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Best of the Gorge 2021

In the Gallery August 6th – September 26th, 2021

Exhibition: Best of the Gorge 2021
August 6 – September 26, 2021

Columbia Center for the Arts is excited to present Best of the Gorge, a juried group show of regional work made by thirty one Gorge artists. Opening on Friday August 6th, the gallery will be open from 6-8pm.

Best of The Gorge will be juried this year by Julie Beeler and Sorcha Meek. This premier show celebrates and rewards the best artwork produced by mid-Columbia Gorge artists. Monetary prizes will go to the best three artworks as chosen by the Juror(s).

The jurors:

Julie Beeler is a designer, artist, educator, and native Oregonian. Along with her husband, Brad Johnson, she founded and led Second Story, an interactive design studio for eighteen years in Portland Oregon. Beeler teaches Creative Entrepreneurship in the Applied Craft + Design MFA program at PNCA in Portland, Oregon. Her deep love and curiosity for the natural world led her to launch Bloom & Dye on an 18 acre WSDA certified organic property along the White Salmon River in Trout Lake, Washington. Through Bloom & Dye Julie continues to grow her work.

Sorcha Meek is an award-winning contemporary artist and art educator who has been showing her work regionally, nationally and internationally for over 25 years. Sorcha recently received the ‘Juror’s Choice Award’ (Oregon Art Educator’s juried exhibition) at Maryhill Museum of Art and has been featured in numerous publications such as: 1859 Oregon’s Magazine, The Sacramento Bee, Artisan Northwest Magazine, Oregon Humanities Magazine. Meek has also co-founded the Alpine Art Studio where she taught adult printmaking classes and workshops. She then went on to open Solo Studio and Gallery.


This show displays work by juried artists. (Invited artists are those typically more well-known or they are established artists invited by the juror/curator.) Juried artists are artists who are selected out of applicants for the show.

Robyn Johnsen; My recent works are in a sense, painted collages. Old photos are a source of inspiration, with other elements such as patterns and animals  collaged in to bring new meaning to the image. Often, the figures are cloaked in patterns that compete with the background, maybe as purposeful camouflage, maybe as a way to express how we don’t always really see people. In this series I’ve been exploring the relationship of human/animal with a little twist. Of course this all holds meaning to me, and relates to my experiences and observations as a human in this place and time.

Cate Hotchkiss; My aesthetic focuses on the dance between light and time, beauty and transience. When photographing mountains, especially at sunrise, I tend to take long exposures, the shutter often open for at least 10 seconds, in order to capture, in a single frame, the atmospheric elements that coalesce into such grandeur.

My hope is to create dreamlike, ethereal images that reflect the magic and mystery of the Columbia Gorge, and invite a deep and lasting degree of wonder and amazement at this magnificent landscape in which we reside. 

To see additional work, please visit:

JoDean Sarins; I have always been interested in creating art. Since graduating from college, I have studied and worked with china painting, ceramics, watercolors, acrylics, and oils. From the early 1970’s through the 1980’s, I painted folk art. I taught acrylic painting. I showed my folk art at juried shows.

My love of jewelry goes back a long way. I started collecting Swarovski pins, then moved on to vintage jewelry. I enjoyed collecting and restoring those vintage pieces. Soon my collection became so large that I decided to start my own business, calling it Array of Elegance, where I sold in antique stores.

Then, I took a jewelry class. I was hooked!

My jewelry education is rooted in both classes and books. I have a passion for
learning new techniques and developing new ideas for my jewelry.
I am excited about enameling, which is melting vitreous glass onto metal. This combines both science and art, which works well for me, having a master’s in science and loving to use my hands to create.

My passion is cloisonné enameling. A technique where either fine silver or 24K gold wire are formed in a design that is positioned on a base of fine silver. Colored enamels are added to the cloison cells to fill. Between each application the fine ground glass (enamel) is fired in a 1400-degree F. kiln. This can require 15 or more firings. The effect of this work is to provide the shading, depth, and color that you see in the jewelry piece.

