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harvesters two sisters children picking autumn grapes steve henderson

Community Giving — All Year Round

harvesters two sisters children picking autumn grapes steve henderson

What is a community, really, but a family of human beings who share their resources? The Harvesters, by Steve Henderson

Life happens.

And while there are other, more expressive ways of voicing this observation — some singularly  inappropriate for the family newspaper — the intimation is the same: people lose their jobs, get sick, or have an accident, resulting in life not going on the way it did before.

art of peel chef painting ken auster

Food is a celebration, a necessity, and a gift. Art of a Peel by Ken Auster

When we learn of another’s pain, our common response as decent human beings is to feel a sense of sympathy, sometimes going beyond this to see what we can tangibly do to help our fellow humans in their distress. After all, we realize, the unexpected blows of life can hit any of us, at any time.

But sometimes, in our effort to keep our own world secure and safe (because who wants to feel that we can be hit, randomly, by a meteorite?) we probe and parse the issue:

“I bet he was texting too much at work. Maybe a little alcohol problem there, too, eh?”

“I heard she smoked a lot when she was younger. It was lung cancer, wasn’t it?”

“All those kids in the car making noise — it’s a clear case of distraction and not paying attention. Distracted driving is against the law in this state.”

We Are a Community of Family, and Families

And then, once we imagine a possible cause unlikely to mirror any in our own experience, we’re off the hook when it comes to feeling compassion, because, really, the person sort of deserved what they got. It’s tempting to assign a mental number to the tragedy — with 1 accorded very little sympathy because the person acted foolishly and really should have foreseen the consequences and 10 scoring high because this tragedy was in no way the person’s fault.

candleman winter fantasy snow james christensen

Things seem bleaker, and colder, in the winter, especially after the holidays. Candleman by James Christensen

But there are problems with this natural tendency to sort through our world and makes sense of it by classification, notably,

  1. We are not gods, and never, ever know the full situation, and
  2. Because we are not gods, we chronically, consistently, and masterfully make very human mistakes, many of which frequently do not — fortunately for us — result in our getting the desserts we “deserve.” But sometimes . . . they do.

A wise person once said that the criteria we use to judge others will turn around and be used thusly on us ourselves, and if this is so, it is sensible to approach the misfortunes of others with compassion, understanding, thoughtfulness, and empathy — reactions we ourselves embrace with relief when undergoing our own trials.

Supporting Our Community

It is with this awareness that Pat and Ed Harri, the owners of Wenaha Gallery in Dayton, started an annual canned food drive at the gallery, with everything collected during the month of January dedicated to the Community Food Bank in Dayton.

“We purposely chose January, because during the Christmas season, there is so much focus on gift-giving and celebration that once you are over the seasonal holidays, people are almost burnt out,” Pat explains.

Canned food community drive wenaha gallery

It’s a sculpture of canned food, representing the bounty given by community members to the Dayton Food Bank

“But when it comes to helping people, this is a need that exists all year. And January can be a very cold, bleak month.”

Entering somewhere around its tenth year (Pat isn’t sure), the Annual Canned Food Drive regularly brings in some 500 pounds of food, spanning everything from tuna fish and diced tomatoes to artisan chocolate bars and organic sugar. The gallery collects it through the month and creates an artistic display, one that changes as new items are dropped off.

Having Fun Giving Back

“We’ve had several  people through the years who really get into the spirit of the giving,” Pat says. “They go shopping especially for our canned food event, and ask themselves — ‘What would I buy to put in my own cupboard?’ and that’s what they bring.” Others burrow through their pantries and gather largesse. All leave off their wares with a sense of satisfaction and joy.

It’s fun — and humbling — to see what arrives each day, Pat adds, and by the end of the month, what starts out as a trickle winds up as a flood. Before food bank volunteers arrive to cart the food away, the gallery staff enjoys setting up the totality and taking a photo, adding with it their own warm wishes to fellow community members who are going through a tough time.

“The cans of food that people bring in are gifts — gifts to people in our community who are having a hard time and need encouragement from others,” Pat says. “I never cease to be amazed at the generosity of the people in this area.”

Wenaha Gallery

The Annual Canned Food Drive is the featured Art Event  at Wenaha Gallery from Thursday, December 28 through Wednesday, January 31, 2018.  During this time, for every can or non-perishable item of food brought into the gallery, the giver will receive $2 off their next framing order, up to a total of 20% off. Additional cans brought in after the 20% maximum will apply toward a subsequent framing order.

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.

 

lael loyd savonnah henderson custom framers wenaha gallery

Update: Hello, Good-bye, Hello — Exciting Life Changes

update lael loyd savonnah henderson custom framers wenaha gallery

Framers Lael Loyd and Savonnah Henderson work together on a custom framing package

Life is never static.

At Wenaha Gallery, we are privileged to have, on our gallery staff, a professional team of associates who know art, and who love working with clients to bring that art into their homes. One of these associates is Lael Loyd, who has been with us for 12 years out of the 24 years that Wenaha has been in business.

update on lael loyd custom framer wenaha gallery

Custom framer Lael Loyd has graced, and blessed, Wenaha Gallery and its clientele for more than 12 years

We are excited to announce that Lael is entering a new phase of her life, moving to Port Angeles with her husband, Richard, where they are both expecting their first baby in the fall.

We are also happy to announce that Savonnah Henderson, daughter of gallery artist Steve Henderson, is stepping into Lael’s position as framer. Savonnah, who has grown up around art, artwork, and framing, has been apprenticing under Lael, who passes on her knowledge base, commitment to quality, and standards of excellence.

