mountain sunrise photography landscape wessels galbreath

Photography in Action — By Gary Wessels-Galbreath

mountain sunrise photography landscape wessels galbreath

Rich colors in the clouds portend a magical day in the landscape photograph, Mountain Sunrise by Gary Wessels-Galbreath

A simple gift does more than tell the recipient that you care about them. Many times, that Christmas or birthday present sparks a response in the receiver that lasts far beyond the holiday.

This is what happened to Gary Wessels-Galbreath, who received a 110 Kodak Camera for Christmas when he was a teenager. The Olympia photographer and graduate of Dayton High School went on to complete his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, with an emphasis on photography, from Evergreen State College in Washington in 1985. He has been snapping, and shooting, and experimenting with both film and digital photography, as well as printmaking, ever since.

moss trees photograph light shadow wessels galbreath

Light, shadow, texture, silhouette — all work together in Moss on Limb, photography by Gary Wessels-Galbreath

“I enjoy ‘bending’ the rules that I am presented with and taking things a step further,” Wessels-Galbreath says, explaining that he works out of both his home studio and at community and university photo labs to produce his work. One of his experimental forays is cyanotype printing, high contrast images on paper, canvas, and metal, through solar printing in his front yard.

“I focus on landscape images for the most part,” Wessels-Galbreath says. “I attempt to allow viewer to see things they walk by every day without noticing the intricate details of the natural world.

“My hope is that they slow down, stop for more than a moment, and really see the beauty of nature.”

Slowing Down and Seeing the World

Slowing down, Wessels-Galbreath feels, is integral to seeing and understanding the world around us. That world is varied and changing, colorful and unusual. One thing it necessarily isn’t, however, is perfect, a message he tries to get across in the many photography workshops that he leads in the Olympia area.

highway 12 photography landscape farm dayton washington wessels galbreath

A graduate of Dayton High School in Dayton, WA, Wessels-Galbreath photographs his childhood town.

“Last year I worked with a group of 12 high school students collaborating on my American Crow series,” Wessels-Galbreath recalls.

“Each student was given a high contrast crow image and invited to create whatever inspired them.

“Of course I heard, ‘But I’m not an artist — what if I ruin it?’ I reminded them that we all have the ability and magic to create, and that in itself is art.

“All the images created in that workshop were beautiful. There are many more workshops that I have presented, but I really enjoyed that one.”

In addition to conducting workshops, Wessels-Galbreath also regularly participates in collaborative artistic gathering with photographers throughout the world. Through both these collaborations as well as sales, his photography has found collectors in Hawaii, New Mexico, California, Washington, New Zealand, and Canada. In 2018, his work was accepted into the International Juried Exhibition, Natural Studies of Wonder, at the Spectol Art Space in Bridgewater, VA.

Teaching Life, and Photography, by Example

american crow photograph silhouette wessels galbreath

Fascinated by crows, Wessels-Galbreath experiments with their shape and from in his photography.

That same year, Wessels-Galbreath received the “Teaching by Example” award from the Longhouse Educational and Cultural Center at the Evergreen State College. The award honors artists who have made significant contributions to their community.

With a day job as bulk foods buyer at the Olympia Food Co-op, Wessels-Galbreath volunteers three days each week at Evergreen, working with photography students. He wants to inspire them with the same sense of wonder he received upon opening that 110 Kodak Camera. That great big world out there, he believes, is worth exploring, seeing, celebrating, and capturing as artwork.

In that way, he believes, we share the wonder with those around us.

“I start by taking a long walk, and begin listening with my eyes.”

Wenaha GalleryGary Wessels-Galbreath is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from July 14 through August 7, 2020.

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.

 

 

moose wildlife animal western art james reid

Wildlife Wonder — The Western Art of James Reid

moose wildlife animal western art james reid

Moose in Early Morning Light, a wildlife moment original oil painting by James Reid.

When wildlife artist James Reid first picked up a brush, it wasn’t to paint an elk or moose. He painted a sign.

“My first year out of high school, I got a job at the PayLess Drug in Pasco (WA) painting signs. When I returned to Walla Walla that spring, I went to work for the PayLess Drug in downtown Walla Walla working in the camera department and painting signs. That was in the early 1960s.”

red fox wildlife resting sleeping james reid painter

This particular fox, Reid says, laid down to nap in Yellowstone Park, out in the open and around a crowd of people. Original oil painting by James Reid.

The Boise, ID, painter, who retired in 2007 after a 42-year career with PayLess in advertising and management, always wanted to be an artist. He started with pin striping cars in high school. Then he went into commercial layout and design. And then he jumped into fine art after taking the Famous Artists Course, which was created by 12 successful commercial artists in the 1948, including Norman Rockwell and Albert Dorne.

“By the time I finished, I was painting Western oil paintings,” Reid says.

