spring snow winter memories tulips flowers valerie stephenson photography

Memories of Life: Photography by Valerie Stephenson

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Memories of summer transition into fall in Before the Harvest, a photographic capture of life by Valerie Stephenson

We live life day by day, as opposed to a year at a time. Because of this, we assume that the everyday things we did yesterday we’ll do today, and then tomorrow. We won’t forget.

But that’s not the way it is. A year later, two years later, ten, we’re no longer doing the everyday things that we thought would never end. Too often, the only remembrance we have of them is our memory.

Photographer Valerie Stephenson wants to provide something more tangible than memories. Driven by the idea of catching life in its moments, the Burbank artist, who lives just above Sacajawea State Park over the Snake River, works with individual clients to capture vignettes of their day, in effect creating a visual journal of a slice of their lives.

spring snow winter memories tulips flowers valerie stephenson photography

The last memories of winter dance across the tulips of spring in Spring Snow, photography by Valerie Stephenson.

“These types of photos are cherished many years down the road, especially the everyday memories,” Stephenson says. “Because these moments are so everyday, so expected, we don’t realize that we don’t have a photo of them — like reading a book with our child, or the decorations in grandma’s house, a childhood spot by the lake, or the neighbor lady we grew up next to and talked with.

“Often we don’t have those memories captured before the seasons permanently change. I aim to provide a customizable photography experience, one built around a person’s unique story and capturing memories that will be important many years down the road.

“And then when we see these photos, they bring an array of feelings — like thankfulness, joy, wonder — at being able to relive those moments.”

Moments and Memories to Hang Onto

As an example, she described a photo shoot she did with a nephew and his uncle on the family ranch. Before this session, there were no photos of the uncle doing what he had done his whole life on the ranch, and there were no photos of the nephew who spent his childhood summers there working with his uncle. Though she couldn’t go back to the nephew’s childhood, she could capture the essence, the moment, the memories of what the two did every day.

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The luminous glow of a peacock’s feather adds a sense of mystique to beauty in Feather Glow by Valerie Stephenson

“The photographs enable us to relive, rewrite, and preserve some of the things we hold dearest in life,” Stephenson says.

When she isn’t doing commissioned photo shoots of people’s lives and memories, Stephenson is outside with her camera, capturing Nature, and her day to day moments. An outdoor enthusiast, Stephenson is a lifelong forager of wild edibles and medicinals, as well as a participant in numerous sports — backpacking, canoeing, road biking, skiing, snowboarding. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Outdoor Recreation, she has a long and varied career of leading and teaching others in these areas.

“I have always found my peace outside, and I enjoy doing most things outdoors,” she says.

“I enjoy most things that go back to a simpler, hands on, more family oriented way of life. That is what I am aiming to capture in my photography — relationships, the emotion of the moment, the wrinkles, the honesty.”

Words to Accompany Photography

power sea memories splash surf rocks ocean valerie stephenson

The Power of the Sea lies not only in the majesty of the ocean, but in its tug upon the memories of those who once visited or lived there.

One of her dreams is to write devotionals that are enhanced with her photography. In them, she wants to include science along with scripture because God, she believes, is the author of both.

“I have been doing lay counseling since I was very young. It involves listening to others, being there as they go through what they’re going through, sharing what I have learned in life. The devotionals are a way of combining visuals with words to create a statement of hope and encouragement.”

Good, bad, funny, sad, light, dark, colorful, grayscale — life is all of these, Stephenson believes, and like a path in the forest, it unfolds before us as we walk, each day, on our journey. There’s so much to it that it’s hard to maintain perspective, keep it fresh in our mind before another experience, another place, another element comes to the forefront. Photography enables us to stop each moment and make a tangible, visible image we can hold onto, hang on our wall, reflect upon before we take the next step.

“Printed photos in my hands bring me back to the moment, the memories, and the feeling,” Stephenson says.

“That’s where I want my photos to take people — to a place they want to be.”

Wenaha GalleryValerie Stephenson is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from August 23 through September 19, 2022.

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

 

 

bullfighter rodeo clown rowdy barry art

Hats off to Rodeo — Western Art by Rowdy Barry

bullfighter rodeo clown rowdy barry art

A professional bullfighter in cowboy hat makes what he does — which isn’t easy at all — look easy. Bullfighter and Bull, original pastel painting by Rowdy Barry

We like to say that someone who has a varied career doing many things wears many hats. It’s a nice visual metaphor, whether or not the person actually wears a hat.

For Rowdy Barry, it’s not just a metaphor. This Kennewick, WA, man wears many hats, the primary one being a cowboy hat, which he has worn for more than 30 years in his career as a bullfighter in professional rodeo. (For those who are not into rodeo, the U.S. bullfighter does not wave a red cape in front of the bull, a la matador; his job is to distract the bull from its rider, once the rider has been thrown.)

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Barry incorporates the black space of the pastel paper into the artwork. Portrait of a Bull, print of original pastel painting by Rowdy Barry

With a career spanning such a broad length of time, Barry is one of the most recognized bullfighters in professional rodeo and has kept bull riders safe at some of the most prestigious rodeos in the U.S. and Canada, including the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo, the Columbia River Circuit Finals, the Canadian Finals, the College National Finals, and the National High School Finals Rodeo.