Lael, Savonnah, and Wenaha Gallery all move forward on life’s journey, with each day bringing promised of creativity and joy. We invite you to move forward with us!

We also would like to share with you a personal message from Lael:

Update: A Note from Lael Loyd

“As I write this, my heart overflows with joy and thankfulness. It is past time to give you an update on new adventures for myself and Wenaha Gallery.

update bold innocence girl at beach coast ocean steve henderson art painting

Life and adventure are big things. Lael Loyd heads to the coast to begin a new adventure in her life journey. Bold Innocence, by Steve Henderson

To begin, my husband and I will welcome our first child on October 19 or thereabouts. Baby boy was planned for and is eagerly anticipated and so loved. He moves and grows and has already brought us such joy. As our family grew, my husband took a closer look at his long hours and shift work, bouncing back and forth between night and day shift every 6 weeks, his on call times and supervisor responsibilities as well as the ever important pay and insurance financials.

“He knew he wanted to be a hands-on dad and provide well and found an incredible job with the Department of Natural Resources as a police officer, continuing his 11 1/2 year career in law enforcement. The closest opportunity was in Port Angeles so, we are making a move to the western Washington peninsula by the end of this month.

“Because neither of us are open to a 7 hour commute one way, August 19 will wrap up my 12 1/2 year journey here at the gallery as I begin a lifetime adventure as a full time, stay at home mom. What a privilege! My contact information will be available through the gallery and I’d love to stay in touch via email or text, especially if you would like to see photos of our lil man, once he makes his appearance.

Blessed by Your Friendship

Update Savonnah Henderson professional framer wenaha gallery

Savonnah Henderson takes over as framer at Wenaha Gallery, bringing insight from a lifetime exposure to the fine art world

“As I have talked to many of you these past weeks, I am reminded how incredibly blessed I am to know you and work with you and develop friendships over the years. My time at the gallery has been rich and full and my heart overflows with thankfulness for the opportunity to learn so much in an incredible place and town. I am excited to pass the torch to another who is finding such excitement in her work.

“Savonnah Henderson, daughter of the gallery’s own Steve Henderson, is taking over as custom framer and full time associate. In the time I’ve worked with and trained her, I am fully confident in her abilities and passion for learning. It has helped me to smoothly make this transition, knowing that she is capable, loves to learn, and is excited to be part of the Wenaha team and get to know you better.

“Thank you for your trust in me, your friendship, and the great times. I’ll take our conversations and laughter with me (along with several email addresses and phone numbers) so we can stay in touch. I don’t do goodbyes so I will say, ‘See you next time,’ and look forward to introducing you to the newest addition to our family. Thank you for your support and love. I couldn’t be happier to expand our family, see my guy so content and loving his work, and know that the gallery will continue on with the same incredible values and commitment to excellence since we opened, almost 24 years ago.

update savonnah henderson lael loyd framers at wenaha gallery

The art of life is art itself. Framers Savonnah Henderson and Lael Loyd work together on a project

See you later, my friends. If you ever find yourself near Port Angeles, I’d love to get together and take a walk along the pier.
— Lael Loyd

Say “See ya later to Lael,” and “Hello” to Savonnah

Lael’s last day at the gallery is Saturday, August 19, so please drop in to wish her the best, as well as meet and get to know Savonnah!

 

ceramic terra cotta pottery platter with cow mary briggs

Ceramic Terra Cotta — Functional Beauty by Mary Briggs

ceramic terra cotta pottery platter with cow mary briggs

Ceramic terra cotta platter, with painting of cow by Mary Briggs

Mary Briggs is a woman who rarely sits. So much is her desire to keep active that she changed specialties in college because her first choice, graphic design, was too sedentary.

“I was the kid whose foot was always wiggling,” Briggs says, explaining why she became a studio potter after earning her Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics at the University of Iowa.

ceramic terra cotta pottery vase mary briggs

Ceramic terra cotta pottery vase with romantic landscape painting by Mary Briggs

“The wedging of clay or manipulation of clay is a physical activity that might be likened to a baker or chef — moving around the kitchen and using your arms and creating a physical end product.”

Ceramic Terra Cotta Inspired by Folk Pottery

For the Eugene artist, the completed physical end product is terra cotta functional ceramicware — platters, plates, vases, candlestick holders, mugs — inspired by historical folk pottery as well as the works of 19th century Old Masters painters. Briggs began incorporating imagery on her work 15 years ago when she observed how brush marks and drip lines formed impressions of landscapes. It was a short, but significant, step to drawing period images on her work, adding to its sensation of timelessness and meaning.

She focused upon the 19th century landscape for its calming, romantic element, likening the feeling to that inspired by a country drive.

“I find rural life and nature to be calming and beautiful. By using that imagery on my work, I hope it brings a sense of calmness to those who encounter it.

“I also hope to create an awareness of how important nature is to all of us personally and globally.”

Nature: In the Garden and the Ceramic Studio

Nature, for Briggs, is an element that factors throughout her day and week, whether she is in the studio, creating a body of work that, from start to finish, can take up to three months,  or out in the gardens of area residents, who commission her skills in this area.

earthenware ceramic terra cotta painted mug mary briggs

An earthenware, terra cotta ceramic mug by Mary Briggs

“I work as a gardener for a week and then in my studio for a week,” Briggs explains, adding that she began gardening as a side job in graduate school, finding it a natural counterbalance to the intensity of studio work.

