Sunflowers impressionist abstract bold colorful watercolor maja shaw

Flowers — Bold, Bright Beautiful Watercolors by Maja Shaw

Sunflowers impressionist abstract bold colorful watercolor maja shaw

Bold, bright yellow sunflowers against a blue background in Maja Shaw’s watercolor, Sunflowers II

People who are not early risers get tired of this catching the worm thing, which, frankly, is literally for the birds. As watercolor painter Maja Shaw knows, there’s plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee and still get the perfect photo reference for her next painting.

shasta daisy flowers colorful impressionist watercolor painting Maja Shaw

Shasta Daisies, a close-up view of bold, impressionist watercolor flowers set against an abstract background, by Maja Shaw

“Conventional wisdom says photographs are better made in early morning, or late  evening,” the Richland, WA, artist says. “But I’m not a morning person, so my reference photos are made in the middle of the day, which is bad for people  shots, but great for flowers.”

Shaw, whose first name is pronounced Maya, as in the ancient Central American people, focuses on florals with bold, sculptural shapes and exuberant color. Inspired by a childhood spent with art-collector parents, Shaw explores ways of rendering images using negative space, as opposed to intricate detail, to define a form. The resultant paintings blend the best of both worlds: representational and abstract.

Flowers, Landscapes, and Brushwork

“Highlights and contrast are characteristic of many of my paintings,” Shaw says. “Two of my favorite painters are Andrew Wyeth and John Singer Sargent.

“If you look at their paintings, especially watercolors, their subjects are defined as much by what is not painted, as what is. I take some of my inspiration from them by trying to define forms with a few strokes which convey enough visual clues so that the viewer’s eye can fill in the rest.”

Palouse Harvest watercolor impressionist abstract painting Maja Shaw

Palouse Harvest II, an impressionist landscape painting in watercolor by Richland artist Maja Shaw, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Shaw, who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Washington, credits one of her art professors with providing a working definition of the category in which her artwork fits — organizational, as opposed to decorative or expressive.

“It’s a style that is concerned with shape, color, and composition and is not so concerned with making a philosophical statement, or, as my professor said, ‘What is the state of man in the world,'” Shaw explains.

People React to Color

“I don’t make social commentary with my art, and I’m not trying to make the viewer figure out any obscure meaning.

“I find people react emotionally to color and to subject matter: if my paintings are  appealing to a viewer in either of these, then that is fine with me.”

lily family flower watercolor impressionist painting Maja Shaw

Lily Family, white flowers against a deep blue background, impressionist watercolor by Richland artist Maja Shaw

In the spirit of being inspired by the masters, both old and new, Shaw also experiments with collage, in which she takes watercolor paintings with which she is not 100 percent satisfied, cuts them into shapes, and “repurposes” them into a new art form.

“I have taken inspiration for these from Henri Matisse and Eric Carle,” Shaw says, explaining that when 20th century French artist Matisse could no longer paint because of failing eyesight, he cut out shapes and had assistants paste them on large pieces of paper at his direction.

“They were mostly semi-abstract shapes, many with lots of white space around them, although many were reminiscent of plant shapes or body shapes.”

Regional and National Shows

One of Shaw’s early cut paper piece won third place in the Waterworks Art Center Show in Miles City, MT, for an exhibit with a paper theme.

Golden River southeast washington landscape watercolor maja shaw

Golden River, an impressionist interpretation of the Southeast Washington landscape, by watercolor painter Maja Shaw

“Mine are different from most collage work because I put them together to actually form a recognizable subject, rather than the mishmash of most collage artists.”

Over the last several years, Shaw has juried into major regional and national shows, and recently garnered First Place at the 311 Gallery Flowers and Garden Show in Raleigh, NC, where she won Honorable Mention last year. She has collected First, Second, and Third Place winnings at shows in Michigan, Colorado, Montana, and Washington, and has been the featured artist at the Crossroads Carnegie Art Center in Baker City, OR and the Cheryl Sallee Gallery in Auburn, WA.

Showcasing Eastern Washington

A member of CyberArt509, an artist’s cooperative encompassing artists in the 509 phone area code, and the Mid-Columbia Watercolor Society, Shaw shows her work throughout the Tri-Cities. In addition to painting flowers, which she describes as being good subjects because they don’t move around, except in the wind, and are as close as her backyard, Shaw also creates landscapes in the same spontaneous, colorful style.

“I strive to create recognizable images without being photographic,” Shaw says.

“While some compositions lend themselves to metaphors, mostly I want the viewer to enjoy the beauty of color and shapes based on the world around us.”

