upon the camera as her creative outlet for years, at the same time exploring collage, ceramics, pastel, and traditional watercolor through classes, working with art partners, and self instruction. She found her niche more than 10 years ago when she discovered batik watercolor, partnering with three professional artists with whom she painted twice a month, as well as joined in group shows under the name of the Batik Convergence.

crow blackbird profile batik watercolor painting denise elizabeth stone

Crow, original batik watercolor painting by Wenaha Gallery artist, Denise Elizabeth Stone of LaGrande, OR.

“Lucky me! I had three teacher-mentors who encouraged, critiqued, and prodded me to develop not only artistic skills, but also my own artistic voice.”

Stone’s artistic voice sings heavily of nature, the environment, Earth, and landscapes, subject matter she finds compelling because it touches the lives of everyone who walks, and breathes, and lives on the planet. Initially focusing on what she calls the Divine Feminine (“This was during my Goddess period”), Stone seeks to convey a feeling of reverence — not religious, but sacred —  encouraging a sense of respect for life and the landscape.

For her Art Event at Wenaha Gallery through July 28, Stone is focusing on birds, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the International Migratory Bird Treaty, one of the earliest efforts to protect birds.

The Long Road to Full-Time Artist

Stone describes herself as taking a long time on the road to full-time artist, a scenic journey winding through the fields of science, spirituality, and psychology. A retired psychotherapist, Stone is fascinated by the language of metaphor, symbol, and archetype,

swimming heron bird in pond raining batik watercolor painting

Swimming, original batik watercolor painting by Wenaha Gallery artist, Denise Elizabeth Stone.

and incorporates a universal symbology — which speaks to the intuitive, as opposed to conscious level — in her work.

“Each painting tells a story, perhaps my story or yours, or maybe a story of human experience.

“Sometimes I begin with the story in mind, but more often the story emerges as part of the creation process.”

Stone has exhibited her work at solo and group shows throughout Central and Eastern Oregon. At one of the first shows she entered, Art at the Crossroads in Baker City, she not only garnered People’s Choice, but sold the painting that same night. Despite an appreciable list of awards and honors since then, that memory remains one of her fondest.

The Unpredictability of Batik Painting and Life

Because of the nature of batik painting, nothing about the process is predictable, but for Stone, the unexpected  is part of the journey. You do your best, turn mistakes into opportunities, and accept that not everything is under your control.

“Potential perils hide in each step, so success or failure is not apparent until the final stage.

“The end product, when everything comes together and the batik goddess smiles, is unusual and compelling, with its crackly-textured surface and intense, saturated colors.”

That does, indeed, sound a lot like life.

Wenaha Gallery

Denise Elizabeth Stone is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, July 2, 2018, through Saturday, July 28, 2018.  Stone will join two other artists, Garrett Lowe of Timberbronze home decor and Joyce Anderson Watercolors, at the Summer Celebration Art Show Saturday, July 21, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free Artisan Treats will be provided, as well as a free Steve Henderson fine art note card to each visitor. Stone is donating ten percent of her sales from her Art Event and show to bird and habitat preservation organizations.

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 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, 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.

Pink Roses out of office cubicle painting David Schatz Portland

Escaping the Office Cubicle — The Paintings of David Schatz

Pink Roses out of office cubicle painting David Schatz Portland

Out of the office cubicle with Pink Roses, Oil on Panel by Portland artist David Schatz, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Office cubicles are not known for being spacious, liberating, beautiful places.

Grey, carpeted, windowless, and with walls too low for privacy, the ubiquitous modern “office” is a venue that artist David Schatz left far behind on weekends and holidays, when he explored landscapes, floral gardens, and wildlife refuges in search of meaningful images to paint.

morning waldo lake original painting david schatz out of the office cubicle

Definitely outside of the office cubicle, Morning on Waldo Lake, original oil on canvas by David Schatz

“I try to capture the beauty of what I see outside and bring it inside,” the Portland, OR, artist explains.

“I have no agenda except for trying to find and express the beauty in this world.”