“It’s interesting to note that most potters are fabulous cooks and gardeners,” she observes. “It was not my experience that graphic designers were much interested in either of those. It was that sense of community that also attracted me to the field of ceramics.”

Briggs’s studio is based in the garage of her home, and has been renovated with added windows and insulation, additional electricity for her kiln, and ventilation. Because there is limited space for storing inventory, Briggs keeps her work moving, and a major means of doing this is through the Schaller Gallery of St. Joseph, Michigan, which represents some of the finest functional ceramic artists of the world. Most recently, gallery owner Anthony Schaller told Briggs to add Rebecca Sive — who may or may not be the Huffington Post writer who penned Every Day Is Election Day; Briggs isn’t sure  —  to her list of collectors.

ceramic painted landscape pottery platter mary briggs

A ceramic, painted landscape platter with gilded edging, by Mary Briggs

Dedicated to the Ceramic Art

Briggs has shown her pottery in group and solo exhibitions in galleries and universities in Minnesota, Michigan, Georgia, Tennessee, Montana , Wyoming, Indiana, and Oregon. Her work is in the permanent collection at Bermuda National Gallery, Contemporary Ceramics, and she has been published in Ceramics: Art & Perception, an international journal dedicated to ceramic art. Her art  also appears in the book, 500 Cups: Ceramic Explorations of Utility & Grace by Suzanne J. E. Tourtillott.

Ironically, though Briggs chose to leave graphic design for ceramics, its influence does not go unnoticed in her art.

“I think all my art classes in college have helped with my decoration process,” Briggs says. “From color theory to composition to art history: all those things are in my tool box.” Each piece is individually decorated, in accordance with its shape, size, and form, with the result that every ceramic Briggs creates is uniquely, singularly distinct.

Choosing Terra Cotta

ceramic earthenware terra cotta pottery vases mary briggs

Ceramic earthenware vases by pottery artist Mary Briggs

The very choice of terra cotta — known as poor man’s clay because it is not as dense and white as porcelain — is deliberate, with Briggs being drawn to its rustic quality and unexpected, but welcome, irregularities. It’s of the earth, after all, just like gardening.

In the end, Briggs says, that’s what it’s all about: the earth, and beautiful places, and exquisitely shaped ceramics that capture that beauty and encourage those who see the work.

“My work is not about politics or social commentary.

“It is simply meant to serve as a window into a peaceful place.”

Wenaha Gallery

Mary Briggs is the Featured Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, August 14 through Saturday, September 9, 2017. 

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.

Conversation fish james christensen wenaha gallery

Seriously Fantastic — The Art of James Christensen

Waiting Tide Everyman James Christensen Wenaha Gallery

Waiting for the Tide by James Christensen

He was whimsical. He was serious.

He painted religious themes. But his trademark image was a floating or flying fish, often on a leash.

He knew his Shakespeare. And he celebrated his Everyman, too — the podgy, humpback character who represented the imperfections in all of us.

lawyer adequately attired print james christensen wenaha gallery

A Lawyer More Than Adequately Attired by James Christensen

James Christensen, the renowned fantasy artist inspired by the world’s myths, fables, and tales of imagination, left his mark on the art world, and the world in general, during his long and illustrious career of painting “the land a little to the left of reality.” His passing this January from cancer left collectors and lovers of his work saddened and bereft, as expressed by Todd Fulbright of Redmond, WA, who with his wife Jackie owns nearly 20 of Christensen’s art prints and porcelain figures:

“He will be missed by his family — a great father and husband and grandfather. For my own selfish reasons as an admirer of his work, I always looked forward to his next project.

“What a great imagination, and what fun characters he created!”

Among his many fans, Christensen’s creative genius is undisputed, but for those who had the privilege of meeting the artist in person, the experience has added even more dimension, personality, and warmth to their treasured collections.

“James was brilliant in his humor and intellect as it was ever present in his art,” says Dayton resident Lorrie Bensel, who used to gaze at Christensen’s window display at Wenaha Gallery in Dayton, and dream about some day buying one of the artist’s prints. Little did she foresee that, not only would she own  a number of those prints, but would also meet Christensen in person, during a time when the artist visited the gallery and Bensel worked there.

Pink Ribbon woman in dress james christensen wenaha gallery

Pink Ribbon by James Christensen

“He made you feel like an old friend even upon a first meeting.”

Lael Loyd, present manager of the gallery, agrees, remembering her first meeting with Christensen in 2005, which was also her very first major artist show.

“I was so nervous!” Loyd recalls. “I stayed late to clean the floors the night before the show while Ed and Pat Harri, the owners of the gallery, went to pick up Christensen and his wife Carole at the Walla Walla Airport.” Loyd’s mind raced with Christensen images, embedded through weeks of preparing for the show, and she dreaded — but still hoped for — the possibility that Christensen would pop by that night.

“Sure enough, he did!

“He walked in and immediately put me at ease. The next day, when he came in for the show, it was like we were old friends.”

Shakespeare world is a stage james christensen wenaha gallery

All the World’s a Stage by James Christensen

A talented but regular guy, as Loyd phrases it, Christensen explained to her that he had worked out a system with his wife, Carole, to “rescue” him from being buttonholed in the corner by enthusiastic fans, an occurrence which was not unusual because he didn’t know how to extricate himself without hurting feelings. When he tugged on his ear, Carole was to come over and move things along.

