Featured Artists 2011

November’s Featured Artist:
Geraldine McMahan

Geraldine’s unique hand-built pottery may fool you. It is so beautifully executed that one would think that it was wheel-thrown.

 ‘Pumpkin’ pots, so named for their shape, are formed around sphere shapes. Tennis balls, basket balls, and beach balls are some shapes used to create two hemispheres which are joined together.  Her ‘Saturn’ pots are created the same way but by preparing shallower hemispheres, a flatter version of the pumpkin pot result.  Joining the two parts results in a seam that must be worked and burnished. This process consolidates the molecules of silicon into a surface sheen. Geraldine designed her perfect tool, the “Thumper, a wooden block rounded to fit her hand with a flat edge that she thumps against the pot to eliminate the bumpy seam. She burnishes with polished stones or an ordinary plastic spoon.  She may create textures with sandpaper, imprint with rocks or other tools while the clay is still moist.  Pit firing her pots and vases fixes the beautiful sheen with a smoky finish that may partially expose the red clay she uses.  She glazes some earth tone pots with underglazes. Some designs are painted with the under glaze, and receive a shiny glaze.

Geraldine’s latest venture is joining another artist and meld their talents in a single art piece. Geraldine prepared her several pots, then gave them to Mary Beers who bedecked them with unique seed bead designs around the outside.

 Another collaboration with Poet Jill Hardin produced a vase with a poem incised into the side and then embellished with glaze.  “Collaboration is a great way to share each other’s art techniques and gain an appreciation of our skills. What’s more cooperative than collaboration?”

Geraldine works with potter friends once a week. She says, “Art is communication with the viewer or other potters.” She loves creating with different artists, enjoying the flow of ideas and the critiques that take place when they meet to, “Play with Clay.”

In addition to pottery, Geraldine creates unique handmade miniature boxes.  She is active in the community as a Friend of the Library and is working on the non-commercial community radio station project.  Celebrate with potter Geraldine McMahan at a reception in her honor at Backstreet, Nov. 12th, 3-5PM.

October’s Featured Artists:
Kathy Elfers and Stephanie Ames

Felter Kathy Elfers and Photographer Stephanie Ames share the featured spotlight at Backstreet Gallery for October.

Rise and Shine by Stephanie Ames

Speaking of light, Stephanie says the secret of her unique photographer’s eye is, “It’s the way I look at light. I love how light and the camera lens combine to reveal our everyday world as a mysterious and perhaps unknowable place.” Her photography harnesses light in an astoundingly beautiful way.

To capture just the perfect light, she may spend several days waiting for the right light to spill it’s magic on her subject. Using that moment and her knowledge of the camera, is all she needs to create the optimal effect.

This retired educator and Pacific Northwest native has spent decades in the outdoors; backpacking, birding, kayaking, snowshoeing, and rock hounding. This background and the love of Oregon is clearly apparent as she captures the beauty of our area in her incredible art.

Stephanie’s numerous awards throughout the state including such prestigious shows as the Living River at the Jacob Gallery in Eugene, Celebrate Arts at the FEC, Mayor’s Art Show in Eugene, and other shows in Coos Bay and Springfield.

Never Ending by Stephanie Ames

Ames taught computer skills so found the transfer to digital camera technology an easy transition. Currently she’s experimenting with the effect different papers have on her photos.

She says, “It’s what my hands want to do,” but it’s obvious that her heart is right there too.

Felted Purse by Kathy Elfters

Oregonian Kathy Elfers, artist and instructor, became inspired with the Native American culture at an early age when she became a Campfire Girl. Her Native American troop leader taught Kathy the songs, the arts and the lore that have continued to inspire her these in the years since.

Kathy’s motto is, “Keeping the tradition alive.” While she has created basketry, pottery and leatherwork, her current passion is wet felting.

She is fascinated with the ancient technologies people used for creativity and survival.

“I consider myself a keeper of the tradition. Like an antique, it is my responsibility to preserve and protect: then pass the knowledge on to the next generation.”

Her unique work is varied from practical, beautifully detailed pieces such as pillows, purses, bags and felted soaps to vessels that may hold dried flowers or vases for live floral displays, incredibly detailed wall hangings and brooch pins. Her 3D affects are incredible.

This award-winning artist has impressed the jurors at Celebrate Arts, The Black Sheep Gathering and the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival.

She is the co-founder of the Siuslaw Fiber Arts Guild that meets the third Wednesday, 9-noon at the Laurelwood Community Center. If interested in this group or in classes, contact Kathy at 541 517-9330 or ancienttextiles@yahoo.com.

