On the Wall
Making Skagit connections
WHAT: “Beloved: A Courtship of Place”
WHEN: Opening reception 2pm-5pm Sat., April 3
WHERE: Perry and Carlson Gallery, Mount Vernon
WHAT: “Tulip Poster Artists, Past and Present”
WHEN: April 1-May 4
WHERE: Scott Milo Gallery, Anacortes
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
The few people who have been in my kitchen and seen the painting of a great blue heron that I purchased directly from Bow-based artist Todd Horton last May have reacted strongly to his rendering of the long-legged, wide-winged bird. One of those rare visitors said it gave her chills, “but in a good way.”
When I bought “A Sunlit Flight” as a birthday gift to myself, I wasn’t concerned about whether it was a good investment or not. I’ve long admired the hauntingly lovely way Horton depicts local wildlife, and the work spoke to me (plus, his pandemic price was significantly less than what his pieces typically command).
There are a number of other Skagit County-based painters whose work I’d also welcome integrating into my home gallery, not only for adornment, but also for the tales they tell about the place we live. Maggie Wilder is one artist with a strong connection to the county where she’s lived since 1977. As the owner of Gallery Cygnus—a former brick-and-mortar space in La Conner which has since morphed into an online gallery—Wilder champions regional artists by showing and selling their work.
This month, Perry and Carlson Gallery in downtown Mount Vernon will be advocating for Wilder herself by displaying her solo show, “Beloved: A Courtship of Place.” The exhibit opening April 3 and continuing throughout the month includes mirage-like, mesmerizing paintings of Ika Island in the Skagit River Delta, and barn paintings based on actual structures still standing in the valley. They appear to be timeless, as if they could’ve been created any time during the past 100 years.
“They are my meditation on the success and inevitable failure of each human endeavor and the possible elegance of decay,” Wilder says of the sepia-toned masterworks. “I hope to have created paintings worthy of contemplation.”
In Anacortes, Skagit-based artistry is also on display at the Scott Milo Gallery via the exhibit “Tulip Poster Artists, Past and Present.” The current Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Poster artist Jennifer McGill is the featured draw, and in addition to petal-powered wonders such as “Pink Champagne”—which features intricate branches full of magnolia blossoms unfurling toward the sky—she also integrates flowers into paintings of classic cars, including “Fairytale,” “Far Far Away,” and the poster piece itself, “Under a Tulip Moon.”
Those checking out the exhibit in person or online will also find much to admire from prior poster artists, including Randy Dana’s so-perfect-they-look-like paintings photographs, Alfred Currier’s depictions of Skagit fields in bloom, and acrylics by Jennifer Bowman and Ben Mann—both of whom are fond of bright reds and yellows that capture the eye.
Scott Milo Gallery also offers custom framing, so if you find a piece of art you can’t live without, rest assured they’ll find a way to personalize it before you bring it back to your own home gallery—where a lack of visitors shouldn’t keep you from enjoying your new investment.
An artistic legacy in La Conner
Jesus Guillén was born in 1926 in Texas. As a child, his father moved the family to Mexico for several years, where the festivals, culture and art of the Tarascan people made a lasting impression upon him—as evidenced by his painting of a flamboyant warrior, “Guerrero Aguila,” on display…
Visions of Spring
Put the world in focus
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
As humans emerge from an exceedingly existential winter, signs of spring in our corner of the globe are plentiful (and so, so…
A Road Well Traveled
Max Benjamin studied art at the University of Washington under Walter Isaacs and Ambrose Patterson, where he describes being “sucked into” painting.
After graduating, he worked as a commercial illustrator for four years, then in 1959 made the life-changing decision to “leave Mother’s…