Cowboy Hats and an Artist’s Beret

But 30 years is a long time, especially in a job that is highly dangerous and physically demanding, and Barry, while not giving up his cowboy hat as he transitions into bullfighting retirement, is adding an artist’s beret (figuratively this time) to his repertoire. Actually, he’s been wearing that one for awhile as well, and through the years his paintings of western and rodeo scenes have been featured on rodeo program covers and posters at a number of rodeos across the U.S. Much of the work he does is commissioned, such as posters for Wrangler jeans, used nationally for rodeo promotions. Another commission was for the Professional Bull Riders, involving the 20-year annual award for Trainer of the Year. He has also created artwork for more than a dozen wine labels.

rodeo cowboy hats horse rowdy barry

The Pendleton Roundup is one of many major rodeos for which Barry, with his many hats, creates posters.

“I’ve been doing art throughout most of my life,” Barry says. “I drew a lot as a young child who was snowbound during Wyoming winters. I was a daydreamer in school and used art as a vehicle outside of the classroom.

“For 35 years, my main career was as a professional rodeo bullfighter and motion picture stuntman. But since I was a teenager I’ve owned cows as well. In 1999, my wife and I bought a 7500-acre ranch on top of the Horse Heavens near Kennewick. Then a year ago I started working for an animal health company as the Pacific Northwest sales manager and Oregon and Washington retail rep.

“So I wear many hats every day.”

Pastels on Black Paper

For years Barry’s art studio was a 14′ x 20′ log cabin, 50 feet away from his main house, but he now works out of a shared office/studio space within a newly built house. His preferred medium is pastel on black paper he acquires from France.

“I really like the control I have with pastels,” Barry explains. “I like the detail I can achieve with this medium. Some of the best compliments I receive are when people ask, ‘Is that a photo?’ or, ‘How did you get a photo to look like that?'”

light shadow hats horse blanket rodeo cowboy rowdy barry

Barry works with the blackness of the paper to incorporate elements of shadow, playing against light, in his artwork. Light and Shadow, pastel painting by Rowdy Barry.

The black paper, which is lightly sanded, is perfect for taking on multiple layers of pastels. It also works well in incorporating blank space within the image, nudging the viewer to use his or her imagination to fill in the dark areas.

“For instance, the viewer may not realize that there is a leg not showing, but their mind fills in the blanks. I like to incorporate this element in my works.”

Sharing the West and Western Life

Commissioned work is demanding, Barry says, because the artist creates within tight parameters of what the client wants; often, there is little freedom for the artist to draw, paint, or sculpt whatever he has in his head. For this reason, Barry is selective about which commissions he chooses, and if he doesn’t like the subject or doesn’t feel he can do justice to what the client wants, he doesn’t do it. And when he’s not doing a commission, and instead painting whatever he wants, it’s something to do with the west, usually cattle, horses, or rodeo.

“I like to share my view of the west and western life.”

Because that cowboy hat — he’s got a lot of them.

Wenaha GalleryRowdy Barry is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from August 16 through September 12, 2022.

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

 

 

paradise stone ocean sunset clouds valerie woods macro photography

No Stone Unturned: The Macro Photography of Valerie Woods

paradise stone ocean sunset clouds valerie woods macro photography

What looks like a scene from a tropical beach is the color and texture of stone, captured in macro photography by Richland artist, Valerie Woods.

“What do you see?”

Depending on which of the four words you emphasize, the meaning of the phrase changes. (Try it; I’ll wait).

For Valerie Woods, it’s a favorite question that she loves to ask, generally with emphasis on the word “you.” A photographer who specializes in images hidden in stone, Woods is fascinated by what individuals see when they take the time to look.

“Underneath the plain veneer of every stone is a hidden beauty carved out by nature and time,” the Richland, WA, artist says.

supernova stone macro photography explosion valerie woods

What looks like an explosion in deep outer space is an image dancing across the surface of stone. Macro photography by Valerie Woods

“In my art, I take a rock that people walk on — no one notices these little river rocks; they won’t delight — but when I look deeper there are entire worlds within them.

“They are full of depth and beauty, and they all have a story to tell.”

Individual and Unique

Just like humans, she adds. We’re all like that, from the homeless person holding the sign in the parking lot to the shopper standing next to us in line, from the neighbor raking leaves in the yard to the angry driver who just flipped us off in traffic.

“We all have depth and beauty and a story to tell. We just have to look under the surface, love each other, and open our eyes.

twlight blue gold sparkle valerie woods macro photography

The illusion of clouds and golden flecks of sunlight dance across the surface of stone in Valerie Woods macro photography image, Twilight.

“I think this is all so relevant in the world we are living in where everyone is so quick to hate anyone who is different. We are different because we are unique, one of a kind. Just like the rocks I photograph.”

Much of Woods’ work is macro photography, which involves taking close up images of tiny things, in this case, a vignette of a small surface area on a rock or stone. She does very little photo editing, so getting the shot right — the angle, the light, the perspective within a limited depth of field — makes or breaks the picture.

“When I first started doing macro photography, I took pictures of every little creature and flower I could find, even a few weeds, and I loved it! I enjoyed capturing the fine details of a dragonfly’s face or a bee’s fuzz.

“Eventually, I turned my lens onto stone when my husband built me a slate fountain. Poor man, he never imagined he would be living with rocks all over the house and yard for the rest of his days.”

Images Hidden in Stone

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Fire and shadow, flame and darkness — Valerie Woods’ Portrait in Stone captured the depth of personality.

What caught and grabbed Woods’ attention initially was a shape in one of the slate pieces on the fountain. Intrigued, she took the photo and upon later examination, discerned the image of an elephant.