Thousands of Wildlife References

He turned to full time painting upon retirement, and works out of a spare bedroom converted into his studio. Using thousands of his own reference photos, he has traveled to Yellowstone, Teton, and Glacier Parks since 1988. He describes the process of getting the references just as satisfying as the painting of them.

That first year to Yellowstone, 1988, set a high bar for all the years to follow:

“It was the year of the Yellowstone fires,” Reid remembers.

“We got there the first day that they reopened the park, and there was wildlife everywhere! The fires had forced them down from the timber and into the open.

bull elk wildlife forest meadow james reid artist

Standing in the sunlight, a bull elk is wary of sound and predators. Cautious Look Back, original oil painting by James Reid.

“We enjoyed that trip so much that we have returned for a week in Yellowstone every year since. That’s 32 years (32 weeks) of studying and photographing wildlife in Yellowstone. We keep returning for the wildlife.

“Every year it’s different, and we never know what we’ll find.”

Used to People

According to Reid, the wildlife in Yellowstone is used to people and not as bothered by “a guy with a camera.” For other areas where the animals are shyer, he relies upon 300, 400, and 500mm lenses to keep his distance. At one time, when Reid used to hunt, he would take his camera with him in his backpack and take advantage of being in the hinterlands.

“My hunting buddies would sometimes make comments when they saw me with my camera out and not my gun. Oh well, I still have all those photos, even if you can’t eat them.”

indian summer horse teepee forest woods james reid artist

Two horses walk gently through the woods in Indian Summer, original oil painting by James Reid.

Reid, who took an art class at Walla Walla High School with David Manual when they were both students, credits the nationally known sculpture artist for encouraging him to foray into the Western Art world. Reid participates in the Out West Art Show and CM Russell Auction, both in Montana, every year, and has also done well at the Ellensburg National Western Art Show (he was chosen poster artist in 2015); the Spirit of the West Show in Cheyenne, WY; (awarded Best of Show); and Paint America Top 100 Show (juror’s award).

Back with the Gems

And lately, since retiring and going into full time wildlife artist mode, he has added another item to his list:

“I’ve taken up guitar again and reunited with the Gems, a popular rock group in Walla Walla in the 1960s.”

Life is full, and busy, and never, ever boring.

“I am forever learning and amazed at new things I learn, almost with each painting.

“I will always be learning and improving technique, design, and skills.”

Wenaha GalleryJames Reid is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from June 29 through July 24, 2020.

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.

 

 

 

mountain myth snow leaopard circumspect simon combes

Stay Circumspect — Mountain Myth by Simon Combes

mountain myth snow leaopard circumspect simon combes

Snow Leopards stay alive in a hostile environment because they are wary and canny, circumspect. Mountain Myth, limited edition print by Simon Combes.

Sometimes it’s good to run out swinging, ready for the fight. Other times, it’s best to be circumspect.

It doesn’t mean that you’ve given up. Rather, it means that you’re still in the midst of the action, but you’re watching just how and where you’ll jump.

It’s a jungle out there, you know — in social media world, in middle school classrooms where peer pressure reigns, in the public marketplace. If you think slightly differently than what mass media declares the norm, you may find yourself attacked, or at least glared at as if you were something reprehensible. Around strangers, in the midst of a crowd, it’s difficult to connect, to discuss, to reason, to question, to converse in a friendly fashion with the intent of learning from one another. (And how can we possibly learn from one another if we all think, and repeat, the same thing?)

Being circumspect means that you watch and are wary, listen sometimes without speaking, scrutinize the situation and find the best means of approaching it.

In other words, you act a bit like the Snow Leopard in Simon Combes’ limited edition print, Mountain Myth. At first, you have to look twice to even see the cat at all, so camouflaged is it against its environment. Once you see the animal, however, you notice its grace, its strength, its stance of wary watchfulness and observation.

This is an intelligent cat, one that lives by its ability to read a situation, and act accordingly. It is not timid or frightened but rather, vigilant and attentive, circumspect.

Isn’t it amazing how much the animals have to teach us?

Stay Circumspect —

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

More works by Simon Combes are at this link.

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always greener wild horse fence grazing bev doolittle art

Stay Wild — Always Greener by Bev Doolittle

always greener wild horse fence grazing bev doolittle art

Fences are made to be gone over, under, or around — that is, if we’re free. Always Greener, original stone lithograph — remarque, by Bev Doolittle

Whether it’s a mustang in the Southwest desert or a dray horse pulling a wagon, horses retain a sense of their wild side.

They may be circumscribed by fences, but that doesn’t keep them from jumping over, or even just nudging under to nibble grass. In their eyes, when they look at you, horses exhibit an intelligence and awareness that says,

“You may think you can tame me. Maybe you’ll put a harness on me. You’ll probably ride me. You can even say that you ‘own’ me. But the essence of who I am will always be wild and free.”

