James Reid

Art by

James Reid

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

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

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

moose wildlife animal western art james reid

Wildlife Wonder — The Western Art of James Reid

moose wildlife animal western art james reid

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

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

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

red fox wildlife resting sleeping james reid painter

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

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

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

Thousands of Wildlife References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Used to People

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

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

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

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

Back with the Gems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

mountain myth snow leaopard circumspect simon combes

Stay Circumspect — Mountain Myth by Simon Combes

mountain myth snow leaopard circumspect simon combes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Circumspect —

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

More works by Simon Combes are at this link.

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

early morning visitors deer welcoming country william phillips

Stay Welcoming — Early Morning Visitors by William Phillips

early morning visitors deer welcoming country william phillips

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

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

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

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

Smile with Welcome

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

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

Stay Welcoming — The Alternative Is to Shut People Out

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

More works by William Phillips are at this link.

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

 

 

elk wildlife animal wilderness taylor fork crossing larry zabel

Stay Moving: Taylor Fork Crossing by Larry Zabel

elk wildlife moving animal wilderness taylor fork crossing larry zabel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do we use it?

Stay Moving: Both Physically and Mentally

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

More works by Larry Zabel are at this link.

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

 

jaguar chill quiet calm animal jungle rainforest daniel smith art

Stay Chill: Emerald Forest by Daniel Smith

 

jaguar chill quiet calm animal jungle rainforest daniel smith art

Still, calm, and chill, the jaguar doesn’t aimlessly run about, but rather, reposes in a contemplative fashion. Emerald Forest by Daniel Smith, limited edition giclee print available through Wenaha Gallery.

In the ever-changing lexicon of cool, trendy language, I don’t know where the world “chill” is. But it’s an apt description of how to stay when external forces pressure us to run about, frenzied.

We’ve all seen this, running about, frenzied. Black Friday sales in box-stores come to mind, as people push each other out of the way so that they can grab whatever purported deal dangles in front of them.

On another front, the children’s story, Chicken Little, perfectly describes this running about, frenzied. A tiny little bird panics, inspiring those around her to join in. How apropos that the main character is a chicken, an animal not known for its ability to be still and contemplative.

Not so, cats, especially big ones. In the Daniel Smith artwork, Emerald Forest, a jaguar reposes — chill indeed — by the banks of a jungle river. Were this animal to move quickly, it would be gracefully, powerfully — a total opposite to running about, frenzied. But this is a moment for stillness, quiet, one could say contemplation.  Where thinking is rarely an action we ascribe to barnyard fowl, it is one we often credit to felines — simply because they seem so chill. Anyone that calm isn’t in a state of panic. It’s far more difficult to ruffle a cat than a chicken.

Step into a place of peace and contemplation with the artwork, Emerald Forest — but be chill about it. If you move too quickly, the jaguar will see, although he may move nothing more than his eyes.

Stay Chill and Contemplative

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

More works by Daniel Smith are at this link.

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

blue jay bird contemplative animal carl brenders

Stay Contemplative: Flash of Sapphire by Carl Brenders

blue jay bird contemplative animal carl brenders

Still for a moment, the Blue Jay appears to be in a state of thought. Flash of Sapphire by Carl Brenders

It can’t be easy being a small bird. After all, there are lots of larger creatures — raccoons, skunks, birds of prey, and of course, cats — who would like to have a close relationship with you that isn’t necessarily the kind you’re looking for.

It’s no wonder that birds hop about, take to flight, keep moving, seem nervous somehow.

But the bird in Carl Brenders artwork, Flash of Sapphire, is quiet and still — one could imagine that it is contemplative. Because quietness and stillness are what it takes to be contemplative, thoughtful, engaging in the deep thought that only humans, really, can engage in. And while birds and animals are not able to engage in that deep thinking, they do have an advantage over us humans that we might consider adopting: they don’t glue themselves to social media, allowing it to permeate their thoughts and actions, making them more nervous than they already are.

“But you’re promoting your own words on social media!” one can imagine the outcry.

That’s a good observation. So . . . let’s bring it back to our ability to engage in deep thinking: not everything we read online is true — that’s a statement we’ve been hearing for years. Let us contemplate that thought . . .

Add a Contemplative Image to Your Day

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

More works by Carl Brenders are at this link.

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

puma mountain lion cat feline panther parowan jan fontecchio wildlife

Wildlife & Western Living — Paintings by Jan Fontecchio

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A horse finds itself in A Little Bit of Heaven by western and wildlife artist Jan Fontecchio of Moscow, Idaho.