“That was 12 years ago, and I have been enjoying what I call a ‘treasure hunt with God’ ever since.

“I believe that in His great love for us, he created these images in stone, ready for us to discover.

“Often, I don’t see an image before I start taking pictures. I pick up a rock that looks like it might have something in it, or I like the colors. And I just start looking with my lens and asking Him what is there.

“He shows me people and animals, sea creatures and sunsets, mountain ranges, volcanoes, oceans and forest. I’ve seen angels and celestial images.”

A Face Emerges

One image that struck her most personally she entitled Portrait in Stone. Emerging from the texture of rock is what appears to be a face, one with which Woods closely identifies:

“On one side she’s vibrant, fire and flame, but the other is her silent, deep side. It’s the one people don’t see.

“When I first found this image, I felt as though I was looking at myself. It was as if God created an image of me in stone.”

Woods’ studio is her backyard, kitchen counter, and a desk in her front room. Her subject matter she encounters in walks along the Columbia River, camping, hiking, or even at the grocery store, where she discovers treasures in the rock medians in the parking lot. She ascribes her faith in God as integral to her art, and seeks to impart that sense of love, discovery and acceptance into each of her works.

“I want to share that love,” Woods says, “That love for every single person who takes a breath.

“I want people to see beyond the surface.”

Wenaha GalleryValerie Woods is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from August 2 through August 29, 2022.

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

 

 

green copper unique earrings robin kahn

Unique and Individual — Metal Jewelry by Robin Kahn

green copper unique earrings robin kahn

Texture, color, and form all coordinate into a one-of-a-kind, unique jewelry creation by Robin Kahn.

Nowadays, we are forgetting something extremely important, and thereby experiencing more problems than we need to. This is what we are forgetting:

Every single human being is unique. Though we share attributes, we do not march in mental lockstep. Every human has different experiences, thoughts, dreams, ideas, opinions. If we accept this truth and — through civilized interaction — learn from one another, we grow, both individually and as a society. If we insist, however, that 100 out of 100 people think and act the same, we relinquish creativity and life.

Jewelry designer Robin Kahn learned this lesson over 27 years of teaching special education in Florida and Washington. Now retired, she applies it to both her day-to-day living and her art.

“My students, each one special, were ages 5-10 with a wide range of developmental challenges both academically and behaviorally,” the Spokane artist says. “What I learned from these children is that each of us is unique. As I got to know each child, I could then divine and fashion an individual approach to help that child grow and learn.

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Blue metal earrings with beads by Robin Kahn, one of a kind and unique.

“I am now creating jewelry full time. I believe my creative process for designing jewelry is inspired by my students, each one different and unique. My jewelry is designed with no two pieces identical. Each has its own shine.”

Each has its own shine.

Hunting at the Hardware Store

Specializing in copper and silversmithing earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, Kahn is constantly focused on refining her skills as a metalsmith. Her first foray into jewelry making was years ago, a class on beading that, unexpectedly, unlocked the hidden artist within and a passion to get to know her. Since then, she has never stopped taking classes, from beading to coppersmithing, from yard art welding to ceramics. Each learning experience adds to her repertoire of creativity and ideas.

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Copper pendant necklace with stamped design and beads, by Robin Kahn.

“To say I work with a range of materials is an understatement,” Kahn says. “I love nothing better than hunting at hardware stores, garage sales, and auctions, foraging to find unusual materials that can be used in a unique and different way than was originally intended.

“Buttons, drawer pulls, coins, pottery, beads, car parts, keys, bullet casings, rocks, recycled copper — this is Nirvana for someone who likes to discover and give new life to the unusual!”

Not surprisingly, it requires a fair amount of space to not only store all the materials Kahn uses to create her craft, but to transform those raw materials into completed, wearable art.

Filling the Workshop with Unique Items

Initially, her studio space was a six-foot folding table set within the well equipped workshop of her husband, Marv, a retired math teacher who “can fix and fabricate most anything.”

Over time, she added kilns, a soldering station, a jeweler’s bench, storage for the many beads that she adores and accumulates, cabinets for gems, multiple tables for assembling completed pieces, display racks for shows, storage for specialized tools, and space for enameling, metal fabricating, and forming. If you’re wondering how this impacted Marv, well,

“Marv’s shop has migrated into a new space in our backyard.”

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Round copper earrings with textured embellishments by Robin Kahn

It works. And they’ve each found their happy space.

Kahn’s latest focus involves enhancing individual pieces with texture, design, and patina. Using bits of lace, fibers from a lime bag, cactus or leaf skeletons, hammers and metal stamps, Kahn incorporates unconventional elements onto the metal surfaces of her jewelry pieces. Ideas ebb and flow during this process, she explains — often what she thought was going to emerge evolves into something very different.

“Being open to this evolving process is why I love sitting down to make jewelry.”

Traveling to Shows

Every year, Kahn takes part in the Little Spokane Artists Studio Tour at the end of September, and this year will also be at the Sun City Oro Valley, AZ, November Art Fair. She also attends the Tucson Gem and Mineral show which, with more than 4,000 vendors, is the largest, oldest, and most prestigious gem and mineral show in the world.

It’s been many years since that first jewelry class that started this journey, but for Kahn, every time she sits down to create a jewelry art piece, it’s a new, and unique experience.

“The process of fabricating a new piece starts out with a vision of color, texture and shape that inevitably evolves. Each piece finds its own direction, until ultimately, the final design is revealed.”