Schatz, who has been drawing and painting since high school when an aunt gave him a set of oil pastels, was told during university studies that he should find something else to do as he would never become a painter. In a characteristic combination of practicality with stubbornness, Schatz turned to circuit board design for the electronics industry as his day job, and pursued painting when he was, literally, free.

Fine Art & The Day Job

Ironically, the day job — which appears to have nothing to do with the finer nuances of fine art — benefited from Schatz’s artistic bent, requiring the sense of spatial relationship demanded by drawing and painting.

“My painting skills helped me to visualize how a circuit board would have to be arranged to fit the space available,” Schatz says.

“I got my first job in electronics because I could draw.”

One of the most challenging aspects of Schatz’s dual sets of skills — aside from the cubicle — had to do with Schatz’s coworkers because, outside of concerns to do with the job, there was nothing to talk about:

patience green plant with leaves david schatz acrylic painting

Patience, original acrylic by David Schatz, capturing the world outside of the office cubicle

“I was surrounded by engineering geeks who had no idea of why anyone would want to paint when he could be playing computer games,” Schatz recalls.

“For my part, I had no idea why anyone would want to play computer games when he could paint.”

Schatz speaks of this situation in the past, having “escaped the cube,” as he puts it, through retirement, and is presently pursuing the full time career in art that he was earlier assured he could not have. Carrying a camera with him everywhere (“So does everyone,” he notes wryly, “with their cell phones”), Schatz captures reference photos nearby — taking advantage of Portland’s many public gardens to find floral images — as well as across the country in Florida, where he haunts wildlife refuges.

Easygoing Birds

“The birds in the refuges know that they are safe, and ignore the photographers,” Schatz says. “The camera that I use has a wonderful zoom lens, and the birds do seem to be posing for us.

“There are often 5-10 photographers lined up shooting the same bird.”

stalker crane bird acrylic painting david schatz

The Stalker, original acrylic painting by David Schatz

But a reference photo is just that — a photo — until the artist shapes and forms it into a painting, incorporating light, shadow, atmospheric perspective, color, and that elusive sense of feeling and emotion resulting only after much careful attention from the artist’s hand and soul. The highly realistic nature of Schatz’s work commands that he work closely on a small area at a time, addressing with his brush a petal or rock until it’s precisely the way he wants it to be.

It is because of his method that Schatz prefers working with reference photos over painting in plein air.

“My passion is for nature and I will paint anything that I can photograph,” he says.

“But I am a slow painter, and anything that I choose to paint will be long gone before I get started painting!”

Schatz has sold his work throughout the Pacific Northwest, and his art has been spotlighted at watercolor society exhibits in both Texas and Louisiana. One of his works was featured on the front cover of the British edition of Best of Flower Painting, and his floral images have been published by Wild Wings, a licensing agency specializing in wildlife, Americana, and nostalgia images.

It’s all part of focusing on the natural world — flora and fauna — and bringing it, as Schatz determines, into the inside where it can be seen, appreciated, longed for, and loved. Fine art belongs everywhere including — and maybe especially — the office cubicle.

Wenaha Gallery

David Schatz is the Featured Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, May 8 through Saturday, June 3, 2017. Schatz will be at the gallery Saturday, May 27 for a special two-person art show with Kennewick artist LuAnn Ostergaard, 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.

 

Eclectic and Diverse — The Paintings of Todd Telander

russel creek fields walla walla oil painting todd telander

Russell Creek Fields, original oil painting by Todd Telander, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Flexible. Adaptable. Supple.

While these sound like requirements for a CrossFit athlete, they aptly describe the attitude of an artist, specifically, Todd Telander of Walla Walla.

red vineyard river landscape todd telander walla walla

Red Vineyard by the River by Todd Telander

The painter and illustrator — who specializes in everything from commercial illustration to teaching art students from 10 to 80 years old — toggles back and forth between tasks with irrepressible fluidity, one moment brushing  oil-painted cows onto a loose, almost abstract background, the next finessing exquisite detail on a falcon for a birder’s field guide.

Telander, who completed a graduate-level program in scientific illustration at the University of California in Santa Cruz, has been combining two seemingly disparate disciplines — science and art — for the last 25 years. Working as a freelance artist on a national and international level, Telander has undertaken commissioned works for Greenpeace, the Maui Ocean Center of Hawaii, the Denver Zoo in Colorado, the University of Chicago Press, and the Golden Gate National Parks Association in California, among many, many others.