“At one show, James told me, a person was going into great detail telling about a dream he had, and how the artist should create a painting from this dream. After a few minutes, James tugged on his ear. No Carole.

“He tugged harder. Still no Carole.

“Finally, with both hands, he tugged frantically to catch her attention. He wasn’t sure that she hadn’t seen him the first time, but this gave me insight into his sense of humor, their relationship, and his reliance on her to help all go smoothly.”

Conversation fish james christensen wenaha gallery

Conversation Around Fish by James Christensen

Christensen, who began his career as a junior high school art teacher — slipping in freelance illustration and selling at sidewalk art fairs while raising a young family — lived to enjoy international acclaim. From winning all the professional art honors the World Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention can bestow to appearing on an episode of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (in which he created a picture featuring a member of the family), Christensen never lost sight of the ordinary, regular person, and never doubted he was within their ranks.

“Believing is seeing,” was his philosophy, as he sought to teach people to use their imaginations to overcome the problems and stresses of living life. If Everyman could find a way, so could they.

“He will be sorely missed by many, as he touched many lives with his art and soul,” Bensel says.

Loyd agrees. “He helped me see life through a different pair of eyes.

“He will be missed, but more than that, he will be remembered and live on.”

Wenaha Gallery

Wenaha Gallery is holding a special Tribute to James Christensen Saturday, April 1, from 1 to 4 p.m., and invites all Christensen fans, long-time and brand new, to visit and view Christensen’s art. During the Tribute, as well as for Christensen’s month-long Art Event (March 27 – April 22), the Gallery will display every single Christensen artwork, porcelain, book, DVD, and puzzle in its collection, with many being discounted on April 1, only.

Also on April 1 is a special art show for Pamela Claflin of Kennewick, WA. Claflin’s richly colored oil paintings capture the unique landscape of the Pacific Northwest. The artist will be on hand to meet and greet, and free refreshments are provided.

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!

 

 

Great Horned Owl painting on feather, by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Otterstein

Featherlight Touch — The Wildlife Art of Debra Otterstein

Great Horned Owl painting on feather, by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Debra Otterstein

Great Horned Owl painting on feather, by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Debra Otterstein

Frequently, our biggest life decisions are the result of little things.

For wildlife artist Debra Otterstein, her determination to paint intricate animal portraits on domestic turkey feathers came about because of

  1. her lack of success in home economics and
  2. guilt.
Calliope Hummer by wildlife artist Debra Otterstein

Calliope Hummer by wildlife artist Debra Otterstein

“I did not find art when I was young, nor did I know that I would be a wildlife artist; I had to discover art,” the Cove, Oregon painter says. In high school, when presented with the elective choice between home economics and art, she chose the latter, because her earlier foray into the former “didn’t go so well.” Quite fortunately, she was not doomed to repeat the experience.

“The first day I picked up a piece of charcoal and started to draw, my life changed, and art has been with me ever since.”

A subsequent associate of science degree from Boise State University led Otterstein to eventually adopt a dual identity — medical coder by day and wildlife artist by night — and although these two pursuits seem at variance with one another, they are surprisingly compatible:

“Both are very detailed endeavors, both take into account anatomy, and both require that you spend many hours  working alone after doing much research,” Otterstein explains.

If you’re wondering by now where the guilt factors in, it has to do with Otterstein’s brother-in-law, who regularly found photos he wanted to see developed into paintings.

“One day he brought me the strangest eagle photo and he wanted me to create, using this reference, a very large painting,” Otterstein recounts. “This photo did not inspire me, and I could not bring myself to do as he asked, so I painted a tiny painting.

Cougar Cub, by Debra Otterstein

Cougar Cub, by Debra Otterstein

“Then I felt guilty.”

A second attempt resulted in further dissatisfaction, and more guilt. Daunted by the prospect of permanent mental turmoil, Otterstein decided that the third time would definitely be the charm.

“I knew I needed something really fun and interesting, so I painted an eagle on a feather.

“My guilt went away, and I found feather painting.”

It is an unusual substrate, one that requires intense concentration, unlimited patience, a steady hand, and a light, yet firm approach. Viewers and purchasers of Otterstein’s work observe that she paints with a feather-light touch, capturing special wildlife moments on a canvas of feathers. One of the first questions many people ask is where she gets the feathers upon which she creates her art.

“I am an upcycler, as I use domestic turkey feathers,” Otterstein explains.

“Many people do not realize that there is a law that protects bird feathers and nests: it is called the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. This act makes it illegal to possess feathers and nests.” Designed to prevent decimation by commercial trade in both birds and their feathers, the act lists some 800 species on its protected list, which pretty much means that, unless the feather is from a domestic bird (turkey, chicken, or duck), or from a non-native invasive species (sparrow or starling), it’s not something one picks up, or paints on.

The Otterstein painting which wildlife artist Terry Isaac calls "a Masterpiece."

The Otterstein painting which wildlife artist Terry Isaac calls “a Masterpiece.”

With collectors throughout the United States, as well as in international locales as far flung as Australia and Qatar, Otterstein works closely with some of the top wildlife artists in the world: John Seerey-Lester, Terry Isaac, Daniel Smith, and John Banovich. Isaac labeled one of Otterstein’s works — depicting, on traditional canvas substrate, a cougar crossing a river — “a masterpiece.”

“From these top artists, I have learned the importance of always conducting research before I start to paint, by doing field work and studying the physical appearance of each creature and its environment,” Otterstein says.

