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Don’t Quit Your Day Job 2021

In the Gallery November 5th – 27th, 2021

Exhibition: Best of the Gorge 2021
November 5 – 27, 2021

Columbia Center for the Arts is excited to present Don’t Quit Your Day Job.

Opening on Friday November 5th, with the opening reception
in the gallery from 5-7pm.

Mark Rothko worked as an elementary school teacher. Mickalene Thomas worked as a coffee house waitress. Jackson Pollock worked as a babysitter, Keith Haring worked as a busboy, Yayoi Kusama sewed and fabricated parachutes and Barbara Kruger worked as a graphic designer. Artists are everywhere. And they are working.

What does it mean to be an artist who is also a worker? How does a worker find ways to develop their art while also keeping food on the table and a roof over their head? How does a person manage the compulsion to create art within the context of the day job workday? And what does that do to the artist, and to the art? This split existence can often be a painful experience, but sometimes a rewarding one and a source of the energy behind an artist’s work.

For this show, Columbia Center for the Arts is seeking to showcase the art and the stories of artists with day jobs, or other daily concerns that provide the resources needed to survive – food, shelter, healthcare, transportation. We hope to present an immersive experience of what it is to make art, to create artistic expression, when sales of artworks are not the artist’s sole source of income.

About the Curator

Guest curator Genevieve Scholl is an artist with a day job that has been working and living in the Gorge since 1996. She graduated from Portland State University in 1997 with a degree in Art History and was a founding board member of Columbia Center for the Arts. She is currently working as Special Projects Manager at the Port of Hood River while developing her art practice painting the natural landscapes of the Pacific Northwest working in oils, alkyd, wax and charcoal. With her husband, Travis, she is also raising a teenager and building a house in Cascade Locks. She is usually exhausted, but passionate about the arts and about people who live with the compulsion to create art under any circumstances.

This video was recorded when Don’t Quit Your Day Job was scheduled for earlier in the year.
Due to the show being postponed until November 2021, some of the content may have changed.


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.

Ashley Nelson

“This piece was a challenge for me to complete. Firstly, I’m a watercolor painter. Acrylics are not something I use super often but I had had this idea of making a bigger “canvas” with skateboards and I knew I would have to use a different kind of paint than watercolor. Second, I’m usually pretty tired after work. I am the billing specialist at a chiropractic clinic in White Salmon. This means I spend most of my day looking at a computer screen of numbers and talking on the phone with insurance companies. When I get home I like to play outside with my dog and avoid straining my eyes on painting. But I really do love to paint! I just really have to compartmentalize my work and my art. I have to focus while doing medical billing and don’t have the luxury of thinking about art. Often when I’m driving home is when I can think about current art projects. I had the added time crunch of dealing with my Etsy business as well. A customer commissioned me to do a pet portrait for them in early August which pulled my art time away from this skateboard piece. On top of that, an important bit of my art supplies were stolen from my car in August. I estimate about $600 worth of things were stolen (including my iPad which I use for looking at my reference photos). Some of those supplies had been given to me by my grandma, who was a professional artist, when I was no older than 8 years old. That theft was a real blow to my side business of art. Replacing that much art supplies at once is a serious expense. To finish this piece I really had to button down on weekends and work longer hours. Overall I would estimate I spent easily 25 hours on this piece. I just kept in my mind the goal of getting this piece into a nice gallery. 

My grandmother taught me how to paint with watercolors starting when I was big enough to hold a paintbrush. I drifted away from painting for a while and just did pencil drawings, mostly because I did not have the money to invest in art supplies. Once I was out of college and had a decently paying job I dabbled in other mediums besides pencil. I slowly added paints and brushes to my collection of art supplies. What really launched my watercolor endeavors was when my best friend lost her beloved dog. I painted her a commemorative portrait and it turned out pretty well. At the time I had just moved to White Salmon and I was in between jobs. I started marketing my pet portraits on Etsy and was successful in making a little bit of money. This also boosted my confidence in my art and I decided to try my hand at some landscapes. We have the perfect backdrop of gorgeous scenery here in the Columbia River Gorge. I now paint semi-professionally and am a member of the artist co-op, Made in the Gorge. I paint to help keep our store stocked with images of Mt. Hood, the Gorge, and a number of birds and rural scenes. I really love painting and do try to make time for it. Winter is when I can accomplish a lot more painting and I love sitting down to paint and drink hot chocolate.”

