The Master Potter’s Student — Caprice Scott and Her Ceramic Art

Wildflower themed pottery platters by Caprice Scott.
Wildflower themed pottery platters by Caprice Scott.

There’s no fixing an exploded piece of pottery.

This is not, however, sufficient reason for the average person to give wide berth to ceramic bowls, cups, saucers, and platters. It’s not on the shelf that a piece of pottery rends itself asunder but rather, in the kiln with a temperature ranging from 1112 degrees Farenheit to 2300-plus.

Paisley Pots by Wenaha Gallery pottery artist, Caprice Scott
Paisley Pots by Wenaha Gallery pottery artist, Caprice Scott

“We’re not talking about just hot enough to burn dinner in the oven here,” College Place potter Caprice Scott, who specializes in hand-built and sculpted ceramic-ware, says.

“Working with clay is a tricky business,” she adds. “I don’t think people realize how fickle and capricious clay and glazes can be.” If the environmental humidity is low, the clay dries too fast and cracks before it even makes it to the kiln; if it’s winter in the Pacific Northwest and the humidity is high, it can take forever for the clay to dry — frequently when the potter is working on a commissioned order with a timeline. Glazes add complications to the creation process.

And that eruption issue?

“If there happens to be an air bubble somewhere in the clay, you might find your piece has exploded in the bisque kiln.”

With all the things that can go wrong, it’s astonishing that anything survives, but that it does — as well as thrive in beauty, functionality, and form — is testament to the skill of the potter. Scott, whose experience in the art arena ranges from teaching in private and charter schools to painting murals in million-dollar Colorado spec homes, turned her central focus to pottery upon her family’s moving to the Pacific Northwest six years ago.

Ceramic spoons by Wenaha Gallery pottery artist Caprice Scott
Ceramic spoons by Wenaha Gallery pottery artist Caprice Scott

Scott’s drive to learn and experiment, in conjunction with an attention to detail, impel her to create unusual pieces and collections — such as the sugar/creamer set shaped like European village houses which garnered an award at an art exhibition, or the commissioned clay box fashioned into a Dr. Who fez hat, tassel and all.

“I take delight in coming up with something no one else has done before and probably won’t ever do again,” Scott explains.

“I usually work within a theme or do a bunch of one thing for a little while. I find something new and get really passionate about it and I make as many pieces as I can for a few months, and then I move on to something new.”

One aspect that is consistent in all of Scott’s pieces is the signature at the bottom: her last name, and then the biblical verse, Isaiah 64:8, which, when one looks it up, says,

Birdies and Potteries functional ceramic art by Wenaha Gallery pottery artist Caprice Scott
Birdies and Potteries functional ceramic art by Wenaha Gallery pottery artist Caprice Scott

“You, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

Scott stumbled upon the verse in a period of frustration, when everything that could go wrong with creating pottery (including explosions), did, and she decided to dedicate each piece to Him, as a work of His hands as well as hers.

“So when the pieces were blowing up or coming out of the kiln cracked, I was like, ‘God, Your pottery is breaking. And it’s Yours, so I guess it’s okay. If You’re okay with it, then I am, too.”

Completing a part of Scott’s journey, the verse confirmed that her work gave meaning to others as well as to herself, and she felt as if God were saying, “You, Caprice, can call me ‘My Father, the Potter.’

“I really feel this verse sums up all that I am and all that my pottery represents. Without the Master Potter, I and my work wouldn’t be.”

Scott’s work is unique, skillful, eclectic, passionate, and illuminated by imagery that celebrates the outdoor world: flowers, leaves, Native American art, and wildlife, reflecting an appreciation for nature that Scott acquired through living in Colorado, and reaffirms in the Pacific Northwest.

“I need to be surrounded by beauty. If I can’t be out in nature, I try to bring beauty inside.”

Beauty ignites.

Wenaha GalleryScott’s work is on display at Wenaha Gallery. During the Christmas season, Scott is holding a Christmas Ornament Workshop at the gallery, gently leading students (who don’t have to have any experience in pottery, because Scott does) into making a customized pottery ornament for their tree. The two-part workshop takes place Sunday, November 15 and Sunday, December 6. Cost is $55 for both workshops, with all supplies, and firing of the ornaments, included. Read more about the workshop at our article, Christmas Ornament Workshop.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

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

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

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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.

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.

Exploring the Pacific Northwest — All of It — with the Photography of John Clement

the pacific northwest sunset photograph by John Clement
The Pacific Northwest is landscape in motion, and John Clement’s painterly treatment captures the moment photographically. December Twilight Columbia River by John Clement.