The steps to reach the finished jewelry piece are labor intensive. After the piece has reached the desired effect, it must be ground down to make all the areas even, then fire polished to remove sanding lines. Following these steps, the glass enamel is taken through seven more steps to reach a final finish that is smooth and deep.

Having finished the enameling process, the jewelry piece now needs a fabricated setting, this is usually made of sterling silver or gold. In addition, I like to add semi-precious stones to my work. Each one-of-a-kind creation is made into a unique piece of wearable art. I am deeply passionate about making my jewelry. I hope you enjoy wearing these creations as much as I enjoy creating them.

Doug Leash; From an early age being creative was always encouraged and an essential part of my life. That drive has included two and three dimensional art, working with stone and brick, extensive renovation, and building houses. I graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Architecture and Allied Arts with further study at Reed College. My focus was always on art mediums, design, architecture, and a minor in anthropology. Interest in all the elements of design, color, texture, contrast, bold and subtle patterns take an ordinary project to another level.

My study of architecture drew me to Old St. Peter’s Landmark in 1971 when the old Catholic church was to be demolished. For the past 50 years I have helped preserve, maintain, and restore that priceless gothic building. I also had the joy of designing the south side cut glass windows for the Zion Lutheran church in The Dalles.

Being a graphic arts teacher for 32 years was a wonderful learning experience. One learns and improves their own skills along with the students. Bonds are created, talented students who go on to make a career from what they learned are encouraging and gratifying.

There is no greater joy in my life than communing with nature, observing the changing seasons, and the wildlife. Subject matter for art revolves around my intimate relationship with nature. Through photographs and my specimen collection, there never seems to be a shortage of subjects or inspiration.

My painting involves a unique mixed media technique that includes bees and differs from most encaustic paintings. Working with rice paper and parchment is challenging but the end product is rewarding!

Jane Heinstein; I have been involved with art and art making since I was a child. I use a variety of media including watercolor, drawing, collage and printmaking to explore image making. I draw from direct observations of my environment: trees, plants, landscape, and animals, as well as my experiences of living and traveling in different places around the world. I have been an educator for over 30 years and enjoy helping others to develop creativity through the visual arts. I am interested in how the visual arts can help us to understand different experiences, emotions and events.

Eric Starmer; I am a retired engineer, and fractal art enables me to combine my technical background and my artistic side.
Fractal art is a unique form of art in that it is derived solely by manipulating mathematical equations. This is not as difficult as it sounds, as the actual equations tend to be “behind the curtain” – I am not a mathematician, more an equation manipulator with an artistic eye. I create my art using an amazing computer program called Mandelbulb 3D, which allows one to combine many different equations and produce the result in a visual form.

Most fractal artists create abstract art, but my work tends more towards “pseudo-realism”. I think this is because I believe that the Universe is, at its core, a mathematical entity, and I find that my art reinforces that concept, because I am able to produce, solely from equations, images that sometimes bear a striking resemblance to the world around us.

Gary Terry; Drawing inspiration from nature and the beauty surrounding me, I continue to learn, explore, and grow using textures and colors. Sharing my artwork with viewers, who bring their own interpretations and experiences, adding life to my work beyond my own vision.

Drew Devereux; Hi, I’m Drew Devereux and I paint landscapes and still life pictures in watercolor. I was inspired by my parents, friends, books, and museum visits, but had no formal training beyond art 101 classes in college. I spent a lot of my free time drawing and painting landscapes, trees, pine cones, and mushrooms. Lots of life drawing sessions in Berkeley where I used to live helped with the drawing skills. Realizing that intermittent art sales wouldn’t pay the bills, I spent most of my working life in healthcare (paramedic, nurse, sleep technician) which I also enjoyed immensely. My other interests include botany, mycology, woodworking, bicycling, steel bicycle frame fabrication, and just about every sort of house renovation.

The medium of watercolor works the best for me. I love how the brilliance of the paper shows through. There is a flow state I feel while working on wet paper, where timing, intuition, and luck (or lack of it) direct the eventual outcome. I have been inspired by artists such as John Sargent, Thomas Eakins, Gunnar Widforss, and Edgar and Elsie Payne.