Find more of Ashley’s works here:

Follow Ashley on Instagram @brushandsawstudio

Michael Ruff

“There is a certain interaction or play between the two forces in my life. On one hand, my work as an automotive teacher has helped me get to the point that I am at and has influenced my work. On the other hand, it poses a significant obstacle in regards to the time, energy and creativity that I need to create. I have tried to express this in the “Petrification” piece.Working in Gresham and living in Hood River allows me to think about art while I commute. As a result I have more inspiration then time to create so I get pretty protective of the time that I have. Beyond that, there is no technique other than spending late nights, after work, in my studio and trying to take care of my body. I didn’t set out to do this intentionally but the common thread that links much of my work is the concept of duality. The interaction or play between dark/light, masculine/ feminine, chaos and structure. Etc. This all really comes out in my largest and most important work “Hypatia Alexandria” but it is present in the two works in this show. “Petrification” represents how the things that once offered us opportunities for growth begin to cement in and can confine us, potentially, limiting further growth. “Cloaked in Light” is a little more apparent with the interaction between dark and light.

One thing I would express here is my love of the process. Process for me extends beyond the technical. Ideally the piece calls for me to research and learn as much as I can about the inspiration.”

Statement for “Petrification”

Pressures elevate, duty calls. Awareness wanes, consciousness falls.

Routine paves the way to complacency, dependence sets like stone.

The last bit of life, years ignored, surfaces reborn.

Statement for “Cloaked in Light”

I cannot ignore the years gone by. Memories as distant as the sunrise they run together, then coagulate, offering no satisfaction. Unforgiving and constant I feel them in my teeth like thirst.

Accompanied by the moon the silver casts through the emptiness of my soul, searching, its love long departed.

Find more of Michael’s works here:

Follow Michael on Instagram @ruffmetalworks

Cheryl Quintana

Because I am a Homemaker, the experience of developing my art is simple.  I plan all the day’s activities around art and inspiration.  When inspiration is lacking, I work on what needs to be done – housekeeping, finances, laundry, cooking, etc.  When I’m inspired, I basically drop what I’m doing and create sculptures!   Needless to say, supper is sometimes late, the laundry stays in the dryer for days on end, and the dust bunnies accumulate! Regarding the two pieces in this show: “Four-and-Twenty Blackbirds” was inspired by the nursery rhyme “Sing a song of sixpence”.  I envisioned and sculpted the anthropomorphic birds which were “baked in the pie” with their own personalities and jobs.  “The Crown”, was inspired by the legend of the Tower of London ravens.  “If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it”. Boy, do those ravens have a big job!

Speaking of jobs, My “job” as an artist has evolved over the course of just the last five years.  I am a self-taught artist who evolved into a ceramic sculptor because I was simply captivated with the process of changing an inanimate bag of clay into sculptures that come to life! With my art, I strive to exude love, beauty, and happiness into each sculpture that I create.  I’m realizing my enchanted world, one sculpture at a time.  I hope you see the beauty in my world, it’s creatures, and animal inhabitants.”

Find more of Cheryl’s works here:

Follow Cheryl on Instagram @chechaquoranchstudio

Sue Allen

In the early 1970s, upon learning how to do a primitive screen print to produce a holiday card, Sue found an art medium that excited her, and she continues to do cards for all occasions. Having recently received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from The Cooper Union in New York City, her designs tended to be stylized and graphic, very drafted, but often with a leaning toward nature. When she moved to Portland, Oregon in 1975 she found local classes that taught screen printing, and started to produce original limited-edition screen prints.

