colombia church charcoal drawing Jordan Henderson Wenaha Gallery

Colombia Churches and Cows — The Charcoal Drawings of Jordan Henderson

colombia church charcoal drawing Jordan Henderson Wenaha Gallery

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

 

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

Colombia cows walking country road charcoal drawing

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

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

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

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

Learning Language and Doing Art in Colombia

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

Iguana charcoal drawing colombia medellin city park

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

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

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

Traveling by Bus through Colombia

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

Colombia lowland grassland llanos charcoal drawing

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

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

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

Loving the Lowing of Colombia Cows

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

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

colombia church humilladero pamplona colombia charcoal drawing

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

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

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

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

Attracting Attention

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

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

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

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

He’s his father’s son all right.

Wenaha Gallery

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

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

 

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.

The Wiener Dogs of Lascaux by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at the Wenaha Gallery

Sharing the Studio with Dogs — The Watercolor Art of Jan Taylor

The Wiener Dogs of Lascaux by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at the Wenaha Gallery

The Wiener Dogs of Lascaux by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at the Wenaha Gallery

While initially, it may seem that there is little in common between four Dachshunds, the canals of Venice, and the Paleolithic cave paintings of Lascaux, it all makes sense to watercolor artist Jan Taylor.

White Lily by Jan Taylor, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

White Lily by Jan Taylor, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

Taylor, who has traveled on every continent, paints what she sees, and while she is devoted to one artistic medium, she allows herself the freedom to paint any subject, from safari animals to florals, from antique still life to portraits of Dachshunds which Taylor, by close association, knows are rarely still — or quiet.

“We own three and a half Dachshunds,” Taylor says, her own voice expressing wonderment at the quantity. “One of them is a cross — he doesn’t care, and he thinks he’s quite superior to the girls.”

The “girls” are Lucy, Debbie, and Scarlotte; the mutt is Oliver Twist because he was a foundling, and all four have been featured in paintings by Taylor. Lucy was painted on a cloud with a glittering necklace adorning her neck (“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”); the entire menagerie found itself in “The Wiener Dogs of Lascaux,” a whimsical nod to primitive cave art that caught the eye of a collector in Coeur d’Alene.

Yellowstone Lord by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at Wenaha Gallery

Yellowstone Lord by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at Wenaha Gallery

Apparently, Taylor is not alone in her attraction to small, self-confident, yappy (her own observation) animals, as every painting she has created of Dachshunds has found a happy owner.

“I’ve never had more than one dog before,” Taylor muses. “It’s out of hand now. But my husband is a willing perpetrator of it because you couldn’t do it otherwise. Who else would put up with this?”

TePees Three by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at Wenaha Gallery

TePees Three by Jan Taylor, guest watercolor artist at Wenaha Gallery

Acknowledging a love for whimsy, Taylor incorporates a sense of fun and quirkiness in many of her works, but true to her style of not limiting herself to a style, she explores worlds and vistas that reflect life around her, wherever she happens to be that day: her floral works are bold and audacious; her view of Venice channels the viewer between buildings converging into one’s space; three tepees in a meadow acknowledge the artist’s ability to create stories from their surroundings.

“I believe that artistic expression is the fun part of life,” Taylor says. “When I like a work I’ve created, it’s a joy to me, and I hope to others as well.”

Taylor comes to the art studio from what many would consider the completely opposite world of business and computers, having taught 30 years in community colleges primarily in Spokane. Upon retirement, she took up drawing and painting, just . . . because.

Vine Art by Jan Taylor, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

Vine Art by Jan Taylor, Wenaha Gallery guest artist

“I can’t talk about some interior drive where I had to express myself — I just started painting for fun.”

She educated herself through college classes and private workshops, benefiting from Spokane’s ability to attract top teachers.

“There are nationally known people who travel through, who have television shows and things like that. One of my favorite workshop teachers was Lian Zhen, an international watercolor artist from China.”

Since moving to Richland two years ago, Taylor has thrown herself into the local art scene, meeting regularly with fellow artists from the online cooperative, Cyber Art 509 (cyberart509.com) started by Tri-Cities artists Patrick and Patricia Fleming as a means of connecting creative people in the 509 area code region.

“I have a lot of fun with these people, and we get together a couple times each month. I get to see their work, and that’s inspiring.

“About 20 of us get together and paint and critique and have demos.”

