Sentinel gap camera photo landscape eastern-washington columbia river john clement

Camera Magic — The Photography of John Clement

Sentinel gap camera photo landscape eastern-washington columbia river john clement

Sentinel Gap, capturing the Eastern Washington landscape on camera by John Clement, Kennewick photographer

Everyone has a camera these days.

Whether it’s at an office party or the family Thanksgiving dinner, many people have been buttonholed by an enthusiastic traveler’s  sharing a (seemingly endless) collection of photos. It doesn’t take long to realize that enthusiasm does not always equate with expertise, and while anyone can press a button, far fewer people know how to capture a moment, a memory, and an emotion.

“The challenge of being a photographer is capturing the images that I have created in my mind’s eye — capturing an emotion that connects someone with that image and draws them into it,” says Kennewick photographer John Clement, who has had a camera in his hand for more than 49 years now and counting.

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The Eiffel Tower, by John Clement, photographer and camera artist from Kennewick, WA

“Finding those type of images takes lots of planning, prayer, and knowing your landscape locations. It’s understanding how and when the weather, the light, and the subject all work together for that moment in time, never to be repeated. There is so much to this side of the story . . . ”

He Borrowed His First Camera

Clement’s story started in 1970 at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, where he double majored in geology and geography. Needing an elective class to fill a gap in his schedule, he chose photography — although to get through the class he had to borrow a camera because he didn’t own one.

“But I was hooked,” he said. He spent five years with a church pictorial directory company in St Louis, and another five with Battelle in Tri-Cities doing lab and photography assignments. On the side, he shot landscapes and marketed his work, and in 1980, left Battelle to venture out on his own.

“I’ve been really blessed in this business by faithful clients and opportunities to try new ventures in photography,” Clement explains. “I’ve been involved in book publishing, calendars, multimedia production, and scouting movie locations for clients in California.

“I have clients all around the world, and have prints in more than 80 countries.”

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Morning, capturing on camera that moment in the morning, by photographer John Clement of Kennewick, WA

Clement’s photos have garnered more than 65 regional, national, and international awards, including first place at the National Park Service’s National Natural Landmark Photo Competition. He has been published in Country Music and Northwest Travel Magazines, and one of his prints hangs in the permanent collection of the International Hall of Fame of Photography in Missouri. He installed 17 of his works as murals at the Century Link Field in Seattle, home of the Seahawks and the Sounders, and an additional 17 as 4×8 glass panels at the recently remodeled Pasco Airport. Last year he completed a major project at the Othello Medical Clinic where nearly 200 images — ranging in size from 24 inches to 35 feet — decorate the facilities.

Traveling with Family and Camera

For 20 years, Clement operated a gallery at the Columbia Center Mall in Kennewick, but closed it in 2005 so that he could devote more time to traveling with his wife, Sharon, and capturing landscapes on camera from different locations. The past several years, he has traveled regularly to the Midwest with his daughter, Colleen, for storm chasing. (“My interest is in the big skies and the landscape.”) Other travels have taken him to Russia, China, continental Europe and the British Isles, “with more to come, Lord willing.”

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Vineyards, by camera and photography artist John Clement of Kennewick, WA

“I have thousands of stories — some funny, some serious, and some scary,” Clement says. “When you do what I do, you can get into some interesting situations, places, and crazy scary weather.” One major memory is the time he lugged his 42 pounds of camera equipment onto a four-foot wide, mid-range ledge at Palouse Falls. Without warning, a baseball-sized rock hurtled from above, barely missing him.

“Quit throwing rocks! There are people below you!” Clement shouted to the voices overhead. The next voice he heard was that of an upset mother yelling, “I told you not to throw rocks, didn’t I?” There was a slap, a wail, and then silence. But at least there were no more rocks. Clement stayed on the ledge, unmolested from above, for four hours, waiting until the light and the sky were just the way he wanted.

Camera and the Artist’s Eye

“This world is a wonderful place of color, textures, lines, and patterns,” Clement says. “When some or all of these elements come together in the right light, they can stir the emotions to stop and think.”

It’s his job, he says, to capture that moment on camera, and translate it visually into an image that speaks to the heart as well as the eye.

“I believe God has given each one of us a gift to share with others,” Clement says.

“My gift is seeing his wonderful creation in a unique way that communicates His love for all of us — through what He has created for us to see.”

Wenaha GalleryJohn Clement is the Featured Art Event from Monday, April 8through Saturday, May 4at Wenaha Gallery. He will be at the gallery Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a special Spring Art Show, where he will be joined by Milton-Freewater steel sculptor Anne Behlau and Dayton jewelry and nostalgia journal artist Dawn Moriarty.

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.

Metal (and Horse) Lover: The Steel Sculpture of Anne Behlau

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Forkupine — a metal sculpture of a porcupine fashioned from forks. Steel metal sculpture by Anne Behlau of Milton-Freewater, OR

If you ever have a run-in with a porcupine, you’ll probably remember the experience. Anne Behlau certainly has.

“When I was a six-year-old child, a porcupine came into the tent I was sleeping in with my brother on a mountain pack trip,” the Milton-Freewater metal artist recalls.