Even from a young age, the outdoors and nature were important. Growing up she spent twelve summers at camp in New Hampshire by a lake, with lots of land and water activities, hiking, but also art and theater. Along with the outdoorsy side, there is also the architectural tendencies, and leanings toward abstraction, geometry, the Japanese aesthetic, and beauty. Then there is an interest in the book arts which led to studies in that field. Her most challenging project was a limited-edition of cases to house a series of 16 screen prints depicting lanterns in the Portland Japanese Garden in 4 seasons. In 2006 this endeavor was accepted into the Guild of Book Workers 100th Anniversary Exhibit at the Grolier Club in NYC, and was further exhibited nationwide in many venues.

Sue continues to find inspiration from the world around her, and expresses it through many art forms. From the series Around Mount Hood: 12 months – 12 directions, showing the sides and seasons of Mt Hood, to depictions of native plants, and to a series on local powerhouses. Her work is distinguished, refined, elegant, and unusual.

SCREEN PRINTING is a stencil process where ink is squeeged through a porous, par9ally blocked out screen, with only open areas printing. Each layer is “pulled” separately, often using overlapping transparent inks that add more color. Creating an original print goes from ideas, mockups, and final prep drawings, to making positives and screens, and printing (registration essential), to doing followup steps, including signing and numbering the edition. These are considered multiple originals, each an handmade work of art.

About the experience of developing my art while also working: In 1970, Sue received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from The Cooper Union in New York City. At that time, architectural jobs were hard to find, even in NYC. In 1972, after an overland
trip from Europe to Nepal, and trekking for a month toward Mt Everest, she returned to NY, and moved to Stowe VT to find work. It was there that she learned to screen print from a friend and began printing cards, calling her art business STUDIO INK. Arriving in Portland Oregon in 1975, she took printmaking classes, and began to produce original limited-edition screen prints. For almost 50 years she has produced, exhibited, and shown her work in galleries and shops around Oregon, and beyond. Sales of artwork has never paid all the bills, and there has always been those “day jobs” to fill the gap. The most suitable jobs that leK room for doing art were ones that were part-time and had schedule flexibility. This has worked well over the years. The variety of other work has kept things exciting.

Find more of Sue’s works here:

Kristie Strasen

“Weaving & Working – I lived and worked as a commercial textile designer and colorist in New York City for 35 years. When I moved to the Gorge in 2017, I was fortunate to be able to continue my consulting work long distance. However, the main purpose of moving was to be able to pursue my work as a weaver – something that had been set aside for my entire time in NYC. I balance my professional work with my weaving by allocating time for both during the day. One pursuit informs the other and the two pieces in this show put a spotlight on my work as a colorist. I love calibrated systems of color – something I regularly create for clients. Here those calibrated systems have overflowed into my weaving – exploring color relationships both chromatic and neutral.

Weaving – I discovered my passion for textiles at an early age and am fortunate to have found a way to pursue my interest both professionally and personally! Moving to the Gorge and being able to return to my weaving has been very rewarding for me. I have a fantastic, light-filled studio that is an inspiring place to work year round. I have several looms and usually have projects going on more than one loom at a time. I appreciate the tactile side of weaving as well as the meditative aspect. During the pandemic, weaving has kept me sane. I enjoy weaving useful items such as pillows and I also like weaving decorative pieces for the home.”

Find more of Kristie’s works here:

Follow Kristie on Instagram @textilespluscolor

Michelle Liccardo

“The experience of developing my art while also working takes dedication and studio practice. My day job is an Art Instructor, Adjunct Professor or Assistant Professor depending on what day it is and where I am teaching. I have learned how to teach ideas in art that I am interested in, so, in that way, there is overlap between my day job and art practice. When I am mid-painting a demonstration or see a moment of inspiration while teaching, I’ve learned to jot it down in a notebook or take a photo to remember it to work on for my own work later.

