Imaginative Journey — Pastel Art by Shar Schenk

curiosity drawing pastel shar schenk

Imaginative creativity is the hallmark of the artist. Curiosity, original pastel painting by Sharley Schenk

Creative, imaginative people do not limit themselves.

They are constantly trying out new things, perfecting existing skills, looking forward and ahead to the next project, the next idea, the next step, all while intensely focusing on what they are presently doing. Because of this dynamic, energetic attitude, creative, imaginative people tend to be active as opposed to passive. They do things.

red fox profile scratch board art sharley schenk

It’s a thoughtful moment in the world of the red fox. Red Fox Profile, original scratch board painting by Sharley Schenk.

This is the paradigm around which Sharley Schenk has built her art adventure. While the Clarkston, WA, painter is presently focused on pastels, she does not limit herself, and never has.

“I am not bound by any one medium,” Schenk says. “Each medium has a character that tends to make me want to play with multiple mediums.”

Imaginative Play with Scissors and Magazines

It’s appropriate that she uses the word, “play,” because that’s how the whole journey started, years ago when she was five years old.

“My mother gave me the blunt scissors made for children and an old magazine to cut pictures out of. From there, I branched out into making doll clothes for paper dolls I cut out of magazines and the newspaper. My next adventure was drawing Donald duck, Pluto, and other Disney characters from the Sunday paper.”

Some years later, she attended Cass Tech High School, in Detroit, MI, which specialized in furthering students’ interest in special, and imaginative, subjects like art.

wings crane heron bird shar schenk imaginative

Graceful in flight and landing. Wings, original pastel painting by Shar Schenk.

“You had to take a test to get into it: I qualified and was accepted. It was like a college in that you majored in specific fields.

“I chose costume design and commercial art. If I had gone on to college in Michigan, I would have entered as a junior — Cass Tech had that good of a reputation.”

Taking a Break, but Still Creating

Like many women in the immediate post-World-War-II era, Schenk took a break to raise a family, so she wasn’t able to spend as much time with art as she would have liked. That didn’t mean, however,  that she wasn’t creating with whatever time she found. Through the years, Schenk has explored pottery, photography, bronze sculpture, stained glass, ceramics, jewelry, knitting, card making, quilting and photography, this latter including developing her own black and white prints.

red rose flower pastel drawing shar schenk

Emerging from the depths of green, a blossoming rose invokes sensations in both heart and imagination. Red Rose, original pastel painting by Shar Schenk.

But it wasn’t until 1992, when she retired from the Idaho Transportation Department where she worked as a draftsperson, that she got back into painting and the imaginative vistas it opened up.

“I heard about a class of scratch board that Judy Fairley was going to give, so I signed up. I have been taking Judy’s classes in scratch board and pastel ever since, as well as workshops put on at the Valley Art Center, spring and fall. There are also challenging options with acrylics on YouTube with the new acrylic pour experiments. It’s amazing what you can do with a balloon or a piece of plastic.”

Small Studio, Many Projects

Schenk’s studio consists of a space on her kitchen table in her apartment. Materials and supplies she stores in the walk-in closet, another closet in the spare bedroom, and a dresser behind the door in her closet. Despite the limited space, she creates on a daily basis, allowing the subject matter to determine the medium. If she is drawing animals, she’ll choose scratch board or pastel. Landscapes encompass pastel, watercolor, or acrylics. And her recent foray into painting rocks involved a radically different substrate than canvas or panel.

A member of the Valley Art Center in Clarkston, Schenk shows her work in both the Center’s front and back galleries. She also participates regularly in three shows a year there: Art for the Heart, the February Valentine Show; Open Artist Show in June; and the Miniature Show in November.

The journey of adventure, one that started a long time ago, began with an imaginative mother who wasn’t afraid to give her child a pair of blunt edged scissors. The child took it from there, and hasn’t stopped since.

Wenaha GallerySharley Schenk is the featured Art Event artists from August 24 through September 20.

