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dayton depot planned etching print barbara coppock landmark

Plans Change — The Etchings of Barbara Coppock

dayton depot planned etching print barbara coppock landmark

The Dayton Depot, an intaglio print etching of the Dayton, WA, historic landmark, by Barbara Coppock of Clarkston, WA

 

All humans make plans, but frequently forget something most important: the only thing certain about life is that it’s uncertain.

Or as poet Robert Burns — not Shakespeare, not Einstein — put it, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

For artist Barbara Coppock, the last thing on her mind when life hit hard was Burns’ musings “To a Mouse, on Turning up in Her Nest with the Plow,” but she, like the mouse, found that plans she made for the future could change, drastically, in a microsecond.

Plans Change Fast

After her daughter and son graduated from high school, the Clarkston, WA, artist ordered a small printmaking press to pursue intaglio etching. As she had done with many other art mediums, Coppock planned to research and work with this new venture until she had learned all the ins and outs of the method. It would be a slow, enjoyable process, upon which she would focus all her concentration.

teacher schoolhouse lesson plans landmark intaglio print etching barbara coppock

For the Teacher — oh, the many lesson plans teachers made in this pioneer schoolhouse! Intaglio print etching by Clarkston artist Barbara Coppock

“Around that time, my husband Bill was in an auto accident which left him paraplegic,” Coppock remembers. “Medically, he required full time care, which meant I would be home.”

In addition to being caretaker, Coppock needed a plan, a means of making money that allowed her to remain by Bill’s side — and that’s where the printing press came in.

Printmaking Plans

“The answer was right in front of me: printmaking,” Coppock says. “As I was working out the intricacies, Bill was regaining use of his right hand by working on framing for my etchings.

“It proved to be a win-win, giving both Bill and me a way to support ourselves.”

The couple outfitted an RV so that Bill could travel. A friend who showed work at the C.M. Russell show in Great Falls, MT, introduced directors to Coppock’s work, and they invited her to the prestigious annual event. While at the show, Coppock attracted the interest of various galleries, and in a short time was represented by more than 20 — in Great Falls, Missoula, Helena, Ennis, Bozeman, Billings, and Lewistown. On the Oregon Coast (“I never saw the ocean until I was an adult — love at first sight,”) Coppock picked up galleries in Cannon Beach, Newport, and Bandon.

thirty bushes acre farm plans country intaglio etching print barbara coppock

The plans were for Thirty Bushels an Acre at this country farm, and sometimes plans work out, and sometimes they don’t. Intaglio print etching by Clarkston artist, Barbara Coppock

Following a Dream, and Planning out Each Day

From the mid-80s, through the 90s, and until 2008, Barbara and Bill worked as a team, at one point selling more than a thousand etchings a year through Coppock’s network of galleries.

“Art was good to us, and we were able to follow a dream,” Coppock says.

“It was very hard to realize that Coppock Etchings were being collected, some across oceans. Several collectors had amassed over 60.

“What in the world do you do with 60 etchings?”

Though they were able to travel only a few weeks each year, Coppock planned and used the time well, focusing on the subject matter of an area to develop a niche portraying homesteads, towns, local landmarks, and landscapes. Believing that the land we choose to care for, and the things we build upon it, define us, Coppock created images connecting viewers to the space with a simple glance.

“This look at the past helps us to understand those who were here before,” Coppock explains.

It was a good time. It was a memorable time. But it was a finite time, and like all such times, came to an end — in Coppock’s case, quite abruptly.

Plans Change, Again

“This amazing lifestyle lasted til Bill’s kidneys failed, the market crashed, and thankfully, I qualified for Social Security,” Coppock says. “All this happened in 2008.”

old civic theater theatre building evening plans barbara coppock print intaglio etching

The Old Civic Theater — how many people had plans to attend and enjoy a night at the theater! Intaglio print etching by Barbara Coppock of Clarkston, WA.

Almost overnight, plans changed, and Coppock went from selling in 20-some galleries to five, the rest having failed in the economic downturn. Dialysis for Bill and regular trips for treatment cut into the hours Coppock needed for the time intensive etchings. Like the mouse in Burns’ poem, Coppock found her life turned upside down.

“So I learned how to make jewelry.”

A Time, a Season, a Plan

And she told herself that there was a time and season for everything, and this particular season belonged to Bill. In 2015, when Bill passed away, Coppock found herself, again, looking at an uncertain future and figuring out how to interact within it. She moved from Montana to Clarkston, WA, to be close to family.

“So here I am, rebooted.

“I was at the top of my game when the unplanned hiatus came calling in 2008. I have a lot of unfinished editions and artist’s proofs that need to find home.

“The big bonus is Southeast Washington is filled with subjects calling my name.

“Retire? No need.