And the important thing about that final design is that it is unique, original, and one of a kind.

Just like each of us.

Wenaha GalleryRobin Kahn is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from July 17 through August 15, 2022.

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

 

 

 

mushroom pickers women polymer clay imagination nancy gresham character dolls

Imagination Play — Artwork by Nancy Gresham

mushroom pickers women polymer clay imagination nancy gresham character dolls

Two friends picking mushrooms invoke a smile from the viewer. Character dolls require a keen eye, skillful hand, and a dose of imagination. Mushroom Pickers, polymer clay sculpture by Nancy Gresham

In the art world, what you paint on is called the substrate. Many times, this is canvas or panel, although parents of toddlers know that walls are also options. The major limitation, really, is that paint adhere to the surface, so one’s imagination is free to go wild.

And that’s what artist Nancy Gresham let her imagination do — go wild. While the White Bird, ID, painter uses traditional canvas, panel, or paper when she works in acrylics, watercolor, and colored pencils, she also accesses more untraditional fare: river rocks.

“I love painting on smooth river rocks,” Gresham says. “For some unknown reason, I actually prefer painting on rocks to canvas.”

heart hummingbird painted rock nancy gresham

With a dose of imagination and skill with the paintbrush, Nancy Gresham transforms a rock into a painted masterpiece. Heart Hummingbird rock painting by Nancy Gresham.

Now when Gresham says she paints on rocks, she means it: she creates intricate and detailed images of flowers, birds, butterflies, undersea gardens, and even commissioned pet portraits on rocks of all sizes, from those you can hold in your hand to her largest so far, a 50-pound rock with three dogs, surrounded by Asian lilies. Some rock art works are freestanding, others lie flat, and still others Gresham trims around the edges to make them stand upright. Finding them is the first step, then scrubbing them clean, letting them dry, and priming them before getting out the indoor/outdoor patio paint. A non-yellowing protective varnish is the final touch.

Using up Her “Stash”

“I started painting on rocks 10 years ago when a client made a special request. I found it addictive and so easy to take on trips for evening projects.”

Gresham, who readily admits that she is “an art supply hoarder,” is always looking for new and unique ways to use her stash, and that’s where that go-wild imagination comes in handy. About the same time she discovered rocks as substrates, she stumbled upon a block of polymer clay in her studio. It had been there a long time, and she decided she either needed to use it up or give it away.

pelican bird swimming rock painting nancy gresham

A pelican swims through its circular rock substrate space in Nancy Gresham’s rock painting.

“At the time, the Salmon River Art Guild, to which I belong, was getting ready for its Fall Regional Show, and we were considering removing the sculpture category due to a lack of sculptures. I brought up playing with clay to one of my art friends, and we decided to give it a try.”

Trying Something New

Though her first creation was “one of those masterpieces that live forever in the closet,” subsequent online research introduced Gresham to the concept of character dolls, creations in clay that reside within a certain environment or  setting that creates a story. Not only did Gresham use up the polymer clay in her stash, she now had reason to buy more:

fisherman polymer clay imagination sculpture nancy gresham

Using accessories that she creates from clay and other materials, Gresham creates an imagination story around each of her polymer character dolls. Catch of the Day, by Nancy Gresham.

“My character dolls are primarily created from imagination,” Gresham says. “I love them to be whimsical but somewhat believable.

“I love unique features and expression, everyday people such as the ’roundtable’ coffee drinkers who meet at the cafe and solve the problems of the world.”

Gresham incorporates her character dolls into specific sets revolving around a theme, such as the coffee drinkers, or people waiting at a bus station, a fisherman reeling in a big one, or two women searching for mushrooms. To this end, she also creates the necessary accessories, whether from polymer clay or carefully chosen, organic items, to complete the visual vignette.

“I build the story as I am creating the dolls,” Gresham explains.

Variety Inspires

One day, Gresham will focus on creating character dolls; on another, she paints rocks; on still another, she paints elephants on a Masonite board: “I bounce back and forth depending upon my mood and the commissions I receive.”

It’s all inspired by using up that “stash,” whether Gresham is painting on rocks, barn boards, saw blades, canvas, or anything else she can get her hands on.

“I’ve been fascinated with creating ‘stuff’ since the beginning of mud pies,” Gresham says.

“My creations begin with an object that strikes my fancy, and it grows from there. It may be a piece of driftwood, or an odd shaped rock.

“But once I get started, it just develops as I go.”

Wenaha GalleryNancy Gresham is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from June 21 through July 18, 2022.

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

 

 

 

weather improvising plein air climate joan eckman

Improvising and Adapting — the Paintings of Joan Eckman

weather improvising plein air climate joan eckman

As any plein air painter knows, sudden changes in weather are an improvising factor that keep us from being static. Weather Moving In, original acrylic painting by Joan Eckman.

You’re taking a journey. You’ve packed your bags, and in short time, get to your destination. And then you discover that you forgot your toothbrush.

While it’s not a disaster, it is an inconvenience, and how far you are from a -Mart store determines how creative you get about improvising.

For Joan Eckman, an acrylic painter from Yakima, the destination was out in the boonies. And the brush, quite unfortunately, wasn’t just a toothbrush. But Eckman wasn’t about to let a major inconvenience become an overwhelming obstacle:

“I was on a plein air painting outing, and I had forgotten my brushes.

“So I wrapped a piece of paper towel around a pencil and painted with that along with a twig to make scratches and some detail lines. It turned out very loose and impressionistic.