“It ate the tops out of my cowboy boots.”

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Metal Horse, steel sculpture art by Milton-Freewater artist Anne Behlau

Years later Behlau, who creates steel sculpture from found, repurposed, and recycled metal, fashioned a forkupine, a whimsical, 3-D statuette of a porcupine created from forks.

A Family History of Metal and Blacksmithing

A retired registered nurse, Behlau grew up on small farms, and has been involved with animals all her life. As a young adult she moved to Dayton and raised four children on a 100-acre farm on the North Touchet, and after the kids grew and flew, went back to school for her RN degree. After 27 years of working in the medical field, she retired and turned to the welder, torch, and blacksmith forge. She now also trolls through salvage yards, junk piles, yard sales, and farms looking for metal materials to transform into her art.

“My father was a blacksmith and farrier,” Behlau explains. “My brothers continued the tradition as well as my nephew.

“Since there was such a strong family tradition of blacksmithing, I was drawn to metal work utilizing welder, torch, and forge.”

There is a learning curve, she says. In the three years she has been honing her skills with her tools, she has encountered challenges along the way.

Red Hot Metal

“Working with red hot metal can be tricky and painful at times if you are not careful,” Behlau says. “The upside of working with metal is that, unlike with wood, if you cut it wrong or put it together wrong, it is very forgiving.

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Small Scotty Dog, metal sculpture by Anne Behlau, artist from Milton-Freewater, OR

“It can be cut apart and rewelded until it looks how you want it. It just takes patience and persistence . . . which I have a lot of.”

Citing a love for all things cowboy, Behlau expresses enthusiasm for creating metal sculptures of horses, ranging from the whimsical to serious.

“I have a lifelong love for horses. I’ve competed in horse shows, trained horses, team roped, barrel raced, and ridden in endurance rides.”

While raising her children, she threw herself and them into 4-H and FFA. Nowadays, that love for horses comes out in the work of her hands.

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Yellow Rose, metal sculpture by Milton-Freewater artist Anne Behlau.

Behlau does not limit herself to equine subjects, however. All farm and ranch animals, as well as porcupines, attract her interest, along with flowers, people, and graphic design shapes. Her two Scotty dog pets provide constant inspiration, and she has created a 30-pound Scotty sculpture using sections of heavy walled metal pipe, as well as a tiny Scotty, fashioned from a railroad spike. People who see both sculptures express surprise over what makes up the finished product.

Turning Metal Scraps into Art

From forks to garden tools, from scraps of farm machinery to old horseshoes, they all find themselves with new life in a new shape, after a little bit (or quite a lot, actually) of heat and inspiration. What Behlau ultimately creates depends upon the materials she has gathered, along with ideas she picks up from the Internet, personalized by her own spin.

Working out of an unattached shop/garage at her Milton-Freewater home, Behlau markets her work as Anvil Annie Metal Art. She has sold her pieces as a vendor at festivals, through her Facebook page, and at Hamley & Company Saddle and Western Store in Pendleton, OR. Learning as she goes with “a little instruction along the way,” she never quite knows what she will make next, but is certain that it will reflect her love for country and for country life: its people, its animals, its lifestyle.

“My art,” Behlau muses, “is inspired by things that are deep in my heart.”

Wenaha GalleryAnne Behlau is the Featured Art Event from Monday, March 25 through Saturday, April 20 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a special Spring Art Show, where she will be joined by Kennewick photographer John Clement and Dayton jewelry and nostalgia journal artist Dawn Moriarty.

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.

 

country landscape acrylic painting becky melcher

“They” Speak, But She Ignores Them — Becky Melcher Paints Acrylics

country landscape acrylic painting becky melcher

On the Fence, acrylic painting by Becky Melcher. She doesn’t worry about what “they” say when she chooses a subject to paint

In the back of our minds, “they” always speak.

Who “they” are is a mystery, but their voice — if we let it — dictates what we do, how we do it, and who we do it with. Call it peer pressure, societal norms, tradition, or propaganda from the advertising industry, all people feel it in some format or another, and how we deal with “them” impacts how we live our lives.

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Too Calm to Sail, acrylic painting by Yakima artist Becky Melcher. She paints what she wants and not what They dictate

“According to the rules, you are always supposed to have a plan, but my plan is constantly changing,” says Yakima fine art painter Becky Melcher, who has spent most of her life not listening to the voices of convention. During the 1970s, to pay for college in Los Angeles, Melcher got her pilot license and ferried airplanes between the Santa Monica and Van Nuys airports, but while she loved flying, she wasn’t so excited about where all her money was going.

“They” Say College; She Says, No

“College seemed to promise nothing, so I eventually quit and went to work for a law firm summarizing depositions. Back in the day there weren’t very many college paralegal programs, so this was learned on the job. I was self sufficient and independent!

“But as satisfying as that time was, I was fed up with Los Angeles. So I visited my aunt in Yakima, was spellbound by what I saw and never returned to California.”