Wenaha Gallery

Maja Shaw is the featured Pacific Northwest artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, September 25 through Saturday, October 21, 2017.  She will be at the gallery in person Saturday, October 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., during Wenaha Gallery’s Art Walk, part of the Dayton on Tour and Fall Festival Celebration. She will be joined by Dayton watercolor artist Jill Ingram; Walla Walla musician Roy Anderson; Winthrop basket weaver and singer Lauralee Northcott; and Walla Walla felt artist Linnea Keatts.

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

 

 

Eclectic and Diverse — The Paintings of Todd Telander

russel creek fields walla walla oil painting todd telander

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

Flexible. Adaptable. Supple.

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

red vineyard river landscape todd telander walla walla

Red Vineyard by the River by Todd Telander

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

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

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

Pinot Gris winery vineyard landscape oil painting todd telander walla walla

Pinot Gris by Todd Telander

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

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

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

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

Behind Tree landscape oil painting todd telander walla walla

Behind the Tree by Todd Telander

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

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

Cows in the Snow Todd Telander oil painting walla walla landscape

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wenaha Gallery

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

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

 

Painting In the Zone — Nature and Wildlife by Pamela Claflin

Lone Poplar oil painting Pamela Claflin nature meadow tree clouds

Lone Poplar, original oil painting of nature and meadow, by Pamela Claflin

Pamela Claflin loves to paint with friends, even though once she gets the brushes out, she stops talking to them.

Upon entering “the zone,” Claflin focuses on the task at hand and the scene in front of her, to the point that she — very very literally — notices nothing else.

Along the Stream Pamela Claflin nature stream wenaha gallery

Along the Snake River, original oil painting of nature and stream by Pamela Claflin

“One time, while painting in the Ochocos, I set up my metal easel and tripod on a bed of rocks in the middle of the creek,” Claflin remembers. “I painted for a couple of hours, and when I showed up for lunch my friends asked me, ‘What did the three cowboys say to you when you were  painting?’

“I said, ‘WHAT three cowboys?’

“They said, ‘The three fellas who waded out into the creek and stood a few feet behind you to watch you paint.’

“I was flabbergasted. I didn’t even know they were there.”

That’s being “in the zone,” and it’s also the principal reason why Claflin never goes painting by herself. Claflin, an oil painter of wildlife and the outdoors who incorporates plein air (outdoor painting), studio work, and reference photography, considers her weekly outdoor sessions with friends a form of ongoing schooling, added to a yearly weeklong workshop she takes from nationally known artists.

Dusk on the Saddlebacks original oil painting Pamela Claflin nature trees meadows hills

Dusk on the Saddlebacks, original oil painting of nature and trees by Pamela Claflin

She began her art journey under the tutelage of Del Gish, an impressionist who studied under Russian Master Painter Sergei Bongart, and she took seriously Gish’s admonition to paint from one’s heart.

“I believe that to this day,” Claflin says, adding that, during the time she owned the Mockingbird Gallery in Bend, OR, from 1989 to 2007, she sought out other artists who ascribed to this maxim as well.

Now, the Kennewick artist — who sold the gallery for the sole reason of embarking upon full-time painting — enters her work in museum and gallery shows throughout the nation, one of the most recent being the American Impressionist Society Show in Kirkland, WA, where she received Second Place for the Members’ Outdoor Paint Event.

Known among her friends as the “wildlife spotter,” Claflin believes that maintaining an observant eye is the key to finding subject matter to paint, and while she may be oblivious to her surroundings when she’s in the zone, when she’s on a hike, seeking reference material for future paintings, she’s 100 percent attuned to her surroundings.

Wild stallion horse original oil painting by Pamela Claflin

One Long, Last Look at His Father’s Herd, original oil painting of nature and young stallion horse, by Pamela Claflin

“Nature has its colors . . . wildlife has its colors. When I am out in nature and see a color that doesn’t blend, my head perks up and I look to see what it is.

“A stump that is too dark turns out to be a black bear drinking at a creek.

“A blonde ‘rock’ turns out to be a lone pronghorn.

“A dead tree branch turns out to be antlers of a very old elk who ends up eating the last apple in my backpack.”

Once, while traveling to Taos, NM, Claflin spotted a herd of wild horses, noticing a young stallion being pushed from the herd by an older stallion of the same color, which Claflin deduced to be the young one’s father. After being repeatedly driven away, the young horse stopped, squared up his body as if to take a deep breath, and stared at the herd.

“I photographed him at the moment and did a painting of him entitled, ‘One Long, Last Look at His Father’s Herd,'” Claflin says.