Come to Backstreet Gallery on Oct. 8th from 3-5pm, when you can meet the artists and learn more about their distinctive art.

September’s Featured Artist:
Karen Nichols

September brings Karen Nichols’ themed art show “Food for Thought” to the Backstreet Gallery and the GALA Art Walk tour.  Gourmets and everyday “foodies” will find themselves salivating at the sight of Nichols’ new art.  A reception in her honor will be held on
Saturday, August 13, from 3-5:00 pm at the Backstreet Gallery, which is on the GALA Art Walk that afternoon.

In describing her art Nichols tells us that she enjoys all mediums.  She is a talented and diversified artist who creates watercolors, acrylics, oils, torn paper collages, photographs, and ethnic jewelry.  By popular demand, she is now creating mini-poetry books; her original poetry in hand written booklets with watercolor covers are perfect “food for thought” booklets.

Her fancy even takes her to sculpting with torn paper.  Looking at an iris, she wondered if she could reproduce its lovely, delicate blossoms in paper.  She did and has won awards at FEC’s “Celebrate Art!” and the Rhododendron Festival with such sculptures.  She frames some for wall art, and she puts others in see-through boxes for display.

Nichols finds inspiration for her art in the beauty of nature, animals and people.  This is evidenced by the array of portraits and the natural environment in her creations.  She is also a member of Florence’s Brush and Palette Club, which represents a group of artists who meet
every week to work and critique each others’ art.  Working with this club and the artists at the Backstreet Gallery provides Nichols an energy that inspires, supports and intensifies her art.

Nichols is an award winning artist from Southern California, where she was an artist and teacher for 34 years.  Her work has been on display at the Gallery Above the Silver Lining, Frames of Florence, Siuslaw and Mapleton Libraries, and the Florence Events Center.  She has won several awards at the FEC  Celebrate Art Show, The Rhodie Festival Art Show, the Siuslaw library, the Little Dickens Show and Backstreet themed shows.  She is also a member of the Watercolor Society of Oregon.

Join Karen Nichols at  Backstreet Gallery on Sept. 10th, from 3-5pm to
enjoy a wonderful spread of food and beverages against a backdrop of art by 22 other local artists.

August’s Featured Artist:
Susan Weathers

In the Siuslaw News’ People’s Choice  Awards, Susan was voted being the best artist in Florence for the past two years and has been the recipient of numerous awards at Celebrate the Arts.  Susan has also been a member and award winning
artist in the Watercolor Society of Oregon since 1986.

 While she doesn’t always predetermine the subject matter for her painting she does often take pictures and works from them. Richly colored florals interesting, people, rocky ocean scenes and local buildings like the Heceta lighthouse are a few of the subjects she captures in her rich transparent watercolors.  If one looks closely enough each painting finished since 2008, they will have a small but meaningful heart located somewhere in the piece in memory of her Mother.

Lately she has renewed her interest in boats. “Old boats have a history and that gives them character,” she says. “The older and more dilapidated the better. Who sailed them; what was their purpose?  How can I capture their story in a painting?”  Driving to and from Eugene on Highway 128, three old boats caught her eye many years ago. Recently they were painted but Susan wanted to capture their essence in a different way and was able to “give them back their wrinkles, so to speak.” Wait until you see these boats captured with Susan’s unique flourish in earthy, natural colors.

With the exception of a few classes, the award-winning artist is self-taught.   She now conducts classes to teach others her splash and dash technique. She often uses this process to find interesting shapes that catch her interest. These she develops into her finished piece. Her Thursday classes at Laurelwood Community Center are popular with enthusiastic students who appreciate Susan’s
individual attention. Contact her for classes that start in the fall. 541 997-7202, redrose@oregonfast.net.

When not involved in her artwork you might hear some piano or guitar music in the air, or see her and Rosie (her Black Lab and best friend) sauntering along the beach. She loves spending weekends with her grandchildren, having Wednesday morning coffee with her son (Ned Hickson), reading a good book and tackling a Sudoku puzzle in pen.

Genealogy also fascinates her.  She has found some interesting information about her ancestry. Both her parents American ancestry dates back to the 1600’s and she traced her lineage in Denmark to King Christian.   “I love playing History Dectective!”