She married, had triplets six months into her pregnancy, and eventually arranged to work from home, summarizing depositions for a local law firm. And when she could, she painted: representational landscapes during a time when abstract was the art world’s favorite child. After 40 years of being in the legal field — ranging from working for a government contractor making parts for nuclear submarines to administrating the business office of a private law firm — Melcher retired and threw herself full time into what she never had time enough for before.

“I have poured myself into learning and experimenting: the computer age and the Internet have afforded me great instruction on techniques, color, values, composition and the like.”

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Summer at the Farm. Yakima acrylic painter Becky Melcher creates landscapes from photo references as well as images from her mind

Finding that watercolor “doesn’t allow for change of mind,” and oils require more patience than she has, Melcher focused on acrylic paintings, with her favorite subject matter being landscapes.

Landscapes: They Draw You In

“They draw you into a story that the artist is telling — You can live in landscape paintings!

“They exude the life experience and the extraordinary world around us.”

Working out of what she describes as “a tiny office in my home — more tiny art studio than office,” Melcher has created a body of work welcomed in various area restaurants, wineries, and businesses, from which she makes brisk sales. Buyers have mentioned that they like the feeling and emotion of her works.

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Well Traveled Path, acrylic painting by Yakima artist Becky Melcher. She listens to her heart and mind before she pays attention to what “they” say.

“Most of my landscapes are out of my imagination,” Melcher explains. “I take a lot of photos. Not necessarily of scenes I want to paint but of skies or lighting that I especially like and want to incorporate into a painting.”

One of the next items on Melcher’s learning list is exploring the world of abstract, with the idea of incorporating it into representationalism. She aims to bring out the best of each.

“They” Don’t Define Art

“Abstract art is not what people think: I believe it is painting the essence of a subject, incorporating color and texture, but I don’t believe a red stripe on a white canvas or a black dot on a blue canvas is truly abstract art.”

“They” may disagree, but then again, Melcher isn’t concerned with them. Each artist, Melcher believes, is a unique individual, and must be free to paint in accordance with their heart, soul, skills, vision, and being. There is no room for an imperious, monolithic voice imposing its views upon the world, dictating what is, and isn’t art.

“I love reading what other artists have to say about their vision, journey, and focus of artistic endeavor,” Melcher says.

“I will always be an artist in training, because there is so much more to learn and try.”

Wenaha GalleryBecky Melcher is the Featured Art Event from Monday, March 11 through Saturday, April 6 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.

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Painted Rocks: Spreading Joy and Encouragement

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A series of painted rocks by Dayton artist Jaqulyn Silvester, who has been painting rocks for more than 25 years — long before today’s trend.

Rocks, these days, really rock.

Long overlooked because they’re so ordinary, humble rocks are newly feted as works of art that carry an inspiring message.

painted rocks dayton smith random kindness art

Focusing on the light — a series of lighthouse themed painted rocks by Dayton rock artist Mary-Jeanne Smith

“I love the idea of putting little random gifts of art out into the world, to bring joy to a stranger,” says Mary-Jeanne Smith, a resident of Dayton who has been painting rocks, and hiding them throughout the community for others to find, for a little more than a year. She is one of thousands of people around the nation who have joined the painted rocks grass roots movement, inspired by life coach Megan Murphy from Massachusetts. In 2015 Murphy wrote “You’ve got this” on a rock and left it on a beach in Cape Cod. After a friend found it and told her how the message had lifted her spirits, Murphy started the Kindness Rocks Project, encouraging others to paint “random acts of kindness” on rocks and leave them out for others to find.

Painted Rock Facebook Groups

“I painted my first  rock, a dragonfly, in 2016 and it was so terrible I put it away and decided rock painting was not for me,” says Ashly Beebe, also from Dayton. Two years later she discovered and joined a Facebook rock painting group from Dayton and participated in its monthly challenges which honed her skills and techniques. Now she hides her rocks throughout town, focusing on busy streets and parks — especially in and around statues — because she wants people to find them easily.

“The best place I have hidden rocks was all over my mother’s garden when I went home to visit,” Beebe says. “It was so fun hearing her find them all weekend long and she still displays them.”

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Silhouette magic — painted rocks by Dayton artist Felice Henderson.

Part of the rock painting movement is posting found rocks on the local Facebook rock painting group, and many cities and geographical areas host one of these. Rock painters regularly check their local groups to see who has found their rocks and where, delighting in the stories and the smiles.

“The pictures I see posted of children finding my rocks have been particularly heartwarming,” Smith says. “They look so happy and proud, holding up their found rock. Knowing that my little random gift brought a smile is a lovely reward that keeps me painting more rocks.”

Hiding the Painted Rocks

For Dayton resident Felice Henderson, hiding the rocks is as much fun a painting them. On family walks through town her two children, 9 and 4, decide the final hiding place, which is sometimes really really obvious (the four-year-old’s choice) and sometimes not. Henderson remembers their own discovery of a special rock while vacationing on the coast, and it drove home to her how meaningful the ordinary rock has the potential to be.

