Artist profile: Lillian Pitt

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Lillian Pitt will be joining us for First Friday on May 2, 2014. A Native American artist from the Big River (Columbia River) region of the Pacific Northwest, Pitt was born on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon. She is a descendent of Wasco, Yakama, and Warm Springs people.

04_SS_1-whitePitt is one of the most highly regarded Native American artists in the Pacific Northwest. Her works have been exhibited and reviewed regionally, nationally and internationally, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions. Her awards include the 2007 Earle A. Chiles Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 1990 Governor’s Award of the Oregon Arts Commission, which declared that she had made “significant contributions to the growth and development of the cultural life of Oregon.”

Primarily a sculptor and mixed media artist, Lillian’s lifetime of works include artistic expressions in clay, bronze, wearable art, prints, and most recently, glass. The focus of her work draws on over 12,000 years of Native American history and tradition of the Columbia River region. Regardless of the medium she chooses to use, Lillian’s contemporary works are all aimed at giving voice to her people.

“Everything I do, regardless of the medium, is directly related to honoring my ancestors and giving voice to the people, the environment and the animals. It’s all about maintaining a link with tradition, and about honoring the many contributions my ancestors have made to this world.” While glass is her most recent medium, Lillian continues to create works in all of the various media she is known for, including clay, bronze, jewelry, prints, and mixed media.

Lillian’s works are found in personal collections, art galleries and museums. They are also found in numerous public spaces including parks, schools and cultural institutions throughout the region. Her most recent public works are featured at the Vancouver Land Bridge, one of the seven “confluence” projects along the Columbia River, designed by internationally renowned architect Maya Lin.

Just as her ancestors would have done, Lillian makes creative use of whatever materials are available and appropriate to the task at hand. Lillian’s most recent works are made from the mediums of cast glass and fused glass.

Lillian says, “I love using glass because of the sense of depth I can create in my sculptures, and because it helps me to create the kind of spiritual quality I’m often trying to achieve.”

Be sure to join us on First Friday and meet this unique artist and learn more about her work and technique.

Images: Shadow Spirit in the Grasses; Dreamer


Announcing The Pearl Art Auction

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tpaa Logo finalThe people of the Pacific Northwest have waited a long time for a signature art auction and the wait is finally over. The inaugural auction is scheduled for Labor Day, September 1, 2014, and will be held at Urban Studio, a contemporary event venue located in the arts culture hub known as the Pearl District of NW Portland. The event will be held in conjunction with the popular Art in the Pearl Festival, which operates in the Pearl Park Blocks, a short walking distance from Urban Studio.

Rip Caswell saw that the Pacific NW region of the U.S. was missing an art related event of such caliber, and so planning began on The Pearl Art Auction in order to fill that void. Expectations are that the event will draw buyers from the entire western states and that The Pearl Art Auction will become one of the west’s greatest art events. Visit the website for more information on how to register, submit art for consideration, and more!

Sculpture 101 class starting in February

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Introduction to Sculpture 101 at Caswell Gallery and Firebird Bronze
Monday and Thursday, February 17-March 6,2014, 6-8 PM
Rip Caswell is offering a unique opportunity for aspiring sculptor. Rip will coach and critique your creation from molding the clay to adding the patina. You will begin working in Rip’s Studio at Caswell Gallery in Troutdale and finish your piece at Firebird Bronze Foundry in Boring.

Week 1: Design and sculpt at Caswell Gallery in under the guidance of Rip Caswell.
Monday, February 17 and Thursday, February 20; 6:00-8:00 PM

Monday: Bring your idea and start to sculpt. You will create your rough sculpture and refine your piece at home.
Thursday: Rip will critique and help you to refine your piece for the foundry.

Week 2: Gating, burn out and pour at Firebird Bronze Foundry in Boring.
Monday, February 24 and Thursday, February 27; 6:00-8:00 PM

Monday: Our Foundry expert will walk you through the entire foundry process. You will then learn how to “gate” your piece and dip your piece in slurry and sand to create the shell.
Thursday: You will watch your piece burned out from the shell and cast. Your piece may be cool enough to come out and be “chipped”. Some will be carried over to next week. Invite a friend or spouse. We will have a potluck (hot dogs and burgers on us) and watch the bronze pouring.

Week 3: Chipping, sandblasting, polish and patina At Firebird Bronze Foundry in Boring.
Monday, March 3 and Thursday, March 6; 6:00-8:00 PM

Monday: Our Foundry expert will demonstrate chipping and sandblasting. You will sand and polish your piece to get it ready for the patina.