Weathers, after nearly 30 years recently moved from her farm on the North Fork where she and her late husband built their home.  She now enjoys the convenience and simplicity of city life in Florence living in the home that once was her Mother’s. From cars to home repairs, her husband taught her how to fix things and to lose the fear of trying, “After all, they’re already broken!”. She is known ’round Backstreet for being their fixit person.

 A lovely garden spot opposite the window by her dining table, gives each morning a cheerful beginning. Old wicker chairs, a baker’s rack, gifts from Mom, host pots of colorful flowers, plants, memories and gifts from friends. The rustic metal sun hanging on the fence represents the sunny disposition her mother always displayed, “Honestly, that sun makes me smile each and every morning”, Obviously a trait Mom passed on to her daughter.

Celebrate the art of Susan Weather at her recpection on
August 13th, from 3-5pm at Backstreet Gallery.

July’s Featured Artist:
Kathy Shamey

July brings in the heat with Kathy Shamey’s “Fire and Ice”. Backstreet Gallery celebrated it’s 6th anniversary and is starting off the new year with ceramist and glass artist Kathy Shamey.

“Working with ceramics and fused glass,” she said is, “fire and ice. ” The integration results in a notable exhibit of pottery; both high fired and Raku fired works, which produce decorative and functional ceramic pieces. Beautiful transparent treasures in glass complete the show.

Originating in Japan, Raku firing is a rapid process that cuts firing time down to a fifth of normal firing time. The results
are unpredictable, creating works that may have a smoky finish, metallic colors or other special effects that surprise even the creator.

Shamey is researching firing temperatures with glass, vs. clay. In the firing, clay shrinks and glass expands. Working with clay and glass separately is simpler; together, she finds it an exciting challenge. Wouldn’t it be great to integrate fused glass and clay in the same piece? She aspires to do this. However, pure ceramics is her real joy.

Her pottery is both wheel thrown and hand built. A variety of glazes, alterations and shapes make her work distinctive. She is inspired by gallery touring and being part of a local group of other clay artists. “I love going to galleries, working with other artists, and sharing ideas. There’s a synergy that’s inspiring.” A new studio is in the making at her house. This should be a great inspiration
for her upcoming work.

Kathy is the liaison between local artists and Empty Bowls, which helps raise money for Florence Food Share. She also solicits artwork contributions for the Empty Bowls silent auction event. Artists throughout the community create hundreds of bowls to sell at the fundraiser in December. Kathy herself turns out about a hundred bowls. “It helps me combine my community activism with my artistic interests – a winning combination.”

Backstreet Gallery is lucky to have lured this former Professor of Philosophy to be a four-year member of the gallery.

Join Kathy on July 9th for a great reception, complete with a wonderful spread of food and beverage with a backdrop of art by twenty-one other local artists. This will be a stop on the GALA Art Walk.

June’s Featured Artist:
Donna Fay Allen

Backstreet Gallery presents Donna Fay Allen, altered art and alternative process photography specialist as the artist of the month for June.  The diversity of techniques and materials to explore have made photography the medium Donna chooses to create her two dimensional fine art images. She alters black and white silver gelatin prints and enhances them though toning, tinting and applying color. Donna also uses archaic processes like Van Dyke Brown and cyanotype to print photographs on textural paper or other substances.Polaroid SX-70 manipulations, image and emulsion transfers allow an intimate relationship between the artist, the image and the materials. Pinhole cameras allow Donna to be involved in every aspect of image creation.

“My first photography instructor was Renata Breth, and I love her for teaching me that process and technique are important, but you can never lose sight of the visual impact of your image.”

 In addition to Donna’s unique photographic fine art pictures, she creates on-of-kind sculptural tin collage pieces. “I just fell in love with using the recycled tin as color and pattern.” She takes the tin a few steps further using chemicals and heat to add color variances, then attaches other objects.  A multifaceted artist, Donna also fashions metal jewelry through various processes using brass, nickel and copper sheet metalinto extraordinary wearable art.  Both of these metal arts incorporate the artist’s going “green ” by enhancing the base with reclaimed materials thus producing striking individual pieces.

 Her photographic work has been recognized by her acceptance into Sacramento, California’s, Crocker Museum 73rd Crocker-Kingsley Exhibition. For several years, Donna was juried into the California Fine Arts Competition receiving Awards of Merit and Excellence. She was also juried into Sacramento’s KVIE Art Auction garnering two honorable mentions.  Galleries and museums throughout northern California have exhibited her pieces. Her work was explored in “California Chronicles” on television station KVIE. A number of publications as well as two books have included her work.