With 30 years of teaching behind her, and extensive exposure to art classes and workshops, does she lead some of these demos?

“Oh no,” she demurs. “I do not feel that I have an art education.”

The niceties of distinctions aside. Taylor is a student who continuously teaches herself, and she treasures the hours she spends in her 500-square-foot home studio, replete with all the counters and storage an artist could want, as well as a grand, east-facing window which bathes the room with light.

Oh, and there are the doggie beds, because that is where Lucy, Debbie, Scarlotte, and Oliver love to be.

“If I’m in the studio, they’re in there too.”

Wenaha GalleryJan Taylor is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, January 11 through Saturday, February 6.

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.

 

Palus Museum historical site in Dayton WA showcasing the Palouse Indians Lewis and Clark and the pioneering homesteaders

Honoring an Ingenious People – The Palus Museum Celebrates the Heritage of the Palouse Indians

 

Palus Museum historical site in Dayton WA showcasing the Palouse Indians Lewis and Clark and the pioneering homesteaders

A large painting of Palouse Falls, surrounded by displays of artifacts, greets visitors as the enter the Palus Museum

We live in an area rich with history, steeped with the life stories of brave, hardworking people.

Frequently, those of us who reside in the West now associate those brave, hardworking people with the pioneers, many of whom did not make it here without losing someone along the way. But history goes back further than that, and before there were pioneers, there were brave, hardworking people who eventually lost a way of life: the Cayuse, the Nez Perce, the Umatilla, and the Palouse.

Palus Museum historical site in Dayton WA showcasing the Palouse Indians Lewis and Clark and the pioneering homesteaders

A thoughtful coyote and bronzework take viewers to a different place and time at the Palus Museum.

It is for this reason — that life changes, and we do not want to obscure or forget the past, and we wish to bring honor to those who live in the present — that a group of local people in Dayton joined together to create the Blue Mountain Heritage Society in 1999, with a focal interest to engage the public in the rich and diverse regional history of Columbia County and its environs. And one of principal people in this rich history are the Palouse Indians.

A small tribe in Southeastern Washington and Northern Idaho that was culturally related to the Nez Perce, the Palouse (or Palus) “were a very smart people and a very strong people,” according to Rose Engelbrite, one of the founding members of the society and the manager of the Palus Museum in Dayton.

“The things they had to make and do just in order to survive were very involved, from making shoes and arrowheads to gathering food.”

A hand woven basket, a baby carrier, and a trunk dating from 1812 are a link to the past at the Palus Museum.

A hand woven basket, a baby carrier, and a trunk dating from 1812 are a link to the past at the Palus Museum.

The museum, which possesses an unpretentious exterior that belies the treasures within, is home to numerous and diverse artifacts, from beadwork to handspun rope, bone hairpieces, clothing, hand crafted tools, a medicine bag, and — the foundation upon which the collection was started — arrowheads gleaned from the area by local resident Wayne Casseday.

“Collecting artifacts was a hobby of his, and he wanted other people to see them,” Engelbrite explains. “He asked us if we would be interested to set up a place where these could be shown and not be stored away out of sight.”

Palus Museum historical site in Dayton WA showcasing the Palouse Indians Lewis and Clark and the pioneering homesteaders

From the outside, Palus Museum gives no clue to the historical treasures within.

The arrowheads are all colors and sizes, painstakingly and skillfully crafted for their specific purpose, testament to the artistry and personality of their makers. One of Engelbrites favorite artifacts, however, looks like a long, slim rock, about the size of a small foot, and slightly curved, just like a foot. This is no accident, she says, but further evidence of the Palouse Indians’ astute resourcefulness.

“It’s a last,” she explains, “which is an object that shoemakers build their shoes around. Back then (the 1800s, and earlier) many shoes did not have a right shoe and a left shoe, but it was the same shape for both feet.

Barbed Wire at the Palus Museum

Who would guess that there could be so many varieties of barbed wire?

“The Palouse Indians used this last which has a light curve at the top, so they were able to make one shoe, a right one, and then flip over the last and make a left one.

“As I say, they were an ingenious people.”

The Palouse were noted horse breeders and traders — the Appaloosa, with its distinctive spotted coat, drawing its name from that of the tribe. Numbering around 1,600 during the expedition of Lewis and Clark, the Palouse tribe migrated between Palouse Falls in the winter, where the fishing was plenty, to the Dayton area in the summer, where they collected berries.

