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cabin homestead idaho house watercolor gottschalk

Watercolor Wonder: Art by Cathy Gottschalk

cabin homestead idaho house watercolor gottschalk

A weathered old house captures a homestead moment in the Idaho countryside. Original watercolor painting by Cathy Gottschalk

They say that first impressions are lasting impressions. And while this tends to be true, it isn’t necessarily the best thing. Sometimes, many times, it’s beneficial to re-evaluate how we feel about a person, place, or thing and see if, with time and wisdom, we think differently.

Painter Cathy Gottschalk of Deary, ID, discovered this about watercolor, which, ironically, is now her preferred medium. But it didn’t start out that way:

“In high school, I had a wonderful art teacher who exposed us to all types of mediums. I played around with acrylic, oil, and pottery, just to name a few.

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Quiet and peaceful, a group of Waxwing birds perches atop the branches. Resting Waxwings, original watercolor painting by Cathy Gottschalk

“But when she introduced our class to watercolor, I quickly gave up on this VERY frustrating loose medium in which the paper curled, the water ran, and the paints blended. I was completely overwhelmed.”

And yet she remained fascinated by watercolor, gravitating toward it through the years in galleries or at local fairs, wondering how it was possible for the artists to control the water and the paint.

“Many years later, at a Christmas show, I came across a display of beautiful and controlled watercolors by a well-known artist in Moscow, ID. I visited with him and learned that he taught classes as well. I was finally ready to give this medium another try. My husband contacted him and arranged for a few private lessons for my Christmas gift!”

Diving into Watercolor

That was it. She was hooked. In addition to being a more patient person at 50 than she was at 15, Gottschalk also learned what a difference high quality paint, paper, and brushes make. She dove headlong into the medium, experimenting with different brands of materials, subject matter, and technique. After her class with the professional artist, she joined the Palouse Watercolor Socius and Idaho Watercolor Society, where she continues her life-long journey of learning through interaction, collaboration, and informational critique with the artists there.

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Cows have a way of communicating by simply staring at you. Mooooove Over, original watercolor painting by Cathy Gottschalk

“At the monthly Palouse Watercolor Socius meeting, we have a show and tell or a critique time before adjourning,” Gottschalk explains.

“This can be scary, informative, as well as confidence building. Another painter may see a problem area that you did not notice or your work may help inspire your friends to try a new technique. It is my favorite part of our meeting, besides the group lunch afterward.”

Gottschalk paints both in her studio and outside in plein air, and appreciates each method. One of her favorite aspects of the latter is the camaraderie with other artists as they scout for new locations, chat while working, and, of course, eat lunch together. Learning happens through face to face interaction, and different people, with different ideas, keep us out of ruts, ditches, and mental carpeted cubicles:

“Seeing what my friends in our group select to paint, most often in the same location, is fun and inspiring.”

Lighting and Weather

adirondack chairs lake wallowa relaxing view watercolor gottschalk

An inviting view complements a duo of inviting chairs in Cathy Gottschalk’s original watercolor painting, Please Have a Seat

One of the biggest challenges with plein air painting, Gottschalk adds, is the weather and the lighting. She starts painting in the morning when the colors are vivid and the shadows are long. Three hours of concentrated effort later, all the shadows have moved, the light is overhead, or the clouds have rolled in. One way or another, the landscape has changed.

“It’s usually time for lunch then, and the bees have gathered and the temperature is hot. My inspiration may have become perspiration, and it’s time to quit for the day.” She packs up and goes home, hoping her next planned excursion will have similar lighting.

Recently, Gottschalk has discovered a new source of reference material for her paintings: old family photos. She enjoys bringing old black and white images to new life by painting them in color.

“I do small sketches and experiment with colors to find the effect I’m looking for. The biggest challenge I have using these old photos is the poor quality of the photos itself.

“However, this is also a wonderful experiment in stretching my ability to improvise, to make up what I think a blurred object is.”

Challenge

Challenge: that’s what it’s all about. What frustrated her at 15 fascinates her now, and wherever she sets up her easel — in the studio, in the middle of a creek, or on her back deck overlooking her own private Idaho — Gottschalk continually experiments, learns, tries and fails, tries and succeeds, and keeps moving forward. In the near future she plans to create her own website, try out guache, play with oils, and vary her watercolor technique. She paints what makes her happy, and is gratified when what results makes others happy as well.