While taming animals is important to humans, because we need their strength, their abilities, or even just their companionship to add to our lives, it’s always wise to remember that the most domesticated animal retains an unexpected, wild side — a side that we cannot fully control, nor should we want to.

The issue becomes even more important when we consider the concept of taming humans — so that their strength, their abilities, their creativity, can be made available for the use of others. In some times, in some places, this becomes slavery, a disregard of dignity that reduces people to work animals. In more “enlightened” times, societies and corporations can use people without thought to their independence and freedom, their essential wild side that keeps them unique, individual, and precious. But humans are not, nor ever will be, just an employee, a taxpayer, a citizen, a unit of obedience, a social security number.

Fences? They’re Made to Be Climbed or Jumped Over

Always Greener, an original stone lithograph by Bev Doolittle, shows the innovation and determination that living creatures exhibit when they encounter obstacles. In this case, a horse reaches through the slats of a fence to access the grass — which is indeed greener — on the other side. For now, poking its head through is enough. Some day, when the green grass within reach is all nibbled and that left in the paddock trampled, the horse may decide to take a more radical, wild move and jump the fence altogether. It will never be fully tame, and in a way, would we really want it to be?

Stay Wild — You’re Not a Farm Animal

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Always Greener by Bev Doolittle. You may purchase the print online at this link. Always Greener is beautifully framed and ready to hang.

More works by Bev Doolittle are at this link.

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early morning visitors deer welcoming country william phillips

Stay Welcoming — Early Morning Visitors by William Phillips

early morning visitors deer welcoming country william phillips

Shy, and uncertain of a true welcoming, a group of deer stand outside the farmhouse and wait. Early Morning Visitors, framed limited edition print by William Phillips.

We’ve all seen a countenance that is welcoming. A smile, a warm glance, these invite us to come closer and be part of that person’s day. We feel wanted and accepted — delightful emotions that all humans crave.

How easy it is, however, to be not welcoming — to hurt people because we are too busy, too self-absorbed, too fearful to invite them closer. The most obvious incidence of this occurs when we wear masks, physical or figurative, that block people from seeing our faces. It is difficult, if not impossible, to be transparent and open when we hide ourselves away.

The interesting thing about people in our lives is that they are not always convenient. They’re not always the people we wanted to see. They may not arrive when it’s convenient to see them. They may arrive unasked, unexpected. Or they may be late. Or too early. In a culture that prizes convenience to the point that we frequently choose it over more valuable elements, like freedom or quality, unexpected arrivals mess up our schedules. Instead of being welcoming we are — not always unreasonably — irritated or annoyed, distant or in a hurry.

Smile with Welcome

William Phillips’ artwork Early Morning Visitors, is a reminder to us to slow down, suspend our schedule, take off our masks and smile with our eyes as well as our mouths. A herd of deer hovers shyly around the outskirts of a farmhouse. Though the land “belongs” to the owner of the house, the deer do not know this, because this is their home as well. The wise person, if he wants to be welcoming to these furtive guests, keeps the dogs away. He is aware of the extreme sensitivity of these early morning guests, and responds with sensitivity as well.

It takes time, and thought, and determination to be welcoming. It is not always convenient. But it is very often worthwhile.

Stay Welcoming — The Alternative Is to Shut People Out

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

More works by William Phillips are at this link.

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harvest busy laborers farmers vineyard june carey art print

Stay Busy: Harvest by June Carey

harvest busy laborers farmers vineyard june carey art print

It’s a warm day in the Tuscany landscape, a day on which to be pleasantly busy, peacefully occupied. Harvest, limited edition giclee canvas by June Carey.

The word “busy” has both good and bad connotations.

At its worst it describes the frenetic nature of modern American society: we must work smarter, harder, faster, and constantly in order to get ahead. Getting ahead, we understand, means making more money than others. Making more money, when we amass enough of it, translates into power. But ordinary people, no matter how smart, hard, fast, and constantly we work, rarely, if ever, get to that top tier.

It doesn’t stop us from being too busy, however. We work long hours. Read books about being smart and fast. Follow “successful” people on Instagram. Put ourselves down for not writing our own success story.

But there’s another kind of busy, synonyms to which are “pleasantly occupied,” or “genially employed.” In this busy-ness, we move easily from task to task, concentrated, but in no particular hurry. What we are doing is meaningful and good, under conditions that are not onerous, but rather, allow our mind to gently wander as our hands work. At the end of the day we feel good because kept moving, kept engaged, and accomplished something worth doing.

Such is the scene we see in June Carey’s limited edition giclee canvas, Harvest. It’s a sunny day in Tuscany (who wouldn’t want to be in Tuscany on a sunny day?) and the people working in the vineyards move from row to row, purposefully, but not frantically. The air is fresh, the sunlight warm, the shade welcome. There is a sense of peace in the quiet, companionability in being with others, satisfaction with work that is honest.