“The rock we found was painted with the ashes of a deceased 2-year-old mixed into the paint,” Henderson remembers. “Her name was Cami Grace. Her mother painted the rocks with her ashes to have others find them and take them all over the world, since Cami died before her time and never got to travel.”

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A touch of spring and hope from a painted rock by rock artist Ashly Beebe of Dayton

That story pierces the soul. Others are more lighthearted, such as Walla Wallan Nathan Martnick’s reason for starting to paint rocks in the first place.

“I did it initially with the intent of impressing a most beautiful woman who paints rocks, but then I realized I actually enjoyed painting rocks.” He also likes hiding them, and while he recognizes the need to make the hiding place not too difficult, sometimes the temptation is strong:

“One of the more unique spots I’ve chosen is an umbrella hole on a patio table.”

“I once hid a rock in the pocket of the Waitsburg Founding Fathers’ statue,” Waitsburg rock painter Sonya Taylor says. She gravitates toward a “theme” when it comes to hiding places, with Jubilee Lake designated for nature images like kayaking, ducks, and fishing, and the Dayton General Hospital Therapy Department housing her Pokemon rock during last year’s Halloween theme.

Finding Painted Rocks

“I don’t hide rocks super well,” Dayton resident Savonnah Henderson (Felice’s sister, to whom she credits the introduction to rock painting), says. “I WANT people to find them and enjoy them.”

That’s what it all comes down to: taking an ordinary item; transforming it into a thing of beauty; and placing it someplace where a total stranger will find it. The combination of all these elements is what keeps many people painting and hiding rocks. It’s an individual mission of spreading kindness, encouragement, and goodness.

“I love creating something beautiful that someone else can find,” Felice Henderson says. Or, as Beebe sums it up,

“I feel so grateful to have found not just a hobby, but a piece of my heart, and to share that as a random act of kindness with others.”

Wenaha GalleryRock Artists is the Art Event from Monday, January 28 through Saturday, February 23 at Wenaha Gallery. A number of regional rock art painters are displaying their work — in plain site — at the gallery. Rocks will be available for purchase for $10 each.

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.

teal umbrella child country girl cat show kindness steve henderson art

The Art of Kindness — 2019 Canned Food Drive

teal umbrella child country girl cat show kindness steve henderson art

Even the grumpiest person knows they should show kindness and patience toward children and animals — but inside, we are all as vulnerable as children, and could use some extra kindness. The Teal Umbrella, original oil painting by Steve Henderson

Anybody can be kind.

You don’t have to be smart or rich, technologically savvy, rugged, scientific, or glittery — attributes our society admires so much that we confer a state of godhood on those who possess them. Faces are famous basically because their owners make a lot of money, and this means — experts explain — that they are also good and friendly and likable, generous and giving, so totally wonderful that ordinary mortals cannot possibly affect the world in the way they can.

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Kindness is a virtue. We’ve all heard that, but it’s true  — kindness is a thing of beauty, reflection, and worth. Virtue, fine art print by James Christensen

Their philanthropy and good works, we are told, make a REAL difference.

But how so very, very untrue.

Aside from the misconceptions that monetary success goes hand in hand with moral virtue, that those who wield power are intrinsically benevolent, that intelligence equates wisdom, mass media’s fallacious teaching also implies that ordinary people do not possess anything meaningful enough to be worthwhile: we are not rich enough, smart enough, powerful enough, beautiful enough, funny enough.

But anybody can be kind. And kindness always makes a difference.

Small Kindness: Big Impact

Think about it: on a day in which you were feeling low, discouraged, tired, bitter — what was the impact of a stranger’s kindness: a smile, their waving you on to the parking space they were aiming at for themselves, their handing you the dollar you lacked to pay for your purchases? While the action was small, it made a subtle alteration to your day.

Or what about the acts of kindness toward you that you don’t know about — those times when your name and situation arose among a group of friends, acquaintances, co-workers, in which someone’s voice dropped to say, “I heard that they . . .” while others exchanged sage nods and knowing glances? But someone there said to themselves, “I don’t know their situation, and it’s not up to me to judge,” and aloud, “Regardless of whether it’s their ‘fault’ or not, they are hurting, and that’s nothing to laugh about.”

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A world where kindness prevails is like a peaceful landscape, one where there is silence and beauty. Near Indian Caves, original pastel painting by Bonnie Griffith.

That small act of kindness defused a situation in which you were being harmed.

Opportunities for Kindness Abound

No huge check was involved, no photo op, no praise from a talk show host. Just an ordinary person chose to do something kind in the course of his or her day. Such a person, making a habit of this, adds small jolts of goodness to various people’s lives each and every day. A number of such persons makes an impact large enough to be noticed, altering the environment around them from one of criticism, judgment, and indifference to one of caring, compassion, and thoughtfulness. Kindness.

canned food drive kindness dayton community food bank wenaha gallery

Through the years, community members in Dayton, WA, have shown incredible kindness by donating to Wenaha Gallery’s Annual Canned Food Drive, benefiting the Dayton Community Food Bank

The opportunities to be kind are boundless, the need so great that we don’t have to actively look for them, but rather, be ready to act at a moment’s notice: smile, defer judgment, refuse to be baited into an argument, defend a person who can’t speak for himself, donate a can to the food bank, bite our tongue instead of use it as a lash, give to someone who asks without worrying about whether they are trying to cheat us. It’s not a matter of being doormats — we definitely need to stand up for ourselves against powerful establishments whose motives have nothing to do with kindness — but when it comes to dealing with individual people, we rarely err on the side of too much kindness.