Contact Wenaha 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 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

cat leopart spotted wildlife drawing photorealistic aimee croteau

Colored Pencil Photorealism — Wildlife Drawings by Aimee Croteau

cat leopard colored pencil wildlife drawing photorealistic aimee croteau

Big cats are fascinating, but they don’t often let us get close enough to them for us to see the detail. Aimee Croteau’s photorealistic colored pencil drawings give us that closeup. Rarity, original colored pencil drawing by Aimee Croteau.

The last time you saw an Amur leopard on the street, did you stop to truly look, or did you keep walking?

Okay, so maybe an Amur leopard on the street isn’t a common sight. And if it were, we probably wouldn’t sidle close, stop and stare. But thanks to artists like Aimee Croteau, who creates photorealistic wildlife paintings in colored pencil and airbrush, we can take the time to look, to observe, to absorb the detail of a world we otherwise are unable to get close to.

“With my photorealistic animal drawing, I am above all else demanding that more respect be paid to non-human life,” the Post Falls, ID, artist says.

wolf wings fantasy wildlife colored pencil photorealism aimee croteau

Within the detail of photo realism, fantasy has its place. Reborn, original colored pencil and airbrush drawing by Aimee Croteau.

She works in colored pencil because the medium allows her to render her subject matter with extreme — it’s no exaggeration to say exquisite — detail and precision. The addition of an airbrush background softens the effect, highlighting the finer points of the animal’s form and visage.

Taking Time with Colored Pencil

“Taking the time and physical labor to capture each tiny detail in my subjects indicates the importance I place on them,” Croteau explains. This is also an invitation to the viewer as well. They can take all the time they need to absorb the impact of the image, without the disadvantage of the animal not staying around to be looked at.

“Animals are skittish and hide easily, making them difficult to see and connect with. Drawing them gives the viewer an opportunity to look at an animal they would otherwise not be able to see due to the animal’s elusive nature or their geographic location.

“By drawing animals in a photorealistic style, I imply that they demand more than just a quick glance.”

Nothing about the process is quick, she adds, and that’s intentional. From choosing the subject, to composing the image, to rendering it, Croteau’s artwork reflects a sense of respect that encourages the viewer to join her on the journey. Using photos that she has taken herself or accessed through appropriate licensing or royalty-free channels, Croteau looks for a reference that reflects some aspect of herself: a sense of stillness, an expression, or a specific emotion. She then seeks to capture that element in the drawing, while simultaneously preserving and celebrating the animal’s unique personality.

bird plumage feathers wildlife drawing aimee croteau

Every feather, every detail of plumage shines forth in Aimee Croteau’s airbrush and colored pencil drawing, Cynosure

“I encourage the viewer to more carefully consider the individuality and impact of the wildlife that I represent through my work.”

Details Matter

Attention to detail is a part of life to Croteau, who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA. Citing art as a lifelong passion, Croteau decided to be an artist in high school, and says,

“If I go too long without drawing, or painting, or simply making something, I legitimately get depressed. It’s like a piece of my soul is being neglected if I am not making art.” This is the fundamental reason she started doing art in the first place, she adds.

fox magic moment colored pencil photorealistic drawing aimee croteau

Caught in the moment — This Magic Moment, photorealistic colored pencil airbrush drawing by Aimee Croteau

Croteau has exhibited in various group shows in the Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, and Cheney areas, and is most proud of her acceptance into the Terrain Show in Spokane.

“It was a juried show, and there were a little over 1,000 entries. They had to severely narrow that number down to fit inside the actual exhibition space, and the jury chose my work to be included in the show.” Nearly 10,000 people attended the one-night-only show.

The Challenge of Colored Pencils

Croteau’s medium of choice — colored pencils — has many advantages, and some challenges, she says. On the plus side, they are a dry medium, requiring little clean up, and they emit no harsh chemicals or odors. They’re portable, and are perfect for achieving the detail she demands. On the challenging side, they require numerous hours of focused concentration since she is covering a large, flat area using a fine point, with mistakes not easily fixed. And,

“It’s not a fun day when the pencil lead keeps breaking!”

Time, intensity, detail, concentration, patience, respect — all of these elements coalesce in each drawing. It’s worth every minute, every stroke of the pencil, every ounce of concentration.

Thanks to Croteau, we can see, really see that Amur leopard. With the advantage that it can’t see us.

