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Crazy about Art — The Eclectic Paintings of the Blue Mountain Artist Guild

An eclectic show of various media, subject matter, and art styles by the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, at Wenaha Gallery

An eclectic show of various media, subject matter, and art styles by the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, at Wenaha Gallery

There are so many misconceptions about artists, the most pronounced being that they are solitary creatures, reluctant to appear in daylight, preferring instead to lurk like hermits in their attic-loft studios.

Chickens, original watercolor by Sylvia Beuhler of the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, Dayton, WA, showing at the Wenaha Gallery.

Chickens, original watercolor by Sylvia Beuhler of the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, Dayton, WA, showing at the Wenaha Gallery.

Outside of mass media interpretation, however, artists are people like any other, and many of them enjoy assembling to socialize and encourage. One such group is The Blue Mountain Artist Guild of Dayton, WA, consisting of some dozen painters, who gather monthly to provide new artwork for the community — which they hang at the Delaney Building near the library and the Dayton General Hospital lobby.

“Our meetings are generally informal, sometimes a program is presented, and we always discuss the inspiration for our latest work and any special technique or process used in its creation,” according to Meredith Dedman, current president of the group, who, with  longtime area resident Vivian McCauley, co-created the BMAG in 2008.

Number 500, original watercolor by Meredith Dedman of the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, at Wenaha Gallery.

Number 500, original watercolor by Meredith Dedman of the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, at Wenaha Gallery.

“We had both belonged to art associations in Arizona and Florida, and we missed the camaraderie and inspiration when a group of artists get together,” Dedman explains.

That camaraderie these days revolves around the challenge of painting to a monthly theme, which the group decides upon and schedules up to a year in advance. This year’s challenges range from Something Red — to be shown in February — to Collage in April, Caricatures in October, and Toys in December. Summer’s challenge, in July and August, requires each artist to paint from the same reference.

Evening Meal, original acrylic painting by Brenda North of the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, at the Wenaha Gallery.

Evening Meal, original acrylic painting by Brenda North of the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, at the Wenaha Gallery.

“I was excited when I joined the Guild to find that they had a ‘theme’ for each month’s display of paintings,” member Brenda North says. “It was good to have fresh ideas and feedback from other artists.”

Co-member Sylvia Beuhler, who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and taught art in public school, initially was not as enthusiastic about the concept.

“At first, I didn’t like the theme idea,” she says, “but after about a year, I really started to enjoy playing with the theme to see what I could come up with.”

The Conversation, original watercolor painting by Michele McIntire-Smith of the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, at the Wenaha Gallery.

The Conversation, original watercolor painting by Michele McIntire-Smith of the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, at the Wenaha Gallery.

Beuhler and North join Dedman, along with Kris Takemura and Michele McIntyre-Smith, to present a guild showing of their work at Wenaha Gallery, Dayton, WA, through March 7. A reception is scheduled Saturday, February 21, from 1 – 4 p.m., with all five artists in attendance, reflecting a subject matter ranging from seascapes to chickens, in acrylic and watercolor media, the latter the preferred medium of the exhibitors.

“Watercolors can produce beautiful and sometimes unforeseen results because of the difficulty of control,” Takemura, a retired early childhood and elementary teacher, observes.

Ballerina, original watercolor by Blue Mountain Artist Guild member Kris Takemura, for the Wenaha Gallery

Ballerina, original watercolor by Blue Mountain Artist Guild member Kris Takemura, for the Wenaha Gallery

Dedman thrives on the medium, having studied under well known watercolorists such as Sue Archer, Ann Pember, Tom Jones, Pat Weaver, Diane Maxey, and Karlyn Holman. In the spirit of learning and sharing, Dedman offers watercolor classes of her own, and several guild members take advantage of the opportunity..

As is the situation with many artists, guild members paint where they can, some in designated studios, others in spaces that become studios by virtue of being made to function as one. North turned a spare bedroom into a space to create; Takemura expropriated a table in her Rec room; McIntire-Smith chose a room in her home where she looks out at, and is inspired by, the deer-filled, bird habitat adjacent to the Touchet River.

“There is never a shortage of beauty in nature where we live,” North says. “And it’s good to have fresh ideas and feedback from other artists.”

McIntire-Smith agrees, echoing the sentiments of others in the group:

“I am grateful to the other members,” she says, “for their insights and encouragement.”

So, the next time you see the crazy artist, in the movies, mumbling and muttering to himself, and plucking at his ear, remember that they’re not all that way.

Wenaha GalleryThe Blue Mountain Artist Guild is the Art Event: Pacific Northwest Feature at Wenaha Gallery from February 9, 2015 through March 7, 2015 at Wenaha Gallery’s historic Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street. There is a reception with the artists present on Saturday, February 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. Free refreshments 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 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.

Handcrafted rolling pins by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Rick Woodard.

Art That Is Meant to Be Used — the Woodturning of Rick Woodard

Handcrafted rolling pins by Wenaha Gallery artist Rick Woodard.

Handcrafted rolling pins by Wenaha Gallery artist Rick Woodard.

A work of art.

Generally, when we use this phrase, one of the last images that comes to mind is a French rolling pin, but woodturner Rick Woodard blends and integrates four hardwoods — Walnut, Maple, Osage, and the exotic, richly purple-brown African Padauk — into a smoothly sensuous kitchen utensil that is as beautiful as it is pragmatic.

“My work is to be used,” the Burbank, WA woodturner says. “I haven’t gotten into the real artsy stuff, but focus on bowls and platters and rolling pins with the idea that people will use them.