“I believe that if one is to paint life images of nature, one must spend time outside observing and painting.”

Because the outdoors is unpredictable, Claflin believes in being prepared as well, making sure that her car is within easy reach of the chosen painting site. That way, when marble-sized hail falls, or the wind incessantly blows down the easel and declares itself the winner, or yellow jackets take offense at a perceived intruder, it’s easy to pack up and move.

On studio days, it’s warm, dry, and insect-free.

Claflin’s work is in collections throughout the U.S., Canada, and England, and she herself maintains a collection of other artists’ work as well. One these pieces, her first sculpture purchase made in 1987, is by Klamath artist Jim Jackson, and is entitled “Seeking a Vision.” It is, she asserts, aptly named.

“It is a clay, robed figure with his head tilted towards the sky with his eyes, closed,” Claflin explains.

“I have kept that sculpture in my paint room ever since, and it constantly serves as an inspiration for me.”

Wenaha GalleryPamela Claflin is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, March 13, through Saturday, April 8. There is a special Art Show honoring Claflin Saturday, April 1, 2017, with the artist being on hand to meet and greet from 1 to 4 p.m. Also occurring at the same time is a Tribute Art Show of work by the late James Christensen.

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

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

 

 

 

 

Blues, encaustic painting by Walla Walla painter Lauri Borer, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Kindled by Encaustic — The Paintings of Lauri Borer

Blues, encaustic painting by Walla Walla painter Lauri Borer, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Blues, encaustic painting by Walla Walla painter Lauri Borer, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

While Lauri Borer did not learn all she really needed to know in kindergarten, she did pick up a lot from the world of Walt Disney. The Walla Walla artist, before she moved to the Land of Many Waters in 2005, lived in Florida and worked with merchandising and human resources at the Walt Disney Company.

Who'll Stop the Rain Encaustic landscape painting by Walla Walla artist Lauri Borer

Who’ll Stop the Rain Encaustic landscape painting by Walla Walla artist Lauri Borer

“It’s worth remembering the characteristics that made me successful in my positions there,” the painter — who specializes in hot wax (encaustic) creation — describes how she applies past experiences to present endeavors. “Show up every day and do the work. Be flexible and open-minded. Don’t give up when something doesn’t work.

“Call it a lesson, not failure.”

Borer, who has been creating art since she was 7 and holds a fine arts degree from the University of South Florida in Tampa, focuses on the landscapes of wherever she finds herself, capturing that world in both representational and abstract formats.

Currently, that capture employs “the seductive mediums of encaustic painting and oil and cold wax,” Borer says, explaining encaustic as an ancient art form dating back to at least ancient Greece.

“The derivation of the word is from the Greek word enkaustikos which means to burn in. Heat is necessary to call the work encaustic as opposed to painting with cold wax.”

Mixing molten beeswax with damar resin – a hardening agent which increases the melting point of the wax — Borer paints on wood substrates that do not flex and thereby cause the cooled wax of the finished work to crack. Her preferred surface shape is square, a non-traditional dimension that adds a sense of stability, solidity, and balance.

Nailed It, Encaustic landscape painting by Walla Walla painter Lauri Borer

Nailed It, Encaustic landscape painting by Walla Walla painter Lauri Borer

“The versatility of the medium is unlimited,” Borer says.

“Paintings can be finished to a smooth polished surface; transparent layers reveal colors and dimension as wax cures and hardens over time.

“Textures can be created, marks made with ink or graphite, ephemera added . . . on and on.”

Frequently, she finds a work takes on a life of its own, starting initially with her plan for its existence, but resulting in something pleasingly, uniquely different.

“One of the paintings that I had in the last show in Joseph (Wallowa Valley Valley Festival of Arts) began its life as a very realistic landscape — it looked exactly like the photo from which I drew my inspiration.

Lauri Borer's encaustic artwork in the permanent collection of The Encaustic Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM

Lauri Borer’s encaustic artwork in the permanent collection of The Encaustic Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM

“But the photo was perfect — it didn’t need to be copied.

“So I scraped and moved the paint around until it was almost broken, a de-constructed and abstract interpretation of a Hell’s Canyon sunset.”

In addition to creating her artwork, Borer draws upon her organizational skills to showcase area and regional art, encouraged by the first person she met in Walla Walla, former area artist Bonnie Griffith, to volunteer at the Carnegie Art Center, then active as a community gallery.

“I became part of the gallery committee responsible for hanging the shows each month, and became close friends with Bonnie and the other committee members, M’Lisse Moerk and Dianna Woolley.

