Celebrating the Extraordinary of Ordinary — Anne Bullock’s Raku, Stoneware, Pottery and Multi-Media Art

 

Ring Handled Vessel, pottery sculpture by artist Anne Bullock at Wenaha Gallery.
Ring Handled Vessel, pottery sculpture by artist Anne Bullock at Wenaha Gallery.

Woven baskets and clay pots — these humble vessels have been used by ordinary people throughout history. And although they have been and still are a major factor in the daily lives of many, humble vessels are frequently overlooked and discounted in the worlds of both academia and fine art.

Corn Box potter sculpture by Anne Bullock at Wenaha Gallery
Corn Box potter sculpture by Anne Bullock at Wenaha Gallery

It is the rare, sensitive eye that sees the value of the prosaic, and Anne  Bullock, a Walla Walla mixed media artist who, until her death in 2014, celebrated the history and culture of the Plateau people, recognized and respected the expertise and creativity of Pacific Northwest, Native American artisans.

“Anne always worked from a place of deep spiritual meaning,” her husband, David Bullock, remembers. “She found meaningful inspiration in the way these skilled designers used materials at hand in environmentally sound ways to create beauty as well as function.”

Anne’s interest in indigenous baskets took her throughout the region, as she explored the exhibits of the Wanapum Heritage Center Museum, Maryhill Museum, The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, Sacajawea State Park, Tamastslikt Cultural Institute, The Northwest Museum of Art and Culture,  the Fort Walla Walla Museum, and numerous other historical locations.

Blue Vase pottery sculpture by Anne Bullock at Wenaha Gallery
Blue Vase pottery sculpture by Anne Bullock at Wenaha Gallery

“Vessels are a metaphor for my life and work,” Anne said in her artist statement. “I’m impressed with how early Native American Indian artisans worked with indigenous ‘of the earth’ materials. The gifts of the earth were revered; only what was needed was taken.”

In the spirit of the people she admired and honored, Anne worked in multiple mediums, both two- and three-dimensional, primarily in pottery, but her skills, like her interests, extended a wide range.

“She worked with charcoal, colored pencil, pastel, acrylics, and mixed media assemblage,” David says. “She also augmented her art with work in bamboo, wood, stone, wool, and paper.”

Untitled pottery sculpture by Anne Bullock at Wenaha Gallery
Untitled pottery sculpture by Anne Bullock at Wenaha Gallery

A most outstanding piece, remembered by artist friend and curator of Anne’s work Colleen Sargen, is “Earth, Wheat, Fire,” consisting of 36 tiles which needed to be precisely placed at the former Willow Gallery in Walla Walla, WA, during Anne’s Interwoven Exhibition there in 2010.

“She impressed wheat, other flora objects to honor the earth, bark of trees lost in the Walla Walla wind storm of 2007, and specific items such as sand dollars carefully placed, to honor individuals dear to her who have passed on,” Sargen says.

Adding especial interest to the installation was that the tiles were still being created during the week that Sargen was installing the show. “Because the tiles were still smoldering in the fire pit, the fire needing to extinguish naturally, we waited, realizing it would be the last piece installed!” Sargen recalls. But the wait was worth it.

Plateau Series Relief on Panel by Anne Bullock at Wenaha Gallery
Plateau Series Relief on Panel by Anne Bullock at Wenaha Gallery

“It is a stunning work, and Anne’s wish was that it be placed in a health care facility.”

These wishes are completely in line with who Anne was, Sargen continues, describing her friend and colleague as “so very tender hearted, it seemed that she herself suffered for the pain of others and actively took steps in daily life to ease pain and bring peace.” One means by which Anne accomplished this was through the March of Peace events that she organized in 2008, involving community members in the creation of small, clay “pinch pots” that were placed in an outdoor art installation at the Walla Walla Foundry’s sculpture garden.

David explains, “Anne sought every opportunity to involve community in her art, in ways such as attaching prayers to her bamboo prayer walls, tying personal mementos to a community memory strand, and even using puzzle pieces from second-hand puzzles to make vessels.”