Sun river naches woods forest joan eckman

It’s a quiet moment in the wilderness, far from the noise of the city. Sun on the Little Naches, original acrylic painting by Joan Eckman.

“And though it was nothing to brag about, I kept it as a reminder of what can be done, and because I actually like the spontaneity of it.”

Adapting to Change

Improvising, adapting, being willing to change are characteristic of Eckman. An avid enthusiast of the outdoors, Eckman found herself forced into temporary inactivity after a skydiving accident when she was 22 left her partially paralyzed. Rather than rail against fate, she turned fervently to art, focusing on detailed pencil renderings and watercolor paintings. This latter medium was easy for her to take on what she calls her meanderings, which she accomplishes with the aid of crutches and braces.

“I keep a backpack of art supplies for plein air outings,” Eckman explains. “Everything in it is small and lightweight, keeping the pack under 20 pounds for mobility.”

canyon morning improvising wilderness brushes joan eckman

Eckman was far away from a store when she found she had forgotten her brushes on a plein air outing. Improvising was the only solution. Canyon Morning, original acrylic painting by Joan Eckman.

Eckman, who uses a spare bedroom as her studio, has now moved on to acrylics, which she turned to when she became frustrated with not getting the detail and texture that she wanted with watercolor.

“However, there were many attributes that I loved about watercolor, so I chose acrylics as a medium that I could utilize in both those applications. I can get transparent glazes and texture. I’m still learning, and what a fun process it is.”

Right Brain, Left Brain Improvising

Like many artists, Eckman had to put full-time painting on hold while she and her husband raised their family and she pursued her career as the city clerk-treasurer of Connell, WA. Upon her retirement after 25 years with the town of Connell, Eckman and her husband resettled in the Yakima Valley, when she pulled art out of the backseat of the car and plunked it firmly in the front behind the steering wheel.

“My work as a city clerk/treasurer required such high left brain usage! It’s nice to pursue right brain activities to balance things out.

“I enjoyed my job, and now I have opportunity to pursue my art. Life is good.”

pond calm lilies mallards ducks joan eckman

Calmness and stillness reign in a peaceful moment on the pond. Mallards and Lilies, original acrylic painting by Joan Eckman.

Eckman regularly presents her work at various shows in the area, including the Larson Gallery Guild Members Show, the Annual Central Washington Artists Exhibit juried show, and the Oak Hollow Gallery Holiday Show, all in Yakima. She has also exhibited at Gallery One (Ellensburg); the BOXX Gallery (Tieton); and the Plein Air Washington Artists online show. Her sold work resides in the homes of collectors in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Canada, and Washington, D.C.

Prose, Poetry, and Art

An integral part of Eckman’s creative process involves the use of prose and poetry to help her visualize what she is trying to say with any one artwork.

“My inspiration may come from a song, or even just a word. It may be a beautiful scene outside or a combination of all. Sometimes the picture idea comes first, and sometimes the picture idea develops around some words in my head, which then becomes part of the whole.” She places the prose and poetry journal entries on a note that she attaches to the back of the artwork, and also adds the information to the image description on its website page.

It all integrates, it all matters, and each brush stroke — whether it’s from a sable brush in the studio or improvising a pencil wrapped with a paper towel — is one step further on the artist’s, and viewer’s, journey. Nature is a great teacher, Eckman believes, and there are many life lessons to learn if we take time to ponder and observe the world around us.

“Our world is beautifully created, and we should be diligent caretakers of that.

“Each moment is not its own, not a means within itself, or of itself. It’s a culmination of events leading up to and beyond that moment — as is life.

“There is so much beauty around us and life lessons to be learned.

“Hang on to the beauty.”

Wenaha GalleryJoan Eckman is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from June 7 through July 4, 2022.

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

 

 

 

butterfly crescent moon necklace magical felice wiens

Faerie Magic — The Eclectic Jewelry of Felice Wiens

butterfly crescent moon bracelet magical felice wiens

In addition to creating her magical, faerie-inspired jewelry, Dayton artist Felice Wiens also creates artistic photos showcasing the work Butterfly Crescent Moon Bracelet.

If you discovered that you could fly — not on a plane, but with faerie wings you suddenly found you possessed — would you do it?

And if you were given the opportunity to make yourself very small (with, of course, the ability to instantly change back) and fly from flower to flower in the garden, would you take it?

Felice Wiens would. The Dayton, WA, jewelry artist, who creates under the name The Eclectic Beader, thinks that the world is a bigger and deeper and richer place than what we’re taught to expect. Through her necklaces, bracelets, chakras, hair clips, earrings and more, she invites others to look beyond the ordinary.

Red Faerie Wings Resin Earrings Felice Wiens

Red Faerie Wings dangle elegantly from a bejeweled branch, as if the sprites had hung them up for the night. Hand-crafted jewelry by Felice Wiens.

“I have always been drawn to the magical,” Wiens says. “I’ve loved faeries since I was a little girl, and when I discovered that I could make magical pieces myself — pieces that others are drawn to — I knew I found what I wanted to do.”

A Creative Haven for Magic

Working out of a space she carved for herself in the basement (“The only downside is that our three pet cats will, every so often, wander into my space and walk across my work area”), Wiens has set up a creative haven filled with artwork, candles, finished jewelry, and all the raw materials she needs to make magic. There, she winds and weaves, constructs and fabricates, twists and intertwines semi-precious gemstones, Tibetan silver charms, beads, and bronze, copper, silver and gold-planted charms and chains into wearable jewelry art that transports the wearer to an enchanted forest or bewitching beach. The goal — for both her as the creator and those who purchase her jewelry — is peace, calm, tranquility, contemplation, imagination, meditation, and enchantment.