But as we know, with the advent of explorers, trappers, and pioneers from the east, this way of life drastically changed, and two cultures clashed until the Palouse, dwindling in size, no longer roamed the land they once lived. The museum itself addresses the issue, with exhibits featuring relics from both the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the pioneering homesteaders.

Set next to a woven cooking basket made from cedar root and cedar root skin is a small, handmade trunk, consisting of rawhide and fur over wood and lined with newspaper dated 1812. An annex to the museum houses the homestead room, with butter churns, washboards, a cast iron wood stove and an impressive display of the many styles of barbed wire used for fencing.

Most of the historical items are local, donated by families of the area, interested in the historical society’s mission and eager to contribute so that the past, though it is in the past, will have its place in the present.

“This is the history of the area in which we live,” Engelbrite says, “and it is a part of all our heritage.”

Wenaha GalleryThe Palus Museum, at 426 E. Main, is located two blocks from Wenaha Gallery in Dayton, WA, and is well worth a visit to view. Admission to the museum is free, with donations gratefully accepted. The museum is open Fridays and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, contact Rose at 509.337.8875, or contact the historical society through its Facebook Page.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 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.

Bend in the River, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jim McNamara.

Mountain Man Painter — The Landscapes of Jim McNamara

Bend in the River, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jim McNamara.

Bend in the River, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jim McNamara.

Jim McNamara is a man who moves mountains, because that is what landscape painters do.

“Cameras can do a better job at exact duplication,” the Walla Walla fine artist says, “but one of the great advantages of being a painter is the freedom to move elements around to suit the needs of the composition. So if a tree isn’t where I want it to be, I move it.”

McNamara, whose day job until retirement 15 years ago was in public education as a school psychologist, has been drawing and painting all his life, thanks to a bunch of determined women:

Dirt Road, Big Sky by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jim McNamara

Dirt Road, Big Sky by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jim McNamara

“The nuns at St. Bridget Elementary in Omaha saw a spark in me and coaxed my parents into sending me to summer school at Joslyn Art Museum when I was barely old enough to ride the bus,”  McNamara remembers. Art classes continued in high school and college — interspersed with courses in English literature, counseling, and school psychology — and specialized workshops followed throughout adulthood, as McNamara studied under some of today’s outstanding outdoor painters: Jim Lamb, Ned Mueller, Ken Roth, Matt Smith,  John Budacin, and Ralph Oberg.

The result of all the study, eclectic interests, and hard work has been McNamara’s unique style, blending brushstrokes with realism, plein air with studio work, a painterly attitude with attention to detail:

“My colors and shapes are broadly realistic but I prefer to employ a ‘painterly’ style,” McNamara explains. “I think painting is more interesting and involving if it leaves something to the viewer’s imagination.

“I like to see brushstrokes in a finished painting: it adds a textural dimension, and makes the work more fun to look at close up.”

McNamara, who prefers oil but forays into watercolor on occasion, is a consummate landscapist, focusing on broad, sweeping images of the Pacific Northwest and West, which he captures both on scene — en plein air  — and in his studio, inside an old house, built in 1900, with the high ceilings and quantity of windows that prompt other artists to sigh with envy.

“Where I paint is what I imagine was once the master bedroom,” McNamara says. “There are paintings on the walls, as well as art books, paints and brushes set up. I have an iMac with four or five thousand images to keep my mind occupied in the winter, when it’s hard to get outside.”

Trailhead View by Wenaha Gallery artist Jim McNamara

Trailhead View by Wenaha Gallery artist Jim McNamara

With such an ideal set-up, one would think that McNamara would stay in the studio all the time, content with the absence of rain and wind, but the Great Outdoors seductively calls,  and McNamara has painted en plein air from the Rockies to the coast, covering most of the western states in his travels with his wife. His favorite painting experiences involve backpacking to some remote location, setting up his easel, and painting directly from nature.

“Painting outdoors produces the most accurate color and the most spontaneous result,” McNamara says. “But because outdoor conditions are not always ideal in the Northwest, especially in winter, I do rely on reference photographs, which are always taken by me.” Hence, the iMac, with its 5,000 images.