Throughout Anne Bullock’s life, and during the 38 years she worked and created in Walla Walla, community was a driving factor. Whether that community consisted of the town in which she was living, or the memories of the people who had lived in the area centuries beforehand, she devoted her energy, her skill, and her art to acknowledging and honoring the contributions of ordinary, every day people:

“I am compelled to tie, bind, glue, blend, melt, carve, coil, weave, overlap or somehow piece together media in any way materials allow or dictate,” Anne’s artist statement outlines her deep-set beliefs.

“Integrating materials through these processes gives voice to my themes of honoring the earth, its resources, and inhabitants.”

Wenaha GalleryAnne Bullock’s collection of two- and three-dimensional work is the Art Event: Pacific Northwest feature at Wenaha Gallery from February 23, 2015 through March 21, 2015 at Wenaha Gallery’s historic Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street.

“Anne had a special connection with the Wenaha Gallery for many years, and I hope this showing of her work here can honor that connection and provide her community of friends the opportunity to remember and appreciate her creative endeavors.” — David Bullock

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Future and a Hope original oil painting of Jesus and child by Michele Davis
A Future and a Hope by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Michele Davis.

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

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

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

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

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

“So much for drama . . .”

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

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

Hope, by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Michele Davis.
Hope, by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Michele Davis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

A Boy’s Insistent Dream Becomes Reality — The Welded Metal Sculpture of Carlos Acevedo

Welded horse sculpture by wenaha gallery artist Carlos Acevedo
Untitled welded sculpture by Wenaha Gallery artist Carlos Acevedo

From the time Carlos Acevedo was a little boy, he wanted to be an artist. He knew that he was an artist.

But like many determined people with a strong dream and an equally strong personality to make it happen, he didn’t always have the support of the people around him.

“I can remember, in grade school, when the art teacher came into my fourth grade classroom to pick out the students who were ‘privileged,'” Acevedo says. He was never chosen.

Circumstances notwithstanding, Acevedo never gave up, and the way he let his wishes be known is one that generations of artistic students have used, and generations of teachers have scolded about:

Touchet welded metal horse sculpture by wenaha artist Carlos Acevedo
Touchet by Wenaha Gallery sculpture artist Carlos Acevedo

“I doodled on all of my homework and class worksheets, and was always trying to demonstrate to my teachers that I, too, had artistic abilities.”

It was not until three years later, however — upon entering junior high school — that Carlos achieved his goal of art study when he was now required to take the class as an elective, and all those years of persistent tenacity finally accomplished their purpose:

“That is when I was introduced to clay, block prints, drawing and painting,” Acevedo remembers.  “More importantly, I learned a valuable lesson back then — to never give up on what you dream.”

Acevedo’s dreams achieve reality these days in sculpture: his signature creations, many of which are horses, start out as eclectic fabrications of wood, metal, wire, and paper which he intertwines into the finished form, then casts into bronze. The resultant work of art is fluid with movement, spirited, conveying a sensation of action skillfully woven with a singular sense of tranquility.

Acevedo credits seven years of working at Walla Walla and Trevor Hunter Foundries with expanding his skill, his understanding of the different ways that metals interact, and his confidence as an artist:

“During my time working at these foundries, I had invaluable access to the contemporary art world,” Acevedo says. “It was there that I helped fabricate large and small-scale bronze sculptures for national and international artists.” Now, as a student at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, working on his AAS Welding Degree, Acevedo continues to learn, and when he isn’t studying, Acevedo creates in his art studio, an old army bunker at the Walla Walla Airport which he shares with photographer Amahra Leaman and two studio cats, Noche-No-Tail and Professor Tubby.

“The cats earn their keep,” he observes.

Welded metal horse sculpture by wenaha gallery artist Carlos Acevedo
Untitled 3 by Wenaha Gallery sculpture artist Carlos Acevedo.

So . . . why welded art?

“The welding process has always fascinated me,” Acevedo explains. “When I was a young boy, I watched my brothers fix broken bikes and other metal objects. It was truly remarkable that they could take something that was broken and make it function again.”

And the horses?

It’s back to those brothers again: “I remember my oldest brother, Jose, being placed on a beautiful black and white ‘Paint Horse’ to have his picture taken with his cowboy boots, caballero suit, and sombrero. I looked at that photo of Jose on that horse, wishing I too could only be placed on that same beautiful black and white paint horse to have my picture taken.”

Like the grade school art lessons, it never happened, but the love for horses, and the desire to sculpt, draw, and paint them, was born in that moment.