Green Butterfly Faerie Charm Felice Wiens

Green, with all its vibrancy and hearkening to spring, is a favorite color of Wiens. Green Butterfly with Faerie Charm Necklace by Felice Wiens.

“I currently work as a 911 dispatcher for Columbia County,” Wiens explains, “and while I enjoy the job, it is extremely stressful. Being able to go down to my workspace, light some candles, put on my Missing 411 podcast and just create jewelry helps to ground me.

“I think it’s very important to have a life outside of work.”

Faerie Wings from Resin

One of Wiens’ most popular creations has been her resin butterflies and faerie wings, which she hand-builds one at a time and colors using a mixture of translucent dyes and powder pigments. The wings require patience, concentration, and a deft hand, a combination that results in an art piece that is whimsical and fanciful: the exact emotions for which Wiens is striving. Along with the fancy, or more befittingly, integrated with it, is a strong element of spirituality. This, Wiens says, is intentional.

“I use gemstones — amethyst, aventurine, obsidian, lapis lazuli — that provide different healing properties as well as symbols with the charms.

Amethyst Fairy Moon Ear Wrap Felice Wiens

A selection of charms bedecks the Amethyst Faerie Moon Ear Wrap by Felice Wiens

“I fully believe that everyone should pick the path that works best for them. They should not shun others for choosing differently, or be shunned for choosing something different.

“The world we live in today is too focused on beating everyone down into submission. Or it bullies those who refuse to give in. It’s for that reason that I create things for people of all walks of life to enjoy.”

Inspired by Faeries and Family

As a child, Wiens discovered the Flower Faerie Books by Cicely Mary Barker, and she bought copies of those books for her own two daughters. Those books and other volumes of faerie art, as well as various websites and pages on the Internet, provide constant inspiration for new ideas, new patterns, new designs. So, also, do the encouragement of her daughters and husband:

“I am married to a wonderful man who has been very supportive of my ventures. And my daughters — they enjoy coming down to the studio to make jewelry with me. Just as often, however, they wait like vultures for a piece that doesn’t turn out so they can take it.”

Wiens has sold her jewelry worldwide through her Etsy shop, and she builds her brand by regularly and steadily posting on various social media sites. Lately, she has teamed up with social media influencers who promote her work.

With a family; an intense job; keeping fit through CrossFitting, biking, and paddle boarding; and, of course, making sure that the cats are content, she keeps busy without being stressed, because stress isn’t at all magical, fanciful, joyous, or good.

“I am humbled when people buy my work and leave a great review. It makes me happy to know that something I created has brought someone else joy.”

Because joy is what makes this world bigger and deeper and richer. And magical.

Wenaha GalleryFelice Wiens is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from May 24 through June 20, 2022.

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

 

 

peaches colored pencil watercolor fruit art cheryl bush

Painting Beauty — The Artwork of Cheryl Bush

peaches colored pencil watercolor fruit art cheryl bush

A blend of media, Peaches features colored pencil and watercolor. Original mixed media painting by Cheryl Bush.

There aren’t a lot of people who have talked to someone who has met Charlie Chaplin, but Cheryl Ann Bush is one of those people.

The Yakima, WA, artist, who creates artwork in colored pencil, oil pastel, watercolor, acrylic, and pen and ink, remembers the time she met her great-grandfather Herman Steuernagel at a family reunion.

“I was in grade school,” she says. “My great-grandfather was a well-known artist in Germany before retiring to New York in 1910. When he was in Germany, he had done background sets for the theater, and when he relocated to New York, he did background sets for the silent movies. During that time, he met Charlie Chaplin.”

Apples fruit red delicious colored pencil painting cheryl bush

Bush enjoys the incredible detail that working in colored pencil brings. Apples — Nature’s Beauties, original painting by Cheryl Bush.

As the art director of the Pathe Film Company from 1909 to 1917, Steuernagel sold his theater sets worldwide, but what excited the young Cheryl most was that he was a painter.

“It was so special to be able to meet and share my love of art with him,” she says.

Paintings on the Walls

Growing up in a house with lots of art on the walls (Bush’s great aunt, Alice Leo Oldright, was also an artist, a landscape and still life painter who lived in Walla Walla from 1900 to 1921 and later moved to Utah) Bush developed an appreciation for representational art, and regardless of the medium she chooses, she focuses on the essence of her subject matter. It does not matter whether she is painting a landscape in acrylic or a cluster of apples in colored pencil. Each medium has its advantages and disadvantages, and she immerses herself in the uniqueness of each.

“I enjoy the precise detail that can be obtained with colored pencil. It can be tedious and time consuming, but the results are well worth the effort.

“Combining watercolor with colored pen, I believe, gives award winning results, which they literally did with Still Life in Red, White, Blue. That included red petunias from our garden. It received Third for watercolor at the Western Washington State Fair.

blue poppy flower petals oil pastel cheryl bush

The glow of light dances around the petals in Cheryl Bush’s oil pastel painting, Blue Poppy.

“Vine Ripened and Peaches featured colored pencil along with watercolor which gave the results I was looking for.”