Those of us who live on the east side of the Washington State Cascade Mountains know that there is more to the Pacific Northwest than the city of Seattle.

“Oh, it rains all the time over there,” outsiders comment. “And people throw fish at you in the waterfront marketplace.”

Thanks to master photographer John Clement of Kennewick, WA, the rest of the region is exposed — no pun intended — to those unfamiliar with one of the most uniquely beautiful areas of the world, the rest of the Pacific Northwest. It is as varied as it is vast, embodied by its mighty mountains — Rainier, St. Helens, Adams, Hood — meadows, fields, rural roads, waterways, and drylands.

And Clement captures it all.

“My studio is the Eastern Washington landscape and its weather, which I have been photographing since 1970,” Clement says.

morning glory rattlesnake mountain photograph by wenaha gallery artist John Clement
The most dramatic color imbues the early morning, or late evening, sky. Morning Glow Rattlesnake Mountain, photography by John Clement.

It’s odd how the smallest decisions can make the biggest impact. During Clement’s senior year at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA, where he double majored in geology and cultural geography, John needed an elective class to round out his schedule, and chose photography. Borrowing cameras from two friends, Clement shot local scenes including barns in the Kittitas Valley, and was encouraged by one of his instructors who saw potential in John’s artistic eye.

After graduation, a job opportunity was offered in photography, doing pictorial church directories in the eastern part of the U.S. Because many of the churches he visited — in a territory that reached from Texas to New York — were located in rural areas, John spent his spare time capturing the landscapes and their people.

“One of the frequent comments I hear about my images is that they remind the viewer of a place or past experience they had when they were younger,” Clement says. “They start their conversation with, ‘this reminds me of . . .’ and then share their story of why this image is meaningful to them.”

Returning to the Pacific Northwest in 1974, John worked for Battelle Northwest Laboratories as lead photographer, documenting research and production at the company’s 17 scientific departments. In 1980, he decided to devote his skills full time to landscape photography, and since then, “The Lord has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams,” Clement says.

Vineyard grape harvest photo by wenaha gallery artist John Clement
For the eye that knows where to look, color and form are everywhere. Heart of the Harvest, photography by John Clement.

“I believe that God has given everyone a gift, and that he wants us to use our gifts for the benefit of those around us.

“My gift is the art of seeing his creation in a way that will inspire people to recognize who he is and want to know more.”

Clement, who holds a Master of Photography degree from the Professional Photographers of America, has won more than 65 regional, national, and international awards for his work, and one of his images, “Red Dawn,” hangs in the International Hall of Fame of Photography. Four of his prints were accepted into the Washington State University Museum of Art, and 17 murals of his Eastern Washington landscapes are installed in the Seattle Seahawk Stadium. How apt.

Corporate purchasers of John’s work include Swedish Hospital, Battelle Research and Development, Dade Moeller & Associations, Westinghouse, McGregor Company, and Lamb Weston. Clement and writer Richard Scheurman have published six books featuring Clement’s photography.

“I enjoy the landscape because of its diversity, its everchanging colors, light, and the quiet peace it brings to me when I’m out capturing God’s creation.”

Because of that light — which is most striking in the early morning or around evening’s gloam — capturing the right image involves getting up very very early, or staying out rather late. In viewing Clement’s work, one is conscious that the geology degree didn’t go to waste, at all, because John’s eye is open to the color, textures, lines, form, and patterns of the world around him.

“When you look at the images, don’t just glance,” Clement says. “Look.

“Absorb the colors, lines, textures and subject, then ask yourself, ‘What am I really seeing — a moment in time never to be repeated . . .

“Hopefully, your emotions are stirred, and the images warm your soul.”

Clement’s panoramic photographs are featured at Wenaha Gallery’s Art Event, with his show running from Wenaha GalleryMay 12 through May 31, 2014  at the downtown historic gallery, 219 East Main, Dayton, WA. An Artist’s Reception is scheduled for Saturday, May 24 from 10:30 to 1:30 at the gallery. Refreshments will be served.

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.

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.  Gallery Website: http://www.wenaha.com

Read more about Art Event, our celebration of Pacific Northwest Artists,  here.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

Van Gogh Lives on — the Art of Jeffrey Hill

 

Venice Canal, framed original oil by Jeffrey Hill.
Venice Canal, framed original oil by Jeffrey Hill.

