Visual

Winging It

The birds of winter

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

During bouts of inclement winter weather, it can be difficult to discern the best time of day to head to local forests, rivers, beaches and trails to seek avian adventures. If you’re dreaming of birdwatching experiences that don’t include sturdy boots, down coats and waterproof binoculars, plenty of feather-focused fine art can be found at a number of indoor venues through February.

For example, an owl chilling out in a moss-draped thicket is one of many images to be admired at photographer Camille Hill’s “Birds and Beasts” exhibit on display through Feb. 29 at the Deming Library. Her wildlife works include a combination of shots from a safari in Botswana as well as portraits of birds found on her land in Van Zandt, so it’s a good bet that enigmatic raptor is a local one. Hill recently retired from the U.S. Department of State after 27 years in the Foreign Service, so she’ll have even more time to get creative with her camera. Where: 5044 Mt. Baker Hwy. Info: http://www.wcls.org

In Anacortes, a “Birds of Winter” show on display until March 3 highlights the captivating photo encaustics of Kathy Hastings. In pieces such as “Snow Geese at Fir Island,” she merges traditional photography and painting to highlight one of the best Skagit scenes around. “In my current work I am exploring encaustics,” the artist says. “I fuse layers of melted beeswax on the photo, along with oil paint, oil pastels and mica powder for added texture and translucency.” Sticking to the theme, photographs on metal by Vince Streano, a collection of Charles Murphy watercolors and hand-colored lithographs, metal work including wall pieces, paddles and birdhouses by Les Eelkema, and Skagit landscape oils by Keith Sorenson can also be perused. Where: 420 Commercial Ave. Info: http://www.scottmilo.com

Not too far away, the eighth annual “Birds-Eye View” exhibit is showing in Edison through March 1 at Smith & Vallee Gallery. The invitational display is purposefully placed in February to attract the birders who flock to the area during this time of year, and in chillier climes provides a welcome respite to the weather. In this collection, there’s something for everyone, whether it’s Linda Okazaki’s colorful “Conference of the Birds” watercolor; Ann Chadwick-Reid’s abstract “Spotted Owl Laments Suburban Sprawl” crafted from hand-cut paper; sculptures from the likes of Karen Willenbrink-Johnson, Joanne Bohannon, Phillip McCracken, Ann Morris, Bob Prowda, Debbie Harvey, and Peter Fromm; and ceramic bird-feeders by Jeanne Gardner crafted with ceramic, copper wire and glass beads.

Other works draw attention to eagles, seagulls, herons, finches, American kestrels, swans, pine siskins, crows, ravens and even a red robin—one of the harbingers of spring. Another sign that the seasons may soon be changing is the return of the World Famous Edison Chicken Parade at high noon Sun., Feb. 23. The route will take attendees past Smith & Vallee Gallery, and that’s not a mistake. Although you won’t find many chickens in “Birds-Eye View,” there’s plenty to keep avid birdwatchers interested in the action once they come in from off the street. Where: 5742 Gilkey Ave. Info: http://www.smithandvalleegallery.com

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