Every Painting Has a Story

Not only the medium used, nor subject matter, enhance the story of each artwork, Bush adds. During the process of creating the artwork, life happens, and those moments of life incorporate themselves, visually or metaphysically, into the finished piece.  Bush recalls the time she was working on Hailey’s Dahlia, an oil pastel she focused on one summer.

haileys dahlia flower oil pastel painting cheryl bush

Named for Bush’s granddaughter, Hailey’s Dahlia celebrates the joy of life.

“At the time, my daughter was expecting her first child, and she was two weeks late. I joked that she was waiting for grandma to finish her piece.

“The day after I finished the artwork Hailey was born, so I named the piece for her.”

As an added bonus, the painting was accepted into the South Sound Four League Art Exhibit in Tacoma, where it won the Tacoma Mayor’s award.

Another piece, a charcoal of Mount Rushmore, was accepted into the Puyallup State Fair, a fact about which Bush was happy because it was the first show in which she publicly exhibited her work. She was even happier, however, when the drawing sold.

“I was so surprised I borrowed a Polaroid camera to take a picture of it on the gallery wall so I could have it for a portfolio.”

A Light Happy Space for Painting

Retired from a career in education, Bush is grateful that she is no longer restricted to vacation breaks for working on her art.  For years she set up her studio in a corner of the family room, but since moving to Yakima from Pierce County in 2014, she has worked out of a designated studio room in her house. Ledges on the wall hold finished paintings, and storage cabinets keep in one place all the accoutrements for artistic creativity. It is a light, happy space, and she spends many hours there. That happiness finds its way into her art.

“I believe that God has given us this beautiful world to enjoy, and I love to create works of art that reflect the beauty of His creation,” Bush says.

“It is rewarding when I can bring joy and a smile by bringing happy memories to mind with my work.”

Wenaha GalleryCheryl Bush is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from May 10 through June 6, 2022.

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

 

 

illusion woodturned bowl basket louis toweill

Illusion Baskets — Woodturning Art by Louis Toweill

illusion woodturned bowl basket louis toweill

It looks like a woven basket, but is actually a painted, woodturned bowl. Aqua Terra Cotta Illusion Basket by Louis Toweill

In the right hands, by the right people, for the right reasons, illusion is a delightful thing.

For instance, when it comes to a news story, illusion has no place. At. All. But when it comes to a block of wood, illusion turns a bowl into a basket that isn’t a basket at all.

“They’re called Basket Illusion Pieces,” says Louis Toweill, a woodworker who creates bowls, platters, vases, even pens turned on a wood lathe. “They are woodburned with a pyrography tool and embellished with acrylic paint. The results are single pieces of wood that appear to be woven beaded baskets.”

mountain scene basket illusion woodturned bowl louis toweill

Toweill graphs out his designs on a software spreadsheet first, and then paints the pattern onto the cells of the bowl. Mountain Design Basket Illusion Woodturned Bowl by Louis Toweill.

Highly complex and time consuming, basket illusion pieces start out as bowls turned on a wood lathe. While the piece rotates, Toweill (whose name rhymes, appropriately, with bowl) shapes the horizontal grooves. Afterwards, he burns on the vertical lines, one ridge at a time, by hand with the pyrography tool. What results is a series of squares or cells covering the entire surface of the bowl. He then maps out a design for the piece, using a software spreadsheet as a form of graph paper.

Spreadsheet Design and Painted Wood

“I put in asterisks on the spreadsheet to mark the major elements of the design,” the Yakima, WA, artist explains, “and from that I start painting the cells on the actual bowl. You have to know exactly how many cells surround the piece (usually it’s 96), and then once you start painting, you have to be awful careful about counting — if you miss by one cell, you mess up everything. It’s very . . .  well, the best word for that part of the process is trepidating. I don’t think that’s an actual word, but it describes the feeling exactly.”

natural edge maple woodturned salad bowl louis toweill

Toweill’s non basket illusion pieces include this natural edge maple salad bowl.

Toweill, who started seriously creating woodturned art in 2000, had long been interested in illusion work but was daunted by the time required, as are many woodworkers, he adds. “A lot of people are interested in it, but don’t follow through because of that time factor,” he says. “I myself started an illusion piece way back in 2009, but set it aside. Finally, in 2020, I pulled it out and finished it.” Pleased with the design and feel of the finished piece, Toweill put aside his misgivings about the time factor and leaped into basket illusion.

“It’s very precise, but it’s also a little by the seat of your pants,” he observes.

Distilling Information

A member of the Mid-Columbia Woodturners, Toweill is receiving increasing requests from other woodworkers on the process. He is more than willing to share what he’s learned, he says; the problem is distilling so much information and actual work into the three-hours or so allotted for a presentation.

“It really is time consuming,” he says. “It’s hard to condense and fit it all in.”

Two Blues Basket Illusion Woodturning Bowl Louis Toweill

The color of the wood itself, left unpainted, gives the illusion of woven straw in a basket. Two Blues Bowl by Louis Toweill

The resulting artwork, however, is worth it — a wooden bowl that mimics the feeling and look of a woven basket, creating a fusion of medium that is unique, original, and unexpected. Sycamore, maple, and walnut are three of Toweill’s favored woods with which to work, and while he does purchase material for his woodturning creations, he prefers to find someone who has a tree they are downing and glean.

“A friend of mine had a sycamore tree and I have made bowls from that. I’ll also use wood from my own yard. I’m always on the lookout for wood.

“It’s serious challenge obtaining seasoned hardwood thick enough to make a piece of art. But wood is a great medium since it is so pleasant to touch and is very workable. It’s fun to see what shapes can be made from each block of wood.”