“I found my tribe.”

To Sleep, Encaustic painting by Walla Walla artist Lauri Borer

To Sleep, Encaustic painting by Walla Walla artist Lauri Borer

Later, Borer jumped into ArtSquared, Art Walla’s annual fundraiser benefiting arts education, becoming active on the committee from the event’s inception in 2013, and from there, joined a series of local artists producing a regular winter group show at CAVU Cellars.

“Half a dozen artists of various mediums share our work in a lively, colorful, and diverse, yet cohesive show.”

Presently showing at Wenaha Gallery, Borer is preparing for a summer exhibition at Initial Point Gallery in Meridian, Idaho. With artworks found in personal and corporate collections throughout the U.S., Borer has participated in juried shows in the Pacific Northwest; Santa Fe, NM; California, and Montana. One of her pieces is in the permanent collection of the Encaustic Art Institute in Santa Fe.

She’s busy, active, moving, creating, snapping reference photos with an enthusiasm and diligence that even has her husband alert to a potential painting.

“He’s become an expert at quickly pulling over or spotting vistas he knows I’ll want to capture.

“I see ideas for paintings everywhere, even abstract paintings.”

In the spring, summer, and early fall the couple goes fly-fishing (with camera) on the Wallowa River. Summer finds them (with camera) on their small boat on the Snake River, fishing for bass and scavenging for flotsam for Borer’s art. All year round is studio time, and studio time is creation time.

“I paint landscapes because I love nature,” Borer says.

“From wide vistas to macro views, towering mountains and crashing seas, stormy lines of hurricane clouds and endless blues of a summer sky — it’s all inspiration.”

Wenaha GalleryLauri Borer is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, February 13, through Saturday, March 11.

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

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

 

 

Cowboy on horse roping calf by Sonya Glaus

Fish and Chips and Horses and Cows — The Oil Painting of Sonya Glaus

Cowboy on horse roping calf by Sonya Glaus

Roping, original oil painting by Sonya Glaus

Fish and Chips. Bogie and Bacall. Two-year-olds and Tantrums.

Some things just go together, irretrievably linked in our minds, and when we see one, we think of the other. So it is, for oil painter Sonya Glaus, with horses and cows, three words that blend into one when she speaks them.

Cattle Fording river stream original oil painting by Sonya Glaus

Cattle Fording, original oil painting by Sonya Glaus

“I grew up on huckleberries and horses, and spent many summer days riding the logging trails and hills around my Montana home,” the Waitsburg artist remembers. “My love of all things western is rooted in that childhood peppered with days spent on horseback out of range of humanity, and the natural draw toward the enduring combination of horse and cow.”

Upon moving from Missoula eight years ago, Glaus and her family immersed themselves in the horse races of the Walla Walla, Waitsburg, and Dayton areas. And while the bad news for Glaus is that the regional horse races no longer take place, the good news is that she has numerous photo references of the action. Inspired by the works of Sargent and Sorolla, as well as contemporary painters Richard Schmid and Carolyn Anderson, Glaus pushes color and texture to capture the sense of dynamic motion, focusing on the variations of light that make each image unique.

Girl sitting in chair with a red umbrella original oil painting by Sonya Glaus

Girl with a Red Umbrella by Sonya Glaus

“It is a constant challenge to get the paint to represent the amazing color that you see in real life,” Glaus says. “I do love color, and usually find that I like the bold color on a subject that morning and evening light accentuates.”

Ironically, Glaus began her art career in black and white, her earliest memories involving a pad of paper, some charcoal, and a campfire around which people sat, and Glaus sketched. The distinct shape and shadows cast by firelight captivated the young girl, and her fascination for light, perspective, and rendering began early.

“I think my early limitations to black and white rendering actually created a strength in drawing,” Glaus says. “I had a professor who was fond of saying that you can get the color wrong and make it work, but you can’t get away with poor drawing. Our eyes immediately recognize when something — especially people — is shaped wrong, but not necessarily when the color is a bit off.”

Racing man on horse at tracks original oil painting by Sonya Glaus

Racing, original oil painting by Sonya Glaus

Focusing on whatever she finds to be interesting or beautiful, Glaus divides her creative time between outdoor plein air and indoor studio work, although a “wild schedule” of raising kids, working, keeping the laundry under nominal control and a menagerie of animals fed, limits plein air. Add to this that her love for action is divided as well — between painting it, and doing it — requiring the constant demand that she make a choice.

“The last time we went to cow camp, I packed painting supplies and my camera, determined that I was going to let my girls ride and I WAS going to paint and take photo references.

