Art walk abstraction



WHAT: Jeffrey Thostenson (1955-2012)
WHEN: Family talk from 5pm-8pm Thurs., Sept. 5; see the works through September
WHERE: Mount Vernon City Library, 315 Snoqualmie St.

WHAT: Works by Marilee Holm and Kathleen Secrest
WHEN: Sept. 6-Oct. 1
WHERE: Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave., Anacortes

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The abstract acrylics on paper and wood painter Jeffrey Thostenston left behind after his untimely death in 2012 may provide clues into the mind of the man, but those who want to know more about the enigmatic artist’s life and work can glean additional insights when members of his family share their memories from 5pm-8pm Thurs., Sept. 5 during the final First Thursday Art Walk of the year in downtown Mount Vernon.

An accompanying installation of known and previously undiscovered pieces will be on display and for sale at the Mount Vernon City Library through September, providing context into the work of the La Conner painter whose paintings are said to reflect his unique worldview.

“That world was spontaneous, often brightly colored, and sometimes deeply contemplative,” exhibit organizers say. “He was a self-taught painter who was an avid student of art history and who worked to find his place in it. His outlook was both aesthetically sophisticated and determinedly ‘blue collar.’ His painted and written communications were baffling but unfailingly exciting. The work challenges, stimulates and elicits deep thought.”

Thostenston was a voracious reader and longtime Mount Vernon City Library patron, so it’s fitting that a portion of the proceeds made from the sales of his paintings will be donated to the Mount Vernon Library Foundation’s ongoing efforts to build a new library in the Skagit County city.

More examples of masterful abstraction can be experienced Fri., Sept. 6 during the First Friday Art Walk in downtown Anacortes when Orcas Island-based artist Marilee Holm’s new, boldly colored encaustic paintings will be highlighted that night (and through September) at the Scott Milo Gallery. In works such as “Sea and Sky at Green Dune Park,” she merges colors and textures in ways that evoke geological layers.

“Although I’ve done lots of oil and acrylic paintings over the years, I find encaustic paint to be best for exploring color, which is my primary interest,” Holm says. “Encaustic paint compels me to experiment and inspires me to do all kinds of things with
color, design and subject that wouldn’t occur to me otherwise.”

Also on display at Scott Milo will be soft pastels by Christine Troyer, oils by Karen Bakke, a new collection of “The Quiet Series” by Dederick Ward, and pastels by Kathleen Secrest, who says the observations she makes while painting in nature, and the treasures she collects during her explorations, are the jumping-off point for her abstract art.

Another visionary in the abstract art world who counts Mama Nature as among her muses is Sarah Kreuter, a woodcut print artist who creates hand-pulled, limited-edition prints using both the Moku Hanga and Western printing traditions. During the Art Walk taking place from 6pm-10pm Fri., Sept. 6 in downtown Bellingham, she’ll be on hand at Casa Que Pasa to explain her process.

“The term printmaker evokes a particular illustrative aesthetic; that is not my work,” she says. “My work carries an aesthetic all its own. Each piece draws viewers in and encourages unique interpretations based on their life experience. I work with abstraction, but draw from familiarity using nature as an anchor point.”

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