“As long as I’m enjoying whatever medium I’m using, then I’ll continue to produce paintings and gain more confidence as an artist.”

Wenaha GalleryCathy Gottschalk is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from September 21 through October 18, 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.

 

pastel landscape canyon mountains edna bjorge art

Pastel Mystique — The Landscapes of Edna Bjorge

pastel landscape canyon mountains edna bjorge art

Canyon Light II, original pastel painting by Ellensburg, WA, artist Edna Bjorge

From Oil Paint Murals to Pastel Drawings

She was five. She loved to draw. Her father was an artist.

And there, in her parents’ bedroom next to her father’s palette of oil paints, was a gloriously blank wall.

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Aspenglow, original pastel painting by Edna Bjorge.

“I knew better than to paint on the portrait he had on an easel in the corner,” Ellensburg, WA, artist Edna Bjorge remembers. But . . . there was that wall. What a canvas for small hands and big ideas!

“My mom was horrified, but my Dad went straight out and bought me some art supplies of my own.”

It was an unforgettable beginning to an art career, one that now focuses on pastel and watercolor, with paper as the substrate. As she did from childhood, Bjorge draws every day, working out of a custom-built shed tucked onto her country property. This studio, which she describes as “small but mighty,” also holds her framing supplies and letterpress, because in addition to drawing, she has owned and operated her business, Edna Bjorge Calligraphy, Design and Illustration, for more than 40 years.

Outside and Outdoors

Where she really likes to be, however, is outdoors, in the variety of landscapes of the central Washington region. There, she paints plein air pastel or watercolor — outside, using the natural and changing light of the day. This preference, also, stems from her childhood, when after World War II her mother ran a daycare from the family home while her father finished his college degree. At the “tender age of four,” Bjorge became mom’s helper, responsible for entertaining six younger charges by helping them with games, toys and amusements.

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Gold at River Bend, a view of the Yakima River Canyon in central Washington, original pastel painting by Edna Bjorge.

“Needless to say, I cherished the time when I was outside by myself while everyone else was napping, and times in the evening when I could draw and paint without interruption.

“This probably explains my love of the outdoors, and of plein air painting.”

Bjorge finds the landscapes of Kittitas County multifariously diverse, replete with mountains and forests, from shrub steppe and desert to the lush banks of the Columbia and Yakima Rivers. She not only pastel paints these vistas but writes about them in a regular blog. One of her most passionate “messages,” both written and visual, concerns the fragility of natural landscapes.

Disappearing Landscapes

“I paint the landscape because we are losing it at an alarming rate, due to sprawl and overpopulation,” Bjorge says.

“Once land is ‘developed,’ it’s gone or changed forever.

Cooper ridge mountain lake landscape pastel painting Edna Bjorge art

Cooper Ridge, mountain and lake pastel painting by Edna Bjorge.

“Many places where I used to roam free are no longer accessible. I have many paintings of places that are gone forever.

“The art is the only thing left to show they ever existed.”

Bjorge’s pastel and watercolor work has sold throughout the U.S., as well as internationally in Norway, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Over a long career of painting she has entered many shows and garnished a number of awards, her most recent being an invitational show at the Capitol Theatre in Yakima, where 20 artists created pieces based on the theme of Light.

“Our work hung in the theater’s gallery for a whole year, so was enjoyed by hundreds of patrons.”

Pastel: Sensuous and Immediate

She achieved mastery of pastels by trial and error, describing the medium as “sensuous, very responsive and immediate.” For her, it is the perfect way to capture light and shadows, subtle variations of color, distinct elements of detail incorporated with the bold shapes of mountains, rocks, and rivers. It brings the viewer, she feels, into places she wants them to deeply experience.

“More and more,” Bjorge says, “I find myself focusing on the landscape with a deep sense of urgency.

“I want to record not only the actuality of place, but the essence and spirit of the location as well.”

Wenaha GalleryEdna Bjorge is the featured Art Event at Wenaha Gallery from August 25 through September 18, 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.

 

sundance plein air landscape country watercolor vogtman

Plein Air Complexity — Watercolors by Jan Vogtman

sundance plein air landscape country watercolor vogtman

Sundance, plein air watercolor landscape painting by Jan Vogtman

Plein air painters get used to all sorts of weather. Because of the nature of their studio — outside, in the plain air — they operate without a roof over their heads. Unless, of course, they choose to bring one of their own.