In many ways, the young boy in Acevedo — the one who watched other children attend classes he longed to be in, and an older sibling sit proudly astride the horse he would only admire in a photograph — has never grown up, but he’s done something better:

Welded metal horse sculpture by Wenaha Gallery artist Carlos Acevedo
Untitled IV metal sculpture by Wenaha Gallery artist, Carlos Acevedo.

He has taken the setbacks of youth and its frustrated dreams and translated them into a reality of adulthood. Like many artists, he juggles school and work and family to achieve that precious, never-enough-time in the studio, and the finished pieces reflect all of the time and process it takes to create them:

“Emotion for each piece is born simply by using my hands and physically feeling the materials,” Acevedo says. “It is this emotion, the tactile act of creating, and allowing my heart a chance to speak, that drives me to continue to create.”

Carlos Acevedo is the featured Art Event Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery, August 11 through September 6, 2014. Come see the exhibit at the gallery’s downtown Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street.  Wenaha Gallery

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.

The Artist’s Life, and Wife — A Different Perspective on Fine Art Painter Steve Henderson

The Land of Chief Joseph, original oil painting by Wenaha artist Steve Henderson
The Land of Chief Joseph, original oil painting by Wenaha artist Steve Henderson.

“It must be fascinating, being married to an artist!”

This is one of those less than profound comments one encounters in social situations in which the speaker is really looking for someone else to talk to, but you’re the only one next to a free chair.

Child of Eden, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist, Steve Henderson.
Child of Eden, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist, Steve Henderson.

But yes, since you asked, it is fascinating being married to an artist, and my particular artist, painter Steve Henderson of Dayton, WA, is a man I haven’t completely figured out in 32 years of being together. (Of course, he’s still puzzled about me, and this is a good thing.)

The other day, we were sitting in the river — not just dabbling our feet, but immersing the bottom part of the canvas chairs and everything that was resting upon them, chatting. Steve had spent the afternoon in his renovated barn studio, working on an oil painting teaching DVD, and the river is our air conditioning.

Midway through an observation on the genius of Nikola Tesla and the lack of any serious follow up on his many and varied discoveries in electricity, the man stops.

Most of the time, this means that he has heard or seen an animal — a deer, a dog, a snake, this latter not a comforting thought since these reptiles manage to swim — but  this time it was the river itself.

“That light, reflecting on the water,” he mused.”And the canopy of vegetation. I wonder if I can get  my camera out here without slipping on the rocks?

“Ah, but we were talking about Tesla . . . ”

Three Horses, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery Artist Steve Henderson
Three Horses, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery Artist Steve Henderson

(He did manage to get the photo, and he didn’t slip on the rocks. He has the balance of a mountain goat, the hearing of a deer, and the eye of an eagle which occasionally requires reading glasses.)

In movies and books, artists are unbalanced, eccentric creatures, and the only reason in a murder mystery that they are not the perpetrator is that they are so scatty in their random, disparate thoughts. It’s a wonder that they manage to hold a paintbrush, much less wield it, but given the artwork that they purportedly create on screen, perhaps this isn’t such a surprise after all.

But in the real world, at least in the world I inhabit with Steve Henderson, the artist is an organized, well read, soft spoken, articulate, intelligent man who at any given moment is either digging up potatoes in the garden, taking photos of a model in Dayton’s Boldman house for a future series of 1940s period paintings, mending  a goat fence, dressing up as Santa Claus for one of his holiday works, or reading George Orwell’s 1984.

In the Workshop, original Santa oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Steve Henderson.
In the Workshop, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Steve Henderson.

He hikes to and through the landscapes he paints. He does not mind rain or inclement weather. He eats anything, with gratitude, and he treats every person as if they were equal to one another. His artwork is a fusion blend of representational attention to detail with impressionistic brushwork, and he loves rich color, complex light, and intricate shadow.

What he creates on canvas is the result of years — years — of time behind the easel, experimenting, learning, trying, retrying, and absorbing himself in beauty.

His philosophy of art — and  of  life — is that the world is a rough, cruel place, and it doesn’t need yet another painting about darkness, despair, gloom, hopelessness, discouragement, and muddy, mangled, greyed out colors.

“Hope, peace, joy, goodness — those are part of reality, too,” he says. “And they certainly look better on the living room wall.”

