Good things come in threes. Consider this: how many important decisions are made with the simple game, Rock, Paper, Scissors?
There were three wise men, three Bronte sisters, and three muskateers; there are three essential ingredients in the bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich, no recipe necessary.
And for three weeks in June, three Pacific Northwest artists in three completely different mediums, will collaborate on an Art Event at the Wenaha Gallery, Dayton, WA.
Two are from College Place; all three have studied at, or graduated from Walla Walla University. And all three are fervent about what they do: Caprice Scott from College Place creates functional and decorative porcelain; Joyce Wilkens of Spokane is the author of coffee table books; and Wanda Thompson of College Place captures nature’s quiet places in graphite.
“God created me to create, and I feel a spiritual connection with Him when I’m working on pottery or sculpture,” says the maker of three-dimensional ware that spans the gamut from vases to lidded boxes, from ceramic fruit to purses in porcelain.
“In creating something I feel is of beauty, I have a tiny idea of who God is and the joy He takes in His creations.”
Scott’s hand-built pottery incorporates images from the natural world , and inspiration derives as well from her three years of living in Europe and traveling the globe to 11 countries. Throughout the seasons, Scott takes regular drives to the Blue and Wallowa Mountains, in search of greenery to press into clay.
“In the Wallowa Lake area, there is a small grove of Aspen trees where I clip some leaves,” Scott explains. “I also look for pine cones. Although I’ve used a lot of things for clay impressions, my go-to and first choice is always something from nature.”
Language, as well, is a driving force in Scott’s art, and she finds various way to incorporate the written word into her work.
“It is beauty in itself, whether in a book, a love letter, or scrawled by a child with a piece of chalk on the sidewalk.”
While watercolor, oil, wood, and fabric are all mediums in which Wilkens works, books are a focus of her time these days, and her two recently published works are Teacup Art . . . and Reflections and Walking Sticks — Wanderings and Wonderings. The unusual subject matter appeals to a broad audience, and copies of her books reside in the libraries of Conrad Anker, the renowned mountain climber of Everest and K2; Tom Till, one of the nation’s top photographers; artist Guy Buffett; and former President George Bush.
The books, it seems, are as well traveled as their author.
“We spent three months working in Africa in 1985, ” Wilkens says. “That’s when I started up photography.”
That’s also when she and her husband, Keith, started their walking stick collection, which has grown, along with Joyce’s passion for hiking, nature, the beauty of wood, and the stories behind what is made from that wood, all of which fuel Wilkens’ inspiration for her books.
“On a mission service trip in 1998, I traveled to a very primitive area of southern Madasgascar,” Wilkens remembers.”I took with me a watercolor painting I had done of lemurs in trees. I found a small craft store and asked if someone there could carve me a walking stick with a lemur on it, in exchange for the watercolor painting.”
The deal was struck, a one-of-a-kind walking stick found its way to Wilkens’ home and into her book, and “Madagascar not only has a piece of my art, but also a part of my heart.”
Finding inspiration in nature and the quiet places of Europe, Thompson focuses on peacefulness, and often, on trees.
“I love trees!” Thompson says. “In our home, we have eight tall-to-the-ceiling Ficus trees plus two other large ones.
“But my favorite theme is bare trees because I love the shapes of the bare branches.”
While Thompson’s primary focus is on graphite and watercolor drawing, lately she finds that her camera is becoming a close friend, because she is always keeping her eyes open for unique trees and unusual landscapes to interpret in her studio.
From the highlands and islands of Scotland, to the Dolomites in Italy and Lapland in Finland and Norway, Thompson absorbs nature through hiking and hillwalking, “away from the rush and noise of the world.”
They are three different artists, working in three completely different formats, who all share an appreciation of nature, peacefulness, serenity and form. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good working definition of art.
Wenaha Gallery’s Triple Play Art Event, featuring Caprice Scott, Joyce Wilkens, and Wanda Thompson, begins May 27 and runs through June 14 at the downtown Dayton, WA gallery, 219 East Main Street. A reception for the artists is scheduled Sunday, June 1 from 1-4 p.m., with all three artists in attendance and refreshments served.
Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at http://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 email@example.com.
This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.