My work life varies and I’ve been employed as a teacher, a blacksmith and a housecleaner, sometimes in the same month. Every three months or so I have a new teaching schedule, if I’m lucky. Sometimes I work a few days a week and have ample time to produce my own work in the studio, but with added financial stress. And sometimes I work 7 days a week at three different schools. I am fortunate to find work and to do what I love, to teach and interact with student artists, but the downside is the near constant job insecurity and schedule change. But, if anything, that has made me a more creative artist and job seeker and more resilient.

Teaching art has made my work more minimalist. Like; ‘less is more’ in my painting, drawing and sculpture work. In discussing the basic art elements with students in the classroom, I find my sensitivity to color, value, line and shape becomes greater, or more focused. Over the years I’ve become more minimalist in my work, often focusing on only lines or on using one color in a piece. Like learning how to say more with less.

Drawing is a constant activity in my work. In addition to producing finished drawings, I use drawing to plan out sculptures that I want to make or to record inspiration from books on nature, ceramics and sculpture and geometry. Drawing and painting have always been at the roots of my studio practice.

Making sculptural work in ceramics, cement and metal has become my focus over the past few years. Throughout 2020 I worked almost exclusively in my home studio, casting cement and pewter into custom molds that I made using alginate, plaster and two part silicone.”

Find more of Michelle’s works here:

Follow Michelle on Instagram @MichelleLiccardo

Sandra Miller

“I have a lifelong passion for art and beauty and like to make people feel good about creating unique, extraordinary, excellent artwork. I have nine simple rules that allow me to stay working on my art. 1. Do more than what  I am told to do. 2. Try new things. 3. Teach others about what I do. 4. Make work into play. 5. Take breaks. 6. Work when others are resting. 7. Always be creating. 8. Make your own inspiration. 9. Love what you do, or leave.”

The modest beginnings for Sandra Lea Miller were her birth in Portland, Oregon, the year 1968, to thriving – known local community members in Cascade Locks, Oregon. Her father, Lee Miller, was a working foreman for Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. Her mother, Maxine Miller, was a painter of abstract art that sold artwork in galleries in Hood River, Oregon. Her enthusiasm for art came from her mother, and her zeal for art grew from childhood into adulthood. Then in the summer of 2012, watching television with friends sparked another creative interest.

What started this creative interest in photography? By watching an OPB television show called Art Wolf, she adored all the beautiful pictures on the TV show. Next, she told her friends, “I want to do this for a living, and take beautiful photos, and travel the world to exotic locations.” Her friends did not laugh at her for expressing this to them but encouraged her to pursue photography. Further, her interest in photography for the TV show and friends’ support lead her to a new vocation to follow in life.

Moreover, her humble beginnings with an expressed interest in photography, to attending school, to achievement with graduating from photography school at the top of her class, her parents were proud of her accomplishments and entering the workforce of the world. Her wild desire for graphic art came from photography and working with graphic artists to produce layouts of magazines. She will have to sum up her biography.

In conclusion, she discovered a new career by expressing interest in photography by watching a television show on Oregon Public Broadcasting Network. Then, attending the New York Institute of Photography School in New York City to gain an education in that subject and graduating on July 1, 2014. Next, what defines her success and drives her creative process? For this reason, she has chosen two statements for her philosophy. First, it is now or ever to live life with passion and beauty when it comes to life. Second, ever too young to have a dream and are ever too old to have a vision. Also, she wants to express that with her images with a deep and powerful meaning. These two statements drive her forward when giving up would be the right thing to do on her part when thinking of quitting her photography and artwork. Next, her search for work as a photographer and artist has been successful. After graduating from New York in 2014, she took her talents to local galleries and Magazines.

