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Spring Art Show

Spring Art Show

Celebrate Spring with Wenaha Gallery! We’ve invited three terrific artists — Kennewick photographer John Clement; Dayton jewelry and nostalgia journal artist Dawn Moriarty; and Milton-Freewater steel sculptor Anne Behlau — to be at the gallery for four hours, to meet and greet, talk about what they do, and answer all your questions. PLUS — enjoy live music by Walla Walla artist Roy Anderson and artisan treats by framer and chef Savonnah Henderson. AND — in celebration of Spring Bingo later that day (sponsored by the American Legion Frank E Bauers Post 42), we’re giving away a free Spring Bingo flimsy card to every visitor who visits each artist and writes down their favorite work of each.

Coyote Winters, scratchboard art by Judy Fairley

Wildlife Woman – The Scratchboard Art of Judy Fairley

Great Blue Heron, scratchboard art by Judy Fairley

Great Blue Heron by Judy Fairley

There’s something mesmerizing about scratch art.

Many of us remember, as children, coloring a sheet of paper with wax crayons, then, once we filled the entire piece with hues, finishing it off with a black crayon over the entire top. Using a stick or sharp implement, we created magical pictures by scratching a design into the blackness, revealing the color underneath.

Such an experience is not limited to childhood.

Coyote Winters, scratchboard art by Judy Fairley

Coyote Winters, scratchboard by Judy Fairley

“I love this medium because of the fine detail it affords me,” says Judy Fairley, a Clarkston artist who has taught scratchboard for nearly four decades at the Clarkston campus of Walla Walla Community College. Portable, economical, but labor intensive, scratchboard for adults involves a thin layer of clay on a Masonite or fiberboard backing, which is then coated with an application of black India ink. The final image emerges as the artist scratches through the ink to the white clay below using an arrow point tool, X-Acto knife, or scalpel.

Often, Fairley applies watercolor or colored inks to tint the exposed clay before covering it with black, resulting in a full colored scratchboard painting. A signature member of Women Artists of the West, a professional organization that focuses on the promotion and development of female artists, Fairley specializes in wildlife art, creating intricately detailed portraits of wolves, coyotes, bears, deer, moose, and more. Her reference photos she takes herself, many from zoos and wildlife rescue operations.

“There was a woman near Hamilton, Montana, who had a wildlife rescue, and I would go there to get photos,” Fairley remembers. “She was the closest to a mountain woman that I could imagine, with skin as brown as a leather saddle and twice as worn, but she had the formulas to bring any wild creature back from the brink of starvation.”

Brown Pelican, scratchboard art by Judy Fairley

Brown Pelican by Judy Fairley

One time, when Fairley was having promotional photos taken for a brochure, the rescue professional suggested posing with a grizzly cub, comfortable with humans because he was part of an educational presentation for children.

“So I went, thinking, ‘what could possibly go wrong with this scenario?’”

When Fairley entered the cub’s pen, “he took one look at me and came running at full speed. When he got to me, he proceeded to climb me like a Ponderosa pine tree.”

The photos, capturing “this complete panicked and frantic look” on Fairley’s face, were unusable, but everyone but Fairley enjoyed the show. “He’s never done this before,” the rescue professional told Fairley. “He must really like you.”

Most of the time, creating artwork is not so dramatic, although even the most mundane of actions results in surprises.

“I had an incident when the person watching me do a bobcat, sneezed on the piece,” Fairley says. “It lifted the ink on all the areas of black that the phlegm landed on, creating a speckled pattern.

Wrangler, scratchboard by Judy Fairley

Wrangler, scratchboard by Judy Fairley

“So I put the bobcat in a snow storm . . . actually I liked it better.

“But, I make sure to tell people to please don’t sneeze on my work: everything can’t be in a snow storm!”