“I have learned that this is truly the best part of being a wildlife artist.”

In the 14 years that Otterstein has participated in the Wallowa Valley Festival of Arts at Joseph, OR — one of the premiere art exhibitions of the Pacific Northwest region — she has garnered numerous awards, including multiple First and Second Places, and People’s Choice. Other accolades include being named gallery featured artist in Baker City, OR, and receiving the Artist of the Year Award by the Eskridge Family Trust.

But what matters most to Otterstein, she emphasizes, is the subject matter — the wildlife with whom we share this planet, and which depends upon us to maintain a harmonious, peaceful, coexistence. If she can capture the viewer’s attention and evoke a sense of awe, then she has truly succeeded.

“By using a feather as my canvas, it symbolizes the balance of how delicate nature is, but also how strong it must be to survive.”

Wenaha GalleryDebra Otterstein is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, September 12 through Saturday, October 8.

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.

 

A hand-thrown pottery Brie baker, with curled handle, by Rose Quirk

Timeless Fashion: The Functional Pottery of Rose Quirk

A curved, hand-built pottery platter by Rose Quirk, Wenaha Gallery guest artist from Richland, WA

A curved, hand-built pottery platter by Rose Quirk, Wenaha Gallery guest artist from Richland, WA

Human beings are not machines.

Sounds sort of obvious, doesn’t it? While the statement would make a fine social media meme — short, punchy, rhyming, and good for a share or two and 7.5 seconds of fractured reflection — it makes a point well  worth comprehending:

Human beings are not machines.

A hand-thrown pottery Brie baker, with curled handle, by Rose Quirk

A hand-thrown pottery Brie baker, with curled handle, by Rose Quirk

And when those human beings are artists, creating items with their very human, very skilled hands, the resulting craftsmanship is not designed to be found, shrink-wrapped, in a child’s meal.

“Each piece I create is unique, handmade, and even pieces that are part of a set can be different,” says Rose Quirk, a ceramic artist from Richland who specializes in functional wheel-thrown and hand built pottery.

“Mugs are slightly different sizes; the glaze on each piece is unique and has its own personality. This is both wonderful, and challenging.”

Consider, for example, a stack of dinner dishes, she adds. They must, and do, stack evenly, but part of their singular, unparalleled charm is that they do not look like precisely the same piece, eight times over. Before approaching the wheel, Quirk meticulously weighs out the clay, apportioning an equal amount for each item. One after another a plate is shaped on the wheel, guided by steady hands that, after more than 20 years, know what “feels” right. A ruler measures and confirms the final step. The resulting dinnerware, while close in size and shape, is far from being a clone.

Fractured Fish ceramic wall art by Rose Quirk

Fractured Fish ceramic wall art by Rose Quirk

“Because each piece is hand-formed, there’s not going to be that exactness that you get in commercial pottery,” Quirk explains. “There are ways to control it without using a mold, but you can’t control it exactly,” nor should this be the driving focus.

“You can go to Walmart and buy a mug for a dollar, but when you spend $25 or $30 on a hand-thrown mug, you appreciate the aspect of its being hand-thrown.”

Such attention to detail, in conjunction with an understanding that nothing is 100 percent predictable, reflect the duality of Quirk’s professional background: a biochemist who has worked for medical and pharmaceutical firms throughout the nation, Quirk concurrently pursued her interest in pottery. Upon moving to Washington State with her husband (“I think we’re here permanently, now”), Quirk focused her attention on the art side of things.

Interior and exterior views of large pottery serving bowls by Rose Quirk

Interior and exterior views of large pottery serving bowls by Rose Quirk

“Science and art have frequently gone hand in hand for me,” Quirk says. “There is a strong correlation between the visualization skills needed to see and understand chemical elements and molecules and the art of creating a three-dimensional piece of pottery.”

Precision, experimentation, observation, research, creativity — a host of elements come to play as Quirk works in her 500-square foot home studio, where half the room is devoted to throwing and firing clay (“This can be quite messy . . . “) and the other half is devoted to finishing, including the addition of embellishments such as collage and fiber.

With an eye on food an entertainment trends, Quirk combs through Pinterest for ideas, which she then transforms into signature, trendy pieces of timeless appeal: a delicately curved, hand-formed platter to hold hors d’oeuvres and finger foods; a shallow dish for creamy Brie cheese; a gently sloping, texturized serving bowl that looks as good everyday on the coffee table as it does in the middle of a holiday gathering. The glazes are rich, warm, earth-toned, and perpetually in vogue.

Celestial Dream ceramic wall art by Richland, WA artist Rose Quirk

Celestial Dream ceramic wall art by Richland, WA artist Rose Quirk

“My art is in kitchens all across the Mid-Columbia,” Quirk says. “It is to be handled, used and enjoyed every day.”

A member of the Allied Arts Association in Richland, Quirk is a longtime board member who serves as the Featured Artist Chairperson, responsible for setting up and managing the exhibits that rotate through the facility’s 1800 square feet of gallery space. In 2015, she was honored by receiving the coveted Szulinski Award, recognizing artists who have distinguished themselves by their excellence of craftsmanship in a three-dimensional medium.

Such recognition is always positive, but for Quirk, an even greater joy is the creation of her work,  melding science with art, and finding that harmonious balance of individuality with congruity. An achievement like this, she notes, is lasting success.

“It has always been my goal to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind, functional pieces.”

Wenaha GalleryRose Quirk is the featured Pacific Northwest Art Event artist from Monday, June 20 through Saturday, July 16.