While in the earlier years of his full-time painting McNamara entered juried shows and competitions throughout the  region — the Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts and the former Walla Walla Carnegie Art center, the latter where he won People’s Choice Award and sold the painting the same day — the artist now concentrates his time on as much painting as he can get in. Most of his sales generate from his home studio, The Fort Walla Walla Winery on Main Street, or Wenaha Gallery in Dayton, with one of the most pleasurably memorable sales being to a collector in France, in Walla Walla for a wine tasting — from one area known for its wines, to another.

“I think representational art always makes a statement because it regards its subject as important and significant,” McNamara reflects upon what he does. “Just the act of intensely looking at a subject for the sometimes lengthy time required to render it gives it significance.

“I believe the natural world deserves being looked at intensely and wordlessly.”

Wenaha GalleryJim McNamara is the Art Event: Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from December 16, 2014 through January 10, 2015 at Wenaha Gallery’s historic Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 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 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; phone 509.382.2124; e-mail art@wenaha.com.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

Blue bird with flowers painting by Craig Whitcomb

A World of Experience in Life and Art — the Paintings of Craig Whitcomb

Blue bird with flowers painting by Craig Whitcomb

Blue Bird with Flowers by Craig Whitcomb

 

From the Old West to the Far East, world traveler Craig Whitcomb, who settled down in Lewiston, ID, captures it all in watercolor, pastel, graphite, acrylic, and color pencil, because, in addition to not being stuck to any one subject, he doesn’t limit himself in the medium used as well.

A prolific artist who has been painting for more than 50 years, Whitcomb has fit art, quite prominently, into a career path that encompasses, first, 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as a government analyst. This position took him throughout the U.S. and overseas to England, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

Blue Indian by Craig Whitcomb of Wenaha Gallery

Blue Indian by Craig Whitcomb of Wenaha Gallery

After retirement from the military, Whitcomb embarked on a second career in teaching, focusing on art, philosophy, English, history and other disciplines — because why box oneself in to just one subject? — at Walla Walla Community College and other area schools in Clarkston, WA. Somewhere along the line he found himself in China and Japan, teaching English. And while he was teaching, he was learning — from the people, from the culture, from their art.

“My paintings, regardless of media, reflect what I have seen in my years of travel and work around the world and how I have perceived the subjects,” Whitcomb explains. Over a lifetime, those travels have taken him to more than 40 countries, with a resultant art portfolio encompassing subject matter that ranges from Nez Perce Indian “fancy dancers” to English thatched cottages, from Japanese Shinto temples  to landscapes of Idaho, near Whitcomb’s Lewiston home.

Oh, and scenes from Aruba,  an island off the coast of Venezuela that is the birthplace of Whitcomb’s wife, Stephanie. Now retired, although it doesn’t really look like it, the couple travels there to visit family, and Craig brings back images — solitary country homes, lush tropical flowers, idyllic island scenes — to paint.

The reason it doesn’t look like Whitcomb is retired is because he’s so incredibly busy — in his laid back, relaxed way. A member of the Northwest, Spokane, and Palouse Watercolor Societies as well as various general art groups, he has served as curator of the Valley Art Center in Clarkston, WA, a position that demands administrative and public relations skills as well as an eye for what constitutes fine art.

Whitcomb has exhibited with the Fred Oldfield Western and Wildlife Show, the Spokane Museum of Arts and Cultures, the Museum of Eastern Idaho, and national and international miniature shows in Florida, Virginia, Texas, Nebraska, England, and Japan. He jumped head first into 30-30-30, a gallery challenge in Moscow, Idaho that required daily paintings over the course of a month, and every year he takes part in the Clarkston Valley Art Center’s “Faking the Master’s” Exhibition, in which artists choose a famous painting to replicate.

“I know I will never duplicate a great master,” Whitcomb says, “but it gives me a challenge.”

Perhaps a greater challenge faces Whitcomb each time he finishes one work, before deciding upon, and starting another: what to do? It could be a portrait, or a landscape; a full-sized piece or a miniature so detailed that it requires a magnifying glass and a very thin brush; a whimsical approach, or a serious one. Whatever it is, it will be an eclectic blend representing years of travel, a mind sharpened by wit, and a background incorporating, literally, a world’s worth of experience.

Village Church by Craig Whitcomb at the Wenaha Gallery

Village Church by Craig Whitcomb at the Wenaha Gallery

“Art is intrinsic to every culture,” Whitcomb observes. “I haven’t encountered a culture yet where they don’t have some form of art.”