American Elm Bowl by Wenaha Gallery artist Rick Woodard

American Elm Bowl by Wenaha Gallery artist Rick Woodard

“I have my own rolling pin that I pull out for making pie crusts, and bowls that I use for different things.”

Woodard, who has been creating wood-turned, functional art since 1995, learned under noted Alaskan wood artist Buz Blum, who taught Woodard, over a period of time, how to turn natural edge birch bowls using freshly harvested, green birchwood. Sometimes called “bark edge” or “live edge” bowls, the bowls are created with a base originating in the center of the log, and the edges incorporating the bark from the outer edge of the tree, according to fruitofthelathe.com.

“I wanted to make bowls, for some odd reason,”Woodard remembers.

“I had been in construction all my life, and because of this, I found myself around different kinds of machinery, including lathes, and one day, I just bought one. I started messing around with it for awhile and decided I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I looked around for someone to help me advance.”

Maple Bowl by Wenaha Gallery artist Rick Woodard

Maple Bowl by Wenaha Gallery artist Rick Woodard

Because when he decides to do something, he figures that there’s no reason to wait around to get started, Woodard saw Buz’s work in an Anchorage shop, liked it, and contacted him directly after running into Buz’s name, again, in a woodturning magazine. Quite fortunately, they both lived in the same state at the time, and 50-some miles was a manageable distance to travel for lessons from a master.

In a short time, the student was creating bowls and platters worthy of being sold, collected, and used, and Woodard offered his woodturned art through All Alaska and Gifts, an artists’ co-op located in downtown Anchorage.

“Tourists from around the world would come into the store, and there are people from Japan, England, Australia, Germany, and all over the lower 48 states who have my turnings,” Woodard says.

Lidded Flower Bowl by Wenaha Gallery artist Rick Woodard.

Lidded Flower Bowl by Wenaha Gallery artist Rick Woodard.

When he headed south and wound up in Burbank, Woodard transitioned from using greenwood birch to experimenting with the many hardwoods, seasoned and cured, that he found in his new Washington home.

“There’s a lot of maple around here, oak, walnut, black locust, honey locust; there’s a lot of variety around here,” Woodard says. “But it’s not like you can just go out there and cut it down.

“The trees are pretty big, and it involves a lot of wood. I generally find someone who is cutting down a tree — for firewood — and arrange to purchase some large pieces from them.”

Like many serious woodturners, Woodard has a stash of wood — most definitely not intended to be burned — which he stores in a shop behind his house. When it has dried to less than 10 percent moisture, the wood is ready to be worked, with no worries that the final piece will crack or misshape as it dries.

Woodard finishes his woodturnings with a blend of beeswax and carnauba wax, both food grade, and he encourages purchasers to not be afraid to use his art for its intended purpose.

“Just don’t wash it in soapy water,” he says. “Clean it with a damp cloth and wipe it with walnut oil or olive oil — not cooking oil — because those two don’t turn rancid.

“Like I said, it’s made to be used.”

Wenaha GalleryRick Woodard is the Art Event: Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from January 26, 2015 through February 21, 2015 at Wenaha Gallery’s historic Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street.

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 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.

At the Beach original watercolor by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Vivian McCauley

Prolific, Determined, and 95 — Vivian McCauley, Painter of Just about Everything

At the Beach original watercolor by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Vivian McCauley

At the Beach, original watercolor by Vivian McCauley, guest artist at the Wenaha Gallery

It sounds like a riddle that Gollum would propound to Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit:

How does someone paint like Picasso, without painting like Picasso?

The answer, in the Shire of Dayton, WA, where fine artist Vivian Eslick McCauley has lived and painted for nearly 90 years, is this:

Barn with Wheat original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Vivian McCauley

Barn with Wheat original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Vivian McCauley

Both Picasso and McCauley are versatile in their art, never limiting themselves to a particular style or subject matter.And as a bonus, both artists painted into their 90s, with McCauley, at 95, still actively at work:

“My paintings are smaller now that I have moved from Dayton, to an apartment in Arizona,” McCauley says, “but I still do them and display them at my entry way or next to my door.

“Down here they have beautiful sunsets, and I’ve been painting them, along with some florals and a few Western pictures. Through the years I’ve done animals, flowers, landscapes, just whatever interests me at the time, and I’ve worked in all media. Right now, I’m focusing on pastels.”

Life slows down at 95, McCauley concedes, but that doesn’t mean it stops, and since her move to the desert two years ago, McCauley has painted both indoors and out in plein air, as well as taught a beginning watercolor class, something she would like to do again.

“I’ve taught classes in the community for years,” McCauley, who received her teaching degree in 1967 from the Laguna Beach School of Art in California, says. Although she started out in the elementary school classroom, she quickly broadened out to the adults in the area, offering classes to small groups of beginning and intermediate artists.  “Walla Walla, Tri-Cities, Dayton — I think just about every adult artist in Dayton can verify that they took lessons from me.

“Sometimes I would travel to the Tri-Cities and just stay, teaching classes throughout the week — drawing, portrait, oil, pastels — I taught all of them.”

Daffodil Pitcher by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Vivian McCauley

Daffodil Pitcher by Wenaha Gallery guest artist, Vivian McCauley

For McCauley, who farmed and raised her family in the Dayton area, art worked itself around daily life, but it always had a way of making itself known: through the years, McCauley painted public art for the Columbia County Fairgrounds; volunteered with the local art club to run the art department at the fair; and spearheaded the Columbia County Mural Society, which in the mid-90s commissioned muralist Robert Thomas to sketch out the mural outlines, that McCauley, and the dozen-plus members of the society, then painted in.