Fairley works out of two studios, one in her home, and one at the Dahmen Artisan Barn in Uniontown, 16 miles away, where visitors are free to watch – but not sneeze upon – the artists at work. In addition to the teaching Fairley does at WWCC, which also includes pastel drawing, the artist recently offered a scratchboard workshop on a Princess cruise ship from Seattle to Alaska, and is presently looking to organize another cruise workshop to the Mexican Riviera.

Thanks to the portability and inexpensive nature of the medium, Fairley packed supplies for 20 students, along with a personalized tote bag for each, in a roller suitcase.

“I tell people when I am doing demos, that the only cheaper method to do in art is drawing with a pencil and a piece of paper.” Cheaper, she adds, does not translate into faster: some works take months to do, and the concentration required is demanding.

With work in collections from England to Australia, Fairley participates in numerous shows, from those sponsored by the Women Artists of the West, which span the country, and the International Society of Scratchboard Artists (February’s show is in Australia), to events closer to home, including the Snake River Showcase in Clarkston and the Oldfield Western Art Show in Puyallup.

It is the perfect blend of travel, teaching, learning, networking, interacting and creating. Just so long as nobody sneezes, or mistakes her for a tree.

Wenaha GalleryJudy Fairley is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artists from Monday, August 29 through Saturday, September 24.

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.

 

 

Lunch Break by Jackie Penner

Timelessness — the Wildlife Art of Jackie Penner

Lunch Break by Jackie Penner

Lunch Break by Jackie Penner.

Some things — not cell phones — never change, and in a world where the news of 15 minutes ago is hopelessly outdated, it is good to know that there is another world, a quieter one, where things move at a slower pace.

Such is the reality embraced and painted by fine artist Jackie Penner, who focuses on the west — its people, its landscapes, its horses, and its wildlife. And while, admittedly, cowboys and Indians are more of a legend than contemporary fact, Penner draws inspiration from a sphere of wildlife and domestic animals whose daily life, in many ways, consists of the work and play that they have always done.

Header Team by Jackie Penner

Header Team by Jackie Penner

Grizzly bears, despite their size and temperament, still look remarkably winsome as they’re trying to spear a fish; horses exhibit an intelligence resulting in veritable friendship between themselves and their owners; wolves, in their solitary existence, remain outcasts, but ones capable of evoking awe and respect.

“Western life in its variety holds a special fascination for me,” Penner, who for the last 49 years has lived on a family farm since she married her Dayton high school sweetheart, Jay Penner, says. Penner’s introduction to art began when she was a child, taking informal drawing lessons from longtime area resident and artist, Vivian McCauley Eslick, and she added oil painting to her repertoire upon adulthood.

Living within the midst of both farm and wildlife, Penner gathers reference material just by virtue of living each day, with many a gentle ride on her beloved Quarter Horses resulting in an unexpected siting of two young badgers playing; a bird in the bush; or one of the majestic, working Belgian horses, raised by her husband’s family for many years.

This, primarily, has been her education in art:

Welcome Ride Home by Jackie Penner

Welcome Ride Home by Jackie Penner

“Live in an old rural schoolhouse, surrounded with an abundance of wildlife, and paint, paint, paint.”

Like many artists, however, Penner has had to find time to paint, paint, paint. In the early years, raising two children to successful adulthood was her primary goal, but even after those human birds had flown, Penner found her hours demanded by the bookkeeping she does for the family business. Not so oddly for her, numbers are as fascinating as paintbrushes, and the attention to detail she accords accounting translates well to the canvas when she is recording a living subject.

“I’m very, very detailed,” Penner says. “All my life people have been saying, ‘loosen up, you need to loosen up.’ But I got to a certain age and thought, ‘I’m going to do what I like to do, which is detail.’ ”

This detail comes out most strongly in Penner’s graphite drawings, but her paintings, as well, focus on the damp textured pattern of a bear’s fur, the plumage of pheasant in flight, the intricate harness and tack of a Belgian horse team ready to work the harvest.