Wildlife Wonder

Parents remember the oddest things about their children. And given that most adults do not recall their toddler years, we accept those memories with a gracious nod. Our own recollections often start later.

“I’ve done art since my first memory,” western and wildlife painter Jan Fontecchio says.

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Rancher, by western and wildlife painter Jan Fontecchio

“My parents say I drew a three-dimensional wedge of cheese when I was three. I don’t remember that, but my book covers at school were covered in sketches. A pencil was always in my hand, and if the teacher didn’t grab my tests quickly enough, there might be a little horse drawn in the corner of the paper.”

When Fontecchio was 10, a family friend who worked as an artist for Disney drew a horse portrait in charcoal for her. The resultant memory of this event stayed in Fontecchio’s mind and affected her life’s future plans: she went to art school.

“I think it took him two minutes or something. That little demo hooked me good!”

Western Upbringing

Raised on a horse ranch in the low deserts of California, Fontecchio spent her growing years immersed in the worlds of western wildlife. While earning a degree in fine art, she worked at California wild animal and big cat rescues, including the Wildlife Way Station, a non-profit sanctuary that for over 43 years housed, cared for and rehabilitated more than 77,000 wild animals; and the Shambala Preserve, which provides sanctuary to wild felines.

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Puma of Parowan Gap, portrait of a cougar by western and wildlife artist Jan Fontecchio

Later, while working in the craftsman department of Six Flags in Los Angeles, Fontecchio — who moved to Moscow, ID, ten years ago — befriended one of the dolphin trainers, who helped her get hired as the trainer’s partner. Every experience added to Fontecchio’s captivation with animals: their form, their thought process, their movement and grace and beauty.

A Fascination with Animals

“I became especially fascinated with the musculature of animals in stressful situations: stalking, fighting, running, etc., and in the case of dolphins, swimming and leaping.”

Fontecchio has explored this world of wildlife in a variety of mediums, beginning with baling wire, which was plentiful on the ranch where she grew up. She has sculpted in wire, clay, and blown glass. A stamped leather cover found itself on a Hollywood movie (“I wish I could remember the name of the movie, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a blockbuster or anything!”), and the first pieces she sold to her first gallery were colored ink on textured board. From there she moved to watercolor, then to pastel, and finally to oil, which she calls her dream medium.

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Summer Pasture, by western and wildlife artist Jan Fontecchio of Moscow, ID

Her studio situation is as eclectic as her experience. As the mother of four children, Fontecchio carves out a working space from what is available:

From Floor, to Washing Machine, to Studio

“I used to paint on the floor, then switched to the top of the washing machine in the laundry room.

“I did that for years until a room opened up when our two oldest moved out.”

While the space is still small (does any artist every consider the studio big enough?), it is Fontecchio’s sanctuary, filled with her collection of skulls, furs, Indian artifacts, cactus skeletons, a vintage can of her dad’s favorite beer, and the skin from the rattlesnake that Fontecchio shot in the barn when she was 15: (“It was coiled, so there are three bullet holes in it”).

Fontecchio is a member of the American Plains Artists, Women Artists of the West, and the Out West Artists. Through the latter, she has participated in Western Art Week in Great Falls, MO, the biggest art show of western and wildlife art in the U.S., revolving around the CM Russell Art Auction. Her art resides in the homes of collectors throughout the nation — including the CEO of Exxon Mobil — as well as from England to South America to Australia, with buyers from the latter especially drawn to her horse paintings. In 2016, her painting, On the Upper Pecos, juried into the prestigious London, UK, show, The Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition. What makes this notable event extra memorable is that it represented the very first time she applied for this particular show.

From Cheese to Western and Wildlife

Whether or not Fontecchio’s first foray into art was a three-dimensional wedge of cheese, her artistic portfolio today revolves around the western lifestyle, and the animals she loves. The subject matter is endless, and the main problem she sees is the lack of time to paint it all.

“I have so many things I want to paint. They’re stacked up in my mind and I’m always working on the comps for new work.

“I’ll never run out of things that I want to bring to life on canvas.

“That’s the reason I’ll live to be 100.”

Wenaha GalleryJan Fontecchio is the Featured Art Event from Monday, October 21, through Saturday, November 16 at Wenaha Gallery.