Abstract Mixed Media by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Vivian McCauley

Abstract Mixed Media by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Vivian McCauley

In 2008, McCauley joined forces with Dayton resident and artist Meredith Dedman to create the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, bringing rebirth to the area’s flagging art club, and within a short time, she arranged for local art to be in the public eye: Guild members create regular displays at the Delaney Building, next to the public library; the Liberty Theater; and most recently, the hospital.

“Vivian is very dogged when she sets her mind to it,” Dedman says. “She talked to the CEO and the board members and kept at it, and now we have a space in the entryway and the hallway. People love it.”

Regarding McCauley’s art, Dedman says, “Art is such a passion with Vivian, and she has such a good eye. She’s always been interested in taking a new class and learning something new.”

Through the years, McCauley has studied under noted artists such as Merlin Enabnit, Robert Wood, Frank Webb, Morten Solberg, and Barbara Nechis, defining and refining a style that is predominantly representational, with a nod now and then to the abstract. An interest that started with her first award, in first grade, and the assurance that she has a “God-given talent for art,” has led this prolific painter to show, sell, and teach her art wherever she finds herself. Intriguingly, she has done all of this without ever having enjoyed a proper art studio.

“I wish I could have had a studio,” McCauley says with a sigh. “I painted in the garage, sometimes on the patio, and sometimes on the kitchen table, depending on the weather. This means that when it was cold outside, I painted inside!”

Now, she paints in a small apartment, still with no proper studio, but also still with the dogged, indefatigable attitude that Dedman observed.

“I’m 95,” McCauley says.”But I just try to ignore that 95 and do what I can.”

Wenaha GalleryVivian McCauley is the Art Event: Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from January 12, 2015 through February 7, 2015 at Wenaha Gallery’s historic Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street.

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 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.

 

 

 

The Land of Chief Joseph inspirational original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Steve Henderson

The Art of Appreciating Art

The Land of Chief Joseph inspirational original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Steve Henderson

Regional artists of the Pacific Northwest capture the area in which they live. The Land of Chief Joseph by Wenaha Gallery Artist Steve Henderson.

Most of us understand and empathize with our fellow humans who are afraid of mice, spiders, snakes, small spaces or vampire movies starring Christopher Lee. We all have our fears and foibles, and they vary depending upon the person.

Many people, however, are frightened — in a different way — of something that is designed to bring joy and dimension to their lives: fine art, as in paintings and sculpture, jewelry and prints, woodwork and photography. Whether it is years of the discipline being overrun and overruled by the extreme abstract movement, resulting in viewers being condescendingly ushered from the room when they asked, “Why is this piece worth $25,000? It really looks like something an eight-year-old could do,” or not, too many individuals are missing out on an element of life that should be part of all our lives.

Kokopeli Dancer birdhouse by Papa Jon's Fly Inns of Wenaha Gallery

Sculpture comes in all shapes and forms, and Papa Jon’s Fly Inns creates birdhouses that are functional and decorative. Kokopeli Dancer, by Wenaha artists Jon and Marilu Bryan of Wenaha Gallery.

So, let’s change this, and aggressively make art  part of our lives.

Appreciating fine art, like most skills, is easy yet difficult, but it doesn’t start at all until we begin. While it sounds simplistic, initiating the process involves nothing more than looking at art — in books, online, or in person — and doing just that: looking at it. The more we expose ourselves to different styles, different media, different subject matter, the more experience we gain in art, and of art, and soon find ourselves developing a sense of confidence in our judgment.

“I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like,” is a common phrase of the common man, and like most such phrases, it imbues a factor of commonsense as well. Art, which is both subjective and objective, appeals to different people for different reasons, and in the same way that some people love goat cheese and others don’t, or some people prefer a red Malbec over a white Pinot Grigio, or a black Nilgiri tea over a South African honeybush tisane, some viewers gravitate toward bold brushstrokes and vibrant color, while others prefer subdued colors and a smooth, blended surface.

Great Blue Heron Wildlife painting by Hiroko Cannon of Wenaha Gallery

Original watercolors and prints are available by wildlife and Wenaha artist Hiroko Cannon. Shown is Great Blue Heron.

Most fortunate of all are those whose experience is so wide and diverse that they see merits in various styles — they like herbal infusions as well as white tea, bitter dark chocolate and the sweeter milk kind, representational art and abstract.  And, because they’ve looked at a lot of art, and asked questions about what they’ve seen, and pondered the various answers they were given, they are free as well to say, “This is good, and this is not,” because art — while it is very, very subjective — possesses objective elements as well, although, within certain areas of the art world, this is a well kept secret.

Because art, in various forms, is literally everywhere, the ability to see it, and learn from it, is open to anyone with access to books, images on a computer, or — and this very much an option for people in Southeast Washington — brick and mortar galleries that house and showcase art. Known for being an art community, Walla Walla — and the area around it — is fortunate to possess private and community establishments that show art, sell art, and encourage people to visit and physically view art.

Pierced wood bowl by wenaha gallelry artists pat and peggy bookey

Pat and Peggy Bookey of Alaska join forces to create hand pierced wooden vessels that are both functional and decorative.

Any fears that aspiring aficionados have about walking into a gallery and feeling like an idiot should be immediately put to rest, because anyplace that prompts a reaction of insecurity in its patrons is not a place where they will learn about art. And it’s not a place that viewers will find in this area, which enjoys a number of ways to view original art.

