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fence landscape corvallis outside sunset painting montgomery

Outside Adventure — Impressionist Landscapes by LR Montgomery

fence landscape corvallis outside sunset painting montgomery

The last light of the waning sun dances across the landscape. Last Light at Corvallis, original oil painting by LR Montgomery

Get outside.

It’s not bad advice, and we could probably figure out, without promotional public service announcements, that nature is a healing place to be. It’s calm, quiet, and peaceful – three inducements to thinking and reflection. For fine art painters, getting outside is a means of capturing the moment so that when people see the artwork, though they are stuck in an office on a rainy day, they can escape to a place worth being in.

river outside banks trees nature warm hearts montgomery

A slow-moving river invites the viewer to slow down as well and enjoy the sense of quiet and peace. Warm Hearts, original oil painting by LR Montgomery

“I paint original impressionist landscapes with emotion,” says LR Montgomery, an oil painter from Spokane, WA, who enjoys both plein air and studio work.

“My landscapes show the hidden secrets of our forests, ponds, tributaries, rivers, boulders and open spaces.

“They express the joy of being outdoors.”

Celebrating Nature with Paint

Montgomery’s personal philosophy is to create uplifting images that generate a feeling of well-being and reflect the beauty of God’s creation. At the same time, he also wants to draw people’s attention to the fragility and sustainability of our natural environments. If we pave over forests and build high-rise corporate buildings in the meadows, we lose precious resources that we can never get back.

So . . . Montgomery actively seeks out and finds the unspoiled, natural places. His happiest painting moments, he says, are those spent outside, regardless of the weather.

spring birch forest woods landscape oil painting montgomery

The colors of spring create an almost audible melody in LR Montgomery’s original oil painting, Spring Birch at Slavin

“I can be found painting out of doors at zillions of Northwest natural areas. I am the Artist in Residence for Dishman Hills Conservancy, so I paint there often.

“Most recently, I have been painting the Palouse, Lake Chatcolet, Spokane River, Little Spokane River, the hills west of Corvallis, OR, and anywhere grapes grow.”

It’s not only when he’s behind the easel that Montgomery enjoys the outdoors. He spends significant time hiking, canoeing, and kayaking throughout the Pacific Northwest, and those outside experiences, eventually, find themselves as paint on canvas or panel.

Getting Outside as Often as He Can

“My art reflects the joy of outdoor adventures.

“Additionally, collectors and organizations often ask me to paint the areas they love or represent. I accept a very limited number of commissions a year.”

trees landscape meadow outside nature blue sky montgomery painting

A bracing blue sky adds to the sense of light and outdoor peace. Blue Halo at Painted Rocks, original oil painting, by LR Montgomery.

Montgomery’s collectors include private individuals, corporations, environmental groups, museums, and educational institutions throughout the U.S., Europe, Russia, China, Mexico, Africa, and Japan. In the Pacific Northwest, his work is in collections at Kaiser Permanente, Spokane Eye Clinic, Pacific Lutheran University, Washington State University, the city of Spokane, Loyola Marymount University, Shriners Children’s Hospital, Providence Medical Center, and the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture.

“Art is a happy business. People collect it because it brings joy, enhances life, or reflects personal experiences.”

Some families, he adds, have collected his work for generations, and to this day, he remembers the name of his first collector.

“Her name was Helen. I was 12 years old when I painted a watercolor of a cougar, which she and her husband acquired. They inspired my love for the outdoors and being outside in nature through their lifestyle and encouragement.”

In fact, his wife Carole swears that he was born with a crayon in his hand. Her assessment is understandable, given her partnership with him in the painting business: he paints, she is his manager. That responsibility requires as much flexibility, adaptability, creativity, and easygoing humor as wielding the brush.

An Artistic Marriage

“She never knows what will happen next. She may have to drop what she is doing at a moment’s notice to attend to the whims of the art business.

“The left brain of our marriage, she is a great supporter of our creative lifestyle. Her support allows me to focus on painting with purpose.”

And that purpose — celebrating the outdoor world, focusing on nature, pointing people’s hearts toward beauty — is well worth taking time to focus upon. Whether he’s in the comfort of the studio or out on the river bank, doing emergency repairs on the legs of an easel, Montgomery draws upon, and draws viewers into, a world that is far, far from the madding crowd, and crowds, period.

“My paintings bring the ambiance and memories of outdoor experience in. Collectors say they can hear the water and smell the forest.”

Wenaha GalleryLR Montgomery is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from October 19 through November 15, 2021.

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 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

 

Japanese Wrapped Stones rocks cane calm denise wagner

Japanese Wrapped Stones — Calm and Design by Denise Wagner

Japanese Wrapped Stones rocks cane calm denise wagner

Using cane in both natural and dyed colors, Denise Wagner creates both traditional and self-designed wraps on rocks.

If you have ever skipped rocks across the river, you know that not just any stone will do. It needs to be flat, smooth, of a particular heft and weight.

Denise Wagner, a Kennewick, WA, artist who specializes in Japanese Wrapped Stones, is well aware of what the perfect rock looks like. The major difference between her and the rock skipper, however, is that the LAST thing she’ll do upon finding that perfect stone is hurl it into the water.

“I like to find stones that are oval and somewhat flat so they will lay well in a display,” Wagner explains.