Van Gogh and wine — they’re both so delightfully European somehow. What starts in Europe, however, doesn’t necessarily stay in Europe, and the Walla Walla area finds itself with its own version of  both:

Artist Jeffrey Hill — whose high color, swirling creations in paint earned him the nickname of Vineyard Van Gogh — celebrates the area’s ripening winemaking tradition with paintings, murals, and sculpture. If you’ve walked through the area at all, you have no doubt seen one of Hill’s works, whether it is the emblematic wine grape picker installed in the front of Walla Walla Community College’s Center for Enology and Viticulture or a mural at a winery tasting room.

“I got in on the ground floor chronicling the history of this Valley’s  growth in grapes and wineries,” Hill, a fourth generation Walla Wallan, explains. “I found success with my paintings, murals, illustrations, fabrications, and sculptures in connection with the burgeoning Walla Walla wine industry.”

From Child Prodigy to Adult Master

Success indeed. Hill’s paintings, sculptures, and murals bedeck more than fifteen different wineries in the area. After winning the Washington Artist of the Year Award at the 2001 Washington Wine Festival, Hill was approached about installing his artwork at the WWCC Enology Center in 2003. Two large panel paintings in the foyer and six larger panel paintings in the reception hall  tell the “Vine to Wine” story of winemaking in the Walla Walla area.

“I was a child prodigy in art beginning in my elementary school days,” Hill says. “At Prospect Point Elementary I was allowed to leave during the middle of the day and walk to Walla Walla High School to study art with Edwin Moser, Wa Hi’s art teacher.

The Artist, sculpture by Jeffrey Hill.
The Artist, sculpture by Jeffrey Hill.

“It was this experience that first allowed me to try my hands at sculpture and oil painting.”

Subsequent years, and hard work, led to scholarships to study with Dick Rasmussen, the then-head of the art department at Whitman College, eventually resulting in Hill’s 1978 graduation from Whitman with double majors in Fine Art and Art History. Hill then accepted a position with Sotheby’s, an exclusive auction house in London, UK, where he furthered his fine art studies.

Walla Walla does not give up its homegrown talent easily, however, and after a career in Seattle as an appraiser and fine art dealer, Hill found himself back on the family farm, Forgotten Hills, where he and his wife Kathryn planted a three-acre plot of Merlot.

“We had no idea if this would be successful,” Hill remembers, and while they waited, Hill decided to try his hand at painting the vineyards of the area — their landscapes, their workers, their people. What he created resonated quickly and powerfully with area merchants and residents, and winemaking took a back seat to capturing the process, in paint and bronze.

Hill’s paintings are bold, both in brush technique and color, and he captures a landscape, or an interior, with a sweeping sense of movement and energy. Pure pigments of color demand the viewer’s attention and draw him into the action. Even when the subject matter is still, there is movement.

After a recent trip to Europe, Hill chronicled the experience in oil and acrylic, and four of these paintings, which have never yet been shown, are on display at Wenaha Gallery, Dayton, WA, where Hill is the featured Art Event artist from Monday, April 14 through Saturday, May 3. Also featured will be Hill’s new sculpture, The Artist, in its debut to the public.

“I am very proud and excited that Wenaha will offer this piece for the first time,” Hill says.

The Artist is a culmination of Walla Walla and Whitman themes. Here is the consummate painter in the moment of inspiration, depicting a Walla Walla vineyard scene.

“He paints en plein aire, possibly in the vineyard. He is possibly a Whitman College graduate, possibly a native son.”

A sculpture of a native son, by a native son, radiating a European feeling, in a Pacific Northwest setting. How delightfully Walla Walla.

www.Wenaha.com

Gallery artist at Wenaha Gallery in Dayton, WA, Jeffrey Hill is the featured Pacific Northwest artists for Art Event, a three-week showcasing of his works, beginning Monday, April 14, at the gallery. Hill’s Art Event runs through Saturday, May 3.

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.  

Read more about Art Event, our celebration of Pacific Northwest Artists,  here.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

Fusing Psychology with Spirituality — The Art of Denise Elizabeth Stone

rock visions watercolor painting by wenaha gallery artist Denise Elizabeth Stone
Rock Visions: The Shape of Things to Come by Denise Elizabeth Stone

We’ve all heard of the artist’s Muse. While some artists credit (or blame) an outside source of inspiration for their work – whether it is one of the classical Greek goddesses or an actual human being – painter Denise Elizabeth Stone of La Grande, OR, interacts with a unique, physical muse, consisting of the very materials that she uses.