In Walla Walla, WA, Kingfisher Gallery and Custom Framing at 11 South Spokane Street features original art from Walla Walla based artists including Carol Cole, Bob Baker, Ed Stone and Mark VanDonge, and new works are added on a changing basis through the year.

Darrah’s Framing and Decorator (39 East Main) focuses on artists of the Walla Walla Valley, spotlighting the work of one artist for special two-month-long shows.

Todd Telander Gallery at 34 South Colville features landscapes, still life, and wildlife work of the artist.

A  short drive away, Wenaha Gallery (219 East Main) in Dayton showcases Pacific Northwest artists in its Art Events, every two weeks bringing in the two-  or  three-dimensional work of regional painters and sculptors. The gallery also houses the original work of some 30 artists from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.

On the John Day inspirational original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery Artist Judy Robertus

Dayton artist Judy Robertus paints the Pacific Northwest in which she lives, and which she loves. On the John Day by Wenaha Gallery artist Judy Robertus.

Dayton artists with studios include Monica Stobie (610 North Touchet Road)  and Steve Henderson (by appointment: 509.382.9775); and the Delaney building, next to the public library (111 South Third Street) hosts a monthly rotating display of artwork by the Blue Mountain Artists Guild.

Further afield, but still within an afternoon’s drive, are the Valley Art Center in Clarkston, WA (842 6th Street); the Pendleton Center for the Arts (214 North Main Street,  Pendleton, OR); and the Allied Arts Gallery (89 Lee Boulevard, Richland, WA). All three of these community art organizations operate a rotating monthly calendar of juried competitions, regional exhibitions, and individual and group artist shows. A short hop from Clarkston (16 miles northeast in Uniontown, WA), the Dahmen Barn carries the work of 120 artists, some of whom maintain studios in the building and are more than happy to talk with visitors.

This is, indeed, an area rich in the visual arts, and the opportunity to make art a part of our daily lives — viewing it, appreciating it, and owning it — is big and bold and beautiful. Let’s make 2015 the year to embrace art.

Websites:

Todd Telander — http://www.toddtelander.com/

Kingfisher Galleries and Custom Framing — Kingfisher Walla Walla (Facebook)

Darrah’s Framing and Decorating — http://www.darrahsdecorating.com/

Wenaha Gallery — https://wenaha.com/

Monica Stobie — http://www.monicastobie.com/

Jill Ingram — http://www.jillingram.com/

Steve Henderson — http://stevehendersonfineart.com/

Allied Arts Gallery — http://www.alliedartsrichland.org/

Pendleton Center for the Arts — http://www.pendletonarts.org/

The Dahmen Barn — http://www.artisanbarn.org/

Wenaha GalleryWenaha Gallery 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; website https://wenaha.com/ 

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

 

Dayton Community Food Bank near city hall in Dayton, WA

It Takes a Village — or a Friendly Small Town — to Keep a Community Food Bank Full

Dayton Community Food Bank near city hall in Dayton, WA

Organization doesn’t just happen. A dedicated group of volunteers is an important component to the success of the Dayton, WA Community Food Bank.

 

Community.

Before it became a television sitcom, the word was used, and overused, by businesses and organizations trying to infuse a sense of humanity into the corporate framework. Before all that, however, the word had a viable meaning describing a group of dedicated people who — in a small, friendly town sort of way — pull together to do good things.

In Dayton, WA, the Community Food Bank lives up to that cozy, friendly definition.

Dayton's Community Food Bank is located in the former fire station next to City Hall in Dayton, WA

Dayton’s Community Food Bank is located in the former fire station next to City Hall in Dayton, WA

“We are a volunteer organization with our own time and often money going into the system to keep it running,” Laura Thorn, director of the food bank, says. “We distribute food to clients whose income falls below 185% of the federal poverty level. We do this on Tuesdays, from 2 – 4 p.m., but besides all that, we need people to manage the accounts, order the food, schedule the volunteers, arrange the call lists, make the decisions, and keep the unit together.”

Volunteers do everything from sort and pack food to lift heavy boxes –(“We’re always looking for people who can lift weight to unload a monthly delivery truck on the third Wednesday of the month,” Thorn slips in) — and one dedicated couple cleans and guts fresh fish that the bank receives in the fall and spring through the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Many of us organize our life around Tuesday distribution day, taking vacations from Wednesday to Monday,” Thorn adds.

The thing about a community food bank is, not only are a lot of volunteers needed, but so is, quite naturally, a quantity of food. Serving between 140-160 households, representing up to 550 people, per month, the non-profit organization works in conjunction with federal, state, and local agencies, including the Blue Mountain Action Council of Walla Walla, which once a month sends the aforementioned truck with federal and state food supplies. Those supplies include 4,000 to 6,000 pounds of food — hence, the request for people who, literally, lift weight.

Winter squash provided by local gardeners to the Dayton, WA community food bank

Local gardeners, generous with their bounty, are an important part of the Dayton Community Food Bank.

But while agencies and organizations and boards are all part of the team, the “community” factor of the food bank is supplied by just that — the local people and civic groups who live in the area and care about their fellow residents who struggle to get food on the table.

“Many family gardeners share their food with us as a project,” Thorn says. “Last year we received strawberries and vegetables from local growers.

“Another family volunteers regularly with their two young daughters.”

Throughout the year, the Country Cupboard bakery donates surplus products; McQuary’s Grocery provides freezer space beyond what the food bank enjoys at its location in the former fire station next to City Hall; and many businesses and school organizations make a yearly tradition of gathering food.