“Art is my passion,” says Donna. “I am grateful to be at a place in my life when I can explore art every single day.”

Come out Sat. June 11th from 3 until 5 PM to meet Donna. Find out about the fascinating processes she uses on her unusual pieces. Backstreet will be serving refreshments at the reception. Also enjoy the art of 21 other local artists.

 

April’s Featured Artist:
Meredith Draper

 

Meredith Draper transforms the ordinary into extraordinary.   Altered art, “An art form that is just plain fun. For me, it’s an assemblage of discarded or unused items found in thrift shops and garage sales. The hunt is part of the fun. Transforming ordinary objects to a piece of art is recycling at it’s best.”

And this recycling artist is the best at what she does. Meredith’s pieces include one-of-a-kind wall hangings, free standing sculptural pieces, jewelry, bamboo beads, journals and altered books.   “I am inspired by oddments that can be blended together to create a unique and original piece. I don’t really plan ahead but let each piece grow as one thing leads to another.” The viewer might add that it leads with a bit of whimsy to delightfully unique art.

In her 50-year love affair with art, Meredith has dabbled in spinning and weaving, free form sculpture, clay works, and painting, but now finds her inspiration in altered art.  It is not unusual that Meredith became an artist. Her family is steeped in the arts. Her mother taught watercolor classes at Lane County. Draper takes a break from art when she loses herself in a book. As she sits with one of her kittens curled on her lap, it’s no surprise that she volunteers at the Humane Society. You may also see her at the FEC where she volunteers for the Art Committee.

Maybe the fun of the hunt is what draws Meredith to Geocaching. This is a high-tech treasure hide-and-seek game, guided by using a hand-held GPS to follow coordinates that lead to treasures hidden by other geocachers. They also hide their own treasures. So if you see her scouring about in the bushes, she may just be on a geocache hunt.

Come and enjoy the afternoon with Meredith at Backstreet Gallery, April 9th, 3-5PM. Along side her show of whimsical and wonderful altered art, there will be an array of hors d’oeuvres with 24 other local artists’ work on display.

March’s Featured Artist:
Pattie Brooks-Anderson

Pattie calls her creative art process Mystic Alchemy. Why? Pattie says, “Because, each work began with an idea, but, in the process of creation, it was transformed into something more magical. Ultimately, the work comes from a source that exists outside of myself. Hopefully, the work will inspire a sense of mystery and wonder within you.”  Stunning color and rich black lines are the signature charactersics that make Patti’es work truly unique.  “Inter-connectivity of life” is how Anderson explains the curvilinear lines that that web her mystical paintings. While she Is a master in oils, currently she is perfecting these marvelous reflections in ink and water media.

In her studio among the Sitka Spruce trees, her work is developed. First she “throws down color” then she begins to draw and apply the ink overlay. Through the years she learned the rules of painting, but often finds them too restrictive. Before the piece is finished she often asks herself, “What do I have to do to pull this together?” That’s when she turns back and looks at rules of color, balance and composition. When it’s all connected the piece is complete.

While she had always been interested in art, she was smitten when she dropped chemistry and took an art class from a great teacher. Georges Rouault was a great influence on her style.  “I promised myself I would never create art that doesn’t have meaning,” she says. Playing flute music while she works puts her in a meditative state where her creativity shines.

Many of her works are based on the characters in the healing exercises of Qigong that she practices. These are the exercises the Chinese perform together in the square.  A painting destined for the show is called, “Ride the Wind Down the Mountain.” This phrase from Qigong symbolizes taking what you have learned and teaching it to others.

Pattie also became interested in Altered Art in college. Robert Rauschenberg was her inspiration as she experimented with various processes. She is a member of the Altered Art Group here in Florence. With a challenge to go to the thrift store and put together a piece, “Goddess of Flight” was born and so was her distinctive group of sculptures called “Queens and Goddesses”.

In addition to her work shown in Backstreet Gallery, you can view her work on Etsy – www.etsy.com/shop/pattieba. She is an excellent teacher and has taught art and Creative Spirit Classes, and spent 7 years teaching fine art and commercial art to High School students.

Yoga and Qigong rate high in Anderson’s list of interests. Other interests Pattie enjoys are reading and cooking. She loves making books. Her grandchildren are lucky to be on the receiving end of these delightful books. She belongs to Florence Herbal Enthusiasts.

Come meet Pattie and enjoy her art on March 12th, 3-5 P.M. Enjoy refreshments as well as the creations of 24 other local artists.  View the invitation Invitation to Pattie Brooks-Anderson Reception.