Laura Wise

“For the past twenty-odd years, I have actually held down two jobs, one being a small business owner, and the other as a high school art educator. As of this past August I have retired from teaching, but remain a small business owner. Although I love both careers, I sometimes find it extremely difficult to find time to create and concentrate on my artistic endeavors. I try to set aside at least an hour every day to work in the studio. Quite frequently each job demands my complete attention, and so it is difficult to devote my time to my own work. That being said, the time in my studio is my “re-charge time” and I know that my being an artist helped my students in their own endeavors. I actually have worked two different jobs while I have been a practicing artist. I taught art at the high school level and occasionally taught at the college level. I retired in August 2021 from teaching. I also co-own a fruit and mercantile business. I attempt to carve out enough time every evening to be able to create, although sometimes it is very difficult. For me, it is a necessary part of my existence, almost a meditative release of stress. I found that I was a better teacher when I was actually practicing what I preached! The piece I have entered for this show is called “Breaking the Storm”. Like much of my work it is an autobiographical piece that describes my experiences with my youngest son when he was critically ill with a life-threatening disease. We as a family went through so many ups and downs, tears, and hope. The storm rattling in the background, and the protective cloak of family, and the rain/tears dashing through the Central Washington landscape, and finally the blessing he received before his last surgery.

Lastly, thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication to being in the show! We understand how hard it is to make art and try to make a living in this financial climate. We want to be able to present this struggle to others so that they can fully appreciate what we go through in our lives in order to fulfill ourselves and our dreams.”

Don Bailey

“In my native Hoopa language, kiwhliw means “he who paints.” First and foremost, I am a painter. I create complex, richly colorful compositions. I am also Native American, raised on the Hoopa Valley Reservation in Northern California. And for 40 years, until I retired 3 years ago I was a teacher. I juggled full time fine art and art history teaching with my own artwork . My experience as an art teacher and mentor at the Chemawa Indian School (the oldest federally run boarding school for native American students) has been an important influence on my art.

As a full-time teacher and commuter, I squeezed in painting wherever and whenever I could. As a studio art teacher, I was fortunate to have a beautiful studio-classroom where I did demonstrations with my students and then, between classes, during lunch break, and after school work on my own piece. There was always at least one work in progress in the corner that I was working on and talking about with interested students and colleagues. I also always had at least one work in progress going at home. For years I worked in my basement studio and then, when my wife and I moved into an old bungalow with a generous back yard in Portland, in the airy studio we built behind the house. There my dog kept me company on weekends and summer break from work, and after I retired until he passed away last winter, was beside me as I painted daily.

The works I am submitting grew out of my knowledge that the original goal of Chemawa and the other federally run boarding schools was assimilation/loss of cultural identity and the preparation of children for domestic and manual labor. The forced removal from home to attend these schools was wrenching for children and their families. These paintings grew also from my commitment that my students know their history and feel the power of art to shake up mainstream (mis)understandings about native people.”

Follow more of Don’s works here:

Follow Don on Instagram @hupapaint

Sanjana Sachdeva

“I have been a Creative Manager at David Evans and Associates, Inc. for over 20 years now, so art is what I love to do. I have been using my skills to not only design but also use the photography skills that I picked up in a few years. I now go to take our project photos and also take portraits for our employees. We get every other Friday off, which gives me some time to plan trips for photography while going on backpacking trips or taking classes. I am always working or on the go if I am not doing my day job. I make sure after I finish work every day, to try to process photos which are more time-consuming than just taking photos. Yes, I have a backlog as work comes first. Someday I will catch up but in the meantime, I am enjoying all that I do and going on harder, longer trips with my friends and my fiance.

My photography is a reflection of how I feel when I am in a place – I am at peace when I am in nature as it is my healer and my comfort. I like to capture the moment of time and color and joy. I want to share that with everyone through my medium of expression. I am also a painter and was taking photos to paint but this has become my art and someday I will pick up paints again. I want people to preserve what we have today for our future generations. I learn every single time I go out. I try to make the best of any situation in photography, just like my life.”