Wenaha GalleryAmy Croteau is the featured Art Event artists from July 27 through August 23.

Contact Wenaha 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 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

balsam root flowers watercolor sketch woods trees helen boland

Sketch, Draw, Paint, Create — The Art of Helen Boland

mountain palouse landscape view watercolor painting wilderness helen boland

Whether painting or sketching, Helen Boland connects with nature on both an artistic and scientific level. Palouse Farmland View, original watercolor painting by Helen Boland.

Too many people, when stuck in a waiting room, spend the time head down, eyes glazed, fingers swiping as they scroll through their phone.

Not so Helen Boland. The Walla Walla, WA, artist carries sketch pad, pen, pencils, even brush and portable paints with her everywhere she goes. Everything she sees, every place she visits, provides an inspiration to capture, on paper, the world around her.

“Waiting in airports or for appointments are opportunities to sketch, capture characters and scenes, and practice technique,” Boland says.

wild garden sketch landscape mountains wilderness watercolor helen boland

Nature’s hand does the planting and cultivation at Wild Garden at the Top. Original watercolor painting by Helen Boland.

“Sketching helps me focus and occupies me while waiting. There is no boredom or impatience. Sketching helps me to be present in the moment.”

This form of daily art practice, she adds, increases her awareness of color, light, and shadow, in addition to fluidity and attention to form. By the time she gets officially behind the easel — which may be at her studio/house, or in the forest as she paints plein air — she embarks upon a more detailed and concentrated form of artistic expression.

Sketching and Painting in Many Media

“I work in watercolor, ink, acrylics, pastel, and also collage,” Boland says.

“As a retired science teacher, homestead farmer, and lifelong naturalist, I focus on art that reflects my love of animals, nature, and landscape. I move between detail, realism, and impression.”

balsam root flowers watercolor sketch woods trees helen boland

Flowers attract the eye and attention of both the scientist and artist within. Balsam Root, original watercolor painting by Helen Boland.

Her habit of sketching and drawing and painting anytime, anywhere, stems from when she was “an often ill but oddly energetic child.

“My mother frequently handed me crayons, pencils and a pad to pacify me during wait time in doctors’ offices or during long visits with relatives when all that was spoken was Portuguese.”

She describes drawing as a permissible activity when she was hospitalized or ill with fever. When convalescing outside, she took note of minute details of light, shadow, and color. She even took advantage of fevers, which brought her view slightly out of focus and allowed her to observe the surrounding world as if it were a Monet painting.

“This is my foundation as an artist as well as a biologist,” Boland says, explaining that while science took the lead in her professional career, she often used art expression as a means of processing, understanding, and teaching scientific concepts. Now retired, she focuses on painting full time, in fulfillment of a promise she made to herself years ago while pursuing her professional teaching career, raising a family, and running a small homestead farm.

Focusing Strongly on Each Painting

“My paintings are like my offspring that I set free. I have a true experience with each one, and they all reflect a piece of me and a moment in my life.

ponderosa pine woods tree forest wilderness helen boland watercolor

The forest is a silent and peaceful place, one worth painting and sketching. Ponderosa Hillside by Helen Boland.

“When I paint a person or an animal, I speak to it, and in a way it speaks back. I develop a love and a relationship through the painting process.

“And then I let them go.”

Some of the places where Boland has let her paintings go to are collectors’ homes in Walla Walla and Eastern Washington, Massachusetts, Colorado, California, Canada, and a goat farm in New Jersey, among others. She has regularly participated in the Artwalla Art Squared event, as well as been a featured artist in the organization’s First Friday Pop Up. She has shown her work at art walks and events throughout the Walla Walla, Dayton, and Tri-Cities regions. And for the last year and a half, she has participated in Sunday Self Portrait, an international Facebook group in which people from all over the world post their portrait, created from their image in a mirror, on Sundays.

Sunday Portraits

“I have posted one every Sunday for the past year and a half. That’s a lot of pictures of me!

“I have learned so much about the lives, experience, and art techniques from all over the world. This helps me keep perspective.