“Well, they started sorting cow/calf pairs, and my resolve lasted all of about 30 minutes before I was compelled to snag a horse and start sorting.”

Mountains trees and fields original oil painting by Sonya Glaus

Mountains and Fields, original oil painting by Sonya Glaus

The next day’s choice was between painting and swimming in the creek.

“Getting into the zone for me requires being alone and not having anything else on my mind that I should or could be doing,” Glaus explains, adding that, while what is going on around her can be distracting, where she paints really isn’t an issue.

“The smallest studio I painted in was in a converted garage apartment. I added lights to the tiny broom closet it had, about 3 feet by 5 feet, just big enough to keep an easel and palette table in, with my chair outside the room and room to step back.

“I painted some good stuff in there!”

By comparison,  her present painting space — a room in her house — is palatial.

With a background in children’s book illustration, Glaus has sold her paintings in various galleries in Montana, as well as undertaken commissioned portraiture for individual clients. With no deep ulterior motives or messages to her art, the painter describes her goals as “pretty simple.”

“I hope that my paintings are enjoyed in whatever form that simplicity takes, whether it is an appreciation of the subject, the patterns of light, enhancement of a space, or some contribution to a general sense of peace and enjoyment.”

Wenaha GallerySonya Glaus is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, November 21 through Saturday, December 17. She will be at the gallery Friday, November 25, from 3 to 7 p.m., as part of the Christmas Kickoff Celebration. Joining her will be jewelry artist Lynn Gardner of Sandpoint, ID. Free refreshments will be served.

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

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit the gallery today!

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

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

Featherlight Touch — The Wildlife Art of Debra Otterstein

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

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

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

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

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

Calliope Hummer by wildlife artist Debra Otterstein

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cougar Cub, by Debra Otterstein

Cougar Cub, by Debra Otterstein

“Then I felt guilty.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

 

Cowboys Still Exist — The Western Art of Chris Owen

BackToYourMomma.ChrisOwen

Back to Your Momma by Chris Owen

Thanks to the movies and TV, even the most citified of urban dwellers has a working knowledge of America’s icon, the cowboy: this legendary person wears a unique hat, sits a horse with cool assurance, swings a lasso, drinks appalling coffee, and speaks with a drawl.

But does this person still exist? Are there cowboys in the 21st century?

Comfort, by Chris Owen

Comfort, by Chris Owen

Yes, there are. According to Wide Open Country, an online platform showcasing country music and the rural lifestyle, more than one million beef producers in the U.S. are responsible for more than 94 million head of beef cattle. From major establishments to small ranches, cowboys are an essential part of cattle’s lives.

“My grandparents were salt-of-the-earth ranchers who lived the simple life,” western art painter Chris Owen of Billings, who was born and raised in Montana’s modern west, told writer Mark Mussari in  Southwest Art Magazine’s article, Chris Owen: Setting a Mood.

As a young boy spending summers on his grandparents’ small ranch in the Judith Basin, Owen embraced rural life, developing an appreciation for the importance of the agricultural community. His grandfather’s stories of meeting C.M. Russell — the late 19th, early 20th century cowboy, writer, environmentalist and artist — inspired dreams in a young boy that later, after art studies at Montana State University in Billings, and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, grew into a professional career as a painter, capturing the real, gritty, literally earthy life of the contemporary cowboy.

Holding Things Together by Chris Owen

Holding Things Together by Chris Owen

“After my formal art education, I decided to work with the western cowboy and horse theme,” Owen explains. “I spent the first few years on several operating ranches in the region, and made acquaintance with working cowboy owners and employed cowboys.

“The experiences with them taught me a great deal.”

Not only from humans did Owen learn his subject, and learn it well. The owner of three horses — Jake, Buck, and Badger — Owen clues in on the animals’ non-verbal language with each other and their human companions, translating that language to canvas in works that, according to Mussari’s article, “are surprisingly dark and make rich of contrasts between light and dark.”

“There is a difficulty of the subject matter, painting human and horse figures with gesture, light, shapes, color and anatomical accuracy,” Owen says.

“Much of the western art has been more about illustration than the use of a more subjective approach of nonrepresentational art.

Early Morning y Chris Owen

Early Morning y Chris Owen

“I wanted to establish my own unique style which moves more toward these fine art concepts.”

By major indications, Owen has successfully created his signature style, garnering both awards and exhibitions at major western art events such as the Cheyenne Frontier Days Western Art Show, Cheyenne, WY; the National Coors Western Arts Exhibit, Denver, CO; and the C.M. Russell Western Art Auction, Great Falls, MT. In addition to Southwest Art Magazine, Owen has been featured in Heartland USA, Wildlife Art, and Western Horseman magazines.