“During the Paint du Nord Quick Draw competition in Duluth, MN, we painted in a huge rainstorm,” watercolor artist Jan Vogtman remembers. “The competition lasted two hours, exactly — they blow a horn to start and stop.”

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Bob’s Pond, plein air landscape painting by Jan Vogtman.

Told to paint what she saw, Vogtman took the challenge literally.

“My painting shows all the artists painting around me with colorful umbrellas.”

Another time, the Troy, ID, painter joined three plein air artist friends out in the wilderness, keeping watchful eye as a memorable storm took an hour to build up.

“When the wind and rain came, we huddled in the car, ate lunch, and had a few beers. But the storm had no intention of stopping anytime soon, so we gave it up and went home.”

Even Vogtman’s trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, had its moments. While the weather was grand during the Andy Evansen watercolor workshop she took there with a friend, sunny skies disappeared on the way back.

“We got stranded in Seattle during the Big Blizzard and got home two days later than planned.”

Not Just the Weather

Weather inconsistencies, however, are so much a part of plein air painting that one comes to accept them as constants. So is the issue of travel. Because landscapes do not transport themselves to the artist’s studio, it’s up to the artist to transport herself. And for Vogtman, who lives on Moscow Mountain, four miles from the nearest city of Troy (population 600), getting together with plein air artist friends for an afternoon of painting often involves significant time in the car.

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Exhibit Bee, watercolor painting by Troy, ID, artist Jan Vogtman

“Because I live rural, my travel time is normally one hour each way.”

Vogtman discovered watercolor 24 years ago while working at the University of Idaho. Side by side with students barely out of high school, she took as many university level art classes as she could while maintaining a full work load. Plein air she discovered in 2009, and since then has competed in regional plein air competitions as well as the event in Duluth. She is a member of the Palouse Watercolor Socius, the Idaho Watercolor Society headquartered in Boise, and the Northwest Watercolor Society in Seattle.

All A’s in Art, Not Math

And while art is something she was interested in from a very early age, it was not something she was able to focus on until she was an adult and had a “real career” in the business and academic worlds. That’s just the way things were when she was growing up, even though all her A’s in school were in art, and not math.

Vogtman recalls the time she entered a drawing competition sponsored by the Minneapolis Art Institute in her hometown.

“I was maybe around 12 years old — and when I saw this competition in the newspaper, I entered. I think the amount of the prize was $250, which had to be used for classes.

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Palouse Falls, watercolor painting by Troy, ID, artist Jan Vogtman

“My parents could not afford to send me then or at anytime for art education. I was told I could not collect the award.”

She went to school to become a secretary. In a career spanning 36 years, Vogtman worked up to Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Northern Europe for the Control Data Corporation in Minneapolis, and later, upon moving to Idaho, served as the Coordinator of the Executive Speaker Series, reporting to the Dean of Business and Economics at the University of Idaho. On retiring in 2000, she challenged herself to dive into the art world, returning to the passion of her childhood.

The Hobby That Became a Business

In addition to plein air, Vogtman paints in her studio, a daylight basement of her home where furry forest friends peek through the window and watch. Most recently, she has added teaching workshops to taking them herself, conducting an introductory course for 20 students at the Center for Arts and History in Lewiston, ID. She has had a studio at the Artisan Barn in Uniontown, WA; earned her merit membership with the Idaho Watercolor Society upon being juried into three annual shows; and served as treasurer of the Palouse Watercolor Socius.

What started out as a hobby has become a business. And what’s perfect about that is how the non-art experience blends and melds well with the brush work of paint.

It’s unexpected, and not something that could have been predicted when she exchanged an art scholarship for business school. Life, though, like weather for the plein air painter, is never static. The best stories — and often paintings — involve the stormy days.

Wenaha GalleryJan Vogtman is the Featured Art Event from Monday, July 29, through Saturday, August 24 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.

 

 

 

painted horse equine animal westernmagical landscape oil painting adszynska

Magical Western Landscapes by Teresa Adaszynska

painted horse equine animal westernmagical landscape oil painting adszynska

It’s a magical moment in the desert. Painted Horse, original oil painting by Teresa Adaszynska of Spokane, WA

Teresa Adaszynska paints the magical moments

One moment, the landscape is grey and flat, almost forgettable.