Travel research for commissions has taken Telander as far as New Zealand to study a Northern Gannet colony, as well as closer to home: the Puget Sound Islands to study Herring Gulls; the Rocky Mountains for elk; the Platte River of Nebraska for Sandhill Cranes. A longtime birder, Telander found that the research needed to accurately render images to the exacting standards of commercial clients translated well to other subject matter, and part of completing a commission may include fashioning 3-D clay sculptures of the subject to see how light will fall on an object from different angles.

Pinot Gris winery vineyard landscape oil painting todd telander walla walla

Pinot Gris by Todd Telander

It requires precision, attention to detail, and a scientific mind.

But other times, as Telander approaches his fine artwork of representational yet impressionistic landscapes, malleability and elasticity elbow their way to the forefront, resulting in paintings that are spacious, airy, soft, and textural, with sweeping brushstrokes and an eye for light, movement, and emotion.

“If my art makes a statement, it is up to the viewer to decide,” Telander says. “But for me I promote peace, contemplation, beauty, and solidity, and I suppose I like to share my vision of these things with others.”

Telander finds inspiration from the natural world, and since moving to the valley 13 years ago with his wife, Kirsten, Telander has explored an area that he says felt immediately like home, because it reminded him of his hometown of Chico in Northern California: he loves the open space, the agriculture, nearby mountains, and college town atmosphere.

Behind Tree landscape oil painting todd telander walla walla

Behind the Tree by Todd Telander

“There is an astounding amount of visual interest here,” he says.

Locally, Telander has worked with various wineries in creating labels for their runs, and images of his paintings grace bottles from Goose Ridge, Woodward Canyon, Figgins, Dowsett Family, and Seven Hills. He has also, through commercial commissions as well as the unavoidable interaction with them in a rural setting, developed a fondness for cows. An especially arresting piece is Cows in the Snow, featuring a lone figure separated off from the herd, staring boldly into the face of the viewer.

Cows in the Snow Todd Telander oil painting walla walla landscape

Cows in the Snow by Todd Telander, original painting, sold

A typical day may find Telander out in, literally, the field, sketchbook in hand, then back to the home studio — “A wonderful space with skylights, a cement floor, an antique curved-glass bookcase, and French doors leading out to our garden” — where he guides that session’s 6 or 7 students through the intricacies of classical, representational painting of still life, landscape, and portraiture. Then it’s off to Colville Street in Walla Walla for some time at the Telander Gallery, which he and Kirsten opened in 2013.

Telander licenses his work through McGaw Graphics of New York, and his original work resides across the continent.

“I appreciate each and every collector,” he says. “One of my more meaningful sales was a painting of Sandhill Cranes to Estelle Leopold, the daughter of the famed writer and conservationist Aldo Leopold,” considered by many to be the father of wildlife ecology, and instrumental in the founding of the U.S. wilderness system.

Awards for Telander include first place and Best of Show at the Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts (Joseph, OR); and the Pendleton Center for the Arts; as well as a an Artist in Residency at Rocky Mountain National Park and a scholarship to study under master painter Ray Vinella at the Taos Institute of Arts.

But while awards and acclaims are gratifying, Telander muses, they are in the end only temporary.

It is the work that matters: inspiration, light, atmospheric effect, the reaction of viewers and clients. These have staying power.

“I work to continue providing provocative, inspiring work at every step.”

Wenaha Gallery

Todd Telander is the Featured Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, April 10 through Saturday, May 6, 2017.

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.

 

Great Horned Owl painting on feather, by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Otterstein

Featherlight Touch — The Wildlife Art of Debra Otterstein

Great Horned Owl painting on feather, by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Debra Otterstein

Great Horned Owl painting on feather, by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Debra Otterstein

Frequently, our biggest life decisions are the result of little things.