“It also has improved my skill at drawing the face, the same captive face, week after week. They all don’t show an accurate physical likeness of me, but they all show some aspect of me. I can look at the portraits and assess how I am doing emotionally and perhaps spiritually.”

Originally from rural Massachusetts and Vermont, Boland focuses her latest paintings on landscapes from Columbia and Walla Walla counties, reflecting her residence in each: her town home (and studio) is in Walla Walla, and she owns forest management property near Dayton. She is happiest both in the studio and out in the woods, because wherever she is, she is somehow drawing, painting, or sketching.

“Getting out on the land creates opportunities to observe, photograph, and find inspiration for art,” she says.

“The biologist and the artist within are both satisfied with my time spent in nature, both in my garden in town and the forest land in the Blue Mountains.

“My art reflects my world view and my deep love of the natural world.

“It is a truth in a moment.”

Wenaha GalleryHelen Boland is the featured Art Event artists from June 1 to June 28.

Contact Wenaha 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 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

 

hand doodle card markers artwork jennifer schock

Doodle Art — Hand-Crafted Cards by Jennifer Schock

hand doodle card markers artwork jennifer schock

Hand-doodled, one of a kind note card by Dayton artist, Jennifer Schock

Doodle Art explores the world of design and creativity

Technology changes constantly, and its siren call of something new — NOW — beckons and attracts. But the most important elements of human existence and ingenuity remain constant through time: our hands, our minds, our hearts, and our ability to create with these, using the materials around us.

doodle cards graphic design sharpie markers schock art

Blue doodle art on a vertical note card, by Jennifer Schock of Dayton

Jennifer Schock understands this concept. The Dayton artist is hard to pin down to one medium, because she does everything from dance to sewing, from jewelry making to her latest endeavor, creating one of a kind, hand doodle cards with “plain old fine point black markers” and fine point Sharpies in their full array of colors. She launched on this project a year ago, as a means of keeping herself busy as she, her husband, and five dogs made the move from South Carolina to the Pacific Northwest. Never one to sit on her hands, she found herself using them in the down times when there was nothing pressing to do.

“Doodling seemed the perfect occupation for these times,” Schock explains. She started with Valentine’s cards for family members, and then just kept going through the months and seasons, resulting in hundreds of one of a kind, totally hand-created cards. Later, as household items arrived in the moving vans and her vast supply of creative treasures arrived, she set up studio in a nook in a larger room, and embarked upon fashioning nostalgic collage cards as well.

“I have books, magazine, all sorts of things to peruse until one photo jumps out at me. Anything is game,” Schock says.

love air romantic nostalgic collage card schock

Love Is in the Air, nostalgic collage card by Jennifer Schock

Doodle and Collage Cards

Because she never knows what she’ll make next — depending upon her mood Schock will doodle a card, sew a grocery bag from repurposed jeans, string beads, knot leather, or fashion wall art from old, scratched (“unplayable — promise!”) vinyl records — she collects all sorts of objects. These she stores in that small nook studio, which also houses one of the most important pieces of furniture in the house: her work table.

“It’s scratched and nicked. It was purchased by my parents when they married in 1945, and it’s the only dining table our family ever sat around. My small TV sits in a corner and is only on Channel 132, Turner Classic Movies, the only channel I really need!”

doodle card black white graphic design schock

Black and white doodle art card by Jennifer Schock of Dayton

It should not come as a surprise that Schock does not own a computer, nor desire to do so. And while she does not object to today’s technological wonders, she is concerned about how their overuse affects society, changing us in a way that is not necessarily positive. As a counteraction to digital overload, hand-crafted cards — both her doodled and collage creations  — add humanity back to the mix.

Adding Back Humanity

“We live in a text, email, social media world, our heads bent down seemingly unaware of surroundings,” Schock says.

“Maybe my cards will bring a moment of laughter, joy, gratitude, healing, tears, or reflection to the recipient.”

If she makes a statement with her art, she adds, this is it. She considers it “cool” that the people who purchase her cards make a statement of their own through the message they write within, and her art piece serves as a vehicle for love, sympathy, birthday, missing you — “plain old fashioned thoughts” from one human being to another.