But then, something very strange and yet very ordinary happens: the sun breaks through, and everything changes. This is precisely the place, the moment, and the emotion that artist Teresa Adaszynska looks for and paints.

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Blue Algae Creek, a magical moment in the country, original oil painting by Polish-born oil painter Teresa Adasznyska

“My eyes are always searching for an enchanted moment in nature,” the Spokane artist explains.

“Sometimes, a particular place I may have visited numerous times before may appear magical on the next visit due to extraordinary light and shadows.”

Born and raised in Poland, Adaszynska began her art career with contemporary abstract work. After emigrating to the U.S. in 1982, Adaszynska started hiking the western states in which she lived — California, Colorado, Washington — until a serious illness interrupted both painting and hiking. Upon recovery when she picked both up again, she found she wanted to paint differently than she had before.

The Magical Western Landscape

“The beauty of the western landscape inspires me, especially the light. It can transform even ordinary places into something magical and extraordinary.”

Recognizing that she needed different skills for representational painting, Adaszynska began a self-directed study program incorporating mentorships, workshops, and painting with fellow artists. For three years, she took formal classes in studio and plein air painting at the Art Students League of Denver, studying under Doug Dawson, Molly Davis, Joe Kronenberg, Terry Lee, and others.

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Encounter on the Trail, original oil painting by Spokane artist Teresa Adaszynska.

Adaszynska paints with a combination of plein air — setting up her easel and working outdoors — and studio techniques. She often begins a work by sketching directly onto the canvas, after she has mentally determined the composition by looking at large abstract shapes, light direction, and values. One of her most memorable plein air moments took place near Kenosha Pass, CO, on a day so magical that she knew she had to paint.

A Not So Magical Storm

“I was more than halfway through with my painting when the notorious Colorado mountain thunderclouds started to build,” Adaszynska remembers. “I do not like being outdoors where there are thunderstorms, so I started to quickly finish and pack up.

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Crossing Water. Any moment in which we see a moose in the wilderness is a magical moment. Original oil painting by Teresa Adszynska.

“The storm was coming very quickly with very dark menacing clouds, lighting and rain. I was very anxious to leave.”

While packing her car, Adasyzynska set the painting on top of her vehicle, and in the commotion of the moment, forgot it was there and drove off. It was only when she arrived at a place of shelter that she realized the painting was gone.

“After the storm was past, I went back to find it.

“I did find my painting, but of course it was completely destroyed.”

Although that was most definitely NOT a magical moment,

“I can laugh about it now.”

Describing her hiking excursions as “too numerous to count,” Adaszynska has taken reference photos of, and painted, the Colorado Rockies, Hollywood Hills in California, Yellowstone National Park, Sequoia National Park, Eastern Washington and Oregon, as well as New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Texas, her native Poland, the United Kingdom, and throughout Europe. The animals she paints are those she sees on her hikes, although the time she encountered a mama bear with two cubs in the Flatirons near Boulder, CO, she was more interested in extricating herself from the situation than taking a family portrait.

“It was extremely frightening, but I cautiously moved forward out of their area as they just observed me.”

Western Art Collectors

A member of the Oil Painters of America, Adaszynska shows her work throughout the Western U.S. She participates regularly in the Western Art Association National Show and Auction (Ellensburg, WA), Heart of the West and Western Masters (Bozeman, MT and Coeur d’Alene, ID), and the Annual Spokane Valley Arts Council Art Showcase and Auction (Spokane Valley, WA). Collectors of her work reside throughout the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Poland.

Light, camera, painting easel, and action: they join together to create vibrant color and magical mood. It is a mood, Adaszynska hopes, that reflects the beauty of the landscape around her, a landscape she never tires of being in. And while she is happy wherever she is painting, she likes it best when she is doing so outdoors.

“I have a separate studio space in my home,” Adaszynska says. “But I consider the majestic outdoors of the Pacific Northwest as my personal favorite studio.”

Wenaha GalleryTeresa Adaszynska is the Featured Art Event from Monday, July 1, through Saturday, July 27 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.