Kindness and Leadership

In short, we act toward others in the way that we wish others would act toward us. And just because we feel they don’t is no reason for us to wait until they do. Determining to be kind is a true act of leadership — not the pseudo-leadership of false confidence and blustering swagger — but a decision to do what is right, to speak what is true, to be a person of integrity in a world that laughs at innocence and equates it with stupidity.

Anyone can be kind.

Can you imagine what the world would look like if everyone were?

Wenaha GalleryThe Annual Canned Food Drive is the Art Event through January 31, 2019 at Wenaha Gallery. For every canned food item brought into the gallery through January 31, the giver receives $2 off their next custom framing order, up to 20% off total. All proceeds benefit the Dayton Community Food Bank.

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.

 

 

 

cheese sushi cutting boards hardwood coasters dave ulmen spokane woodworking

The Cutting Edge of Woodworking Art by Dave Ulmen

cheese sushi cutting boards hardwood coasters dave ulmen spokane woodworking

Sushi, cheese, and cutting boards, as well as hardwood coasters by woodworking artist Dave Ulmen of Spokane, WA

Wood is amazing stuff.

It comes in a variety of neutrals, tans, browns, and even purples. With common sense and lack of greed, it is sustainably harvestable. And in the hands of a skilled woodworking artist, wood is an elegant medium for creating sculpture as well as artisan items we use every day, from wine stoppers to treasure boxes, from bowls to cutting boards.

woodworking hardwood coasters home decor dave ulmen spokane

A collection of hardwood, handcrafted coasters by woodworking artisan Dave Ulmen of Spokane, WA

It is these latter — cutting boards — that Spokane woodworker Dave Ulmen focuses upon, crafting cheese, sushi, and cutting boards, as well as coasters, Lazy Susans, and wine waves from laminated hardwood in his Spokane shop. Working with his wife Liz, Ulmen has built a thriving business from what started out as the extension of a lifelong interest.

“I’ve been a tool guy since I was a little kid hanging out in my grandpa’s shop,” Ulmen explains. “After both my parents passed, I had a small estate fund remaining. Since tools had always been important in my family, it seemed a fitting investment.

“When I saw what I could accomplish with a few good tools, I was hooked. My adult kids kept encouraging me to offer some work for sale, which got the ball rolling.”

The Woodworking Studio

His dad and grandpa, Ulmen says, would be delighted with his woodworking studio — which started out in a garage and grew into custom built shop — and tools. And while his tools are newer, shinier, and dependent upon electricity, what they represent remains the same:

“There is the satisfaction of creating an interesting and useful object that is pleasing to the eye and gentle to the hand,” Ulmen says.

wine waves hardwood woodworking coasters decor dave ulmen spokane

Wine Waves, with their signature curvature, and hardwood coasters by woodworking artist Dave Ulmen of Spokane, WA

This is what Ulmen has been doing since 2005, when he launched Dave Ulmen Woods while both he and Liz were still working full time as teachers – he in 7th grade language arts, she in elementary gifted ed. (He describes their teaching careers, from which they fully retired in 2015, as a combined 71 years in crafting skills and critical thinking, “even more rewarding than our woodworking — and that’s saying a great deal.”)

Purchasing hardwood from local distributors a hefty pickup load at a time, Ulmen designs boards with the grain and unique coloration of individual hardwoods in mind. He and Liz saw, joint, glue, sand, finish and oil the completed boards, with each woodworking product passing through their hands multiple times. The wine waves, which incorporate bits and pieces (“post production materials”) into a signature curve, vie with the cutting boards for popularity.

Handcrafted Woodworking Art Sold throughout the Northwest

Ulmen sells his work throughout the Pacific Northwest in numerous gift shops and galleries, including Made in Washington stores; The Highlight Gallery in Mendocino, CA; The Real Mother Goose at the Portland, OR, International Airport; Northwest Handmade Gallery in Sandpoint, ID; and Wenaha Gallery in Dayton, WA. He has shipped to customers in more than 20 states, throughout Europe, and in Canada. In 2007, Made in Washington stores named him Artist of the Year.

“I took great pride in that because it was an acknowledgement of the quality of work, in combination with excellent service provided.”

As a testament to that commitment to quality, Ulmen and Liz still own, and use, the first cutting board they made.

sushi cheese cutting boards hardwood woodworking dave ulmen gifts

Sushi, cheese and cutting boards by woodworking artisan, Dave Ulmen of Spokane, WA

“We just rinse it, wipe it to damp/dry, and stand it on edge to finish drying. We recommend a beeswax/oil emulsion be applied from time to time which we also make and can supply.

“Never soak a wood cutting board!”