This is a good busy indeed.

Stay Talking

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

More works by June Carey are at this link.

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quail run birds chatting monica stobie print

Stay Chatting: Quail Talk by Monica Stobie

quail run birds chatting monica stobie print

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

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

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

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

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

Family, Friends, Acquaintances — We Chat

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

Chatting is delightful. Let’s keep doing it.

Stay Chatting — It Mitigates Polarization

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

More works by Monica Stobie are at this link.

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

 

elk wildlife animal wilderness taylor fork crossing larry zabel

Stay Moving: Taylor Fork Crossing by Larry Zabel

elk wildlife moving animal wilderness taylor fork crossing larry zabel

Possessing neither phones nor computers, screens nor tablets, animals in the wild keep moving. Taylor Fork Crossing, fine art print by Larry Zabel

How much time do we spend each day sitting, and not moving?

Probably a lot more than we think. We live in a world of computers and TV screens, with jobs that require more sedentary “action” than physical. And after work, we glue ourselves to the news, or a “reality” show, or soap or sports or game show or movie or situation comedy or drama or whatever we find as we flip through the channels.

The problem doesn’t limit itself to a lack of physical moving. When we spend a lot of time in front of a screen, passively absorbing what we read and hear and what we’re told, our minds sit as well. Without concertedly taking time to physically move — to stretch and flex our muscles, to breathe deep as we exert ourselves — we get flabby. So also do we get flabby when we do not stretch and flex our minds, ask questions, research problems, look for answers, refuse to be passified and assuaged by neat, tidy explanations of how things are and how we must accept that they be.

Many animals in the wilderness spend their time moving. Alert to their surroundings, animals like the elk in Larry Zabel’s artwork, Taylor Fork Crossing, must be constantly aware of what is going on around them. Even in rest they remain watchful, because the world for them is filled with predators. These are not dumb creatures, but wary ones.

As humans, we have the added benefit to be able to reason, imagine, wonder, doubt, and pursue answers. What a gift!

Do we use it?

Stay Moving: Both Physically and Mentally

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

More works by Larry Zabel are at this link.

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lavender light sun flowers heidi presse art

Stay in the Light: Lavender by Heidi Presse

lavender light sun flowers heidi presse art

It is a clear, sunny day outside, and the flowers reach up toward the light. Lavender, limited edition print by Heidi Presse.

In a dark place, where shadows reign, it is hard to see. Cockroaches and rats delight in such an environment, and those who don’t want to share their home with these pests do their best to bring light and air and space into confined, closed places.

Light, especially sunlight, is a golden treasure that no money can buy. And without light — especially sunlight — no money has worth. Light has a value that is priceless.

The artwork, Lavender by Heidi Presse, invites the viewer into a place of beauty and light, aromatic with the scent of blooming, purple flowers. The air is fresh. A mother and child, perhaps an older sister and younger one, stroll through the hedge rows, gathering blossoms in their baskets. There is a feeling of goodness, of rightness, of calm and peace, as the two women walk under the sun and feel the breeze on their faces.

There are no cockroaches and rats here, because this is not where they thrive. Under the light, which exposes all to its scrutiny, people are free to live and laugh, converse and sing, communicate and be together, enjoy the goodness and beauty that life — under light — offers.

Stay in the Light Where You Can See

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

More works by Heidi Presse are available at this link.

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morning light observant window wilderness nature stephen lyman

Stay Observant: Morning Light by Stephen Lyman

morning light observant window wilderness nature stephen lyman

On the inside, looking out. Nature is an excellent teacher of observation skills. Morning Light, art print by Stephen Lyman

All around this world there are things to see, observe, wonder about, question, analyze, discuss.

But to do so, we first have to see.

Not just look, but see.

Not just listen, but hear.

Not just accept what we’re told, but investigate, coming to conclusions based upon our analysis of facts we have dug up, much as if we were investigative journalists. The more we do this, the better we get at it, and the better we get at it, the more confident we are to keep doing it.

One person who knew a lot about the power of observation was Stephen Lyman, a fine artist who painted images of the wilderness. Lyman spent a lot of time hiking in remote areas, and to do so, he had to know much about the world in which he was hiking. He needed to be observant, and he was.

Lyman’s artwork, Morning Light, shows the image outside of his cabin window. There is much to see, much to observe, and though Lyman looked through this window many times, no doubt each time he did so he saw something different, registered something new.

He was never complacent about what he saw, or heard, because he knew that in this world — which can be as brutal a place as it is beautiful — it was vital to be observant and awake.

Stay Observant of the World Around Us

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

More works by Stephen Lyman are at this link.

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