Follow Sanjana’s works here:

Follow Sanjana on Facebook

Follow Sanjana on Instagram @sanjana.sdeva

Lizzie Keenan

“Travel and creativity are my two greatest passions in life and I am able to fulfill them both through my day job and my art. By day I work in tourism, helping to craft experiences for visitors and support communities in destinations. At night is when my creative inspiration usually strikes and I can get lost in a painting, letting it slowly release any tension and stress I am carrying from the day. Combined, the income from my day job and art help to fund my travels abroad. And thus, the cycle of inspiration and adventure is complete.

My art is an outlet for me to be creative, to take an idea and run with it and see where we end up together. My medium is watercolors. I love the way they flow and change in unexpected ways. I am inspired by nature, animals, and my travels abroad, and yet I always come back to painting birds. There is something magical about seeing them come to life, wings outstretched, on paper. My favorite part of painting a bird or any other animal is adding detail to the eyes at the very end. The white reflection off the eye brings my paintings to life and gives them their character and personality.”

Find more of Lizzie’s works here:

Follow Lizzie on Facebook @OriginaLizzie

Instagram @Originalizzie

Ami Beaver

“I think there is value for me as an artist in the tension between my art practice and working a day job. Working full-time has helped me learn how to manage my time, but it has also gone a long way in teaching me how to value my work as an artist. When you are a creative person working in a non-creative field, your artist self can either be a hidden part of your identity, misunderstood and diminished, or in some instances even exploited. I have learned to share my creative practice at work selectively – not because I want to hide that part of myself, but because I have been in situations where my “creativity” is used to assign me work that falls outside the scope of my job. I’ve got so many things in my own art that I don’t have the time to do, it’s hard to feel like using my talents for things that take up energy but don’t serve me. That’s a hard truth, and sometimes it is a difficult conversation to have, but having been in that situation I’ve learned to save my creative energy for the work that serves me and my art practice. I use my evenings and my weekends for my art, and I use an art journal to keep track of ideas and inspiration throughout the workday.

My work is inspired by nature, history, field journals and maps. I love the journals of explorers and scientists because I am delighted by discovery. As a book artist, I make work that uses or references either the structural or conceptual properties of books. I like making artists’ books because unlike a traditional art object that is often only experienced by sight alone, books are meant to be touched, their pages turned. I like this relationship between reader/viewer and art object. I want people to delight in the magic of discovery – to be surprised by a hidden object, or an unexpected material, or even the discovery through touch and exploration of the elements that make a book a book – the cover, the binding, the pages, the story it tells.”

“As we passed on, it seemed those scenes of visionary enchantment would never have an end.” – Meriwether Lewis

Find more of Ami’s works here:

Kelly Gall

“In one of my college painting classes, another student announced her plans to become a ceramicist. Despite being on an arts track with painting as my focus, I was baffled by the idea that a student thought they would become a successful artist: how would she pay her bills? I was working as a waitress part-time and couldn’t afford to put $20 of gas in my tank. The idea of selling art (even functional art) to make a living seemed naïve to me. Who would even buy it?

With my cynical attitude, I continued waitressing, then entered corporate America circa 2008. Everyone my age was broke and struggling to pay rent. I stopped painting for a few years and focused on not overdrawing my bank account while the economy slowly recovered. Eventually, I found occasional commission work as a portrait artist, and would paint under my fluorescent kitchen lights late at night after staring at a monitor in my gray cubicle all day. I still didn’t think art was a viable career choice for me but recognized that the other student had developed a single-mindedness that would make her successful. I was too focused on my short-term human needs: rent, utilities, food, and buying bottles of wine to share with boys. Art commissions were too unreliable, and painting was always going to be a secondary path for me.

Today, I take my painting more seriously. I work in a career I love and over time, I have developed the discipline to complete a few paintings a year. I learned that not painting consistently caused my skills to atrophy quickly, so I try to paint a few hours every weekend. Occasionally however, art is just another chore that needs to be completed after the laundry is done. Sometimes, I regret that my growth is stunted by my inability to focus more on my pieces. However, when I look at a painting after I’ve rendered a skin tone just right or brushed on a color that seems to pulse with light and vibrance, I realize what matters is the piece in front of me. A day job allows me to take my time and give it the attention it deserves.