Thursday: You will apply a basic patina and complete your piece; attach a base (optional). You are now an experienced sculptor!

Cost: $495 (materials included)
If you want a base for your piece there will be an additional charge of $25.
To register call Rip Caswell Sculptures at 503-492-2473

Note: Sculpture design must be original work and no larger than 6″H x 3″W x 3″D
First Friday: Students will display their finished pieces on First Friday, April 4

Giving the gift of art

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So Christmas is over — ahhh! Hopefully you were thrilled with all the gifts you received — and gave! If that was not the case, you must be hoping next year will be better.  Of course at Caswell Gallery we believe there is nothing better to give, or receive, than art. Yes, it can be a bit chancy, but here are a few tips to guarantee your gift of art will be perfect for the person lucky enough to be on your “nice” list.

Pink PeonieIf you’re an art lover, you probably try to buy gifts that reflect your appreciation for unique works of art. Because an art purchase will probably be a more expensive item than you are likely to purchase at a big box store, you want to feel you are selecting just the right piece for that special recipient. If you are shopping for a painting, it helps to know which painting your loved one covets. If you have that info, than you have no problem. If you arrive at the gallery and that particular piece is no longer available, be sure to confirm its sale. Ask if they can check with the artists to see if he/she has a similar piece in inventory. If not, consider selecting another painting by the artist, but perhaps go smaller. This way, the painting is likely to still work, but not be an unwelcome “commitment” by the recipient.

If a painting is a bold move, consider something smaller. Perhaps a piece of pottery or artRaku_Beverly Curtis (2) glass. These types of items are less expensive and can be a little easier to display and integrate into a decorating scheme. A small piece of sculpture that will inspire an emotional reaction will almost always be perfect.

If purchasing artwork as a gift still makes you a little nervous, consider a book or note cards depicting the work of the preferred artist, a print reproduction, a blown glass “ornament” rather than the bowl or vase, or a utilitarian pottery object, rather than a larger statement piece. Even art jewelry can be displayed as well as worn.

If you’re going in the opposite direction and plan on purchasing a large scale or very expensive piece of art as a gift, be sure to ask about the return policy. Often you will not be PSmith_Mid-cycle-Sundownable to return your purchase for a refund, primarily because of the gallery arrangement with the artist. The gallery may have already paid the artist for their work, and refunding the money would not be possible. Exchanges may not be an option either, so it’s best to be as sure as possible about your purchase.

Art can delight on the most subtle levels (and vice versa). Giving or receiving art can be the epitome of gift giving pleasure. Just make sure to consider the receiver’s taste and preferences, and make the best decision possible with that knowledge. Most likely you can’t go wrong if you consider these suggestions. And yes, Christmas may be over, but Valentine’s Day is a few short weeks away!

Pink Peonie by Brenda Boylan
Raku vases by Bev Curtis
Mid-Cycle Sundown by Phil Smith

Artist Profile: Carrie Wild from Jackson Hole

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Carrie Wild_River's EdgeWe now have some new paintings in the Gallery by Jackson Hole artist, Carrie Wild. Carrie’s wildlife paintings are realistic, but have a very contemporary feel. She incorporates gold leaf and applies a hand-fired acrylic glaze which adds dimension and depth to her paintings. Come by the Gallery for a closer look. If you love wildlife work, but want something a little different, these might be perfect for you.

About Carrie Wild
Carrie was raised on a small horse farm in Southern Michigan where she learned to respect, appreciate and love animals from a young age. Her childhood was spent riding horses, exploring the forests in search of wildlife and competing in horse shows. Along with her love of nature she developed a passion for art early in life. She studied and experimented drawing with different dry mediums including graphite, charcoal, colored pencil and soft pastel. Through her knowledge of horses and wildlife she developed a strong drawing technique focusing on the anatomy and characteristics of each subject.

As a teen Carrie bought her first camera and began making photographs of her subjects as a foundation for her artistic vision. She uses her photography for inspiration as well as an excuse to spend more time in the field with the animals she loves. As witness to theCarrie Wild_Remuda in Emerald (2) wonders of nature and the countless heart pounding moments, she translates her experiences through the application of dramatic colors and presence in her paintings while maintaining realistic confirmation of the animal. With a contemporary style she hopes to create a relationship between the painting and its viewer as well as encourage a love for wildlife and wildlife art in modern design.

Carrie is based in Jackson, Wyoming. After visiting for a summer, she immediately fell in love with the power of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and decided that there was no better place to be to realize her vision. Surrounded by the inspiration of wildlife, horses and wide open spaces she paints in her home studio at the edge of Grand Teton National Park.