“Food drives are particularly useful for us because they promote awareness and publicity in addition to gathering food,” Thorn says.

Laura Thorn, director of the Dayton Community Food Bank, keeps food and paperwork smoothly moving.

Laura Thorn, director of the Dayton Community Food Bank, keeps food and paperwork smoothly moving.

“We enjoy visits from Vacation Bible Schools every summer. Community events — like Dayton Mule Mania, the Wellness Coalition, Relay for Life, and Turkey Bingo — include us.

“In the fall, the Future Business Leaders of America did their major food drive, going door to door at Halloween, gathering 300 pounds of food.”

And coming up in January, Wenaha Gallery downtown embarks upon its 6th annual month-long food drive, which last year collected 550 pounds of food. While the gallery offers an incentive of $2 off framing for each can donated, (up to 20 percent off), gallery manager Lael Loyd says that many people are equally enthusiastic about adding to the growing display of food that the gallery features near the front window.

“They see the display in the window one afternoon, and the next day they’ve parked their car in the front and are bringing in cans,” Loyd says. “They’re really excited to see us as a convenient drop off point.”

Extra excited this year is gallery associate CJ Horlacher, who creates art displays throughout the year, and considers the aesthetic arrangement of disparate cans and boxes and bags a satisfying challenge. Thanks to another local grocery, Dayton Mercantile, Horlacher will have a shopping cart as part of this year’s display, and she is already running through ideas, none of which she will share early.

“It’s a surprise,” she says with a smile. “Even to me.”

Food is, obviously, one of the essential elements of life, and giving it to those who don’t have enough is an act about which one can feel good.

“Our goal is to provide a few days of balanced meals to enable our regular clients to afford some of their other basic necessities,” Thorn says.

“We are privileged to be part of a strong local base for funding and support.

“It takes a community working together to fight hunger.”

Wenaha GalleryWenaha Gallery’s 6th Annual Food Drive for the Dayton Community Food Bank runs from January 2 through January 31, 2015, and people may drop off non-perishable canned and boxed food, as well as personal care items such as deodorant or toothpaste, at the gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery 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.

Bend in the River, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jim McNamara.

Mountain Man Painter — The Landscapes of Jim McNamara

Bend in the River, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jim McNamara.

Bend in the River, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jim McNamara.

Jim McNamara is a man who moves mountains, because that is what landscape painters do.

“Cameras can do a better job at exact duplication,” the Walla Walla fine artist says, “but one of the great advantages of being a painter is the freedom to move elements around to suit the needs of the composition. So if a tree isn’t where I want it to be, I move it.”

McNamara, whose day job until retirement 15 years ago was in public education as a school psychologist, has been drawing and painting all his life, thanks to a bunch of determined women:

Dirt Road, Big Sky by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jim McNamara

Dirt Road, Big Sky by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jim McNamara

“The nuns at St. Bridget Elementary in Omaha saw a spark in me and coaxed my parents into sending me to summer school at Joslyn Art Museum when I was barely old enough to ride the bus,”  McNamara remembers. Art classes continued in high school and college — interspersed with courses in English literature, counseling, and school psychology — and specialized workshops followed throughout adulthood, as McNamara studied under some of today’s outstanding outdoor painters: Jim Lamb, Ned Mueller, Ken Roth, Matt Smith,  John Budacin, and Ralph Oberg.

The result of all the study, eclectic interests, and hard work has been McNamara’s unique style, blending brushstrokes with realism, plein air with studio work, a painterly attitude with attention to detail:

“My colors and shapes are broadly realistic but I prefer to employ a ‘painterly’ style,” McNamara explains. “I think painting is more interesting and involving if it leaves something to the viewer’s imagination.

“I like to see brushstrokes in a finished painting: it adds a textural dimension, and makes the work more fun to look at close up.”

McNamara, who prefers oil but forays into watercolor on occasion, is a consummate landscapist, focusing on broad, sweeping images of the Pacific Northwest and West, which he captures both on scene — en plein air  — and in his studio, inside an old house, built in 1900, with the high ceilings and quantity of windows that prompt other artists to sigh with envy.

“Where I paint is what I imagine was once the master bedroom,” McNamara says. “There are paintings on the walls, as well as art books, paints and brushes set up. I have an iMac with four or five thousand images to keep my mind occupied in the winter, when it’s hard to get outside.”

Trailhead View by Wenaha Gallery artist Jim McNamara

Trailhead View by Wenaha Gallery artist Jim McNamara

With such an ideal set-up, one would think that McNamara would stay in the studio all the time, content with the absence of rain and wind, but the Great Outdoors seductively calls,  and McNamara has painted en plein air from the Rockies to the coast, covering most of the western states in his travels with his wife. His favorite painting experiences involve backpacking to some remote location, setting up his easel, and painting directly from nature.

“Painting outdoors produces the most accurate color and the most spontaneous result,” McNamara says. “But because outdoor conditions are not always ideal in the Northwest, especially in winter, I do rely on reference photographs, which are always taken by me.” Hence, the iMac, with its 5,000 images.

While in the earlier years of his full-time painting McNamara entered juried shows and competitions throughout the  region — the Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts and the former Walla Walla Carnegie Art center, the latter where he won People’s Choice Award and sold the painting the same day — the artist now concentrates his time on as much painting as he can get in. Most of his sales generate from his home studio, The Fort Walla Walla Winery on Main Street, or Wenaha Gallery in Dayton, with one of the most pleasurably memorable sales being to a collector in France, in Walla Walla for a wine tasting — from one area known for its wines, to another.