February’s Featured Artist: Jane Rincon

Jane Rincon’s watercolors blend fine detailing in her birds with her loose and vivid abstracts.  She loves to add texture through collage. Jane often uses slick yupo paper for its unique properties. Her aim is to combine color, texture and composition in her captivating pieces. With the use of opaque gouache she varies transparent watercolor to achieve her signature style.   In her repertoire you will find windswept beach scenes, detailed shore birds, animals, landscapes, architectural pieces and vivid abstracts.

Jane divides her time between her Florence beach home, her family’s ranch in Sutherlin and a San Clemente beach home. These locations offer her a variety of natural subject matter. Her travel experiences are also woven into her pieces.   Living on the beach affords Rincon the opportunity to beach comb.

She puts her talents to work using color, texture and composition as she assembles shells into wreaths and framed mirrors. Using shells and other objects Jane creates one-of-a -kind greeting cards. “Right now, I have a ribbon fetish,” she says.

Color, texture and composition are so much a part of Jane that it is not surprising that she loves gardening. Those elements combine to make her garden a shear delight.

An energetic woman, she loves to read, cook, hike, bike, kayak, and swim. She grew up spending every summer at the beach where she bodysurfed and boogey boarded. Not giving those sports up, she recently bought a wetsuit.

Surprisingly, she has only become an artist since moving full time to Florence in 2000.  Prior to that, she spent years in education as a teacher, principal and administrator.

At Occidental College she took art history and architecture classes, thus developing her love of the art field. Jane learned the basics of watercolor in classes with Susan Weathers. She continues to work with with Susan, and has also taken classes with Kathryn Davis, Ron Ransom and Gerald Brommer, Through this inspiration,  Jane found her love of painting as she refined her sense of color, texture and composition.

Now president of the gallery, Jane is also a founding member of Backstreet. Her association with the gallery and interaction with other artists is, “…a source of motivation and inspiration. It’s great to know oll these people, to have help in critiquing and to have a place to hang my work. It’s not just for me. “

Meet Jane Rincon and find out about her art at Backstreet Gallery’s reception, Saturday February 12, during the G.A.L.A Art Walk. from 3-5pm.  Refreshments will be served with a backdrop of the unique and varied artwork of 24 other local artists.

January’s Featured Artist: Jayne Smoley

Jayne Smoley brings in the new year, cool and crystal clear, with her beautiful transparent pieces of fused glass.  Whether it’s decorative or utilitarian, Jayne creates a variety of unique glass art in jewel colors that play in the light as the rays beam through. You’ll find a medley of trays, bowls, sculptures, plates, sushi sets, and even swizzle sticks to choose from.

 “Working with glass has been extremely challenging and lots of fun. It has taught me to accept both the qualities and limitation of working in this medium and go with flow…to allow it to reveal and express its inherent properties.”

The process for each piece takes two to three days to complete. Before firing to a fluid state, the pieces are hand cut, layered and assembled. Several firings, sandblasting and polishing help to achieve the textures, forms and lines in the distinctive finishes. All pieces are food safe.

Though mostly self-taught in the arts, Jayne comes from a rich background of creative endeavors, It started with her mother’s artistic encouragement. She and Mom started a ceramics store that also offered classes. This marks the beginning of her affair with the kiln. 

In college, interior decorating gave rise to her creative spirit. She went on to teach basket weaving and papermaking at Modesto Junior College. A class with Bullseye Glass in Portland sparked her passion.

You may have seen her artistic designs not realized an artist was at work. For The Emporium and Macys, she worked in visual merchandising where she set up window and merchandise displays  and even entire stores.  Recent work in textiles took her to several International Quilt Markets resulting in sales of her work throughout the United States, Australia and Canada which influenced and inspired her work.  Architecture also is an inspiration source.

Smoley’s pieces are displayed in private collections in the U.S. and the Philippines. She has shown her work galleries in Portland, Bend and Florence where she recently earned Honorable mention and Sponsor awards in Celebrate Arts 2010. She is a member of the Oregon Glass Guild.

Jayne also uses her creative spirit in the garden. She and her husband own a landscape maintenance business. Playing golf is another of her passions.

Don’t miss this dazzling display of glass art throughout the month of January. Meet the Jayne and learn about her art at her Featured Artist reception, January 8th, 3-5 PM at Backstreet Gallery, 1421 Bay St.

Click here to see the 2010 Featured Artists

 

 


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