As an ordinary man, one who spent many years in the cubicle business world of commercial illustration, he is committed to getting art in the hands of real, regular people, and to this end he keeps the prices of his original works reasonable, and partners  with his agents to get his works licensed and available at online and retail establishments.

“Art is a necessary component to a well-rounded life,” he says. “Everyone should have an opportunity to own, and enjoy it.”

By choosing to focus on goodness, one is not denying the existence of evil,  he adds. Rather, one is not allowing evil to triumph over good by feeding it, extolling it, concentrating upon it.

“Artists interpret the times,” he says. “And in every historical time you will find children, family, people who love one another, picnicking, reading, walking, daydreaming. You will find trees, mountains, rivers, clouds, deserts, meadows, beaches, and sunsets — and all of these aspects of nature are filled with color and complexity.

“That’s what I paint.”

Steve Henderson  is the featured Art Event Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery, July 13 through August 9, 2014. Come see the exhibit at the gallery’s downtown Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street.  Wenaha Gallery

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.

A Connoisseur of Trees and Wood — the Hand-Carved Sculpture of Jordan Henderson

Carved goat in cherry wood by Wenaha Gallery artist Jordan Henderson
Goat in Cherry Wood by Wenaha Artist Jordan Henderson.

Sustainability: it’s contemporary, fashionable, sensible, and beautiful, and for woodcarver Jordan Henderson of JDC Woodcarving, there is an art to doing it right.

“I source all of my wood locally,” the Dayton, WA artist explains, “People contact me regularly to let me know that a tree has blown down, and am I interested in the wood? Sometimes they drive up — in the night — and leave the wood by the studio. It’s an unusual, but pleasant, surprise in the morning, and most of the mystery is figuring out who brought the wood.

Carved wood sculpture portrait in cottonwood by wenaha gallery artist Jordan Henderson
Portrait in Cottonwood, by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jordan Henderson.

“I have acquired some really unusual pieces for sculpture this way — my favorite is locust, but I’ve worked with lilac, cherry, walnut, oak, white pine. We are fortunate to live in an area with a lot of trees.”

From a block of wood, Jordan uses hand and power tools to tease out the animal, or the plant, or Viking warrior, that is hidden there, waiting for him to create it into existence. The son of Dayton painter Steve Henderson, Jordan learned to draw as a child, and he uses this skill extensively in making preliminary sketches for each piece.

“I study the subject from all sides and perspectives before actually starting to carve,” Henderson explains. “This allows me to make bold, clear shapes and cuts, which I believe are absolutely essential, because hesitant shapes and cuts in carving look terrible.

“Wood is a very unforgiving medium,” he continues. “If you make a serious mistake your carving is ruined. The time spent on preliminaries is well worth it if it means that you don’t have to  throw out a carving that is three-quarters done.”

That time spent on preliminaries shows: Henderson’s carvings are free flowing yet accurate in detail, occasionally whimsical yet respectful of their subject: the trees curve as if dancing,  the chicken exudes nobility somehow, the bust of an Arikira Indian — based on a photo by Edward Curtis — stares forward with dignity and pride. Each piece expresses the individuality of the subject.

Carved wood sculpture rockfish by wenaha gallery artist Jordan Henderson
Rockfish, by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jordan Henderson.

Because of the dust inherent to carving from wood, Henderson prefers to work outside, which is pleasant in the summer months, he observes. However, due to his seasonal day job — growing and marketing organic produce for his business, Deer Pond Gardens — Henderson spends the warmer months with a shovel in his hand, as opposed to a chisel. Quite fortunately, since he is a man who wears shorts in January, he has no problem working outside when the temperature is more . . . brisk, shall we say.

carved wooden sculpture the gardener by wenaha gallery artist Jordan Henderson
The Gardener, by Wenaha Gallery Artist Jordan Henderson.

“It’s still pleasant,” Henderson comments in his direct, yet soft spoken way. “And though in the summer — when it would be even more pleasant to be carving outside — I’m not able to devote as much time to it, I get many ideas for the winter.

“And in the winter, it’s very enjoyable, sitting by a woodstove, to do the preliminary sketches for sculptures by the fire. Or poring through seed catalogs. The two facets — gardening and carving — work well together.”