And looking at the vast repertoire of paintings spanning more than 50 years of capturing the world’s cultural heritage, one can’t help but wonder if Whitcomb hasn’t put a significant amount of it on paper or canvas.

Craig Whitcomb is the featured Art Event Pacific Northwest artist at Wenaha Gallery (219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA) from September 22 through October 11, and October 4 he joins floral, Western, and wildlife artist Janene Grende at Art Walk, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the gallery, part of the Dayton on Tour celebration.

Wenaha GalleryContact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 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,  located in historic downtown Dayton, Washington,  is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional 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; phone 509.382.2124; e-mail art@wenaha.com.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

Water, Water Everywhere — Just Not in the Studio — the Pastel and Watercolor Paintings of Judy Robertus

coastal meadow original pastel by wenaha gallery artist Judy Robertus

Coastal Meadow, original pastel by Wenaha Gallery artist, Judy Robertus.

Water is one of our planet’s most valuable resources, and other than air, it’s probably one of our most vital.

For Dayton landscape artist Judy Robertus, water is a focal point of her work: it is one of her mediums of choice (watercolor), and she incorporates it, one way or another, in much of her work.

“My passion must be rivers, since most of my work depicts them,” Robertus says. “My husband suggested I call my enterprise, Many Rivers Studio. He has a point.”

From her studio, which is close to several local waterways but not right on them, Robertus creates soft, dreamy landscapes of the region’s streams and rivers with their aspen trees and vegetation. With an emphasis on local scenes, Robertus frequently draws upon photos by local photographers Mel Bohleen and Carson Frankie.

Birchfield Evening original pastel painting by wenaha gallery artist Judy Robertus

Birchfield Evening, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Judy Robertus

“They travel the back roads of Eastern Washington and then entice me with their photos, encouraging me to paint them,” Robertus says. “One painting leads naturally to another.

“I haven’t given much thought about how I gravitate toward rivers,” Robertus muses, “and actually, I never noticed that I did until it was pointed out to me.”

When she and her husband, both now retired, are traveling, Robertus seeks out small rivers in quiet, intimate settings. Another favorite landscape subject matter — with or without water — are canyonlands, reflecting Robertus’ growing up in Utah.

“They’re so beautiful,” she says. “I am fascinated by them.”

So we have water on one hand, and canyon drylands on the other. In her choice of mediums, Robertus expresses a similar polarization:

“I go back and forth between doing watercolor and pastel work,” she says. “For many years, I only did watercolor, but about five years ago I started doing pastels and got really involved in it.

“The challenges of watercolor are also its benefits: it likes to do its own thing. It takes you where it wants to go and you follow.

Stand of aspen original pastel painting by wenaha gallery artist judy robertus

Stand of Aspen, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Judy Robertus

“But I also love pastels and their softness and immediacy.

“Both mediums are perfect for landscapes.”

Art became a part of Robertus’ life years ago when she attended the University of Utah, and while her professional career  was in social and community service counseling, her painting was an important part of her schedule, and she fit it in around and about her work life. Now with more time to devote to the endeavor, she has developed the artist’s coveted, and designated, studio space:

“My studio is in the center of my home, where a band of windows provides an abundance of northern light. A very large poster of Beethoven looms overhead.

“He is my muse.”

The muse must smile, because Robertus’ works have been shown in various regional and local venues and exhibitions, one of which resulted in an award from the Eastern Washington Watercolor Society. A member of the Blue Mountain Artists Guild in Dayton, Robertus regularly shows her work in local landmark locations like the Historic Depot and the Weinhard Hotel, in addition to being represented at the Wenaha Gallery.

“The practice of art encourages one to notice Nature’s beauty,” Robertus says.

“Over the years, I have come to believe that within each of us there is a basic wellness, a sense that all is ‘right with the world’ when we are absorbed in the moment in the world around us.

“Painting a scene or observing a painting of a landscape allows us to connect with this wellness.”

Judy Robertus is the featured Art Event Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery, June 23 through July 12, 2014. Come see the exhibit at the gallery’s downtown Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street.  Wenaha Gallery

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 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,  located in historic downtown Dayton, Washington,  is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional 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; phone 509.382.2124; e-mail art@wenaha.com.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

Exploring the Pacific Northwest — All of It — with the Photography of John Clement

the pacific northwest sunset photograph by John Clement

The Pacific Northwest is landscape in motion, and John Clement’s painterly treatment captures the moment photographically. December Twilight Columbia River by John Clement.