“I think representational art always makes a statement because it regards its subject as important and significant,” McNamara reflects upon what he does. “Just the act of intensely looking at a subject for the sometimes lengthy time required to render it gives it significance.

“I believe the natural world deserves being looked at intensely and wordlessly.”

Wenaha GalleryJim McNamara is the Art Event: Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from December 16, 2014 through January 10, 2015 at Wenaha Gallery’s historic Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street.

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 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.

Win Big at Dayton’s Scavenger Hunt!

Here's the list of questions, and the participating businesses for the Dayton Scavenger Hunt, which runs through December 6, 2014. Drop in to any of the businesses and grab your card today!

Here’s the list of questions, and the participating businesses for the Dayton Scavenger Hunt, which runs through December 6, 2014. Drop in to any of the businesses and grab your card today!

Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt?

By the time we’re old enough to get really good at it, however, they’re difficult to find — but not in Dayton, WA!

Seventeen Dayton businesses have joined together to create a fun hunt for the Christmas Kick-off season that involves grabbing a Signature/Stamp card, visiting each shop, and determining which question on the back of the card has to do with that business — like this:

At Wenaha Gallery, what artist has bird sculptures on display?

or

What type of milk does Little Dipper Dairy use in their cheese?

The Gardener wooden sculpture by Wenaha Gallery artist Jordan Henderson

It’s a sculpture! Ah, but not a bird. Keep looking and you’ll find the answer to question 6. (The Gardener Sculpture by Wenaha artist Jordan Henderson)

In cases like these, finding the business that has the answer to the question is pretty straightforward, but other questions get a little tricky:

Where can you find Yankee Candles?

or

Where can you find a shuffle board countertop at a local restaurant?

Once you figure out the right business to go with its question, you’re in the right place to find the answer. And when you do, a representative at the business will provide a stamp or initial in the box on the Signature Card for their business. Participants have until December 6, 2014, to complete the card and drop it off at any of the 17 businesses, or at the Dayton Chamber of Commerce.

Then what?

Then your card with your name is entered into a drawing with three winners:

First Prize — $100 in Dayton Dollars

Second Prize — $50 in Dayton Dollars

Third Prize — $25 in Dayton Dollars

Redtailed Hawk by Hiroko Cannon at the Wenaha Gallery

It’s a BIRD! But not a sculpture. But you’re close — if you’re in the Wenaha, you’re in the right place to answer question 6 (and we’ll help you, you know). Red Tailed Hawk by Hiroko Cannon, Wenaha Gallery guest artist.

AND — even if you don’t win, each business is providing a gift or offering a special exclusively for the customers playing the scavenger hunt. At Wenaha Gallery, we are giving a coupon for $3 off jigsaw puzzles of 500 pieces or more.

Got questions? Call Wenaha at 509.382.2124 or drop in and ask.

This event is sponsored by Pacific Power and brought to the good people visiting and living in Dayton by the Dayton Business Association in collaboration with the Dayton Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Columbia.

These are the 17 participating businesses where you can go and pick up you Scavenger Hunt card:

  1. Wenaha Gallery
  2. Little Dipper Dairy
  3. Boldman House
  4. Crofts Floral & Gifts
  5. Weinhard Hotel Gift Shop
  6. PDQ
  7. Blue Mountain Station Co-op
  8. Historic Depot
  9. General Store at Conoco
  10. Jacci’s Yarn Basket
  11. Rey’s Coffee
  12. Dingles
  13. Skyline Parts
  14. Village Shoppes
  15. Chief Springs & Iron Brew Pub
  16. Weinhard Cafe and Bakery
  17. Hometown Carpets
Spalted Maple Bowl by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Craig Hardin

Don’t Burn That Wood! Turn It into Art — the Wood Sculpture of Craig Hardin

Spalted Maple Bowl by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Craig Hardin

Spalted Maple Bowl by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Craig Hardin

 

As winter sets in and the days — and nights — get colder, a warm, merry fire in the hearth cheers the hearts of most. But for woodworker Craig Hardin, who turns wood on a lathe to create bowls, platters, lidded boxes, wine stoppers, bottle openers, and Christmas ornaments — fine hardwood has better uses, and a longer life ahead of it, after it has been through his capable hands.

“It is rewarding to turn a piece of hardwood into a bowl that someone will appreciate for years instead of burning it in their stove,” the Vancouver, WA woodworker says.

“There are many different types of hardwood to work with, and they each have unique characteristics.”

Birdseye Maple Wine Stop by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Craig Hardin

Birdseye Maple Wine Stop by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Craig Hardin

Whether a block of wood finds new life holding jewelry or keeping air out of the wine depends upon the wood itself, which in its own way speaks to Hardin — along with friends, family, and a growing list of clients — to determine what the final piece of functional art will be. For now, Hardin’s day job is at an electric utility company, and in his off time, he focuses on wood, with a significant amount of energy being devoted to finding it first, before ever he turns his attention to repurposing it:

“I cut and dry most of the hardwood myself that I turn. Friends and neighbors donate hardwood trees that they are removing from their property, and occasionally we come across a development where they are removing the trees. After asking permission, we are allowed to acquire some very nice hardwood for our use.”

An unusual, but rewarding source of exotic wood from other countries is the humble shipping pallet, and when Hardin finds a hardwood treasure in his forays to the Port of Portland, he jumps on it, not, perhaps, literally, but with decided enthusiasm.