In 2001, Owen contracted with Ashton Company, and later Somerset Art, to create prints of his work, but in 2011 he began his own publishing company, which provides high quality giclee art prints through select galleries.

Standing By, by Chris Owen

Standing By, by Chris Owen

With a strong focus on earth tones — browns, umbers, burnt orange, and gold — Owen’s work celebrates the symbiotic relationship between cowboys and their horses. This is the real world of today, not a pretend or romanticized view of the past, with movement, action, and force, even when the subjects are standing still.

“I soon learned taking pictures from a horse on the gallop was not going to work,” Owen says of capturing the action of real life. “So, the idea of riding a horse at a loop, keeping up with a cowboy on the move at the same time taking pictures at the right angle in the right light was not a viable option.

“There is a challenge of painting action pieces.”

It is a challenge he has solved, fusing representational art with abstract overtones, translating a world that most of us know only as legend into images that the viewer can experience today, in real time.

“The cowboy endures as the foremost American icon,” Owen says. “His ongoing endurance as the premier American cultural hero stands as testament to the spirit and values that have made the West great.”

Wenaha GalleryChris Owen is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, June 6 through Saturday, July 2.

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

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

Cathedral in the Forest, fine art photography by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Patricia Fleming

“This Is What We Do” — The Photography, Painting, and Pottery of Pat and Patricia Fleming

Cathedral in the Forest, fine art photography by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Patricia Fleming

Cathedral in the Forest, fine art photography by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Patricia Fleming

At social events, we all field the question,

“So, what is it that you do?” with an expected answer of, “I am a ____,” and subsequent filling in of the blank.

Wine Glasses, original acrylic painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Pat Fleming

Wine Glasses, original acrylic painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Pat Fleming

When that query is posed to Pat and  Patricia Fleming, a husband-wife artistic team from Kennewick, WA, the answer — even a vastly simplified one — requires more than one to five words.  And even afterwards, one gets the feeling that all the blanks haven’t been filled in.

“We live in a clay house that I built from 2002 to 2005,” Pat Fleming says. That’s a good start, because the potter, who is also a painter, who is also a retired art instructor regularly returning to the classroom to part-time teach, is known for digging his own clay from a spot in Othello, WA.

The corresponding pottery he creates from this activity is truly unique, if for no other reason than that many pottery artists, as well as pottery purchasers, rarely consider the possibility of such a DIY attitude. But, as Pat points out, digging one’s own clay is not a new concept:

“My pottery statement is,  ‘See what our ancestors did for over 12,000 years, and we can still do it.’ It is cost efficient, it is possible, it is the ultimate craft.

Tulips, fine art photography by Patricia Fleming

Tulips, fine art photography by Patricia Fleming

“Also, ‘See what this stuff that I dug out of the ground can do with the guidance of a knowledgeable practitioner.'”

One thing this particular knowledgeable practitioner — whose expertise extends beyond creation of individualized pieces to the production of nationally distributed wholesale restaurant dinnerware — has done is share the wisdom base of a very ancient craft. During a 33-year teaching career at Kennewick schools, Pat led groups of students on weekend field trips to collect material.

At one point, “we had so much local clay accumulated that we never had to buy any for 12 years.”

One of Pat’s favorite phrases, and indeed the one upon which he grounds his professional career, and life, is,

“This is what I do.”

Created using hand-dug clay from Southeastern Washington, customized pottery pieces by Pat Fleming are like no other. They are literally unique.

Created using hand-dug clay from Southeastern Washington, customized pottery pieces by Pat Fleming are like no other. They are literally unique.

Pottery is one element, teaching another (“I have been called out of retirement for a fourth time”); even bricklaying, originating from work as a hod carrier when he was 14, forms a part of What Pat Does. He also paints, but in archetypal Fleming fashion, in his own way.

“I mix powdered tempera with masonry acrylic additive which I buy at Lowe’s by the gallon . . . My paintings are about everything from, ‘Look at what the light did to that wine bottle,’ to ‘Ode to Retired Bankers Everywhere.'”

Well, that’s Pat, simplified. What about Patricia?

A photographer who greets each day for its potential of perspective, chroma, and form, Patricia teases out the unique attributes of landscapes and still life, transforming everyday views into, “Stop. Look at me now,” visual monographs.

“I love the light and became interested in reflections, shapes, and shadows,” Patricia says. “Everyday items take on a whole new perspective when the sun and shadows hit them — that’s when I feel a great urgency to record the scene I am seeing.”