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

 

 

 

bear bird wildlife scratchboard aniimals art sandra haynes

Wildlife Woman — The Artwork of Sandra Haynes

bear bird wildlife scratchboard aniimals art sandra haynes

Bear and the Bird, wildlife scratchboard art by Sandra Haynes of Heppner, OR

Wildlife Is a Way of Life for Sandra Haynes

The unusual nature of Sandra Haynes’ childhood is best evidenced by her baby blanket: a bobcat hide from an animal her mother found raiding the family hen house. As a little girl, Haynes’ first pets were domesticated, non-descented skunks (“They were pretty easy-going except in the winter when we left them to their semi-hibernation, undisturbed, as they were usually pretty cranky by then”) and a pet fox that she befriended by standing in a clearing, very still, and proffering biscuits.

By the age of four, she had learned to move slowly, talk softly, and keep her eye contact brief.

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Born Wild, colored pencil on Duralar by wildlife artist Sandra Haynes

“I was raised in Molalla, a timber town on the west side or Oregon,” the wildlife artist says.

“Being around wild animals was just part of my life as Dad and some of his brothers — all woodsmen — spent a lot of time in the heavy timber teaching me everything about the life of its inhabitants.”

Her favorite uncle, a government trapper, frequently brought an unknown animal to Sandra, then about eight. He enjoyed quizzing  her on what it could be and how it would live:

“He would ask me to tell him about it based on its fur color pattern, where it lived in the forest based on its anatomy, what it ate after examining its teeth, jaws, and claws, whether it was nocturnal, and was it likely to live mostly alone or in a group or herd.”

Later, a mountain man friend taught her how to sneak up on herds of 350 cow/calf elk pairs while remaining in their plain sight. Haynes also learned how to climb the sides of a cliff to feed apples to wild Big Horn Sheep rams.

Hunting Wildlife with a Camera

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Foxy Lady, graphite and pan pastel on Duralar by wildlife artist Sandra Haynes

Yes, it was an unusual childhood, and it’s not surprising that Sandra — who started drawing at the age of three — grew into a wildlife artist, capturing deer, elk, bears, cougar, moose and more in oil paint, pastel, graphite, watercolor, and scratchboard. Now residing in Heppner, OR, Haynes travels throughout the Pacific Northwest — especially its most remote spots — to photograph the animals she eventually turns into artwork.

“Hunting wild animals to photograph outside of animal parks is a difficult and far-from-guaranteed adventure, and is the reason why most artists who do their own photo reference gathering go to game parks or farms,” Haynes says, explaining that while she does visit animal parks, a photographer friend and she take the time now and then to go into the wild and do things the hard way. Accompanying them is Zora, Haynes’ Doberman bodyguard who more than once has kept her mistress from harm.

“One time my photographer friend and I were close to a herd of wild horses. We decided to walk to the other side of a pond when much to our surprise, the entire herd of about 12 horses decided to follow us.”

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Fire Cat, by wildlife artist Sandra Haynes

When two especially aggressive stallions sidled too close, Haynes and her friend bent to pick up rocks to chuck when Zora streaked past them and scattered the herd in a rush.

“After that, she went back to her playing without a glance at me or them. She knew she had done her job and did not expect a praise-filled fuss. But that showed me she had what it takes to protect me in any circumstances.”

Jumping into Scratchboard

Haynes’ medium of choice is scratchboard, a technique she first encountered 16 years ago when an artist friend gave her a small board and told her to get something sharp and scratch out an image.

“That was the end of my training.”

She persevered, found she loved the fine, etched lines that brought out details, and went on to enter shows and win awards with her work. A short list of shows includes the Phippen Western Art Show in Prescott, AZ; the Western Heritage Art Show in Great Falls, MT; Montana Charlie Russell Days; the Oldfield Art Show in Puyallup, WA; and the Western Art Show and Auction in Ellensburg, WA.

Haynes is a member of the International Society of Scratchboard Artists, and has published a series of scratchboard instructional books, as well as stories on her adventures as a wildlife artist.

In the Studio or Out in the Wild

It’s hard to tell where she is happiest — in the studio or out in the wild — but in both places she feels very much at home. The child who loved to draw, immersed in the world of wildlife and the woods, has grown into a mountain woman herself, one who shares, through her art and through her wisdom, the beauty of the world she knows.

“Art, to be good, only has to touch you in someway,” Haynes says. “Maybe it reminds you of someplace you have been or would like to be, or it makes you smile.

“For me, creating a piece that makes that connection is what it is all about.”

Wenaha GallerySandra Haynes is the Featured Art Event from Monday, September 23, through Saturday, October 19 at Wenaha Gallery. She will be at the gallery Saturday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a special Autumn Art Show, also featuring bead weaver Alison Oman and Yakima acrylic painter Paul Henderson.

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.

Becky Melcher

Art by

Becky Melcher

More About Becky Melcher

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

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

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

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

Becky Melcher