The Good Stuff
Farmland and beyond
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
What must the highway patrol have thought, finding Alfred Currier working on a sketch pad atop the Swinomish Channel highway bridge? Only when a fortunate construction project shut the traffic lane was the persistent and highly respected artist able to complete his sketches for another masterpiece.
Once in his studio, Currier prepped a canvas with gesso and transparent, colored washes, drew his design and painted “My Rainier.” The mountain appears as a distant bump in a vast panorama under a glowing sunset, as if to say the shadowed Skagit fields and the curving watercourse are part of his experience of the mountain. As in all of Currier’s oils, the subtle, complementary colors of the underpainting lend brilliance to a thick impasto surface.
For the next six weeks you can see “My Rainier,” several other canvases by Currier and works by Kathleen Faulkner, Bob Williams, Alan Moe, and Peregrine O’Gormley at Burton Jewelers, on Commercial Avenue in Anacortes.
The farmlands theme continues along the thoroughfare, as I discovered during a recent Friday night Art Walk stroll. The Good Stuff Arts boasts Dianna Shyne’s acrylic “The Show is Starting,” a vivid portrait of a daffodil field, a precursor to the main event—tulips. Shyne’s work pays homage to the rich colors and luxurious textures of the 20th century Russian Impressionists. Two of her pieces, “Rowing Out from Shore” and “Climbers,” reveal her ability to capture emotion in the subtle movement of a man in a boat or two children climbing a fence.
The Good Stuff’s featured artist is Carla Seaton, who favors happy cartoon dogs, mustachioed cats and willowy trees with bubbles. She believes in “laughing, positive vibes and all around happy thoughts.” Her goal “in this crazy world, is to make you smile!”
Here also are a fired clay mural, “Apple Truck,” by Michael Laboon, Robert Gigliotti’s strikingly athletic sculpture, “Cirque,” and several evocative sculptures of female nudes by Maria Wickwire, as well as landscapes by Cynthia Richardson. My favorite of Richardson’s is “January Field,” which works as an abstract, as the land is molded by snowfall and winter light.
The Good Stuff show includes delicate fused glass sculptures by Annette Tamm. As a young person, her practical side dictated a career as a chemist, but in the 1980s the lure of colored glass drew her to making lamps on the kitchen counter. By 1993, she was in Anacortes working as a full-time artist. She likes to create with “warm glass” to retain the three-dimensionality and rough texture of the original materials.
In her unique approach to glass sculpture, Tamm combines wood elements and many layers of powdered glass, fused together and slumped over a mold. Her “Falling Gently” freezes forever the instant of swirling oak leaves twisting in the wind. In another approach, Tamm paints individual elements on thin layers of glass and fuses them all together into a three-dimensional scene.
It’s also worth dropping by the Scott Milo Gallery, where acrylics by Jennifer Bowman are being featured through January. In addition to viewing the Anacortes-based artist’s colorful florals, landscapes and trees, still-life photos by Randy Dana, photos on canvas by Lewis Jones, and encaustic paintings by Marilee Holm can—and should—be perused.
Hall of Birds
An exhibition reinvention
I hadn’t realized trumpeter swans were exponentially bigger than full-grown bald eagles until I saw one of each hanging out in near proximity to each other at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall the other afternoon.
Determined to soak up the last vestiges of Christmas, my fella and I had…
Have a Ball
An evening of art
When considering the art of Bill Ball “Fireball,” it’s helpful to know that the local artist painted his first mural four years ago while spending time in the alternate reality known as Burning Man—the makeshift assemblage focusing on creativity and self-expression that rises up and then…
Going toward the light
Most Decembers, I relish the ritual involved in the unpacking of ornaments and lights in order to festoon a Christmas tree and bring illumination, beauty and creativity to the dark nights indicative of the weeks surrounding the winter solstice. This year, not so much. However, I still…