For wildlife artist Debra Otterstein, her determination to paint intricate animal portraits on domestic turkey feathers came about because of

  1. her lack of success in home economics and
  2. guilt.
Calliope Hummer by wildlife artist Debra Otterstein

Calliope Hummer by wildlife artist Debra Otterstein

“I did not find art when I was young, nor did I know that I would be a wildlife artist; I had to discover art,” the Cove, Oregon painter says. In high school, when presented with the elective choice between home economics and art, she chose the latter, because her earlier foray into the former “didn’t go so well.” Quite fortunately, she was not doomed to repeat the experience.

“The first day I picked up a piece of charcoal and started to draw, my life changed, and art has been with me ever since.”

A subsequent associate of science degree from Boise State University led Otterstein to eventually adopt a dual identity — medical coder by day and wildlife artist by night — and although these two pursuits seem at variance with one another, they are surprisingly compatible:

“Both are very detailed endeavors, both take into account anatomy, and both require that you spend many hours  working alone after doing much research,” Otterstein explains.

If you’re wondering by now where the guilt factors in, it has to do with Otterstein’s brother-in-law, who regularly found photos he wanted to see developed into paintings.

“One day he brought me the strangest eagle photo and he wanted me to create, using this reference, a very large painting,” Otterstein recounts. “This photo did not inspire me, and I could not bring myself to do as he asked, so I painted a tiny painting.

Cougar Cub, by Debra Otterstein

Cougar Cub, by Debra Otterstein

“Then I felt guilty.”

A second attempt resulted in further dissatisfaction, and more guilt. Daunted by the prospect of permanent mental turmoil, Otterstein decided that the third time would definitely be the charm.

“I knew I needed something really fun and interesting, so I painted an eagle on a feather.

“My guilt went away, and I found feather painting.”

It is an unusual substrate, one that requires intense concentration, unlimited patience, a steady hand, and a light, yet firm approach. Viewers and purchasers of Otterstein’s work observe that she paints with a feather-light touch, capturing special wildlife moments on a canvas of feathers. One of the first questions many people ask is where she gets the feathers upon which she creates her art.

“I am an upcycler, as I use domestic turkey feathers,” Otterstein explains.

“Many people do not realize that there is a law that protects bird feathers and nests: it is called the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. This act makes it illegal to possess feathers and nests.” Designed to prevent decimation by commercial trade in both birds and their feathers, the act lists some 800 species on its protected list, which pretty much means that, unless the feather is from a domestic bird (turkey, chicken, or duck), or from a non-native invasive species (sparrow or starling), it’s not something one picks up, or paints on.

The Otterstein painting which wildlife artist Terry Isaac calls "a Masterpiece."

The Otterstein painting which wildlife artist Terry Isaac calls “a Masterpiece.”

With collectors throughout the United States, as well as in international locales as far flung as Australia and Qatar, Otterstein works closely with some of the top wildlife artists in the world: John Seerey-Lester, Terry Isaac, Daniel Smith, and John Banovich. Isaac labeled one of Otterstein’s works — depicting, on traditional canvas substrate, a cougar crossing a river — “a masterpiece.”

“From these top artists, I have learned the importance of always conducting research before I start to paint, by doing field work and studying the physical appearance of each creature and its environment,” Otterstein says.

“I have learned that this is truly the best part of being a wildlife artist.”

In the 14 years that Otterstein has participated in the Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts at Joseph, OR — one of the premiere art exhibitions of the Pacific Northwest region — she has garnered numerous awards, including multiple First and Second Places, and People’s Choice. Other accolades include being named gallery featured artist in Baker City, OR, and receiving the Artist of the Year Award by the Eskridge Family Trust.

But what matters most to Otterstein, she emphasizes, is the subject matter — the wildlife with whom we share this planet, and which depends upon us to maintain a harmonious, peaceful, coexistence. If she can capture the viewer’s attention and evoke a sense of awe, then she has truly succeeded.

“By using a feather as my canvas, it symbolizes the balance of how delicate nature is, but also how strong it must be to survive.”

Wenaha GalleryDebra Otterstein is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, September 12 through Saturday, October 8.

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.

 

Coyote Winters, scratchboard art by Judy Fairley

Wildlife Woman – The Scratchboard Art of Judy Fairley

Great Blue Heron, scratchboard art by Judy Fairley

Great Blue Heron by Judy Fairley

There’s something mesmerizing about scratch art.