It’s back to that sustainability again — using wood that many people  would burn, to celebrate the world of wildlife, domestic animals, trees, fish, and — quite appropriately —  a gardener, leaning on a shovel.

“My goal is to create a clear and aesthetically pleasing rendition of the subject, with the aim to cause viewers to also see the beauty of these subjects,” Henderson says.

“The real benefit of wood is its inherent beauty: a woodcarving is not just a way of creating a form, it is also a way to show off the beauty of the wood it is carved from. That’s why it’s so important to have many different types of wood from which to choose, and thanks to the people who keep me in mind when they’re cutting wood, I’ve got that.”

Jordan Henderson  is the featured Art Event Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery, July 3 through July 26, 2014. Come see the exhibit at the gallery’s downtown Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street.  Wenaha Gallery

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.

Water, Water Everywhere — Just Not in the Studio — the Pastel and Watercolor Paintings of Judy Robertus

coastal meadow original pastel by wenaha gallery artist Judy Robertus
Coastal Meadow, original pastel by Wenaha Gallery artist, Judy Robertus.

Water is one of our planet’s most valuable resources, and other than air, it’s probably one of our most vital.

For Dayton landscape artist Judy Robertus, water is a focal point of her work: it is one of her mediums of choice (watercolor), and she incorporates it, one way or another, in much of her work.

“My passion must be rivers, since most of my work depicts them,” Robertus says. “My husband suggested I call my enterprise, Many Rivers Studio. He has a point.”

From her studio, which is close to several local waterways but not right on them, Robertus creates soft, dreamy landscapes of the region’s streams and rivers with their aspen trees and vegetation. With an emphasis on local scenes, Robertus frequently draws upon photos by local photographers Mel Bohleen and Carson Frankie.

Birchfield Evening original pastel painting by wenaha gallery artist Judy Robertus
Birchfield Evening, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Judy Robertus

“They travel the back roads of Eastern Washington and then entice me with their photos, encouraging me to paint them,” Robertus says. “One painting leads naturally to another.

“I haven’t given much thought about how I gravitate toward rivers,” Robertus muses, “and actually, I never noticed that I did until it was pointed out to me.”

When she and her husband, both now retired, are traveling, Robertus seeks out small rivers in quiet, intimate settings. Another favorite landscape subject matter — with or without water — are canyonlands, reflecting Robertus’ growing up in Utah.

“They’re so beautiful,” she says. “I am fascinated by them.”

So we have water on one hand, and canyon drylands on the other. In her choice of mediums, Robertus expresses a similar polarization:

“I go back and forth between doing watercolor and pastel work,” she says. “For many years, I only did watercolor, but about five years ago I started doing pastels and got really involved in it.

“The challenges of watercolor are also its benefits: it likes to do its own thing. It takes you where it wants to go and you follow.

Stand of aspen original pastel painting by wenaha gallery artist judy robertus
Stand of Aspen, original pastel painting by Wenaha Gallery artist Judy Robertus

“But I also love pastels and their softness and immediacy.

“Both mediums are perfect for landscapes.”

Art became a part of Robertus’ life years ago when she attended the University of Utah, and while her professional career  was in social and community service counseling, her painting was an important part of her schedule, and she fit it in around and about her work life. Now with more time to devote to the endeavor, she has developed the artist’s coveted, and designated, studio space:

“My studio is in the center of my home, where a band of windows provides an abundance of northern light. A very large poster of Beethoven looms overhead.

“He is my muse.”

The muse must smile, because Robertus’ works have been shown in various regional and local venues and exhibitions, one of which resulted in an award from the Eastern Washington Watercolor Society. A member of the Blue Mountain Artists Guild in Dayton, Robertus regularly shows her work in local landmark locations like the Historic Depot and the Weinhard Hotel, in addition to being represented at the Wenaha Gallery.

“The practice of art encourages one to notice Nature’s beauty,” Robertus says.

“Over the years, I have come to believe that within each of us there is a basic wellness, a sense that all is ‘right with the world’ when we are absorbed in the moment in the world around us.

“Painting a scene or observing a painting of a landscape allows us to connect with this wellness.”

Judy Robertus is the featured Art Event Pacific Northwest Artist at Wenaha Gallery, June 23 through July 12, 2014. Come see the exhibit at the gallery’s downtown Dayton, WA location, 219 East Main Street.  Wenaha Gallery

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.