 

 

Teanaway River oil painting landscape laura gable

Plein Air Magic — The Oil Paintings of Laura Gable

Teanaway River plein air magical oil painting landscape laura gable

Teanaway River, original plein air oil painting with a magical air, by Kennewick artist Laura Gable

It’s easy to forget that, when we put something in the back seat of the car, it doesn’t go away.  Artist Laura Gable, however, never forgot what she set in the back seat, and when the time came to retrieve it, she readily and happily did so.

plein air landscape magical oil painting eastern washington laura gable

Furrowed Fields plein air landscape oil painting, with a sense of magic, by Kennewick artist Laura Gable

“In college, I loved all my art classes,” the Kennewick oil painter says, “but they started to take a back seat when my family advised I follow more practical pursuits rather than art (which ‘didn’t make any money’).” So she switched her double major from Art and Accounting to Accounting and Data Processing, and entered a career as an accountant and auditor.

“The funny thing about it,” Gable adds, “is that when these business roles needed anything artistic done (posters, invitations), they came to me and I’d create them by hand.”

So, even though art was sort of in the back seat, it functioned in the capacity of back seat driver, ensuring that Gable always heard — and heeded — its voice. When a job layoff prompted Gable to retrain as a graphic designer, the art in the back seat settled into the passenger seat, and not many years later, took over the driver’s position as Gable turned to painting full time.

Plein Air Painting out of the Studio: It’s Magic, and Magical

Gable now works out of a studio in historic downtown Kennewick, maintaining hours “by appointment” because, on any given day, she is more likely in the field somewhere, painting en plein air, a French term which describes painting outside, as opposed to in the studio.

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Lone Pine plein air landscape oil painting, featuring a prominent tree and a magical atmosphere, by Kennewick artist Laura Gable

“I started doing it before all the Plein Air conventions and hub-bub started, and before everyone was doing it and it became the new buzzword, the new ‘golf,'” Gable says. “I thought I knew how to paint until I went outside, and it was like I had to start all over again.

“Painting outside is a constant learning experience, and nature is a consummate teacher.”

There is the weather — which isn’t always, and frequently isn’t — balmy; there are insects and crawling things and larger creatures and other living and unpredictable elements of nature; and there’s the light, which doesn’t stay conveniently in one place for hours on end. Plein air painting, Gable explains, requires that the artist stop and truly see, processing the colors before her eyes, and letting the brush speak with a few expressive strokes as opposed to many smaller, painstakingly detailed ones.

Expressive and Impressionistic, Magical Plein Air

“I want the work to be expressive and thus impressionistic without defining every blade of grass or every ripple. The eye does a remarkable job of filling in what I leave out if I just give the viewer enough information — in fact, I find it more intriguing when an artist leaves out details and can define something with a few strokes of the brush.

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Tranquil Waters, original plein air oil painting with a magical feeling by Kennewick artist Laura Gable

“It’s magic!”

As a longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Gable is intimately acquainted with unmagical grey winter days, which she finds aren’t as difficult to handle when she gets outside to paint. Once there, her increasingly trained eye sees beyond the grey to the subtle colors that are everywhere: lavenders within the clouds; bronzes and golds tucked among the sage of desert grasses; teals and aquas hanging around the steely blues of river water.

Also quite colorful is Gable’s painting clothing, most notably a parka she found on the clearance rack that, with every winter season, increasingly shows the colors of her craft.

Painting Nationally

A member of several prestigious, national artist organizations — including the Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society, and Outdoor Painters Society — Gable shows and sells her work nationwide. Her awards roster includes Gold, Second, Director’s, Merit, Memorial, and Honorable Mentions, and her most recent accolade was garnered at a month-long plein air show at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale.

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Meadows and Cottonwoods plein air landscape, magical painting of trees in the field, by Kennewick artist Laura Gable

Her honorable-mention winning piece, Forest Whispers, was painted near Cascade Locks in the midst of smoke drifting down from the British Columbia fires, blanketing the atmosphere with haze. Coupled with the intense heat of a 100-plus summer day, it made for challenging, but ethereal, conditions as constantly shifting light revealed subtle nuances of alluring, dappled patterns.

“It was another magical moment spent painting,” Gable recalls.

Magical Beauty

That’s what painting is, Gable believes — both magic and magical — dependent upon the skill and soul of the artist to create work that is beautiful and has truth in it. She strives for a delicate balance of technical proficiency with informal spontaneity, the resulting work aiming to draw an emotional response from the viewer.

“I don’t have a political platform — I just want to represent the beauty that surrounds us.

“God is the ultimate creator: I show my impression of what has already been created.”