Yaquina Bay Bridge, fine art photography by Patricia Fleming

Yaquina Bay Bridge, fine art photography by Patricia Fleming

No Photoshopping, other than cropping, she adds. The artist’s eye directs the final view. It is a view that insists upon being seen:

“While I have sold many photographs, the one that means the most to me was a patient at a hospital who said she strolled by my photograph called Bella Beach many times, and felt a real sense of peace when she looked at it.

“She later purchased it, and I love  the thought of her looking at it in her own home. I think of her and hope she is now healthy and happy.”

When they’re not creating their own art, the Flemings focus on the work of others, cofounding Cyber Art 509 (www.CyberArt509.com), an online group of 57 artists in the 509 phone area code. Members show their work at local restaurants, shops, wineries and offices in the form of rotating exhibits.

It’s all part of what they, the Flemings, do — potter, photographer, painter, teacher, writer, marketer, artist. As Pat says,

“I don’t golf, I don’t bowl, I don’t own a boat. I paint and make pots.”

Patricia photographs and conquers the computer and the website.

It satisfies them to say, “This is what we do.”

Wenaha GalleryPat and Patricia Fleming are the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artists from Monday, May 9 through Saturday, June 4. Pat will be showing his pottery and paintings, and Patricia will be showing her photography.

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

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

Hawaiian Chicken, original watercolor by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Pam Sharp

On the Road and Selling Art — The Watercolors of Pam Sharp

Hawaiian Chicken, original watercolor by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Pam Sharp

Hawaiian Chicken, original watercolor by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Pam Sharp

In the springtime, when some people’s thoughts turn lightly to rototilling the garden and outsmarting the latest frost date, wildlife painter Pam Sharp packs up and travels. Participating in art festivals and shows throughout the country, the watercolor artist reaches a national and international clientele taking advantage of sunny days (one hopes) to stroll through a temporary city of tents and awnings filled with fine art and crafts.

“Last year I did 17 art shows on the road,” Sharp says. “It takes a crew to set up and tear down a display, and I am very lucky to have my husband’s support. He provides the before and after show moving and carrying and hauling.”

In the Trees, original watercolor painting by Pam Sharp, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

In the Trees, original watercolor painting by Pam Sharp, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

Thanks to the hard work it takes to transport what is effectively a gallery’s worth of art, the Kennewick, WA, painter has collectors throughout the world, including Japan, Australia, England and Germany, as well as residents of most of the states of the Union. A primary benefit of selling directly to the public, she maintains, is the ability to meet collectors in person, with the opportunity to, over the years, get to know them better.

“This is the reason I have chosen to focus on art festivals,” Sharp explains. One of the most prestigious — and challenging to jury into –venues she attends is the Sun Valley Arts Festival (Ketchum, ID), where only 13 painters are accepted. For the last four years, Sharp has been one of those decidedly not unlucky, and highly sought after, 13.

Horses, birds, wildlife — the world of fauna is the one that most fascinates Sharp, who describes the first stage of her art career starting when she was five, insistent upon drawing horses.

“Horses have always been my first love and will always be incorporated in my art portfolio.”

Life, and a career outside of art intervened until 1998, when the now-grown five-year-old was prompted to revisit her childhood love of drawing at an art society meeting.

“Being clueless on the art business and the challenges, I dove in and have been swimming ever since,” Sharp says.

Stellar Jay, original watercolor painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist, Pam Sharp

Stellar Jay, original watercolor painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist, Pam Sharp

“I chose watercolor as an affordable medium in which to explore. Little did I know at the time, watercolor is one of the most challenging mediums to master.”

Either there’s too much water on the paper, or too little; or the paper itself is too absorbent, or not absorbent enough; or the paint dries too fast, or too slow, or it dribbles vertically when not expected to, and stays put when the artist really wants it to expressively drizzle, which may be because the brush is holding too much paint, when 30 minutes ago it refused to hold enough.

“Mastering watercolor is not for the person who needs instant gratification, but is one where perseverance and patience pays off — especially patience,” Sharp observes.

Van Goeh, original watercolor painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Pam Sharp

Van Goeh, original watercolor painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Pam Sharp

Self-taught and constantly learning, Sharp has garnered a distinguished repertoire of awards, including Best Watercolor at the Saratoga, WY, Art Festival; Banker’s Choice at the Torrington, WY, Two-Shot Art Festival; and Best Watercolor at the High Peaks Art Festival of Nederland, CO. Within the challenging, and potentially frustrating, medium of Sharp’s choice, the final art piece may be a mixture of water-based mediums such as gouache, wax pastels, water-soluble oils, or inks, all of which add their own demands to the final piece.