Woodworking and Life

In some ways, the properties of wood — its sustainability, its variety, and its connection to the earth and to the past — mirror Ullmen’s own experience in woodworking. He always knew that somehow, he would follow his grandpa’s and father’s interest in and skill with a material that has been part of humankind’s experience ever since there were trees.

“I knew I had the right background to become a woodworker when the time was right,” Ulmen says.

“After raising a few sons of my own, raising a home of our own, and raising a few grey hairs as a middle school teacher, I have been blessed with the opportunity to do my own woodworking.”

It took time to fulfill the dream, but then again, everything about wood, from the growing of trees to the crafting of functional items of beauty, takes time as well.

But it was well worth the wait, Ulmen says, to fulfill a dream he has had “since I ran my fingers through that soft and silky sawdust in Grandpa’s shop when I wasn’t tall enough to reach much else.”

Wenaha GalleryDave Ulmen is the Pacific Northwest Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, December 31 through Saturday, January 26, 2019.

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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Wildlife World — The Acrylic Paintings of Keith Rislove

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Storm Coming, original acrylic painting by wildlife painter Keith Rislove of Salem, OR.

If the world existed of only science, there would be no art. If all people focused on technology, no one would create paintings. If there were only engineers, there would be no poets. In math class, there is no time or reason to discuss literature.

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Winter Silence, original acrylic painting by wildlife artist Keith Rislove

Life without art is incomplete, and just tucking it in alongside the “important” subjects — science, technology, engineering, math and saying this adds STEAM to the mix — isn’t enough. Being an artist demands as much time, focus, intelligence, and determination as being a rocket scientist — whatever a rocket scientist is — and many people who consider themselves artists pursue this path even in the midst of doing something else to make a living. The very fortunate ones find a career involved with art, honing skills and abilities throughout their lives.

A World of Art and Wildlife

Keith Rislove is one of these people, a lifetime artist who actually started out to be a baseball player, and credits his experience in the Korean War for his eventual career choice.

“When I was in high school, I studied art, and I also played all the sports — after graduation  I received two offers from major league teams,” Rislove, a wildlife acrylic painter from Salem, OR, says. Like many young men of the early 1950s, he found his plans rearranged for him, and a few months after high school was in the Air Force. During his three years in the military, he was assigned to work with an event coordinator doing graphic arts, and when that event coordinator left, found himself with the job.

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Foxy Lady, original acrylic painting by wildlife painter Keith Rislove of Salem, OR

“That’s where my art career began,” Rislove says. “After being discharged, I enrolled in Lewis & Clark College (Portland, OR) where I was an art major, then majored in advertising and graphic design at the Los Angeles Art Center.” Over the next 37 years, he worked in advertising and graphic design for national and Pacific Northwest companies, in addition to being a freelance designer, retiring in 1990. Five years later he started his second career as a fine artist, still going strong 23 years later. He focuses on wildlife set within pristine outdoor scenes.

Discovering Wildlife at an Early Age

“My love for the outdoors started with my grandfather who introduced me to fishing and hunting at a very early age,” Rislove explains.

“My approach to wildlife is to be as realistic as possible, which gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Living in the Northwest provides the many visual images of wildlife and landscapes that give me the inspiration.”

A prolific painter, Rislove fits everything he needs into 6 x 10 foot enclosed space in his garage, complete with window, heat, air, shelves, two bookcases and a filing cabinet.

“And I still have room to paint!” he exclaims. “There’s also room for frames, tools, saws, etc., and storage — you have to see it to believe it.”

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Tru Grizz, original acrylic painting by wildlife artist Keith Rislove of Salem, OR

He has shown in galleries in the Salem and Portland areas, as well as the Oregon State Fair, and has served as show judge, teacher, and volunteer for various community art agencies and galleries. His roster of awards — displayed within that 6 x 10 foot studio — include three Best of Show, two People’s Choice, eight blue ribbons, two Judge’s Choice, and a bevy of red, white, honorable mentions, and senior artist awards. His work is in the homes of collectors throughout the Pacific Northwest, as well as Texas and Minnesota.

The Hidden World of Wildlife

Getting into some math here, since we started out talking about STEM, 37 years as a graphic designer, plus 23 years as a fine artist, add up to 60, not to mention the time spent with art in high school and the military. Regardless of the final, official number, this signifies a lot of years as an artist — sketching, drawing, painting, creating — and Rislove’s contribution to the world around him consists of showing that world just what is around it — the wildlife that is hidden away, frequently unseen, but extraordinarily beautiful.

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The Catch, original acrylic painting by wildlife artist Keith Rislove of Salem, OR

There is a fox, curled up within a bed of wildflowers. A snowy owl flies over a winter landscape. Mama bear and cub forage for food. An eagle flies, dance-like, over still, mirrored water.

The biologist can define the animals’ kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. The engineer studies the birds’ wings and how they achieve flight. The mathematician calculates the weight of food both mama and cub bear need to maintain optimal health — all very important work.

And equally important, Rislove captures the moment, creates the setting, invites the viewer to stop what he or she is doing and enter a quiet, peaceful world. He completes the picture, so to speak, and adds soul to the equation.