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.

A fossil of a fish is one of the more unusual items that framer Lael Loyd has framed at Wenaha Gallery.

When Being Framed Is a Good Thing — The Importance of the Simple (or Ornate) Frame

A fossil of a fish is one of the more unusual items that framer Lael Loyd has framed at Wenaha Gallery.

A fossil of a fish is one of the more unusual items that framer Lael Loyd has framed at Wenaha Gallery.

The beauty, and frustration, of history are the differing opinions by experts regarding what actually happened. After all, since the parties involved are long gone, it’s difficult to be precise.

So it is with the history of not only painting (with researchers propounding both Europe and Indonesia as sites with the oldest works, and dates ranging initially from 10,000 to a present consensus of 40,000 years ago), but with the frames that surround the paintings. One voice in the framing world, Church Hill Classics, asserts that frames have existed since the second century B.C., when borders were drawn around Etruscan cave paintings, while the UK’s Paul Mitchell Ltd, specializing in antique and reproduction frames, pinpoints framing’s origins to the embellishment of vase and tomb artwork around that same date . . . or a thousand years earlier.

Three dimensional items are a challenge, but not an impossibility, to frame.

Three dimensional items are a challenge, but not an impossibility, to frame.

Technicalities aside, framing artwork has been around for a long time, and as any college student with posters on the wall can attest, a formal outside border makes all the difference in whether the room feels like a dorm, or a home. It enhances, it upgrades, it protects.

“For all practical purposes, it holds the guts of the frame package together, and acts as another barrier to protect the art,” says Lael Loyd, principal framer at Wenaha Gallery in Dayton, WA. “The frame is the last line of defense against the elements from the side.”

While it can be as simple as strips of barn wood (hopefully without the splinters) to the ornately crafted, gold-leaf gilded frames associated with 19th century French landscapes, the final choice, Loyd observes, strongly depends upon the artwork within.

“The frames, like the lamps, floor rugs, couches, and mirrors, should never detract from the room. We encourage each piece to be designed for what it needs, keeping in mind the environment it will live in.”

A Victorian Shadowbox incorporates items from the era.

A Victorian Shadowbox incorporates items from the era.

Like that interior furniture and decor, framing goes “in” and “out” of mode, Loyd says, explaining that the manufacturers of commercial framing keep an alert eye on the home interior market, introducing styles that are trendy without being “faddy.” Some elements, however, are like the little black dress — always perfect, and always timeless:

“Basic black, gold and silver always win . . . Browns, in a variety of tones, mahogany, black and shades of gold, silver and bronze are what I use most.”

Loyd has designed framing packages for everything from what one would expect to frame — a painting, a poster, certificates and diplomas — to the more unusual — a fossilized rock, a piece of the Torah (“No pressure there!”), a softball outfit including the ball and bat, a World War I Service Banner encased in glass on both sides. Her most challenging 3-D framing commission was her first, a Victorian shadow box that included a feather, pair of gloves, book, buttons, pocket watch, and more.

“I was terrified! I took a long time because I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I used techniques I didn’t know existed until, and in the end, it is one of my favorite designs.”

Some frames are works of art in their own right, and within the museum art world, curators are paying increased attention to this fundamental, but easily overlooked, element to the finished art package. In 2015, The National Gallery in London presented a 5-month exhibition entitled Frames in Focus: Sansovino Frames, featuring elaborately designed frames from the 16th century. It is the first in a series of exhibitions that the gallery plans on frames.

For the average person, however, what needs to be framed probably won’t be found in a museum, although this does not mean that the work doesn’t have meaning.

“I love the designs that come with a story,” Loyd says, “like a child’s refrigerator art housed in a basic frame, and the child comes in and clings to the framed piece, or the photo of a prize-winning husky, with ribbon included, and the owner brings out a Kleenex because the beloved dog has passed away and we’re now working to display a memory.

“It’s history, living history, preserved and protected for future generations.”

Wenaha GalleryFraming Extravaganza is the Pacific Northwest Art Event from Monday, March 28 through Saturday, April 23. Both ready-made frames and a select inventory of link molding (from which custom frames are made) will be deeply discounted as the gallery makes room for additional frame styles and colors.

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.

 

 

 

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

One-of-a-Kind, Unusually Unique — The Handcrafted Jewelry of Andrea Lyman

Handcrafted necklaces, bracelets, and earrings by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

Handcrafted necklaces, bracelets, and earrings by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

In the adroit hands of Andrea Lyman, there is no such thing as dross. Found items, vintage beads, dice, glass, metal, buttons, fabric trim, even seeds and nuts, find their way to new life and unusual expression in one-of-a-kind jewelry that genuinely lives up to that description.

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman.

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman.

“I’ve been making jewelry for, man, decades,” Lyman says. “I have always loved anything slightly worn with its own natural patina, and I have always loved creating beautiful things.”

Lyman’s inspiration began early, watching her mother and grandmother transforming fiber into embroidered pillowcases, crocheted doilies, table coverings, and curtains.

“I remember how much time went into making the most mundane of household items into a thing of beauty for our family to enjoy,” Lyman says, recounting how she followed the matriarchal steps of creating with fabric before expanding her scope to hand-made art cards, large bags crafted from new and vintage textiles and trims, and encaustic, or hot wax, painting.