In addition to producing original paintings, Sharp creates prints, cards, and T-shirts featuring her art, selling through her website, Prairie Skullpture, a place where “attitude and art are skillfully blended together in watercolor and mixed media.” She offers her printing services to other artists, as well as sponsors a mentor program to help artists, and would-be-artists, achieve their goals.

It all adds up to a full-time job, the seeds of which were planted in the dreams of a five-year-old, and bloom into fruition under the warm sun of a festival day.

Wenaha GalleryPam Sharp is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, April 11 through Saturday, May 7.

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

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

Life on the Farm with a Paintbrush — The Watercolor Art of Jill Ingram

Gossamer Meadow, original watercolor by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Jill Ingram

Gossamer Meadow, original watercolor by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Jill Ingram

She is an artist, living on a farm.

“Farm” brings to mind livestock and machinery, hard work, early mornings, and late nights.

“Artist” describes the person who sees beauty and interprets it onto canvas or paper, one who walks around a clump of flowers growing on the path and returns later in the day, when the chores are done, to capture that fragile innocence.

Fluffed and Ruffled, original watercolor painting by Jill Ingram

Fluffed and Ruffled, original watercolor painting by Jill Ingram

For watercolorist Jill Ingram, who grew up on a farm and married a farmer, art is as much of her life as wheat and pigs, and she first recognized that she had a creative gift in third grade, when she was part of a team of three assigned to create a bulletin board scene depicting the change of seasons.

“There was a feeling of apprehension facing that huge white blank wall,” Ingram remembers.

“I have no memory of what we did, but the reaction of my fellow students gave me such joy, as they looked into a crystal ball and said, ‘You are an artist!’

“And they spoke a new faith into my heart.”

The daughter of Dayton artist Iola Bramhall, Ingram dabbled with painting and drawing throughout her childhood, but things became more serious — both life and art — following a horse accident, when Ingram turned to art as part of the healing process.

SLO-MO, original watercolor painting by Jill Ingram

SLO-MO, original watercolor painting by Jill Ingram

“My belief in a loving God gave me the faith that this event would bring good into my life,” Ingram says. “He said art would be a catharsis for me.”

It was, guiding her into a world of color, hue, light, form, and movement, resulting in works that are resplendent in emotion, many zeroing in on the petal of a flower or an insulated growth of trees, rich with a hidden light.

“I believe in a personal God who created me to see beauty in the commonplace,” Ingram says.

“His hand is on my life, and He takes the hardest things, transforming the experience into some kind of beauty. He made me in His image, and so I think my creative imagination is an expression of Him, however blurry I may see and understand.”

Golden Thicket, original watercolor painting by Jill Ingram

Golden Thicket, original watercolor painting by Jill Ingram

Ingram landed on her medium of choice, watercolor, for a prosaic reason: because it isn’t as messy as oil or pastel, but just because it’s easier to clean up doesn’t mean that it’s easier to do. Working through paper choices and pigment temperaments, Ingram addressed subject matter ranging from botanical to figurative, building a portfolio of work with a fluid, open style that, she says, matches her personality.

Along the way, she studied under renowned artists like Del Gish, Arne Westerman, and Nita Engle, and soon found her own name becoming known: she has won first place at the Colorado Watercolor Society (for her painting, “Jewel”) as well as at the Northwest Watercolor Society’s Juried Exhibition in Seattle, in which “Ruby Slippers” took the prize. For several years, Ingram operated a gallery in downtown Dayton, Jill Ingram Watercolors, and sold her work, nationally and internationally, through galleries in Seattle and Spokane as well.

For all that, she remains, at heart, an artist who lives on a farm, and the day’s painting schedule revolves around a household of people who all depend upon one another to get the many things that need to be done, done:

“Painting in my home means that I am more available to my family,” Ingram says.

“Some days might start with painting, then shift into helping the farm boys move combines, and end with Mom planning meals . . .  unless I’m on a roll, and I paint all day long until they yell at me to come and eat!”

And even then, she may stay in the studio, grabbing a few precious minutes for a well-placed brushstroke here, a subtle drizzle of color there. Art speaks — to her, and through her. Or, as Ingram likes to say,

“English is my second language.”

Wenaha GalleryJill Ingram is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, March 14 through Saturday, April 9. There will be an artist’s reception Saturday, March 19, from 1-4 p.m. at the gallery, during which time we invite you to meet and greet the artist, as well as enjoy free refreshments.

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

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.