“Nature and wildlife are in my heart.”

 

Wenaha GalleryKeith Rislove is the Pacific Northwest Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery through Saturday, January 12, 2019. 

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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Quilting with Precision and Love — The Fabric Art of Patricia Bennett

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Showcasing the quilting and design skills of fabric artist Patricia Bennett, a selection of pot holders comes in many colors and designs

Be creative, be precise, and be patient.

It’s not bad advice for anyone to heed, but if you quilt, it’s crucial.

“Quilting is one form of art that shows mistakes if the piecing is not perfect,” says Patricia Bennett, a textile artist who created her first project — a full gathered skirt — on a treadle sewing machine 58 years ago. Falling in love with sewing from the first moment her feet hit the pedals of the treadle, Bennett has been sewing  since fabric cost $.49 a yard, and she has taught herself, step by step, every inch and yard of the way.

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Christmas Lover’s Knot place mat set by Idaho fabric artist Patricia Bennett, showcasing design, piecing, and quilting skills

“I was determined to learn to sew,” the Bayview, ID, artist says. “When I was putting myself through college — majoring in elementary education — I didn’t have money to purchase store-bought clothes. So I rented a sewing machine, started with simple patterns, and the rest is history.”

Sewing, Quilting, and Creating with Love

After her husband bought her her  first sewing machine 50 years ago, Bennett created matching outfits for him, her, and the couple’s two daughters. She later made bridesmaid dresses for each of her daughters’ weddings (“but not the wedding gowns — that would have been too much pressure!”), as well as numerous quilts for family wedding and baby shower gifts. Upon retirement from a teaching career that spanned pre-school to sixth grade, Bennett immersed herself full time in sewing, marketing her work as Cotton Creations: Handmade with Love, which, in addition to quilts, focuses on home decor items like table runners, pot holders, place mat sets, coasters, and tote bags.

Participating in craft fairs throughout the Northwest, Bennett enjoys chatting with customers about her products and sewing in general, and finds that many people want to learn how to quilt, but don’t know the next step.

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Hawaiian Flower Place Mat set by Patricia Bennett, combining design, color, piecing and quilting — all with precision and expertise

“I always suggest that they start with a small project such as a pot holder, because something like a large bed quilt would cost a great deal of money for the materials, and might discourage someone as it takes a lot of time and patience to finish a quilt. I also suggest that they take a class.”

Through the years, Bennett herself has taught many sewing classes, both formal and informal, and wherever she goes, she finds her teaching skills in as much demand as her  stitchery. And she is most happy to oblige.

Teaching Quilting Wherever She Goes

“I taught my preschoolers to embroider their initials using yarn on burlap.

“I taught sewing when we lived in Virginia to a group of ‘student wives,’ whose husbands were in graduate school at Virginia Tech.

“Teaching 4-H sewing was a challenge, and it was such fun to see the finished outfits in the fashion show at the county fair in Moscow, ID.

A selection of colorful tote bags — featuring an eye for detail and a skill in quilting by Patricia Bennett– beckons the visitor to Wenaha Gallery.

“And when we were in Santiago, Chile, for six months while my husband David taught on a sabbatical from the University of Idaho, I taught quilting to eight Chilean women in the neighborhood: ‘kilting,’ as they pronounced it. Several of these women now have small shops where they sell their creations.

“The day we made table runners, they told me they called them ‘table roads.’ The challenge of teaching with my limited Spanish and hand motions was a great deal of fun.”

Working from a glass-walled studio facing Lake Pend Oreille, Bennett confesses to being unable to throw away fabric, even the smallest scraps, but because she likes to work within a color theme when she makes a set of items, she is unable to use up those scraps in crazy quilts. Helping to solve this problem are her 13 grandchildren, many of whom have learned (or will learn) to hand sew with leftover pieces. Like Bennett herself, all beginners start somewhere: the more they practice, the more perfect they get, and the more perfect they get, the better the finished result.

Quilting Consists of Three Steps

“Quilting really consists of three separate steps, when you’re making a finished wall hanging or quilt,” Bennett explains.

“First is the cutting, which must be accurate, then the piecing is putting the top together (again, carefully and accurately), and finally the quilting is actually putting the front, batting, and backing together by either hand quilting, tying, or machine quilting. The sewing on a quilt is using a 1/4-inch seam allowance!”

baltimore albumn quilting embroidered wall hanging patricia bennett christmas fabric art

In addition to beautiful quilting, the Baltimore Album Christmas wall hanging by Patricia Bennett also feature exquisite embroidery

Creativity, precision and patience: these, plus time, have resulted in a lifetime of developing a skill that gives to every person with whom Bennett shares. She’s come a long way since that first gathered skirt, but she hasn’t forgotten her beginnings. To remind her of those days and that project, Bennett purchased a treadle machine at a New Hampshire auction.

“I don’t sew with it, but it is a nice piece of furniture in my sewing studio, reminding me of my first sewing project.”

Wenaha GalleryPatricia Bennett is the Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, December 3 through Saturday, December 29, 2018. 