“The stones I find come from all over. I take walks, bike rides, and strolls around the Columbia and Umatilla Rivers, and that’s where I find my rocks.”

Japanese wrapped stones design form denise wagner

A trio of Japanese wrapped stones by Denise Wagner showcases different colors of cane and finished designs.

So what, exactly are Japanese Wrapped Stones?

They are rocks, wrapped in natural cane, using Japanese basketry and knotting techniques. These wraps can be extraordinarily complicated or deceptively simple, but the resulting fusion of rock and cane exudes a sense of peace, calm, and tranquility within intricacy of design. Wagner, a licensed home health care provider, first encountered the art form through a “wonderful gentleman” she met while working at an independent living facility.

Wrapped Stones Caught Her Eye

“He noticed my looking at his wrapped rock and was eager to teach me. So we made an appointment for a lesson in the activities room.

“I brought the Starbucks coffee, and he brought his friend and his box of tools and tricks. It was there that I wrapped my first rock.”

Japanese wrapped stones wood platter design denise wagner

Rocks, cane, and wood — Denise Wagner takes natural elements and crafts them into an art form.

And she was hooked. After that first lesson, Wagner went home and practiced on all kinds of wraps, both traditional designs and ones that she thought up on her own. Using natural cane that she either leaves its organic color or dyes to a desired hue, Wagner creates groupings of stones on wooden or ceramic platters. The compendium of shapes, forms, and design synthesize into a coalescent medley of mood.

Again, calm is the word, and it’s an appropriate one. Because in order to wrap rocks in the first place, you have to be calm.

“You need plenty of patience,” Wagner says.

“Setting up, preparing, wrapping, re-wrapping when it comes undone, drying, spraying — it’s a process. In order to fully focus, I need to be free of distractions and in a creative mood.”

red cane japanese wrapped stones rocks denise wagner

Soft red balances with varying shades of gray in this collection of Japanese wrapped stones by Kennewick artist Denise Wagner

Rocks, and People

In many ways, working with the rocks is like working with people, she adds. You simply can’t rush through the process, and if you even try, you’ll lose out on something beautiful.

“As a licensed home care provider, I work with all kinds of seniors.

“Like working with my clients, wrapping stones takes patience. Each stone is unique. Some are smooth and easy to work with, and some are a bit rough around the edges.

“These stones have been around a long time, and I just imagine the stories they could tell. The stones’ stories would be just as interesting as those of my clients, except with my human clients, I DO get to hear the stories!”

Rocks around the Region

Wagner has shown her Japanese Wrapped Stones at the Indigo and Blue Shows at Drewboy Creative and Gallery Aglow at Gallery at the Park, both in Richland; the Serene Abundance Studio in Florence, OR; and the East Benton County Historical Museum in Pasco, WA. Working from her dining room table, she uses the cane itself for tension, tightly grasping the end as she makes the first wrap. The last wrap she tucks into the back, holding down with a bit of glue. The resulting design is sprayed with sealant and left to dry.

It’s very important to keep the finished wrapped stones out of wet or damp places such as outdoors or bathrooms, she says, as the moisture can cause the cane to relax, loosen, and unravel.

For Wagner, rocks, like people, aren’t simply things you pick up and throw away. They’re individual, unique, and capable of becoming works of art. You just have to take the time to look at them, work with them, and see their potential.

Wenaha GalleryDenise Wagner is the featured Art Event artists from July 13 through August 9.

Contact Wenaha 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 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

victorian woman gracious cathedral heidi presse

Stay Gracious — Victorian by Heidi Presse

victorian woman gracious cathedral heidi presse

She moves with gracious confidence, straight but not stiff, elegant but not affected. Victorian, limited edition print by Heidi Presse.

All mothers have their standard admonitions, words of wisdom aimed at our kids. When the kids are grown (into decent adults, we hope) they laugh about what Mom always said. But once they have their own kids they stop laughing because they realize — suddenly, one day — that they’re repeating their own unique, peculiar-to-them phrases.

My own mother’s favorite was, “That is a piece of equipment, not a toy.” I can’t imagine what she would think about cell phones.

Mine was, “Be gracious.”

In other words, stop sniping and biting at your siblings. Quit nitpicking. Control the eye roll. Don’t be so loud, obnoxious, rude, overbearing, arrogant, and irritating. Don’t call your sibling stupid simply because you don’t agree with them. Comport yourself with some level of dignity and decorum, courtesy and composure. Act with some loyalty toward one another, because that’s what families do.

It’s all beautifully encapsulated in two words: Be gracious.

Calm, Stately, Serene

A perfect visual of this concept of being gracious is Victorian, the limited edition print by Heidi Presse. A young woman walks, stately and serene, into a San Jose Mission church. It is no doubt a hot day, but she maintains a sense of cool composure, a measured tread that takes her where she wants to go without pushing, pulling, shoving, or foisting herself upon the situation. There is a calm serenity about her movements that inspires calm in those who see her.

A mother, say, would observe that she is setting a good example, inspiring those around her to be calm and serene themselves, not frantic or fearful, bossy or demanding, judgmental or contentious. In the act of being gracious, she is bestowing grace wherever she goes.

Stay Gracious — We’ve Got Enough Rudeness on Social Media Alone

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

More works by Heidi Presse are at this link.

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