I am a classically trained portrait artist. My series have developed during conversations and stories told to me over dinner. When painting a person, I think about the life experiences they have shared with me and how their face animated as they told their stories.

Currently, I am working on a series of hand paintings to explore the idea of a portrait of a person through the work they do with their hands, instead of painting a face to show how they look.

The two paintings I’ve submitted for this show diverge from my normal subject matter. During 2020, the opportunities for stories and dinner with friends were few and far between. I lacked the inspiration (other humans) I needed to develop portraits. So, the landscapes here, represent a bit of the loneliness of the past year and a half. Lacking available models, I turned to the world around me.”

Follow Kelly on Instagram @mizkellygall

Heather Tomlinson

“The development of my art seems to come in fits and bursts, no doubt affected by not only creative tendencies but deadlines and work loads of my day job. I teach at a small university in Eastern Oregon and the output of my artwork tends to coincide with summer and holiday breaks. At the beginning of each school year I try to tell myself that I will continue developing art at the same level I have been throughout the summer but inevitably I get caught up in just trying to accomplish what I need to for my classes and university. 

Creating artwork is a release from work though and a chance to selfishly do and create whatever I please. Therefore, I work on what I can in the evenings. During the busiest times of the school year when I am unable to devote much time to creating fiber art pieces I maintain the habit of constantly carrying around my “Imagination Land” notebook to sketch out ideas for future pieces.

The body of my artwork is in clothing and fiber arts. My work tends to focus on geometric and/or abstract shapes with texture. I am inspired by abstract forms and colors found in nature– those varying shapes, textures and colors found therein. The discovery of overlooked beauty in the passage of years and combination of organic matter. Serene order is achieved through the layering of yarn of varying colors, widths and textures on fabric utilizing a tufting technique.”

Gigi Cooper

Art grows the interstices, like weeds in the cracks of concrete. Since my time is limited, I have to finish a piece. It helps me to not overanalyze, and finish it. On the other hand, some projects I put in the art closet, not touching them for weeks or months. This gives me time to ruminate, and in some cases, completely rework the piece and go in a different direction. When making art, I use my hands to create tangible objects. For my job, I interact only with a screen and keyboard.

I do not feel like I actively create a piece, as much as I feel like I am learning more about a medium. The unexpected is the best part. There is no consequence for making a bad piece, no failure, except using up materials.

I am trying to incorporate and use natural and recycled materials and work more in three dimensions. That is what drew me to encaustic initially, and now I love the scent–and the idea of visual art including a second or third sensory experience.

Amy Proffitt

“I work full time as an Ophthalmic Technician. I help assist during patient eye exams and prepare patients to see their doctors. My day job requires a lot of patience and attention to detail. I love working with our patients but I often wish I could be home creating a new painting and expressing myself in my art.
Painting is an outlet for me. It’s helped me through the best and worst times of my life.

Most days I carry around a small notebook in my pocket and I’ll jot down ideas when they come to me. You could say it’s my “What to paint next” list. I find the time to paint and make my ideas come to life on the weekends or in the evenings. It really helps me relax after a long day.

I’ve always favored acrylic paints as my medium. I love creating bright colorful art that makes me feel good!”

Find more of Amy’s works here.

Follow Amy in Instagram @Willowreclaimed

Audrey Mae

“Hi! My name is Audrey Mae. I’m a visual artist whose work captures botany, mycology, and our own human connection to the natural world around us. I work primarily in acrylics and strive to give the viewer a little glimpse into the viewpoint of the plants or mushrooms depicted. What does it feel like to live on the forest floor?
I’ve been drawing and painting most of my life. I started my art education by sweeping floors in exchange for classes while in high school in south Florida. I went on to get a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I’ve since been teaching classes for over a decade, painting murals, making clothing, and making art out of my little home studio in Hood River, Oregon.