“It’s so rewarding to recycle the hardwood in these pallets into amazing pieces of artwork,” Hardin says.

Small Birdhouse by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Craig Hardin

Small Birdhouse by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Craig Hardin

Black walnut, cherry, locust, maple — these are trees that are familiar to many, and the wood from them possesses a beauty that enhances any art item into which they are turned. Also in Hardin’s arsenal are ebony; madrone, or bearberry, which is native to western coastal North America from British Columbia to California; and camphor, described by the website Eat the Weeds as “cinnamon’s smelly cousin.” Native to Japan, China, and North Vietnam, this “exotic pest plant,” increasingly being planted on this side of the Pacific, is a favorite with woodworkers for its red and yellow striping.

Spalted maple, out of which Hardin has fashioned decorative bowls, features dark contrasting lines and streaks resulting from, of all things, fungus, and the challenge is allowing the wood to decay for as long as possible — to increase the complexity of design — but not so long that the material is weakened.

Zebra wood, which describes its appearance as opposed to its source, features strong dark stripes on a light background. Recently, Hardin donated a zebra wood wine stopper and pewter-headed bottle opener to a private nonprofit fund raiser for a Haitian children’s relief fund.

“Much of my work is shared with family, friends, and nonprofit organizations,” he says.

While at the moment, Hardin considers woodturning a pleasant hobby, in the future, after retirement, he plans to devote more time, and space, to re-creating new items out of the forest’s bounty.

“Currently, my studio is our third car garage bay at our house,” Hardin says, “but down the road we’ll have a dedicated space for a wood shop.”

The whole adventure began three years ago with a used lathe from Craig’s list that Hardin’s wife gave him for Christmas, but, “after the motor failed from my using it so much, we decided to purchase a new lathe.”

The new lathe has been receiving happy and generous use, and the consistent and varied supply of raw material on hand enables Hardin to continue experimenting, creating, and fashioning whatever the wood demands to be.

“Wood turning is unique,” Hardin says. “Each individual piece presents its own challenge, and reward.”

Wenaha GalleryCraig Hardin is the Art Event: Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from November 28 through December 27, 2014. He joins College Place, WA, watercolor artist Hiroko Cannon at an artist’s reception Friday, November 28, 2014, at Wenaha Gallery during Dayton’s annual Christmas Kick-off.

Meet Hardin at the evening reception, from 4-7 p.m., and enjoy good company, fine art, and free refreshments at Wenaha Gallery’s historic downtown location, 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.

Hiroko Cannon drawing of Great Blue Heron in Brown Grass at Wenaha Gallery

Life Outside the City Really Is for the Birds — the Wildlife Art of Hiroko Cannon

Hiroko Cannon drawing of Great Blue Heron in Brown Grass at Wenaha Gallery

Great Blue Heron in Brown Grass by Hiroko Cannon at Wenaha Gallery

The world of birds is thoughtful, peaceful, meditative, a far cry — or chirp — from the hustle and noise of Osaka and Tokyo, Japan, two metropolises known for their economic and commercial activity.

Fine artist Hiroko Cannon, who now calls Pendleton, OR home, was for many years a commercial and graphic designer in Japan’s two largest cities, creating illustrations for department stores during the day, and studying under her dream teacher, noted fashion and figurative illustrator Setsu Nagasawa, at night — that is, when she wasn’t still completing drawings for work:

“It was very hectic — projects came in the morning for the next morning’s newspaper,” Cannon remembers. “I would finish the drawings in the afternoon and wait for the first proof prints to come out for me to check. After the second and final checks I was free, to catch a taxi to go home in the middle of the night.”

And the next day, it started all over again.

Swainson's Hawk by Hiroko Cannon at the Wenaha Gallery

Swainson’s Hawk by Hiroko Cannon at the Wenaha Gallery

The quantity of work required, at the speed it demanded, was an art school all its own, and this in conjunction with studying human figure drawing and watercolor painting at the prestigious Setsu Nagasawa Seminar pushed Cannon to finesse her skills, and accuracy, in drawing.

“How to quickly catch the human movement on paper was one of Nagasawa’s curriculum, which I enjoyed a lot,” Cannon remembers.

In 1985 Cannon immigrated to the United States, and while she continued to produce illustrations and write articles on a freelance basis for women’s magazines in Japan, life changed from hectic to busy, simply because Pendleton, at its most frenetic, is not Tokyo. In the midst of raising two children, Cannon took a break from art, exchanging painting  for chauffeuring:

“Both children were heavily involved in music and required lots of shuttling to and from practice sessions, performances, and other activities,” she explained. But life goes on and children grow up, and when Cannon’s youngest child hit high school and began driving, Cannon knew that it was time to pick up painting again.

It was sheer happenstance that Cannon turned her skill, background, passion, and expertise to birds, sparked by a donation request from Lynn Tompkins of Blue Mountain Wildlife Rescue, who asked if Cannon would create a painting for the organization’s annual auction. Always a bird lover, as well as a strong supporter of the area’s non-profit organizations, Cannon agreed.

Redtailed Hawk by Hiroko Cannon at the Wenaha Gallery

Redtailed Hawk by Hiroko Cannon at the Wenaha Gallery

The public’s enthusiastic reaction to that first painting took its creator by surprise. Quickly sold for a good price, the painting sparked comments from others at the auction, who wanted to know where they could purchase more of her work. Cannon painted more originals which she reproduced as fine art prints, selling them briskly at the Pendleton Center for the Arts. Twice, Cannon walked away with the coveted People’s Choice Award at the center’s Open Regional Exhibit, and the demand for her work continued to increase. She then added greeting cards to her offerings.