Building in Wheat Field, fine art photograph by Gary Wessels Galbreath

Building in Wheat Field, fine art photograph by Gary Wessels Galbreath

“Living on the farm, surrounded by nature and the animals and lifestyle I love, gives me the passion to transfer those feelings to canvas.”

Through workshops, Penner has studied under well-known wildlife artists such as Daniel Smith, Paco Young, Terry Isaac, and John Banovich, and she herself is a member, emeritus, of Women Artists of the West, an organization of more than 200 professional female artists. Penner has served as both its president and ad director.

“My art has taken me on a journey that I never dreamed possible,” Penner says. It is a diverse and varied journey that Penner, a 1966 graduate of Dayton High School, did not foresee 49 years ago, and as Dayton Alumni Weekend approaches this Saturday, July 18, Penner joins another Dayton Alumni, Gary Wessels-Galbreath (1975), in celebrating that artistic journey, through a combined art show and reception at Wenaha Gallery.

Wessels-Galbreath, like Penner, focused on art from a young age, with that focus being quite literal from the other end of a camera — beginning with a 110 Kodak pocket model when he was 12.

Traveling the world as a Navy Seabee, Wessels-Galbraith studied photojournalism upon rejoining the civilian world, graduating from Evergreen State College with a B.A. in art and Native American Studies. He directs his attention primarily upon the environment and landscapes, and, like Penner, captures a sense of timelessness in a rapidly changing world.

Animals. Landscapes. People. Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Thankfully.

Wenaha GalleryJackie Penner and Gary Wessels-Galbreath are at an artists’ reception in their honor Saturday, July 18 from 10:30 a.m. (immediately after the Alumna Weekend Parade) until 2:30 p.m. at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA. Free refreshments are provided.

Penner’s show at the Wenaha Gallery runs from June 27 through July 25. Wessel-Galbreath’s work is on hand from July 6 through July 25 .

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

World War I Service Banner preserved and framed through Wenaha Gallery, banner is the property of the First Congregational Church of Dayton WA

The Things You Find on Church Clean-up Day — A World War I Service Banner

World War I Service Banner preserved and framed through Wenaha Gallery, banner is the property of the First Congregational Church of Dayton WA

The Service Banner from World War I found at the Dayton First Congregational Church. On the left is the banner’s front, featuring the colored stars and symbols; the back, on the right, are hand-sewn name tags corresponding to the symbols on the front

Anyone who has ever participated in church clean-up day knows that the most exciting aspect of the event generally wraps around lunch. But for a group of Congregationalists in Dayton, WA, a find in the attic definitely outshone anything on the dessert table.

It was 2002, and Roslyn Edwards, wife of then-pastor Steve Edwards, was with a group in the attic, tidying up.

World War I Service Banner of First Congregational Church Dayton WA, preserved and framed by Wenaha Gallery

During the measuring process, the Service Banner was gently laid flat across a surface, but the rest of the time, it needed to be hung.

“I don’t know why, but Roslyn for some reason decided to go crawling into the rafters,” Dallas Dickinson, a member of the church and the crew, remembers. “And then she says, here’s a rag. She pulled it out, and it was a banner on a stick.

“We unrolled it. I looked on the back of it and then I said, ‘That’s my great uncle’s name on the back, Charlie Johnson.'”

Other names — on 42 hand-sewn tags — looked familiar to Dickinson. Broughton, Lyman, Boldman, Dumas — she read them out, and within short order the group realized that, whatever they’d found, it definitely wasn’t a rag.

“When I saw the name, Frank Bauers, that was a clue that what we had dated to World War I,” Dickinson says, explaining that Bauers, who died overseas of wounds in 1918, is the military member after which the local American Legion post is named.

The framed service banner, the whole package, was carefully rolled down through Main Street during Dayton, WA''s All Wheels Weekend

The framed service banner, the whole package, was carefully rolled down through Main Street during Dayton, WA”s All Wheels Weekend

What the  group had found was a service flag, a banner (in this case, hand-crafted) that honors family or community members who serve in the armed forces during any period of war or hostilities in which the U.S. is engaged. Such banners consist of a white field with a red border, a blue star representing each service member, and a gold star placed for one who died during service. The banner found at the Congregational church includes one gold star, for Bauers, 38 blue stars, two red crosses (for nurses) and a red triangle (spiritual or recreational service).