“My mother was a wonderful note writer,” Schock says. “For this reason, my doodled and nostalgic cards carry her name: Winnie Cards.”

Incorporating Old with New

Humanity matters. And in every creative pursuit she, well, pursues, Schock seeks to connect what she makes or does with who people are. For years she performed and taught dance, eventually focusing on movement therapy, in which she worked with all age groups and backgrounds in a psychiatric facility. Later, she taught art to children in 4th through 8th grades. Whatever she does, wherever she is, her focus is on hands and heart, mind and human creativity.

These elements are timeless, transcending technology, trends, and technocracy. The old ways aren’t necessarily outdated, and the latest and greatest isn’t always the best. The simple note card, which seemed on its way to becoming obsolete in the light of its e-card competition, has a very real, very necessary place in the modern world.

“Isn’t it just so nice to receive something in the mail? And isn’t it even better to write a few words out and send it along?”

Yes, it is.

Wenaha GalleryJennifer Schock is the Featured Art Event from Monday, August 12, through Saturday, September 7 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.

 

 

dayton depot planned etching print barbara coppock landmark

Plans Change — The Etchings of Barbara Coppock

dayton depot planned etching print barbara coppock landmark

The Dayton Depot, an intaglio print etching of the Dayton, WA, historic landmark, by Barbara Coppock of Clarkston, WA

 

All humans make plans, but frequently forget something most important: the only thing certain about life is that it’s uncertain.

Or as poet Robert Burns — not Shakespeare, not Einstein — put it, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

For artist Barbara Coppock, the last thing on her mind when life hit hard was Burns’ musings “To a Mouse, on Turning up in Her Nest with the Plow,” but she, like the mouse, found that plans she made for the future could change, drastically, in a microsecond.

Plans Change Fast

After her daughter and son graduated from high school, the Clarkston, WA, artist ordered a small printmaking press to pursue intaglio etching. As she had done with many other art mediums, Coppock planned to research and work with this new venture until she had learned all the ins and outs of the method. It would be a slow, enjoyable process, upon which she would focus all her concentration.

teacher schoolhouse lesson plans landmark intaglio print etching barbara coppock

For the Teacher — oh, the many lesson plans teachers made in this pioneer schoolhouse! Intaglio print etching by Clarkston artist Barbara Coppock

“Around that time, my husband Bill was in an auto accident which left him paraplegic,” Coppock remembers. “Medically, he required full time care, which meant I would be home.”

In addition to being caretaker, Coppock needed a plan, a means of making money that allowed her to remain by Bill’s side — and that’s where the printing press came in.

Printmaking Plans

“The answer was right in front of me: printmaking,” Coppock says. “As I was working out the intricacies, Bill was regaining use of his right hand by working on framing for my etchings.

“It proved to be a win-win, giving both Bill and me a way to support ourselves.”

The couple outfitted an RV so that Bill could travel. A friend who showed work at the C.M. Russell show in Great Falls, MT, introduced directors to Coppock’s work, and they invited her to the prestigious annual event. While at the show, Coppock attracted the interest of various galleries, and in a short time was represented by more than 20 — in Great Falls, Missoula, Helena, Ennis, Bozeman, Billings, and Lewistown. On the Oregon Coast (“I never saw the ocean until I was an adult — love at first sight,”) Coppock picked up galleries in Cannon Beach, Newport, and Bandon.

thirty bushes acre farm plans country intaglio etching print barbara coppock

The plans were for Thirty Bushels an Acre at this country farm, and sometimes plans work out, and sometimes they don’t. Intaglio print etching by Clarkston artist, Barbara Coppock

Following a Dream, and Planning out Each Day

From the mid-80s, through the 90s, and until 2008, Barbara and Bill worked as a team, at one point selling more than a thousand etchings a year through Coppock’s network of galleries.

“Art was good to us, and we were able to follow a dream,” Coppock says.

“It was very hard to realize that Coppock Etchings were being collected, some across oceans. Several collectors had amassed over 60.

“What in the world do you do with 60 etchings?”

Though they were able to travel only a few weeks each year, Coppock planned and used the time well, focusing on the subject matter of an area to develop a niche portraying homesteads, towns, local landmarks, and landscapes. Believing that the land we choose to care for, and the things we build upon it, define us, Coppock created images connecting viewers to the space with a simple glance.