Now working out of her house, which she uses as her work and storage place, Cannon explores the intricate detail and coloration of nature around her, concentrating on the big world of small things: birds, in their habitat; insects; spiders; flora; and the occasional snake. Her style is delicate, yet firm; accurate in detail; capturing the personality of her subject matter through its pose, or the expression upon its face. There is a sense of peacefulness far removed from sights and sounds and demands of a huge city.

“Looking back on my life in Tokyo, it was not for me anymore,” Cannon muses.  “Now, with my paintbrush, I am gently and slowly observing nature, including my life.”

Wenaha GalleryHiroko Cannon is the Art Event: Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery from November 17 through December 15, 2014. She joins Vancouver, WA, wood artist Craig Hardin at an artist’s reception Friday, November 28, 2014, at Wenaha Gallery during Dayton’s annual Christmas Kick-off.

Meet Cannon at the evening reception, from 4-7 p.m., and enjoy good company, fine art, and free refreshments at Wenaha Gallery’s historic downtown location, 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.

Sunday Morning Coming Down painting by Janene Grende

Horses, Birds, and Wildlife — the Exuberant Art of Janene Grende

Sunday Morning Coming Down painting by Janene Grende

Sunday Morning Coming Down by Wenaha Gallery Artwalk Featured artist Janene Grende

The Lemonade Stand: many successful entrepreneurs remember starting their career with paper cups, a rickety table, and a pitcher of summer brew. Wildlife artist Janene Grende, however, approached things differently:

“My sister Carol and I both drew and painted from childhood,” the Sandpoint, ID painter remembers. “We had a little painting stand out by the road like other kids would have a lemonade stand. Our first sale was 25 cents.

“Carol went running to the house yelling at mom, ‘We have a cuspidor! We have our first cuspidor!'”

Grizzle by Janane Grende, Wenaha Gallery Art Walk featured artist.

Grizzle by Janane Grende, Wenaha Gallery Art Walk featured artist.

Since that momentous day, there have been many cuspidors, and clients, for both Grende sisters, with the excited Carol advancing to a career in bronze sculpture (her full-size statue of Sacagawea is a public art piece in Dayton, WA), while Janene directed her attention toward two-dimensional painting in oils, acrylics, gouache (rhymes with wash), and silk dye on silk substrate.

A prolific artist, Janene has licensed her work to Leanin’ Tree cards; designed plates, ornaments, and sculptured items for the Bradford Exchange; and provided original paintings, limited edition prints, and gift items to Wild Wings, a leading publisher and retailer of wildlife art that distributes its products to more than 150 galleries and gift shops nationwide.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Grende has made a name for herself in the wildlife and western art world, completing several paintings for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, where she has twice been chosen the Artist of the Quarter; the National Wildlife Federation; and the United States Humane Society.

Selected as the Ducks Unlimited artist of the year for Idaho, Grende was the first woman to win this honor, and the first person to win it twice.

Her horse-inspired paintings have been featured at the American Academy of Equine Art, and among her many national awards is the Best of Show at the “In the Company of Cowgirls” art show at the Pendleton Cattle Barons Weekend.

Of the many awards under Grende’s belt buckle, however, her most prized accomplishment is the Susan Kathleen Black Foundation Award of Excellence, given once a year to the most well-rounded  artist for the accomplished artwork and teaching skills.

Two Girls on Horseback by Janene Grende, Wenaha Gallery Art Walk featured artist.

Two Girls on Horseback by Janene Grende, Wenaha Gallery Art Walk featured artist.

“I have paintings all over the world, in many different mediums,” Grende says. “One of my favorite commissions was a silk dye of two young girls who were avid English riders in New York State.

“They dreamed, however, of riding out west as cowgirls. Their dad sent me a variety of photos and I made them into cowgirls with wild rags, chaps, hats and spurs.

“Ridin’ right at ya whoopin’ and hollerin’ . . . with some great mountains behind.”

Another treasured memory involves a purchaser from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, who moved to Iran.

“He was in the evacuations when the U.S. needed to get out of Iran in a hurry,” Grende explains.

“He was wounded in the leg from a mortar round and airlifted out in a helicopter while holding my painting on his chest.”

Horses painting by Janene Grende

Horses in Hill Pasture by Janene Grende, Wenaha Gallery Art Walk featured artist.

An artist can’t ask for much better endorsement than that.

Grende paints and teaches from two studios in her Sandpoint, Idaho location, and while time to paint is never unlimited, ideas for what to paint next are boundless.

“I never have any trouble thinking about what I will create next — I have lists of ideas and more ideas come every day,” Grende says of the creative process.

“My favorite subjects are horses, birds, wildlife and scenery, in that order.

“I mean, have you ever seen anything as beautiful as a horse prancing about? Or an eagle stretching its wings as it glides off a branch into the sky? Or how about a huge bull elk strutting along in all his glory.

“A cascading waterfall, fireflies at dusk, autumn trees reflected in a mirror-still lake, spring flowers and that first hummingbird.

“How would anyone run out of ideas to paint?”

Janene Grende is the featured  Art Event Pacific Northwest artist at Wenaha Gallery (219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA) from October 4-31. On the opening day of her show, Saturday, October 4, Grende joins Lewiston artist Craig Whitcomb at a special Art Walk reception in the gallery, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., part of the Dayton on Tour celebration.

Wenaha GalleryContact 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.