Working a full-time job, going to school, and finding time to work on art is definitely not an easy task! I am currently a bartender/ manager at a brewery. Working in the service industry has given me flexibility in my schedule to paint all day and work at night. I’m in school two days a week to become a licensed tattoo artist. This will give me the ability to make money while keeping my brain in a creative space as much as possible!”

Follow Audrey on Instagram @AudreyMaeArt

Rachael Erickson

“Social and political issues primarily drive the inspiration for my sculptures, which are largely created with glass as the principal medium. My desire in my work is to bring light and even humor to the sometimes darker subjects I explore. Glass has always lent itself perfectly to this, as its properties can mask, reveal, highlight, and even blur subjects. My latest works however have been more introspective; focusing instead on self-portraiture reflected through objects that I have a connection to through my past. I see many similarities to the violin and the human form in its figurative and gestural features, as well as its function. It can be difficult to reveal your song, to make your art, or to sometimes just be yourself. In this respect, I also see my violins as a metaphor for the beauty that can be trapped or frozen within. Being an artist with a day job, the difficulties to make your work becomes compounded.

As Gallery Manager at CCA, I have an intense amount of creativity and beauty that surrounds me every day. While it is an honor to be inspired and immersed in art and support other artists in my daily life, it still is sometimes difficult to go home exhausted at the end of the day and try to recreate that for myself. It takes an immense amount of dedication to be selfish with your time and to tell others that you simply cannot give your time away as much as you would like to. There is a lot of days that I struggle with boundaries and succumb to leaving myself and my passion behind. Needless to say, my artwork gets put on the back burner and my imagination suffers. In addition to that, glass is a very expensive medium to work in, and living in the financial climate of the area, it is a huge obstacle living paycheck to paycheck and still attempting to squirrel away enough money to support my drive to create. It requires a strenuous amount of checks and balances in my life to make my dream a reality. I feel it is so important to support the arts, especially in our community and the social/economic climate we are living in today. This is not an easy time for artists to push forward and make their work when galleries all over the country are closing their doors, as patrons are closing their wallets for uncertain times ahead. This may be a time for reimagining what the current gallery model looks like. The good news is that artists historically have and always will reinvent themselves in order to stay working in their passions, to adapt, because we HAVE to. There is no other way.”

Scott Stevenson

“I began working in photography and graphic design throughout college. I switched to working in the glass after taking some classes at Bullseye Glass in Portland. Through a career as a merchant mariner, I had the opportunity to continue working on my craft. This led me to explore different mediums such as metal and fiber through the support of other artists. Three years ago I had the opportunity to create an installation about the House Un-American Activities Committee. The landscape began to shift for what I wanted to create. Through fortuitous circumstances, I had the opportunity to become the executive director of The Dalles Art Center. This has given me the opportunity to explore curation and larger public art projects to engage the community. The struggle is to find the time and resources for my own work. The resolution is that it all has become part of my creative practice.

Working as a director of an art center has given me an opportunity to keep connected to art practice through curating an exhibition or collaborating with an artist. However, the time spent on my own work has been limited by the number of hours that I spend at the art center and the cost of materials. I have found that my creativity has come out through my work as an arts administrator. Given the opportunity to work on a project for this exhibition I have reconnected with my own craft.

This piece is about two colleges with imagery pulled from a typewriting instruction book. I loved the line drawings and the test. When reading the book, it becomes clear that it is more than a book about typing, It is a book about getting and holding a job, as is found on the piece with the typewriter background. Infused in the exercises are these texts that are really funny. The transparent panel is a series of correspondence for a product that a representative is selling. Through the course of the text, a story plays out where the product explodes and the correspondence turns to a trite correspondence where the customer politely declines.”

Featured in the Entryway Gallery

CCA is so excited to offer an end-of-year Silent Auction to support the arts! Auction and sale items will be displayed in the Entryway Gallery for attendees to assess, place bids on, and purchase. Items are from CCA’s donated inventory as well as participating local artists.

The auction will run November 5th – December 17th, 2021, so come in and place your bids!