Spring Show

A seasonal staple in Mount Vernon


What: Spring Show

Where: River Gallery, 19313 Landing Rd., Mount Vernon (the show can also be viewed online)


WHEN: 10am-5pm Fri.-Sun., through May 23


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Welcome to the “Spring Show” at the River Gallery, featuring outstanding Skagit Valley paintings, sculpture and jewelry just off the beaten path in Mount Vernon. 

For the exhibit, owner Sylvia Strong painted several studies of birch trees—a Norwegian favorite. She also curated a trompe l’oeil by juxtaposing two of Ria Harboe’s acrylics. Don’t miss Harboe’s other paintings, especially “Light Above the Dark Forest.”

Landscape and nature scenes are always a staple at these seasonal exhibits and Dedrian Clark, working in oil, contributes “Rhodies and Redwoods” and the mesmerizing “Raven Moon,” in which the feathered hero is framed by creepy, dangling twigs.

You can get lost on Nancy Crowell’s website reading of her photographic adventures. But her pictures tell stories, too—snow geese fly over tulip fields, purple blossoms nestle in fog, tiny insects cling to twigs.

Has she been hiding for a while? Mary Quintrall makes an appearance with a portrait series, featuring cubistic faces and images of empty chairs in place of friends who are far away, lost.

New to the gallery are cold wax abstractions by Tracy Pegg. Asking herself how she knows when a piece is done, she answers, “When I see nothing shouting at me to fix it.” “After the Storm” appears to be a graceful landscape, “Dusk” is a cross of red-brown, blue-and-black on white, bursting with energy.

For several years I’ve enjoyed Brooke Borcherding’s acrylic cityscapes and landscapes. Now, “Beauty by the Fence” takes a promising direction with its twisting column of blossoms on a blurred background.

Paintings by Skagit legend Clayton James have found their way into the show as well. The yellow sweep of “Mustard Field with Lummi Island” (oil) is anchored by the unmistakable landmark mountain.

“In the Deep” and “Emergence” are colorful abstractions by La Conner resident Charlotte Decker, and they exhibit so much movement she might have danced them into existence. 

Always a contender, Cynthia Richardson brings a masterpiece in oil, the near-psychedelic, “Mt. Baker Sunrise,” a brilliant composition of blue, red and vivid orange.

The canvases of Jacqui Beck always lighten the mood. In the mixed-media piece “Inner Poems,” a cardinal balances on a clothesline of gay handkerchiefs. “Out to Dry” boasts four lines, although you have to look carefully to find them.

The well-known Jennifer Bowman, a motivational instructor as well as prolific artist, shows a number of semi-abstract acrylics, of which my favorite is a trio of brightly colored boats, “3 Amigos.”

Looking at Richard Nash’s elegant acrylic paintings, “Poinsettia” and “Goat Willow,” is it fair to say that he finds geometry in everything? Similarly, it’s easy to see why Coizie Bettinger’s pastel nature studies are such bestsellers. In “Out Like a Lion,” you can almost feel the howling wind.

Buck Striegel displays pit-fired pottery, the patterns result from sawdust, dried seaweed, salts and other materials used during the firing process.

“Stream by Starlight” is part of Kent Nordby’s inspired nighttime visions in oil paint, while “Mt. Adams Sunrise” (pictured) tackles the dawn. “Dream-realism” best describes his meticulous “Mouth of the Skagit” and “Mt. Shuksan Nocturne,” down to the last twinkling star.

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