“This look at the past helps us to understand those who were here before,” Coppock explains.

It was a good time. It was a memorable time. But it was a finite time, and like all such times, came to an end — in Coppock’s case, quite abruptly.

Plans Change, Again

“This amazing lifestyle lasted til Bill’s kidneys failed, the market crashed, and thankfully, I qualified for Social Security,” Coppock says. “All this happened in 2008.”

old civic theater theatre building evening plans barbara coppock print intaglio etching

The Old Civic Theater — how many people had plans to attend and enjoy a night at the theater! Intaglio print etching by Barbara Coppock of Clarkston, WA.

Almost overnight, plans changed, and Coppock went from selling in 20-some galleries to five, the rest having failed in the economic downturn. Dialysis for Bill and regular trips for treatment cut into the hours Coppock needed for the time intensive etchings. Like the mouse in Burns’ poem, Coppock found her life turned upside down.

“So I learned how to make jewelry.”

A Time, a Season, a Plan

And she told herself that there was a time and season for everything, and this particular season belonged to Bill. In 2015, when Bill passed away, Coppock found herself, again, looking at an uncertain future and figuring out how to interact within it. She moved from Montana to Clarkston, WA, to be close to family.

“So here I am, rebooted.

“I was at the top of my game when the unplanned hiatus came calling in 2008. I have a lot of unfinished editions and artist’s proofs that need to find home.

“The big bonus is Southeast Washington is filled with subjects calling my name.

“Retire? No need.

“Most folks retire to do what I do every day.”

Wenaha GalleryBarbara Coppock is the Art Event from Monday, February 4 through Saturday, March 9 at Wenaha Gallery. Her etchings include familiar and nostalgic scenes of the west and Pacific Northwest.

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

talented trio artists rastovich ostergaard

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

talented trio artists rastovich ostergaard

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

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

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

Numachi abstract photograph print LuAnn Ostergaard talented trio

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

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

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

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

Joseph agrees, wryly observing:

“Art by committee is fraught with difficulties.

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

Joseph: “Powerful Brainstorming” by the Talented Trio

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

metal sculpture home decor furniture lamp joseph rastovich talented trio

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

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

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

LuAnn: Leaving the Corporate World

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

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

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

chalice drawing colorful michael rastovich illustration talented trio

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

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

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

Michael: A Passion for Drawing

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

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

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

A Trio of Talent and Collaboration

It’s all part of working together.

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

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

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

Wenaha Gallery

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

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

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colombia church charcoal drawing Jordan Henderson Wenaha Gallery

Colombia Churches and Cows — The Charcoal Drawings of Jordan Henderson

colombia church charcoal drawing Jordan Henderson Wenaha Gallery

Church Near the Hills, charcoal drawing of Colombia by Jordan Henderson

 

The best time to hear of your adult children’s adventures — the really exciting ones that make good stories — is after they are home and —  your parent’s heart says — safe. When my son Jordan Henderson announced to his dad, Steve, and me that he wanted to visit Colombia, where we had bicycled through 30 years before, we tried to be laudably cool, calm, and chill.

Colombia cows walking country road charcoal drawing

Cows in the llanos of Colombia are fascinating drawing fodder, artist Jordan Henderson says

After all, when we put our own parents through this, there were no cell phones or social media, so any worries they had weren’t allayed for weeks. Steve and I experienced relief — or anxiety, depending upon the story — instantly.

“Learning a second language and traveling abroad is something I always wanted to do,” Jordan says, mirroring our own reasons for traveling. That’s great, we nodded. Immersion is the best method. For Jordan, whose Spanish at that time would generously be called embryonic, this meant flying to Medellín, a city of 2.4 million that in our younger days was known as the drug cartel capital of the world.

“It’s improved,” he reassured us beforehand. At least he would be staying with our friends of 30 years before, Héli and Ana, who Facebook messaged us on Jordan’s arrival, “We opened the door, and thought we were seeing Steve.”