Nancy Guzman; My inspiration comes from my first experience at Toketee Falls. A trip of total spontaneity with my family back in 2016. I used this medium of acrylic paint because I wanted to emphasize the movement of the waterfall. This medium dries fast so my brushstrokes were more rapid on the Toketee Falls. I learned during the process that the less meticulous I got the more it felt alive. In essence this painting became one of nostalgic peace that was spiritually engraved. A moment in nature that when let out of one’s own perspective can fly someone who has grown up in nature back to a single day.

Sue Harrington; Travels and outdoor adventure have been constants in my life. During a work stint in Nepal, I liked to hike up the Queen’s Forest (Nagarjun) to a Stupa above Kathmandu, surrounded by prayer flags from picnicking families and Buddhist devotees. This image came back to me during the pandemic – hopeful prayers flying into the air with the strong eyes of Buddha watching over. “Staying Strong” took on extra meaning as I painted. The chaos of the flags flying off the canvas contrasted with the steadiness of Buddha’s eyes. Chaotic worries being stilled by hope. Sue Harrington is a; Retired nurse practitioner and mountain climber. Lives with husband John Fine, dog Pumba, and cat Oscar in Hood River, OR. The kids have flown the coop.

Genevieve Scholl; I am interested in how the mind finds refuge amid suffering. Throughout history, humans have caused and experienced suffering through the brutal and disturbing ways that we harm each other. These paintings are the result of my own search for sheltering space and hope to somehow be of help to others experiencing suffering. I offer a space for the mind to rest. In the forest is the refuge. Art is the refuge. I am drawn to thickets, forests, and to the knots of weeds and vines that even in urban environments surround us but are virtually invisible to the conscious mind. The tangled and knotted vegetation, usually, is not the focus, because there is no focal point in the maze of lines, light, and shadow. The light in this space is fractured by the line and both are changed by the fracture. The space created is one to hide in, get lost in. My most recent work is concentrated on the special light of the Hoh Rainforest in the Olympic National Park in Washington, which for reasons I am totally unable to express in words, is deeply meaningful to me and a true refuge. I paint primarily in oil and am currently developing a process that incorporates scratching textures and lines into an imprimatura layer and then a notan shape, then building the composition in layers. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’m getting there.

Luke Tucker; Luke Tucker is a contemporary painter based out of Oregon. His work can be described as a mix of tonal, abstract and impressionist. Inspired by the grey skies of the Pacific Northwest, he often places heavy importance on mood and atmosphere while striving to capture the subtleties of the woods, rivers and canyons that weave a story of our history as well as our relationship with the natural world.

Ian Wieczorek; I received my BFA from Sierra Nevada University. Shortly after, I attended Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park’s residency program in Japan. From there, I got accepted into the Ash Street Project in Portland. I’ve assisted in multiple ceramic studio build outs and helped get them running. While at the same time being mentored by the founders of those projects. Currently, I’m a member at the Clay Compound in Portland where I’m surrounded by other professional ceramic artists.

I start my pieces by using thick coils of clay to create simple cylinders. By making grand gestures, I’m able to manipulate the cylinder into a more Wabi-Sabi style. The shapes are bold, undulating, and curvaceous. I don’t build from a blueprint; instead, I create from an intuitive mindset. Pulling from my experience to make informed decisions during the process. Spending time texturizing the surface allows for my brain to shut off and my heart takes control. What is created at the end is an object that is very familiar to me. It is a piece of the person I aspire to be.

Tom Bottman; There is just something about working with clay that I love – the feel of it, the smell of it, the looks of it all soft and pliable and asking to be made into something. I find it to be the ideal medium for working with texture and pattern. In my work, I use found material for overall textures, handmade pattern rollers and some commercial rollers. The pieces are finished with stains and underglazes that are washed back, leaving the color in the depressions.