Frames for World War I Service Banner owned by First Congregational Church Dayton and framed by Wenaha Gallery

While the service banner weighs practically nothing, two frames, with Optium Museum Acrylic, result in 58 pounds of hanging weight.

“I recognized 20 or so of the 42 names on the back,” Dickinson says, “and I knew the descendants of them, mainly because my family has been here since the 1880s, 1890s. Although I have to admit when I saw the name John Rockhill, I was surprised. I always thought (local Dayton landmark) Rockhill was called that because it was a big rock, but it must have been named after John and his family.”

It was a find indeed, but a perplexing one, because while the group knew they couldn’t put the treasure back where they found it, they weren’t quite sure where to take it next.

“We carefully rolled it back up and consulted with people at the (historical) Depot,” Dickinson remembers. “We ended up keeping it there with their precious things,  folded it properly, and put it in a box with acid free paper. But I always had the idea of preserving it in such a way that we could get it out there, to the community, so that it could be seen.”

Considering that the Service Banner is 46 inches wide by 69 inches high, it is not small piece of conservation acrylic that needs to be measured and cut to fit -- twice -- one for each side.

Considering that the Service Banner is 46 inches wide by 69 inches high, it is not small piece of conservation acrylic that needs to be measured and cut to fit — twice — one for each side.

Dickinson’s idea approached reality this year, as she consulted with Lael Loyd, principal framer at Wenaha Gallery, regarding how feasible — and how much — it would be to frame the flag for both posterity and display. At 46 inches wide by 69 inches high, the banner — which needs to be seen on both sides — is no simple framing job.

Loyd consulted conservationists, designers, contractors, and other framing experts to come up with a plan, while Dickinson wrote letters to as many descendants of the names on the banner that she could find, requesting funds.

“People were really generous,” Dickinson says, “and I was able to raise two thirds of what we needed. The balance came from the Dayton Columbia County Fund, a local organization that supports projects like this.”

During the two hours that the service banner was on outdoor display, during Dayton's All Wheels weekend, two volunteers supported it from both sides. Once the stand has been completed by a local artisan, this will no longer be necessary!

During the two hours that the service banner was on outdoor display, during Dayton’s All Wheels weekend, two volunteers supported it from both sides. Once the stand has been completed by a local artisan, this will no longer be necessary!

Loyd, meanwhile, was trying to figure out a way to hang the flag between two — very large — pieces of Optium Museum Acrylic, which she describes as top in the industry for protection and conservation. But she didn’t want the fabric pressed between the acrylic; she wanted it hanging, as naturally as possible, at the same time ensuring that the textile was sealed and framed for protection.

Added to the challenge is that the banner, while she worked on it, was rarely laid flat, but hung, requiring the (white gloved) hands of two or three assistants. “Everything was pieced together as the banner was standing upright,” Loyd says. “We didn’t want it laying flat with the weight of the acrylic on one side or the other.

“It’s all about preserving for generations to come.”

That it is, and the finished project is slated for a semi-permanent home at American Legion Post 42 museum on Clay Street in Dayton, with Dickinson envisioning it being loaned out to interested parties upon request.

“We want this banner, this piece of history, to be out where the public and community can see it,” Dickinson says.

“By far, it’s the best thing we’ve ever found up in the church attic.”

Wenaha GalleryThe Service Banner of the Dayton First Congregational Church will be on display at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, June 22 through Saturday, July 11.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

Playtime Noah's Ark oil painting by Michele Davis

Sometimes, Good Art Makes People Cry — the Paintings of Michele Davis

Playtime Noah's Ark oil painting by Michele Davis

Playtime Noah’s Ark by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Michele Davis.