Wenaha Gallery

Laura Gable is the featured Pacific Northwest artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, November 20 through Saturday, December 16, 2017.   Gable will be at the gallery in person Saturday, November 24 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., for a special show also featuring The Talented Trio, a family of artists from Kennewick.

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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

 

Summer Fields, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Bonnie Griffith

Baby, Even When It’s Cold Outside, Plein Air Painters Paint — The Landscapes of Bonnie Griffith

Summer Fields, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Bonnie Griffith

Summer Fields, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Bonnie Griffith

Some people spend a chunk of their day outside — mountain climbers, builders, hotel doormen, and definitely not least on the list — plein-air painters.

Grand Staircase II, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Bonnie Griffith

Grand Staircase II, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Bonnie Griffith

A central facet of 19th century French impressionism, plein-air painting is so called because it is done outdoors, in the plain, fresh air, and those artists committed to the method rival U.S. Postal carriers in their approach to rain, snow, sleet, wind and the occasional, much appreciated, sunny day.

“There really is nothing like painting outdoors; it makes you a stronger artist, I think,” says Bonnie Griffith, a painter who trilaterally focuses on oil, pastel and encaustic (hot wax) as her mediums of choice.

“You are in natural light and not utilizing the eye of a camera to dictate to you what you see to paint.”

Admittedly, she adds, some days are exceptionally inclement, and she has been known to paint from the interior of her heated car. Given the amount that Griffith travels — participating in shows, teaching and attending workshops, and rotating gallery stock throughout the west and Northwest — perhaps the car isn’t such an odd option.

Symphony in Green, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Bonnie Griffith

Symphony in Green, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Bonnie Griffith

“I am a landscape artist, so I am always on the lookout for a place that catches my eye,” Griffith explains. “I love to paint water, so often I am seeking out spots with streams to paint.”

Griffith, who has lived in Walla Walla, WA; Montana; and now Meridian, ID, confesses a special passion for the landscapes of the west, from Canada to Mexico, and is happiest when ensconced in the canyons of the Colorado River, or by the waterways of Montana and Washington, and all that is in between.

“My goal is to create paintings that draw the viewer into the painting, to experience the time of day, the temperature, the sound, the smells.”

River Bend, original pastel by Wenaha Gallery artist Bonnie Griffith

River Bend, original pastel by Wenaha Gallery artist Bonnie Griffith

Much of her outdoor, onsite work is done in pastel, a highly portable medium that has the added benefit of capturing and translating brilliant color.

“It is so pure pigment that you can create this wonderful sparkle with ease,” Griffith says. “Oils can be mixed to create wonderful color and a visual story. And when you combine either with encaustic medium, you get wonderful, often surprise results.”

Good surprises are, well, good, but given that working with molten material presents the potential for perturbation, Griffith does find herself — when working with wax — indoors, in the studio, and well prepared for any contingency.

“I do have a spare room that I work with my encaustics, complete with fire extinguisher since I utilize hot wax and a torch to create these pieces!”

Creekside, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Bonnie Griffith

Creekside, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Bonnie Griffith

Born into a family of watercolorists, illustrators, and musicians, Griffith has been drawing and painting since childhood, seriously pursuing gallery representation and public recognition from the early 1990s. Her work is in the homes of collectors throughout the United States and Canada, as well as Australia, Sweden, Germany, and England.

She has participated in numerous prestigious, competitive shows, including the Pastel 100 National Competition, the Northwest Pastel Society Member Show, the International Pastel Show, Plein Aire Moscow, and Plein Air Moab, garnering professional accolades such as People’s Choice, Juror’s Award, and Director’s Award. Most recently, Griffith has completed a one-month Artist in Residence for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, during which time she avidly painted, gave public demonstrations, organized a community paint along, and provided art projects to the local school system.

Traveling, learning, teaching, experimenting, and transporting medium, substrate and easel from the car to the painting site — it is all part of Griffith’s interpreting what she sees onto canvas or paper so others can see it, too. And when they do, then this is sweet success.

“It is about color and painting a work that invites the viewer to step in and make it their own story,” Griffith summarizes. “I say that, if that happens, than I have done my job.”

Wenaha GalleryBonnie Griffith will be at Wenaha Gallery Friday, November 27 for a special art reception during Dayton, WA’s Christmas Kickoff celebration. Join us at the gallery from 3 to 6 p.m. to meet the artist, view incredible art, and enjoy free refreshments. Griffith’s work will be on featured display through December 12.

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.