Represented by: Dragonfire Gallery – Cannon Beach, OR, Mossy Creek Pottery – Lincoln City, OR

Exhibits: Best of the Gorge 2020, CCA Patterns, Hoffman Center for the Arts, Manzanita, OR – Beyond the Concept, Dalles Art Center – The Dalles, OR

Todd Beirnacki; Todd Biernacki is a self taught sculptural artist living in the beautiful Columbia Gorge. Reclaiming and reusing material is fundamental to Todd’s creations – nearly 100% of the components used in his pieces had prior lives. He works with a variety of found objects and materials – from antique hats and beautiful wood shafted golf clubs to rusty springs and whiskey barrel staves – always with an eye to the character and quality of the items that make up the piece.

The ‘shape of motion’ has always resonated with Todd. “There is beauty in the flow of an object through space and time. When an object is suspended by an invisible string at a precise location and angle, the eye is tricked, and though the mind is not so easily fooled it welcomes a sense of whimsy. It is willing to play with the idea that perhaps the motion is real and, like a photograph, what actually stopped was time itself.” His method and subject matters reflect this idea: a juggler with three pins suspended, a kid in mid swing stretching for more, a mountain biker hitting a steep section.

Todd’s projects are typically minimalist designs leaving plenty to the imagination. He takes joy in moving the balance point from vision to envision…or from the mind of the artist to the imagination of the viewer.

Jeanne Morgan; Lover of life, light and captured moments, I have been a member of The Professional Photographers Association for over 20 years. In 2008 I moved from Portland to Goldendale, where I opened a photography studio/gallery. My landscape work can be seen in many city, county and state publications that promote tourism in our region. My preferred medium is canvas and dye sublimation metal prints.

Anna Laxague; This art is designed in the heart of the Pacific Northwest by Anna Laxague. Craft and art are an important part of Basque Culture and being brought up in a Basque-American family of makers inspired Anna’s work. You can see the influence of bold lines from her father’s iron work matched with the soft texture of refinished wood in her art.

Raised in the Sierra Nevada, Cascades and Northwest Coast, Anna has always been surrounded by views of massive mountains, big trees, and rushing rivers. A family hobby of carving scenes from the days of fishing, hiking, bikes and adventure onto pieces of found wood eventually morphed into the art work and designs you see here. After a mountain bike crash resulting in a broken shoulder in 2010 rendered her unable to ride for a summer, she gave painting a stab and it’s been an awesome journey ever since.

The wood used is primarily salvaged/reclaimed. Anna’s wood shop is home to a lot of saw dust and spent sand paper. Much of it is local timber and barn wood rescued from building renovations, trail projects and carpentry, then meticulously sanded, oiled and cured. There’s a story and history connected to the Pacific Northwest in every piece.

Jan Muir; Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and then living in Alaska and Arizona has brought Jan close to nature. One of her goals is to capture paintings of the natural world in a way that will inspire both emotional enjoyment by the viewer, and give an appreciation of nature as an incentive for others to study and protect it. Painting allows Jan to see the world in colors, form, value, and a potential to create images she sees in her daily life and travels. She loves to paint outdoors and has made Plein Air painting a focus for capturing the light and beauty of the natural world. Jan enjoys sharing her knowledge and teaches art and painting to youth and adults, passing on what she has learned in workshops and personal painting experience to others.

Ashley Nelson; My grandmother first introduced me to watercolors when I was no more than two years old. She herself is a world renowned painter and leather worker and she taught me the finer details of drawing and painting as I grew older.

I love to create scenes of nature whether it involves a landscape or an animal. My inspiration comes from the beauty around me and I often find myself absorbed by every last detail while I’m on a hike or driving down the Gorge. I also enjoy farm scenes. I grew up on a farm and love the colors and animals you can find in the country. Watercolor is my primary medium and offers both a challenge and feeling of wonder. There is something magical about letting paint mix on paper and embracing the end result.

I work in my studio in White Salmon, WA on my pear orchard. The Columbia River Gorge is the ultimate place to seek inspiration. From its steep, mountainous walls, its mighty volcanoes, and colorful, ever-changing skies I will always have something to paint.
I am originally from Renton, WA but I have lived in Pullman, WA and Kalamazoo, MI. The Gorge is my home now.