Many of us remember, as children, coloring a sheet of paper with wax crayons, then, once we filled the entire piece with hues, finishing it off with a black crayon over the entire top. Using a stick or sharp implement, we created magical pictures by scratching a design into the blackness, revealing the color underneath.

Such an experience is not limited to childhood.

Coyote Winters, scratchboard art by Judy Fairley

Coyote Winters, scratchboard by Judy Fairley

“I love this medium because of the fine detail it affords me,” says Judy Fairley, a Clarkston artist who has taught scratchboard for nearly four decades at the Clarkston campus of Walla Walla Community College. Portable, economical, but labor intensive, scratchboard for adults involves a thin layer of clay on a Masonite or fiberboard backing, which is then coated with an application of black India ink. The final image emerges as the artist scratches through the ink to the white clay below using an arrow point tool, X-Acto knife, or scalpel.

Often, Fairley applies watercolor or colored inks to tint the exposed clay before covering it with black, resulting in a full colored scratchboard painting. A signature member of Women Artists of the West, a professional organization that focuses on the promotion and development of female artists, Fairley specializes in wildlife art, creating intricately detailed portraits of wolves, coyotes, bears, deer, moose, and more. Her reference photos she takes herself, many from zoos and wildlife rescue operations.

“There was a woman near Hamilton, Montana, who had a wildlife rescue, and I would go there to get photos,” Fairley remembers. “She was the closest to a mountain woman that I could imagine, with skin as brown as a leather saddle and twice as worn, but she had the formulas to bring any wild creature back from the brink of starvation.”

Brown Pelican, scratchboard art by Judy Fairley

Brown Pelican by Judy Fairley

One time, when Fairley was having promotional photos taken for a brochure, the rescue professional suggested posing with a grizzly cub, comfortable with humans because he was part of an educational presentation for children.

“So I went, thinking, ‘what could possibly go wrong with this scenario?’”

When Fairley entered the cub’s pen, “he took one look at me and came running at full speed. When he got to me, he proceeded to climb me like a Ponderosa pine tree.”

The photos, capturing “this complete panicked and frantic look” on Fairley’s face, were unusable, but everyone but Fairley enjoyed the show. “He’s never done this before,” the rescue professional told Fairley. “He must really like you.”

Most of the time, creating artwork is not so dramatic, although even the most mundane of actions results in surprises.

“I had an incident when the person watching me do a bobcat, sneezed on the piece,” Fairley says. “It lifted the ink on all the areas of black that the phlegm landed on, creating a speckled pattern.

Wrangler, scratchboard by Judy Fairley

Wrangler, scratchboard by Judy Fairley

“So I put the bobcat in a snow storm . . . actually I liked it better.

“But, I make sure to tell people to please don’t sneeze on my work: everything can’t be in a snow storm!”

Fairley works out of two studios, one in her home, and one at the Dahmen Artisan Barn in Uniontown, 16 miles away, where visitors are free to watch – but not sneeze upon – the artists at work. In addition to the teaching Fairley does at WWCC, which also includes pastel drawing, the artist recently offered a scratchboard workshop on a Princess cruise ship from Seattle to Alaska, and is presently looking to organize another cruise workshop to the Mexican Riviera.

Thanks to the portability and inexpensive nature of the medium, Fairley packed supplies for 20 students, along with a personalized tote bag for each, in a roller suitcase.

“I tell people when I am doing demos, that the only cheaper method to do in art is drawing with a pencil and a piece of paper.” Cheaper, she adds, does not translate into faster: some works take months to do, and the concentration required is demanding.

With work in collections from England to Australia, Fairley participates in numerous shows, from those sponsored by the Women Artists of the West, which span the country, and the International Society of Scratchboard Artists (February’s show is in Australia), to events closer to home, including the Snake River Showcase in Clarkston and the Oldfield Western Art Show in Puyallup.

It is the perfect blend of travel, teaching, learning, networking, interacting and creating. Just so long as nobody sneezes, or mistakes her for a tree.

Wenaha GalleryJudy Fairley is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artists from Monday, August 29 through Saturday, September 24.

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.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.