Those of us who live on the east side of the Washington State Cascade Mountains know that there is more to the Pacific Northwest than the city of Seattle.

“Oh, it rains all the time over there,” outsiders comment. “And people throw fish at you in the waterfront marketplace.”

Thanks to master photographer John Clement of Kennewick, WA, the rest of the region is exposed — no pun intended — to those unfamiliar with one of the most uniquely beautiful areas of the world, the rest of the Pacific Northwest. It is as varied as it is vast, embodied by its mighty mountains — Rainier, St. Helens, Adams, Hood — meadows, fields, rural roads, waterways, and drylands.

And Clement captures it all.

“My studio is the Eastern Washington landscape and its weather, which I have been photographing since 1970,” Clement says.

morning glory rattlesnake mountain photograph by wenaha gallery artist John Clement

The most dramatic color imbues the early morning, or late evening, sky. Morning Glow Rattlesnake Mountain, photography by John Clement.

It’s odd how the smallest decisions can make the biggest impact. During Clement’s senior year at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA, where he double majored in geology and cultural geography, John needed an elective class to round out his schedule, and chose photography. Borrowing cameras from two friends, Clement shot local scenes including barns in the Kittitas Valley, and was encouraged by one of his instructors who saw potential in John’s artistic eye.

After graduation, a job opportunity was offered in photography, doing pictorial church directories in the eastern part of the U.S. Because many of the churches he visited — in a territory that reached from Texas to New York — were located in rural areas, John spent his spare time capturing the landscapes and their people.

“One of the frequent comments I hear about my images is that they remind the viewer of a place or past experience they had when they were younger,” Clement says. “They start their conversation with, ‘this reminds me of . . .’ and then share their story of why this image is meaningful to them.”

Returning to the Pacific Northwest in 1974, John worked for Battelle Northwest Laboratories as lead photographer, documenting research and production at the company’s 17 scientific departments. In 1980, he decided to devote his skills full time to landscape photography, and since then, “The Lord has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams,” Clement says.

Vineyard grape harvest photo by wenaha gallery artist John Clement

For the eye that knows where to look, color and form are everywhere. Heart of the Harvest, photography by John Clement.

“I believe that God has given everyone a gift, and that he wants us to use our gifts for the benefit of those around us.

“My gift is the art of seeing his creation in a way that will inspire people to recognize who he is and want to know more.”

Clement, who holds a Master of Photography degree from the Professional Photographers of America, has won more than 65 regional, national, and international awards for his work, and one of his images, “Red Dawn,” hangs in the International Hall of Fame of Photography. Four of his prints were accepted into the Washington State University Museum of Art, and 17 murals of his Eastern Washington landscapes are installed in the Seattle Seahawk Stadium. How apt.

Corporate purchasers of John’s work include Swedish Hospital, Battelle Research and Development, Dade Moeller & Associations, Westinghouse, McGregor Company, and Lamb Weston. Clement and writer Richard Scheurman have published six books featuring Clement’s photography.

“I enjoy the landscape because of its diversity, its everchanging colors, light, and the quiet peace it brings to me when I’m out capturing God’s creation.”

Because of that light — which is most striking in the early morning or around evening’s gloam — capturing the right image involves getting up very very early, or staying out rather late. In viewing Clement’s work, one is conscious that the geology degree didn’t go to waste, at all, because John’s eye is open to the color, textures, lines, form, and patterns of the world around him.

“When you look at the images, don’t just glance,” Clement says. “Look.

“Absorb the colors, lines, textures and subject, then ask yourself, ‘What am I really seeing — a moment in time never to be repeated . . .

“Hopefully, your emotions are stirred, and the images warm your soul.”

Clement’s panoramic photographs are featured at Wenaha Gallery’s Art Event, with his show running from Wenaha GalleryMay 12 through May 31, 2014  at the downtown historic gallery, 219 East Main, Dayton, WA. An Artist’s Reception is scheduled for Saturday, May 24 from 10:30 to 1:30 at the gallery. Refreshments will be served.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 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.

Wenaha Gallery,  located in historic downtown Dayton, Washington,  is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional 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; phone 509.382.2124; e-mail art@wenaha.com.  Gallery Website: www.wenaha.com

Read more about Art Event, our celebration of Pacific Northwest Artists,  here.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.