Dylan McGrew; Describing my art has never been my forte. I say this because when I look at a painting of mine I see the emotions that I was feeling either at the time of painting or what I felt in the place that the photo was taken. The majority of my artwork has been painted from photos that I have taken in my backyard or of my surroundings in The Gorge.

For this most recent piece, Spring Pear Blossom, the only way I can describe it would be as a combination of the emotions: calm and excitement. The calm comes from the natural aspect of the painting; while the excitement comes from the fact that I know what hides behind the dark background of the flowers. Knowing this opens the painting up to a whole new world for me. I hope that viewers of this painting can find their own special connection with it as well.

My interest in art started from a young age and my Aunt has always been there to fuel it. As a painter herself, she inspired me to take on painting instead of drawing or inking. For a while I worked with acrylics, but fairly recently, moved onto oils. I am intrigued by how personalized you can make the medium. Though I struggled a bit at first, I think I am finally getting the hang of it. I’m excited to continue exploring this and other mediums as I grow as an artist.

Kristine Pollard; While creating my work, I feel like I am right there on the hills looking down the gorge, studying the shapes and lines of the landscape, the light and darkness splattered on the hills, the sun taking over the sky, the layered mountains that fall to what is right in front of me – the tall yellow grass, wild flowers, and the leaves that move with the gorge wind.

Who knows why we fall in love with the things we do, but for me, it is what I feel when I create. I feel happy. I feel the beauty that surrounds me. It is my meditation and a place I can dream in. It is also the challenge, and sometimes it takes me many tries to find what feels right to me, but I pursue and find my way through until I figure it out and create a piece that I absolutely fall in love with.
Working with rope and knotting allows me to create wearable art, functional art, as well as visual art. With this, I am so grateful – it allows me to continuously expand with new ideas, and I feel unlimited with possibilities.

Erin Loughran; “The Mother” was a piece I made for the series titled “The Animal Within.” In this series I worked with the concept of depicting animals in satirical roles of humans. Inspired by the impressionist artist Mary Cassat, for her depiction of motherhood and femininity. I painted this piece when I myself was on the eve of motherhood. In anticipation I ponder over what life would be like raising a child, what kind of mother I would be and the life I would soon be leaving behind. Through all the questions, I kept thinking of chickens, awake at dawn, its sole purpose to be the perpetual mother, and in the end I only found it fitting that it was to be the animal that represents motherhood.

Michelle Yamamoto;  Michelle’s inspiration comes from exploring the wide ranging cultures she has lived in, from Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo to Beijing, China and Manila, Philippines, all which brought experiences that drew her closer to her Japanese heritage.

Her paintings utilize iconic pop culture figures as a doorway to look beyond the fixed perceptions we often create of individuals. In more recent years, her paintings gave way to murals, ranging from life sized portraiture to an agriculture heritage mural spanning 2990 square feet. These paintings have inspired others to learn to paint, cementing her role as an arts educator both at her private school “Art Circle” and community outreach with middle school students for Arts in Education of the Gorge.

Christine Knowles;

The Columbia River Gorge is a big Inspiration for making art! I have lived and painted in Hood River for over 20 years. I have experimented in watercolor, oil and pastel. I love plein air painting, working outside with other Gorge artists, and I love working in the studio with larger, more abstract pieces, relying on color and texture to convey a more personal response to shapes and land forms that surround me. Most of my work is with Pastel – pure pigment in stick form. Pastel is both a drawing tool and a painting instrument which I love to layer over textured paper. I have studied pastel with some of the best: Albert Handel, Richard McKinley, Dawn Emerson, Stan Sperlak, Jen Evenhus and Diana Sanford. I am a signature member of the Northwest Pastel Society.

My work has been juried into shows at the Hui Noe Visual Art Center in Hawaii, the Northwest Pastel Society shows in galleries in the Pacific North West. I am an enthusiastic participant in the annual Gorge Artists Open Studio Tour and I am a partner / exhibiting artist at the 301 Gallery in Hood River.