Stone’s signature medium, batik watercolor, is an intricate process that integrates handmade Asian papers, beeswax, watercolor or gouache, and ink to create what Stone describes as “creative descendants of traditional silk and cotton batik fabrics.”

Viewers find Stone’s work to be richly colorful, exuberant, and full of texture. Due to the batik watercolor process, which involves painting on the paper, coating it with a paraffin/beeswax mixture, crumpling the paper to crack the wax, ink washing, and ironing the wax out, Stone never knows exactly what she will find at the end of the process.

“Paint behaves very differently on the Asian papers,” Stone explains, “Sometimes, it’s almost like painting on tissue paper – the paint spreads out, and it’s hard to control.

“You have to accept that this is a joint creation between you, the paint, and the paper.”

It’s almost as if there were a psychology to the process, which is not an inapt description, given Stone’s career background as a psychotherapist and vocational rehabilitation counselor.  Upon moving to Oregon, Stone retired from her day job in order to pursue art fulltime, and she credits her experience and training in the world of psychology as definite influences in her art.

Artist Denise Elizabeth Stone

“I have taken the long road to full-time art, a scenic route winding through the vistas of science, spiritual studies, and psychology,” Stone says. “As a former psychotherapist, I have an abiding interest in the psychological nature of transformation, archetype, and the Divine Feminine.”

Ideas for Stone’s paintings often begin as dreams or sudden revelations, with images of trees, caves, birds, fish or other animals being prominent. While not seeking to convey a specific message of spirituality, Stone aims to express a feeling of sacredness and connectedness, reflecting her tremendous respect and reverence for the natural world. Because the essence of Stone’s art incorporates universal symbolism, viewers find themselves drawn into a story, one that often expresses a common human experience.

Primarily self-taught, Stone has taken classes and workshops in art, and she finds continued inspiration through her association with the Batik Convergence, a collaboration of four fulltime artists who specialize in the batik watercolor medium.

“The BatCons provide constructive critiques, invaluable support, and wild and wacky ideas!” Stone says. “They give me that extra little push to create, to try something new, to stretch in new directions.”

Dance of Sun and Sea original painting by wenaha gallery artist Denise Elizabeth Stone
Dance of Sun and Sea by Denise Elizabeth Stone

Stone has exhibited her work in shows and exhibitions throughout Oregon and in Washington, and she has received numerous awards, including Second Place at the 2013 Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts, a competitively juried exhibition drawing the top artists of the Oregon/Washington/Idaho region. Her very first award, at Baker City’s Art at the Crossroads, is her most memorable, as it included Honorable Mention for one painting and People’s Choice for another.

“It just knocked my socks off!” Stone remembers. “I have received different awards since then, but this first one was the biggest thrill because it was so unexpected.”

Stone shows her work online at www.therowdygoddess.com, a name she chose to remind herself to not be afraid to shake things up a bit. Professionally, she uses her full name, Denise Elizabeth Stone, in honor of her grandmother, whose middle name is Elizabeth as well, and also in honor of her mother, who named her for strong women.

A gallery artist at Wenaha Gallery in Dayton, Stone is the featured Pacific Northwest artist for Art Event, a two-week showcasing of her works, beginning Monday, March 17, at the gallery. Stone’s Art Event runs through Monday, March 31.

Wenaha Gallery,  located in historic downtown Dayton, Washington,  is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

The Art Event — Focusing on Pacific Northwest Artists

Our feature arena, immediately to your right as you walk in the front door, is the place to find Art Event’s Pacific Northwest Artist.

When someone says the words, “Pacific Northwest,” what image immediately comes to mind?

Coffee.

Seattle, WA.

Evergreen trees.

Artists.

In an area known for individualism, creativity, and hard work, the Pacific Northwest attracts artists with a style and attitude as unique as the area they live in. At the Wenaha Gallery, we are celebrating these gifted individuals with our Art Event — Showcasing Our Pacific Northwest Artists.

Every two weeks, we will single out one of our talented Pacific Northwest artists,  featuring a selection of their work in our designated showcase arena, immediately to your right as you walk through the front door of the gallery. Each event lasts two weeks, and is an excellent opportunity to learn about an area artist and his or her artwork — oil paintings, watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, wood sculpture, metal work, jewelry, ceramic, pottery. We represent a large and growing selection of work by Pacific Northwest artists from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and Montana.

Follow us on Facebook and this blog to find out who will be coming when, and what art will be featured.

Wenaha Gallery,  located in historic downtown Dayton, Washington,  is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available.

Wenaha Gallery