Learning Language and Doing Art in Colombia

On the month-long trip to Colombia in 2015 and a second, three-month journey in 2016-17, Jordan immersed himself in both the Spanish language and the culture. An artist like his father, he set up his easel in public parks (when he was in cities) and along pathways (in the country), attracting genial attention from passersby who felt free to comment upon his art and growing language skills.

Iguana charcoal drawing colombia medellin city park

The Iguana in the city park, artfully posing for Jordan Henderson during his trip to Colombia

“In Pamplona, a town of 60,000 with beautiful churches and cathedrals throughout, people seemed genuinely pleased to see that I admired and was drawing the church that they themselves attended,” Jordan says.

“One time, a nun in full, traditional habit came running down the steps from the church I was drawing to see what I was doing — she had a very energetic personality. I simply did not expect someone in such a somber dress to come running across the street like that. The next day, when I returned to finish the drawing, she brought a group of other nuns. They liked my rendition of their church.”

Traveling by Bus through Colombia

For a month, Jordan spent three hours a day intensely studying Spanish with Juan Carlos, who 30 years ago was a slender young man just out of high school, and now, mysteriously like Steve and me, was in his 50s. One on one teaching from Juan Carlos’s universal language institute catapulted Jordan’s Spanish to new competency, and we didn’t worry (as much) when he announced plans to travel by bus through the country, staying with new friends along the way.

Colombia lowland grassland llanos charcoal drawing

A view of the llanos, or lowland grasslands, of Colombia. Charcoal drawing by Jordan Henderson

“I visited Tauramena, Medellín, Bucaramanga, Yopal, Riohacha, Barranquilla, and Cartagena,” Jordan says, listing out cities and towns of Colombia that range from metropolitan centers to small hamlets in the llanos, flat grasslands that are the equivalent of America’s Wild West.

“The people I stayed with are what made this such a fantastic trip — they generously showed me around the towns where they lived, and I ate meals with my hosts, allowing me a lot of conversation with some great people.”

Loving the Lowing of Colombia Cows

In the llanos, Jordan encountered distinctive cattle of Colombia that are a mixture of European and Indian breeds. He was enthralled, snapping reference photos and doing plein air studies in the field.

“Cows are a fantastic drawing subject,” he enthuses. “Sometimes they regard you with great suspicion; other times they barely manage to give you an uninterested gaze before they return to their grazing, as if you are the most boring thing in the world.

colombia church humilladero pamplona colombia charcoal drawing

Humilladero Church in Pamplona, Colombia, one of the principal architectural designs of the city. Charcoal drawing by Jordan Henderson

“Once I had a cow walk alongside me as far as her fence allowed, all the while looking straight at me as if I were a very curious sight.”

In the botanical gardens of Medellín, he met a different sort of animal, an iguana.

“It was sitting in the middle of the path and politely posed for me while I took some photos, before deciding it had had enough, when it calmly walked away.”

Attracting Attention

As in Pamplona while drawing churches, Jordan attracted attention wherever he went, the lanky, long-haired foreigner who looked like he could be Dutch or American, and always carried a sketchbook. Visiting a village school near Cúcuta, on the border of Venezuela and Colombia, Jordan found himself invited by his host’s father to a small radio station, where he was interviewed as “the visiting foreigner.” In Medellín, he was “the jogging foreigner,” and regulars at the city parks, some of whom a mother would classify as less than savory, assessed his accent and affably corrected grammar.

“I am drawn by the opportunity to be completely surrounded by another language, culture, and way of thinking that is different from what I am used to,” Jordan says, explaining that future plans include further travel, as well as concerted drawing, painting, and artistic pursuits.

“I am fortunate to have a highly skilled, talented artist as my father, and I will make the most of the opportunity to learn from him.

“Ultimately, my long-range goal is to work as a full-time artist so that I can dedicate the lion’s share of my time to something of such great interest to me.”

He’s his father’s son all right.

Wenaha Gallery

Jordan Henderson is the Featured Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, July 3 through Saturday, July 29, 2017. There will be a special Art Show Saturday, July 15, over Alumni Weekend. Meet and greet Jordan, see his art, and ask about his adventures from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the gallery. Free refreshments 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.