When she turned her attention to jewelry, at first she just made things for herself, then as presents for holidays and birthdays, then — at the urging of friends, family, and other gift recipients — for sale at craft fairs and festivals, gift shops, and galleries. What started as a hobby and a means of expressing herself soon grew into a second career, one pursued concurrently with her day job as a music teacher in both public and private schools, a position she held for more than 40 years.

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

“I am no longer teaching in a school, but nearing retirement age (notice I didn’t say ‘retirement’ — whatever that means!), I now travel and mentor other music teachers in Waldorf schools throughout North America and a couple in South America,” Lyman says.

Presently residing in Cuenca, Ecuador — where, in her non-retirement, she serves as artistic director for the 45-member Cuenca International Chorale — Lyman incorporates exotic elements, like hand-woven basket beads from Ecuadorian artisans, into her bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. Another favorite design element is the tagua nut, nicknamed the “vegetable ivory,” and prized for its ivory-like color and texture.

Earrings by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

Earrings by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

“I love making beautiful things — period,” Lyman explains. “I thoroughly enjoy creating something artistic, colorful and unique, and especially for the jewelry, making someone else happy or feel special.”

Through the years, many people have experienced this happy, special feeling, as Lyman readily takes on commissions for life’s important occasions — a necklace and earrings to match the mother-of-the-bride’s dress, or a birthday gift incorporating colors and items meaningful to the recipient.

“I love making things specifically for others.

“I think of them all the while I am working on the piece, so the piece ends up being imbued with my attention and good intentions for that  person.

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

Jewelry by Wenaha Gallery artist Andrea Lyman

“I like to think that it is similar to an amulet or ‘medicine’ piece for them, bringing them luck, good fortune, peace, or whatever good things can come their way.”

Because she has an eye for the unusual and distinct, Lyman finds signature raw material wherever she goes, and every flea market, antique store, community market, or even yard sale is an opportunity to discover hidden gems that most people overlook. Back at her studio (“a space that is my own, filled with all of the things I need and the things that bring me delight”), Lyman pores through the drawers of her bead cabinet, which she has organized by color and shape and size.

“Something calls out to me — perhaps a color or a certain bead. I kind of let the materials tell me what they want to become.”

Part of any artist’s dilemma is that, after investing so much of their soul in a work, an eventual good-bye must be said if the artist is going to make a living at selling it.

“I only make things that I would love to wear, so I either wear all of them or none of them!” Lyman exclaims. That being said, there are pieces that, upon completion, never leave her possession, having been created for her own special occasion or specific outfit. It is at these times that Lyman feels the joy her clients experience upon possessing the perfect piece of jewelry.

“I love to play with the colors, shapes, and textures of the materials until a piece begins to create itself, guiding my hands, thoughts, and visions.

“My jewelry is truly wearable art, and each piece is unique.”

Wenaha GalleryAndrea Lyman is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA from Monday, August 10 through Saturday, October 3.

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.

Belle, by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

Life Is a Journey — The Primitive Rock Art Paintings and Sculpture of Monica Stobie

Belle, by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

Belle, by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

Some humans live for many many decades, while others measure their lifespan in moments. But all humans, whether or not they ever physically walk on the earth, leave a footprint. It is part of their journey.

A Little Attitude by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

A Little Attitude by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

For fine artist Monica Stobie, the concept of a journey is simultaneously highly personal and sweepingly universal, embodying the distinctive experience of the individual in concomitance with the lives, stories, and existence of people throughout history. Stobie, whose subject matter — and passion — is rock art, creates pastel, oil, mixed media, collage, and sculpture that draw inspiration from the petroglyphs (pictures carved into rock or stone) and petrographs (pictures drawn or painted on a rock surface) of ancient people. Raised on an apple ranch in the Yakima Valley, Stobie was attracted from a young age to the symbolism and animal imagery of Native American culture, and when, years later, she stumbled upon rock art at a site near the Snake River, she was, as she phrases is, “hooked.”

Cowbird by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

Cowbird by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie.

“I have traveled extensively, exploring rock art sites, which has given me an unlimited source of inspiration,” Stobie says. “I worked for several weeks one summer documenting rock art sites on private land. Having a Navajo guide provided a unique perspective on these ancient sites. “Hiking through harsh desert conditions gave me an understanding of a much more difficult time of survival for ancient peoples.”

Fly Away by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

Fly Away by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

Stobie translates this understanding, empathy, and fascination into two- and three-dimensional format, and over a professional art career spanning 30 years, she has evolved her technique and style through exploration of various mediums. “Originally, I worked with paper collage — kind of a paper marquetry –fitting different pieces of paper into a design, much like a puzzle.”

Constant experimentation with papers led to her discovery of Mexican bark cloth, a heavily textured paper made from indigenous tree bark that holds layers of rich pastel colors and texture. The next step was sculpture, in response to requests by various galleries carrying her work, and the most recent path is that of oil and mixed media. Throughout all the variance and experimentation, the research and exploration, however, the crux of the matter, which forms the basis of her pilgrimage through both life and art, remains constant:

“When I look at the journey, the prevailing theme of textures, primitive imagery, and animals are prominent,” Stobie observes. She loves the mystery of it all. Life is, after all, a mystery to and for all of us, with none of us knowing where the next step will lead.