“Most folks retire to do what I do every day.”

Wenaha GalleryBarbara Coppock is the Art Event from Monday, February 4 through Saturday, March 9 at Wenaha Gallery. Her etchings include familiar and nostalgic scenes of the west and Pacific Northwest.

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.

Librarian in the Studio — The Print & Printmaking Art of Anne Haley

Walla Walla Lettertype print by Anne Haley, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

Walla Walla Lettertype print by Anne Haley, guest artist at Wenaha Gallery

It took 50 years, but  Anne Haley was finally able to take ninth grade shop class.

Of course, she was no longer in ninth grade, but that’s not such a bad thing: one time through on that is enough for most people. Instead, Haley plunged into college life, re-entering as an art student after a 32-year career in public librarianship, including 20 years as the Director of the Walla Walla Public Library.

Evening Sky, monoprint by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley, showing at Wenaha Gallery

Evening Sky, monoprint by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley

“I worked my fool ass off trying to keep up with twenty-year-olds,” the Walla Walla artist recalls. “It was the most difficult, but the most rewarding educational experience: I took classes in painting, photography, drawing, art history, sculpture, time arts, and printmaking.” Beginning at Walla Walla Community College and Walla Walla University, Haley finished out her studies at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree and solidified a focus on the medium that grabbed her passion: printmaking, specifically etching, letterpress, and lithography.

“I have always been involved and inspired by things tactile,” Haley explains, describing a shadow art career that started in first grade with finger paintings (“My mother saved those paintings”), moving on to jewelry and knitting in high school, stitchery at the first run in college, quilt making, and then the full art media foray of her second college adventure. During her library career, Haley called upon creative instincts to set up arrangements in display cases every month for 20 years, in addition to festooning annual reports and designing holiday banners, bookmarks, and informational flyers.

Harvest Ready etched print by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley, guest at Wenaha Gallery

Harvest Ready, etched print by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley

And then of course there’s her house, which she describes as “a giant art project.”

Within that giant art project is a whole-house studio that includes computers and digital printers in the second floor study, an etching/litho press in an old basement storeroom, and a treasure chest of letterpress type — many from the old press building of the Wenatchee World newspaper, founded in 1905 by Haley’s grandfather — jumbled in boxes and organized as Haley has time.

These relics from the bygone era of letterpress printing — which began with Gutenberg’s press in 1440 and was outmoded in the 1980s with the advent of digitalization — “have gone the way of the buggy whip,” Haley says.

“I have begged, borrowed, and bought letterpress type of various fonts and sizes — it doesn’t matter to me if I have a complete alphabet; I am interested in the shapes.”

Walla VIII letterpress print by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley

Walla VIII, letterpress print by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley

Haley incorporated these shapes in a series of works entitled Old Presses and New, celebrating both the modern and antiquated printing presses. Letterpress shapes also find their way onto 6 x 6 mini-works (Art Squared) and Havana Live, this latter featuring multi-media artworks based on three trips Haley has made to Cuba.

In addition to letterpress, Haley creates etched prints (fashioned from metal plates on which the design has been incised by acid), lithography (printed from a flat surface treated to repel the ink except where it is desired to be printed), digital prints, and monotype (a single, unique print created when metal or glass plates are coated with ink, and the paper then pressed upon the surface). Often, she layers more than one printmaking medium in a multi-media fusion.

Other than monoprints, which as their name suggests are limited to a run of one, Haley creates editions of 5-10 prints, all as perfectly alike as she can make them. Afterwards, the plate from which the prints were made is struck so that no prints can be made thereafter.

A Quiet Conversation etched print by walla walla artist Anne Haley

A Quiet Conversation, etched print by Walla Walla artist Anne Haley

Collections of Haley’s work are at the Penrose Library of Whitman College in Walla Walla; the Clapp Library of Occidental College, Los Angeles; and Brown & Haley, the candy-maker and distributor, in Tacoma. She has held numerous solo, two-person, and group exhibitions throughout the Pacific Northwest and in Cuba, and was accepted into the Artlink National Print Exhibit at the Auer Center for Arts & Culture in Fort Wayne, IN. At the BFA annual show in the Pacific Northwest College of Art, her 6-inch by 2-inch piece was awarded juror’s pick, where it was hung between two gigantic paintings of 8-feet by 5-feet “that could be seen a block away.”

Small or large, Haley’s prints reflect the sense of the place where she lives, an agricultural town that maintains a visceral connection to the land that is not found in urban settings. They also reflect the human connection, a history of life that far transcends the technology of printing.

“I am committed to creating my work with love,” Haley says, “and hope that the viewer can sense this depth of feeling in the work that I make.”

Wenaha GalleryAnne Haley is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, January 16, through Saturday, February 11.

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

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