Full-time Retirement Work

Growing up with a background in logging and road construction, Toweill first used a wood lathe in high school wood shop in the early 1960s, but never used a lathe again until he bought an old one in the 1990s. He replaced it with a new model in 2000.

Upon retirement (he worked as an electrical engineer for Pacific Power and Light until 1992, then taught mathematics and business courses at various colleges as an adjunct faculty member until 2013) Toweill immersed himself full time into woodworking art. He displays his work in various retail art galleries and at festivals, shows, and other sales events. Twice he has shown his art at the American Association of Woodturners national symposiums.

Each artwork, illusion piece or not, is as unique as the tree from which it derives, Toweill says, and while the skill of the artist is a major factor in the finished artwork, the wood itself  has say in what it eventually becomes:

“There are innumerable numbers of tree species to work with, and each piece has its own unique grain pattern and color. One never knows what pattern will be revealed while turning.

“The beauty of wood inspires me.”

And, he hopes, inspires others as well.

Wenaha GalleryLouis Toweill is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from April 26 through May 23, 2022.

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

 

 

 

 

cars books harri classic automobiles books

Chasing Cars — The Classic Automobile Book Collection of Ed Harri

cars books harri classic automobiles books

Ed Harri’s collection of books on classic cars is vast and varied.

Quiet people make the best listeners, because they’re not so busy talking that they don’t hear others speak.

Ed Harri, who with his wife Pat started Wenaha Gallery of Dayton 27 years ago, was such a person. Lawyer, university professor, family man, Ed — who passed away in March 2020 — was described as an exceptional listener. When he did speak, it was after much deliberation and thought. And people, sensing this, listened, because what he said was worth hearing.

“Ed was a student of life,” Pat says. “He had interests in many areas– people, art, books, and . . . cars.”

muscle cars legends book harri

Muscle Cars are the focus in this volume from the Ed Harri car collection

Growing up in Dayton in the 1950s, Ed lived in a town that looks very different from what it does today. One of those differences was a car dealership called Pool’s, located back then at the corner of Front and Main Street. On his way to or back from school, Ed stopped in regularly to look at the cars, talk to the dealers, and pick up any brochures or information available. Often the dealers saved aside auto manufacturers’ display books, and at the end of the season, gave the books and binders to Ed.

“He read magazines and books on cars, as well as talked to people, asked questions. He often knew more about the cars on the lots than the dealers did,” Pat said.

Cars: A Lifelong Passion

“It was just a passion with him when he was a little kid,” added CJ Horlacher, a longtime gallery associate who remembers the stories Ed told of growing up in Dayton. “He said that, before the new models came out, the dealerships plastered the windows with paper, and then they made a big deal about tearing off the paper to unveil the new models.

“He hung around and hung around and was right there on the spot when the moment came.”

corvette yellow car book harri

The Corvette is the focus in this volume from the Ed Harri car book collection

Ed preferred American-made cars of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Pat said, and his collection included real cars (“He had seven Cadillacs of various years”), the brochures, dealer display items, car magazines, model cars, car kits, die cast cars, and books, the latter which is the focus of an Art Event at Wenaha Gallery, but we’ll get back to that in a minute. From young boyhood on, Ed enjoyed putting together model cars, and when he passed on, Pat entrusted that collection to Savonnah Henderson, Wenaha Gallery associate and framer, to sell, one at a time or in batches, to car aficionados nationwide.

Model Kits and Coffee Table Books

“His collection included more than 600 kits, mostly from the 50s through the 70s, unbuilt, and then he had built around 600 model cars,” Henderson says. “His favorite model car was the 1968 Pontiac GTO — he built that at least 10 times, painting it differently each time, and I also sold six-eight unbuilt ones. He also had 300 die cast models as well, most of which we have sold.

“And now there are the books.”

cars book red harri collection automobiles

The title says it all in this volume from the Ed Harri cars collection of books

The books. Ed also collected car books, again favoring American models from the 50s through the 70s.

“He always had a love of books and would buy them whenever he had money,” Pat said. “Anytime we went to a bookstore (and he loved bookstores) we would check out the car sections. Some of his books he received as gifts, because it didn’t take long for our kids to know that a car book was a sure hit for birthdays and special occasions.”

Through the years, the gifts and purchases accrued until the couple had more than 20 large bookshelves in their home for Ed’s many interests. A number of those shelves held coffee-table-sized volumes on cars — Corvettes, Cadillacs, Porsches, Camaros, concept cars, dream cars, Fifties flashbacks — large, photo-filled tomes that Ed found relaxing to pore through after an intense day of teaching future attorneys.

The Golden Era of Automobiles

“He loved cars, and books were a natural extension of that,” Pat says. “His collection is like a timeline of the Golden Era of auto making. Like the model kits and die cast cars, we are making this collection available to car aficionados like Ed himself. He enjoyed talking to other car lovers, and he would be glad to know that others, who appreciate these cars the way he did, have an opportunity to add these books to their own homes. In Ed’s honor, we are having an Art Event of his automobile books.”

Ed was a quiet man, but he was deep, and the young boy of Dayton grew into a man who asked questions, listened to answers, and, when you caught him in the right mood, told stories of a little town where there used to be a car dealership called Pool’s. And there was a boy called Ed. And Ed loved cars.

Wenaha GalleryThe Ed Harri Classic Car Book Collection is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from March 29 through April 25, 2022.

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 5 p.m. from Monday through Thursday, 9-4 Fridays, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.