The Best Thing to Do with Wood in Alaska — the Sculpture of Pat and Peggy Bookey

a selection of woodturning and wood piercing art by Pat and Peggy Bookey
A selection of woodturning and wood piercing art by Pat and Peggy Bookey.

When you live in Alaska, what do you do with wood?

For wood artists Pat and Peggy Bookey of North Pole, AK, you don’t necessarily burn it, even though, according to Pat, “The lows here can be between -50 and -60 F!”

When you are the Bookeys, both retired teachers, you fuse your separate skills together to create ethereal, airy sculpture out of native Alaskan birch (Betula neoalaskana) or Koa (from Hawaii). Pat turns the wood into thin-walled bowls, vases, bottle stoppers, and pet urns while Peggy, often using a dentist’s drill, pierces the creations with intricate, lacelike designs incorporating flowers, birds, Pacific Northwest animals such as wildcats or wolves, and, oddly for people who live in a place called North Pole, Hawaiian flora, birds, turtles, and whales. There’s a reason for that, which we’ll get to later.

Birch Butterfly Bowl by Pat and Peggy Bookey
Birch Butterfly Bowl by Pat and Peggy Bookey

“This all started because I needed something to do during the long Alaskan winters,” Pat says of their joint effort at producing fine, yet functional, three-dimensional art. In the initial years, Pat worked alone on his woodturning creations, while Peggy focused on hand carving,  delicately etching scenes on eggs from chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, and eventually, the exotic emu and ostrich. Despite working side by side, in a small garage workshop,  for several years, the couple never thought of coalescing their skills until one day, Pat happened to ask Peggy to carve a scene on one of his turnings.

They never looked back. The ensuing collaboration has taken them out of the workshop into various geographical areas as they distribute their work to galleries and gift shops, and one of those areas has been Hawaii.

“We love to visit that state every year to defrost, so it made sense to seek out opportunities there,” Peggy explains. Their big break came when a sales associate at Martin and MacArthur, an island-based dealer in fine gifts, home accessories, and furniture, insisted that they show their work to the CEO, Michael Tam, who fell instantly in love:

“He couldn’t stop turning the bowl over and over, commenting on the intricate pierced holes and scenes on the wood,” Peggy says. With a strong presence and interest in Hawaii, the couple  added Acacia Koa, a native Hawaiian wood, to their materials, and began incorporating native designs and elements.

In the earlier years of their working together, it was difficult finding the enough time, because even though Pat and Peggy were retired, “We had a significant role in raising our two grandchildren,” Peggy says. When the children were younger,  “we developed a system where Pat would turn a vessel while I looked after the kids, then we would switch and I’d work as fast as possible on the piecing . . . it was one heck of a feat working at that speed. I really pushed that drill!”

Dragonfly Lidded Koa by Pat and Peggy Bookey
Dragonfly Lidded Koa by Pat and Peggy Bookey

As the grandchildren grew older, Pat and Peggy were able to slow down from high speed, but so much practice resulted in pretty near perfect: PJ Percy of TreelineUSA, a woodcarving supply establishment, says of Peggy:

“She is one of the fastest piercers I’ve ever seen.”

The Bookeys, and their work, have been featured in Woodturning, the largest international woodturning magazine, as well as Woodturning Design. One of their favorite sales stories involves the King of Morocco, who visited one of the Martin and MacArthur stores and purchased several pierced Koa bowls to be shipped home.

“The employees couldn’t wait to tell us this good news!” Peggy remembers. Another favorite sale happened at the museum gift store at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, involving a large pierced vase, entwined with dragons, that the new owner hand carried back to China.

Pat and Peggy work together, and work together well, constantly encouraging, pushing, nudging each other to new heights of skill and art:

“Peggy’s relentless suggestions give me the confidence to continue to improve,” Pat says while Peggy notes,

“I was going to stop piercing about six years ago, but Pat pushed me on and supported me along the way. If it wasn’t  for him, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Pat and Peggy Bookey are the featured Art Event artists at Wenaha Gallery June 9  through June 28, and you can  enjoy a selection of both their Alaska birch and Hawaiian Koa creations at the downtown Dayton, WA gallery, 219 East Main Street.  Wenaha Gallery

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 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 art@wenaha.com.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.