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

 

Indian Summer eastern washington country rural farm ranch painting steve henderson

Beauty, Hope, and Joy — The Paintings of Steve Henderson

Indian Summer eastern washington country rural farm ranch beauty painting steve henderson

Indian Summer, original oil painting by Dayton, WA, artist Steve Henderson. “I find much beauty in the patterns of fields cut through by country roads,” Henderson says of why he paints local, Eastern Washington landscapes.

It’s easy to point out what’s wrong with the world. We all do this, although only a few are paid well to impose their opinions on others.

It is far more difficult to see and identify beauty, truth, goodness, joy, peace, and love, and even more challenging to impart these elements in two dimensional form on canvas. But for oil painter Steve Henderson of Dayton, this is what he does every day.

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Moon Rising, original oil painting by Steve Henderson. “The Southwest — its canyons are so deep, so profound, its land is so ancient and yet so quiet and peaceful.”

“I paint in what is called the ‘representational’ style — the world around us that we all see,” Henderson says. “But oftentimes it takes an artist to help us ‘really see’ it. And while items I paint are easily identifiable — that’s a tree; that’s Santa Claus; that’s the Grand Canyon —  each one of these subjects is interpreted by the artist to convey its deeper levels behind the lighting, the shadows, the turn of a face, the brush strokes that make up the form.

“The canvas becomes a stage upon which the artist presents the character actors — color, texture, form, design, value. On that stage, I choose to invite beauty, reminiscence, nostalgia, feelings of serenity, peace, tranquility — those emotions.”

A Tale of Beauty

Henderson’s scope of subject matter reads a bit like the opening lines to Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities: He paints the Pacific Northwest forests; he paints the Southwest canyons. He paints the ocean; he paints the desert. He paints very young children; he paints adult women. What he does not paint is ugliness, despair, angst, fear or hatred: not because those elements don’t exist, but because they do, in too much quantity. It is far too easy, Henderson believes, to spark an emotional response by negativism, and it becomes a cheap, easy way to achieve a reaction.

Although Henderson has always wanted to be an artist — drawing his first three-masted sailboat at the age of five and attracting teachers’ attention throughout his schooldays because of his rendering skill — he almost quit, simply because what he was taught in his university art studies was so opposite to what he believes is commonsense, truth, beauty, and common good.

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Tea for Two, original oil painting by Steve Henderson. “Children can teach us so much — they remind us to look at the world with fresh eyes,” Henderson says, adding that there is great beauty in innocence.

“At the end of four years, I was more confused than ever,” he recalls. “One moment, the professors instructed us not to listen to a thing they said, but to simply follow our muse; another moment they insisted that we essentially copy the latest post-modernist fads emanating from New York City. I found myself painting gritty purple abstract cityscapes, which my professors assured me was expressing what was deep inside me.”

Seeking Beauty, Truth, and Skill

For awhile, Henderson walked away from fine art into the illustration and graphic design industry that his professors declared would destroy him as an artist. Instead, his time in the publishing field further honed his skills as Henderson worked in a wide variety of media, creating everything from cartoon drawings to medical illustrations.

Time, life, and raising a family instilled in Henderson the confidence he needed to eschew the teachings of his fallible professors, and he resumed studying art his own way: one by one, he amassed a library of artists through the ages, and spent uncounted hours poring over their work, analyzing thousands of paintings and the varying techniques and styles of their painters. In the studio, he practiced. He knew what he wanted to achieve — skill, mastery, and the ability to convey beauty and truth — and he also knew that simply relying upon “the Muse,” or the “soul of an artist” was insufficient to do so.

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Sea Breeze, original oil painting by Steve Henderson. “I find the ocean to be a central place for clear thoughts and meditation.”

“We all acknowledge that the piano player requires years of intense practice — his performance is proof of his obvious skill, or lack of it,” Henderson says.

“But in visual arts — both two and three dimensional — we glibly refer to anything as ‘art,’ and anyone as an ‘artist.’ I believe an artist should learn, train, and study as seriously as any orchestral musician.”

The World Needs Art, and Beauty

This learning, he adds, never ends, and there is no pinnacle ledge at which the artist arrives, shouts out Hallelujah, and quits learning, seeing, and experimenting. An artist’s education continues for as long as the artist is breathing, and the beauty that the artist (skillfully) paints gives life and hope to the world in which the artist lives.

“The world needs art.

“It sounds trite, but I believe it deeply.

“It has always been so, but especially today with our corporate, cubicle world and its emphasis on cold scientific facts, we need something more than ever before that speaks of beauty and something deeper that those cold facts.

“We need something that speaks to the soul, the heart, the inner working of our being.”

Wenaha GallerySteve Henderson is the Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, November 19 through Saturday, December 15, 2018. He will be at the gallery in person during the Christmas Kickoff Holiday Art Show Friday, November 23, from 2 to 6 p.m., joined by Joseph, OR folk art gourd sculptor Sheryl Parsons. Also at the show will be holiday music, artisan treats, a drawing for 3 holiday gift baskets, and up to 25% off purchases of $250 or more made on November 23 and/or 24.

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