River’s Edge; Remuda in Emerald (diptych, one shown here)

Artist Profile: Katie Hovis of Whimsy

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LabrinthNL8Katie Hovis of Whimsy has a great selection of her gorgeous necklaces, bracelets and earrings. If you are still looking for just the right Christmas gift, come by and take a look at her jewelry. We like to share info on our artists and what inspires their work and process. In her own words, here is Katie’s story.

“Whimsy is my own line of unique, hand crafted wire and gemstone jewelry.  I use hard to find semi-precious gems, natural jaspers and agates and combine them with hand forged sterling silver and 14k gold fill components — each piece is bound together with fine wire like an intricately woven tapestry — my process is akin to assembling a puzzle:  I start with various basic shapes, pick out my stones and move them aNuvoER4round until they fit perfectly together, adding texture and other details as I see fit.  I use only “cold connection” methods, meticulously wrapping each little piece with my hands and an occasional set of pliers, using my trusty hammer to strengthen and shape the thicker metals.  No torches, heat or treatments (aside from oxidization for a dark sheen on the silver). 

My current collection is inspired by love, nature, music and the spiraling, flowing forward motion of life.  I am drawn to asymmetry and try to create balance in all my designs with color, movement and proportion.  The right piece of jewelry can LapisNL1change your mood, your appearance and lift your spirits (much as music can) and I LOVE knowing that something I made with my own 2 hands is being worn and cherished long after it’s left my studio.

It all began as a childhood obsession with agates and other stones for my prized rock collection.  Family trips to the Oregon and Washington coast were spent digging in the sand, hunting for the perfect agate. After years of collecting, I became interested in the names and origins of each type and wanted to learn more… I am still discovering new types of gems and rocks to this day, and have a new favorite each week!

Working out of my home studio in Vancouver, WA, I am able to be a single, stay at home parent to my 2 young wonderful boys while living my ultimate dream.  And they get to see firsthand that it IS possible to take something you love and turn it into a successful endeavor when you have the unyielding determination and passion to do so.

Artist Profile: Brenda Boylan

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Most of you know Brenda Boylan’s pastel work, but Brenda has been working in oils for the past few years. She has developed her own unique style in this medium and has also been painting city scapes as well as landscapes and still life. New in the Gallery is a series of 6 x 6 inch still life oil paintings. Her new work is guaranteed to have her signature appeal.

Brenda Boylan began her artistic career in California as a graphic designer, working with such notable clients as NIKE and Columbia Sportswear. She is a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America and the Northwest Pastel Society, and is an award winning and published pastel painter. Boylan is Pink Peoniecurrently featured in the April/May 2012 issue of  Plein Air Magazine, where she discusses and demonstrates her unique technique. Boylan has an affinity for painting ‘en plein air’, which she describes as a combination of joy, poetry, and spirituality that uses all her senses to capture the landscape’s beauty. She also enjoys creating studio works when the winter months keep her indoors. She is often inspired by reflection on water, the seasonal color changes in the landscape, and the occasional urban scene. Boylan’s work can also be found in private corporate collections throughout the U.S. She resides in Portland, OR with her husband and two children.

Artist Statement
Turp, Bestine & PhaloPainting is my refuge and my source. It is where I lose myself and find myself, again. As I layer pigment down in the form of pastel or oil, I am transformed to another level of consciousness, much like meditation, where I develop a joyful, poetic conversation with my subject. Each painting measures another step in my journey as an artist that often results in a never ending discovery of my visual world.  Working both outdoors and in my studio provides room to communicate color relationships, light, and form. This desire to create and interpret what I see around me is a gift, a treasure, and the road map to my best and truest self.

My move into oils has been an expedient one over the course of the year. The oils compliment my pastel work, and on some levels, influencing my technique with pastels, making them loose and more gestural.

Brenda’s most recent awards include:
Second Place Award, Pacific Northwest Plein Air, Sept 2013
Best of Show, Purchase Award, Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, June 2013
Best Farm Scene, Pacific Northwest Plein Air, Sept 2012
Second Place and Honorable Mention, Yamhill Lavender Plein Air, July 2012
Third Place Award, Los Gatos Plein Air, June 2012
Pongson Espada Memorial Award, Northwest Pastel Society 25th Annual International, Nov 2011
Pastel Painters of Hawaii Award, Pastel Society of America 39th Annual, Sept 2011
Honorable Mention Award, Pacific Northwest Plein Air Festival, Aug 2011
1st Place Award, Yamhill Lavender Plein Air Festival, July 2011
Blue Ribbon Award, Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, June 2011

Images: Pink Peonie; Turp, Bestine & Phalo

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