Red Hills by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

Red Hills by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

In Stobie’s case, art has been a part of her life since early childhood, when she learned under the aegis of her grandmother, a watercolorist.  Early school experiences reinforced a fledgling artistry, when a second-grade teacher praised Stobie’s interpretation of a bird as a sign of outstanding creativity. Adulthood found her graduating from Eastern Washington University with a degree in Art Education, which she put to use for 15 years teaching junior and senior high art in Walla Walla, WA, and Milton-Freewater, OR. Moving to Dayton, WA, coincided with the decision to turn her steps to a new path, one that plumbed the adventures of independent, full time, professional fine art.

Whispers by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

Whispers by Wenaha Gallery artist Monica Stobie

“Working in a converted bedroom turned into a studio, I began my trek to carve a place in the art world,” Stobie says.

Given her chosen subject matter, it is ironically appropriate that Stobie chooses the word “carve.” The impact she has made extends far from her Dayton venue, as she shows and sells her work to a diverse and widespread clientele.

“During the span of my career I have shown in galleries, mostly throughout the Northwest but also Wyoming, Colorado, and California. In recent years, fellow artist Jill Ingram and I managed our own gallery in Dayton.”

And now, it’s a new adventure, a new direction on the path as Stobie and her husband prepare to move to the Southwest, using this new home as a base from which to travel.

As with all of life’s experiences, some things change, while others stay the same: in a new home, a new venue, a new adventure, the studio, for now, will start out in the familiar fashion of a converted bedroom. But it’s all part of the adventure. “And so,” Stobie proclaims, “a new journey begins.” Wenaha Gallery

Monica Stobie is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA from Saturday, August 22 through Saturday, September 19. An Artist’s Reception is scheduled Saturday, August 22, from 1 – 5 p.m. at the gallery, during which time Stobie will be present to meet viewers and talk about her art. Free refreshments are provided.

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.

Bowls and Onions, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

She Never Did Sell Wash Rags — The Oil Painting of Deborah Krupp

Bowls and Onions, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

Bowls and Onions, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

When painter Deborah Krupp was a child, she proclaimed to the world in general that her goal, as an adult, was to sell wash rags and towels.

“Art and color and decorating and architecture have been a part of me from as early as I can remember,” Krupp, who eventually pursued a successful career in teaching, explains. “My mother would take us shopping in the department stores, and I remember holding her hand while we looked at the beautiful items, especially those in the linen department where there were red and blue and orange towels.

Impressionist Roses, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist, Deborah Krupp.

Impressionist Roses, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist, Deborah Krupp

“So I announced that when I grew up I was going to sell washrags and towels. It was a story that followed me through my life as my mother enjoyed telling it.”

Even though Krupp’s initial avocation declaration underwent significant change, her love for beauty, color, and artistry did not. During the years that she taught K-12, or served as fulltime librarian in the Nine Mile Falls School District outside of Spokane, Krupp lived, and taught, the internal skills that she would later draw upon in her painting.

“As an English teacher, I had the students sit and think before they started writing, and I instructed that they put their pencils down for ten minutes and just think about what they were going to do next,” Krupp remembers.

“As the year went on, the kids naturally started to put the pencils down themselves, and the classroom — which normally has its share of noise — was very quiet.

Beachy Dream, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

Beachy Dream, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

“I rather believe that this is the same need we have in art. I think much of it is a matter of thinking to get into the feel, and that you have a peace by the time you get to putting color on the paper. It’s a slow process.”

For Krupp, who began actively pursuing a dream to paint after her retirement in 2009, this process of peaceful contemplation doesn’t always run smoothly, most significantly because her “studio” is a mobile one, which she sets up in the corner of the kitchen, family room, or den.

Golden Palms, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

Golden Palms, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

“I make an announcement that I need to be uninterrupted for a time, although that rarely happens,” Krupp says. “My ideal is that I have a separate studio where I don’t feel guilty about not baking cookies or getting dinner on the table.

“I’m probably not as indispensable as I think I am, but everyone likes my cookies!”

Despite any clamor, however, the cookies must wait, as Krupp, in a burst of enthusiasm echoing the voice of her childhood, explains that she loves to “paint, and paint, and paint!” With an initial background in drawing from architecture and drafting classes that she took at WSU, Krupp advances her skills through a combination of reading and studying art and the masters, analyzing the properties of paint, and transferring what she learns intellectually to paint or canvas.

She has taken workshops with David Riedel (still life oil painting), Carl Purcell (nature in watercolor), and Diane McClary (oil impressionism) and draws upon, for subject matter, the whole wide world around her.

Wenaha Morning Mist, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

Wenaha Morning Mist, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

“There are so many colors out there and so much beauty that I don’t have enough time in the day to take it on,” Krupp says. She sets up still lifes and studies the way the light reflects off surfaces. Other times, she paints landscapes, both from photo references and memories, but always she is seeking to capture that ethereal synthesis of light with color.

“As young as I can remember, I recall staying with my grandmother, whose shades were amber. In the morning, when the sun shone through, it turned the room gold, and that early memory has influenced my life ever since — from the colors that I put into my house to the paintings that I do now.

“There is a glow and a life that I want in the painting.”

Recently moved to Dayton, Krupp is still in the process of unpacking, and though she has connected with the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, she hasn’t yet set up her painting space.

“It’s like withdrawal and I find myself a little edgy not being able to paint. I think I’m going to have to work in the kitchen again, although I hope to set up a shed we have in back, into some kind of studio.”

She just needs time, place, and a space, but the one thing that’s always there is the love for, and appreciation of, color.

“I’m always striving for that natural glow that takes you beyond reality.”

Wenaha GalleryDeborah Krupp is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA from Monday, July 27 through Friday, August 21.

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.