For an artist, bringing a viewer to tears is a triumph indeed, and painter Michele Davis, of Spokane, WA, has experienced the exultation of this moment more than once:

“When someone sees my art and is touched to the point of tears, then I know it has hit the mark,” Davis, who focuses on figurative oil paintings of children and religious themes, says. “When that happens, there is something more at work than just some paint on canvas, and I find myself in awe — like I am standing on holy ground. That part has nothing to do with me.”

Her most memorable emotion-gendering moment, however, was a bit different from an exultant one:

“When my first child was born, we decided that I would stay at home with our children,” Davis remembers. “At first I set up a table in the dining room to paint watercolors.

A Future and a Hope original oil painting of Jesus and child by Michele Davis

A Future and a Hope by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Michele Davis.

“This worked for awhile, but after a year or two of this, it became evident that I needed to give more attention to our kids.

“After my little girl burst into tears one day as soon as she saw me heading to my art table, I decided I needed to give it a break.”

So, while the five kids were young, Davis packed away the boxes of art materials and focused on other matters, but she never abandoned art. A voracious reader, she absorbed instruction through books, DVDs, and interaction with others, so that by the time the children were older and less inclined to meltdown at the sight of brushes and canvas, Davis was ready — with a far different, and greatly matured concept of how, and what, she wanted to paint.

Landscapes and still lifes, the subjects upon which she had focused when her art studio was the dining room table, were still enjoyable, but Davis yearned to learn the human figure, a desire that went back many years to when she was in high school, filling stacks of sketchbooks with whatever she was into at the time.

“As a teenager, I wrote this plea in my diary: ‘I want to learn to draw faces, but no one will teach me!’

“So much for drama . . .”

But she did begin to learn. Through books and DVDs an adult Davis mentored under artists like Morgan Weistling, Mian Situ, and Richard Schmid, with the most dramatic learning curve manifesting itself as she participated in a live-model drawing group hosted by wildlife artist Terry Lee.

“There’s no substitute for something like this,” Davis says.

Hope, by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Michele Davis.

Hope, by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Michele Davis.

“Recently, my focus on subject matter has clarified, and I have devoted my hands and heart to painting Biblically-inspired images,” Davis says.

“I believe there is a great need for accomplished artists in this field.  The Harry Anderson images of Jesus that I grew up with made a huge impact on the way I viewed God.

“What a high calling for artists! What a responsibility!

“I do not take this calling lightly, and make every attempt to approach my easel with a humble and teachable spirit. Prayer before paintbrush.”

Davis’s figurative works, which celebrate simplicity, light, and the innocence of children, focus on the pleasurable work of being a child: playing with toys, climbing a tree, gathering flowers, One of them, “Playtime Noah’s Ark,” is soon to be released as a SunsOut jigsaw puzzle, through Davis’s licensing agency, The Ansada Group of Sarasota, FL.

Another project — a painting of Christ in a modern-day setting with several high school students — is literally the most sizable project she has ever embarked upon, and at 10 by 5 and a half feet, it’s a bit too big for her upstairs loft studio.

“The only wall it will fit on is in our bedroom. So my husband is patiently putting up with it for the weeks/months that I will be working on it.” Upon completion, the painting will be displayed in a private Christian high school.

“My artwork resides in homes around the country, hospitals, schools, and churches,” Davis says.

“Whether I paint Christ in a modern-day setting, or a child just being a kid, or a quiet still life, I hope it pulls the viewer up, helps them remember the good in life, and see that there is undoubtedly still much beauty to be found in the world.”

And if recognizing that beauty brings tears to a viewer’s eyes, so much the better.

Wenaha GalleryMichele Davis is the Art Event: Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from October 20 through November 15, 2014. View Davis’s works at the gallery in historic downtown Dayton, WA, 219 East Main.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery,  located in historic downtown Dayton, Washington,  is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton; phone 509.382.2124; e-mail art@wenaha.com.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

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