Akram Sarraj; I have been creating art & painting since I was 5 years old. I was encouraged and supported by school administration and teachers, and it was their support and push for excellence that fueled my development as an artist. I studied painting through art books, working one-on-one with professional artists often up to twelve hours a day, and meeting with Mosul’s prominent artists. I studied academic art through pencil, water colors, and later with oil.

The important topics for me were portraiture, models, nature, and peace. From 1973 on, I participated in most Art Exhibitions and International Festivals held in Mosul and Baghdad, won numerous awards and received accolades for my work. In 1988, after the Gulf War, I established the first privately held Art Gallery in Mosul, AL-Sarraj Art Gallery, a jewel located on the historically famous Nineverh Street. The gallery was expanded to include an art school where I taught local and international students, and a music school under the tutelage of a friend and a renowned oud player, Akram Habib. As the economic siege hit Iraq in 1998, there was no choice but to close the doors of the gallery and for me to move to Jordan in order to provide for my family. I continued to teach painting and to present at Fine Art exhibitions. I also continued to exhibit in Iraq whenever possible and had four personal exhibitions during this difficult time.

Over time, and by observing the wide audience which I came in contact with, it became evident to me that the society was changing and that our attention span was becoming shorter & shorter. People were not taking the time to look closely, to look for a long time and to feel art. It was this realization that led me to develop a style that deconstructs expectations and invites the viewer to be guided by the one facility technology cannot colonize – feeling. As you look at my paintings, you will go where your feelings will take you. One day you look at the painting and see something in it that, as you look at that painting the next day, you might not see, but you’ll discover something new – because your feelings changed. I call this style “Sarrajism”. Sarrajism is grounded in vision of color, calligraphy & space. The vibrant, geometric backgrounds are reminiscent of traditional mosaic and stained glass, of Cubism and Modernism. But my style also calls on the viewer to contribute to the art work by drawing on the viewer’s imagination and their own sense of insight. I have been working on this style from 2000 and in 2005 I debuted Sarrajism at a personal exhibition in Amman, Jordan.

By the early 2000, as extremist factions rose to prominence and later aligned with ISIS, life for artists became increasingly dangerous in Mosul. Death threats slipped under the doors of fellow artists, and in 2007, during my visit back to Mosul, extremists broke into my home, covered my head with a blindfold and set off a small explosive device which obliterated the windows. Scars from flying pieces of glass still crease my face today. In 2011, I left Mosul permanently and have not seen my family since. I was granted refugee status by the U.N. and on October 29th, 2013, came to the U.S., landing in Vancouver, WA with two suitcases and some of my art work. I now live in Beaverton, OR. My life is filled with hope and determination. I hope for the day my family can join me in the U.S. so we can start a new life together. Without hope, there’s no point in living. My small apartment is filled with art which I want to share with the world. Art is My Freedom.

Carolyn Hopkins graduated with an MFA in Sculpture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute. Her recent work has been made from the viewpoint of the end in order to re-examine our current political and ecological landscapes, as well as the rise of solastalgia.

Carolyn has collaborated with Mark Dion and has been an Artist in Residence at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, the Vermont Studio Center, Caldera, Brush Creek, Mildred’s Lane, and Leland Ironworks. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Carolyn lives and works in Lyle, Washington on a 20 acre ranch and studio.

Hopkins’ recent work explores notions of resistance and acceptance as experienced through recent life changes. Since moving to Klickitat County WA, Carolyn has become acutely aware of her concurrently vulnerable and dependent relationships to the landscape around her, as well as the community she now resides in. Hopkins’ new works operate as gestures of simultaneous surrender and defiance.

Sally Bills Bailey; Living at the base of Mt. Hood for over 25 years, Sally Bills Bailey has long been known in the Gorge and nationally for her paintings which reflect her love of mountains, snow, trees, and wilderness. Winters spent in the Southwest offer new challenges of warm colors, and dynamic rugged landscapes.

She is known for her vivid paintings with BOLD SHAPES AND BOLD COLORS in both watercolor and acrylic on canvas. Sally achieves these bold colors by using lots of pigment and not much water. She constantly composes paintings in her mind – noting the light, shapes and colors she sees — to be used later in her paintings.  Sally enjoys creating both abstract and realistic artwork. The Gorge and Mt. Hood remains one of her favorite subjects: No two paintings are ever the same.

Sally has received numerous national awards for her work as a Signature member of the National Watercolor Society (NWS), the Northwest Watercolor Society, and the Watercolor Society of Oregon.

Her paintings are currently exhibited at the Portland Museum Rental/Sales Gallery and in Hood River, Oregon. You are invited to visit Sally at her home studio to see a complete collection of works.

Brian Chambers;My primary photographic goal is to capture and share the beauty and restorative power of the natural world.  I love trying to balance the artistic components of photography with the technical challenges of capturing an image. Success in landscape photography requires one to spend time in nature; watching more sunrises, staring at the rising moon, sitting beneath a star filled sky, hiking into the wilderness in an effort to capture that unique light that can make a scene come alive.  Getting all of the components to come together to make an image that moves people and preserves that unique moment is my reward.

Nancy Houfek Brown is an established Oregon artist whose works are exhibited throughout the region. In addition to the Columbia Center for the Arts, her current paintings are on display at Art on Oak (210 Oak St., Hood River) and Cathedral Ridge Winery (4200 Post Canyon Road, Hood River.) Fifteen of her large works were exhibited  at Portland International Airport from August 2016 – July 2017. Recent paintings have been showing at Verum Ultimum Gallery in Portland as well has having been seen in galleries in Texas, California, Ohio, Colorado, Minnesota, and Massachusetts, where she was a juried member of the Cambridge Artists’ Association.

Nancy’s early art training began at the Art Institute of Chicago.  From 1992 – 1997 she studied with Herman Rowan, Carl Bethke, and Tom Cowette at the University of Minnesota, and from 1998 – 2001 she worked in watercolor with Bici Petit-Baron at the Radcliffe Landscape Design Program in Cambridge, MA.  Her work as an oil painter is greatly influenced by Denver artist, Mark Daniel Nelson.

“When I first arrived in Hood River in the mid-90s, I was in awe of the drama of the geology, the water, the orchards and vineyards, the snow capped mountains, the ever-changing sky. I have an infinite number of views to play with on my canvas, but the river has been the focus of my work in many pieces.

In these paintings, I was inspired by the structures and hues of the mighty Columbia to make large, bold, flat, geometric abstract paintings with rich colors. I want the viewer to get lost through the painting on a journey on the river, following the whimsical patterns and distorted perspective. The colors are simplified to express my emotional response to the water and sky. The large scale of the works is designed to match the moment of seeing the river at dawn, at dusk, or in autumn for the first time, and how that moment takes your breath away.”

Kathryn Watne; Kathryn Watne learned basic enameling techniques as a jewelry and metal design major at the University of Washington.  Mostly self taught, she was fascinated with the process right from the start. The colors, quick turn-around in the firing process.  “I love experimenting with color combinations with the transparent and opaque colors.”

Firing mostly on copper, her early work had an earthy, industrial look. Taking silversmithing classes in Mexico for the last 3 years, her work and style evolved, she now creates earrings, bracelets, necklaces with sterling silver and gemstones.

These Totem Neck Pieces reflect the skills i have attained, using elements from nature, beads and shells I have collected over the years.

Cleo Sterling; With the exception of a few beginning classes in pastels and watercolors, I am self taught, finding most enjoyment in experimenting and exploring the medium of oil.  My painting style has been developed over the years by trial and error with interesting discoveries occurring by accident.  Much of the time there is no forethought or intention to the process before starting, letting the images present themselves intuitively.  Other times I work from a doodle in my sketchbook.  Often the painting takes on a life of its own dictating a specific direction to follow.  My preference is to work quickly, reacting to what I see in front of me.  Each piece is unique and conveys a particular mood.