Tag Archives: art

Art takes many forms at Horseshoe Lake

For The Daily News, Longview, WA.  September 19, 2008
Reprinted with permission         


Art took many forms when the Woodland Community Library sponsored Art in Horseshoe Park on Sept. 6. Eighteen pop-up canopies formed a horseshoe on the lakeshore. The types of art displayed were as different as the dachshund and the St. Bernard two visitors walked through the show.

The first artist I visited with was local artist and art instructor Debbie Neely. I’ve never felt like an artist myself…I couldn’t even stay in the lines of a coloring book… but several years ago, Neely did her best to draw out the talent in me when she taught Beginning Drawing for Woodland Community Education.  She introduced me to scratch art, where you use a sharp metal tool to scratch your drawing into an ink or clay-covered board. Surprisingly, she was able to teach me to use the right side of my brain, and I produced several recognizable pictures in the class. Now, I enjoy doing scratch art with my grandchildren.

          Cheryl Hazen displayed mosaics, and The Northwest Oil Painters Association exhibited paintings. In addition, there were artists displaying clothing, blankets, jewelry, hats, paintings on porcelain, sketches, and more. At every booth, I enjoyed something different.  

Art took another form, too, as students from Premier Martial Arts of Woodland performed. Sondra Smith, porcelain artist and teacher, summed up her craft on the back of a plate, “I’m not moody, disorganized, or self-absorbed. I’m an artist.”

For artist Dennis Hatch, a Native American flute maker who lives in Washougal, his art of flute-making has become a full-time occupation. Hatch  is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Chippewa Indian Tribe (Anishinabe). He makes Woodland flutes, so it seems fitting he came to Woodland to show his work. Flutes on his website www.nativefluteonline.com range from $250 to $1000.

          A beaded necklace by Valeri Darling of Darling Designs was a real show- stopper. Her first piece of beaded jewelry, a slot machine necklace, took two years to complete. “I don’t know what I was thinking,” Darling said.

The piece showed three 7’s in 3-D, lined up across the “win” line of a slot machine. To make it more realistic, the slot machine even had a handle. The sides of the beaded strap read “Win Win” and “Hit the Jackpot,” and across the top it said, “Big Time Winner.” Coins strung on beads poured from the bottom of the machine. “This was all done with needle and thread,” said Darling. “You cant get one bead out of place.”

Not all of her necklaces take two years to create, but all are one of a kind. “Most take 12 to 14 hours,” said Darling. Visit DarlingDesigtnJewelry.com to see the slot machine and other designs.

          Attendees munched on homemade chocolate chip cookies and banana bread from one vendor’s booth or ate tacos, burritos, and tortas from Roman’s Taco wagon, and then they cooled down with goodies from a bright yellow ice cream truck, which periodically played its magical tune.

          Out on the lake, where trout had just been planted, fishermen showed off their art of fishing, but the trout were biting so fast that art or skill didn’t seem to be required.

On the other side of the boat launch, 17 Ugandan children took a break from performing their art of song and dance by wading and splashing in the lake. Most of the children, ages 6 to 14, are orphans, many whose parents died of Aids. They are on tour singing and dancing to raise money through donations and the sale of their CD to help support the IAM Children’s Family orphanage in Uganda. They’ll be back in Woodland performing at the Woodland Christian Church at 6 PM, Sept. 27.

Iris Swindell, organizer of the Woodland Community Library’s first annual art show, organized Art in Horseshoe Park as a fundraiser and to draw attention to the need for a new library in Woodland.




Leave a comment

Filed under Art in Horseshoe Park, Cheryl Hazen, Debbie Neely, Dennis Hatch, fishing, Horseshoe Lake, IAM Childrens Family, mosaic art, Native American, Native American flutes, Northwest Oil Painters Association, Premier Martial Arts-Woodland, scratch art, The Daily News, Uganda orphanage, Woodland Community Library, Woodland flutes

Lost art

Lost artBy Pat Nelson
For “The Daily News,” Longview, WA
Reprinted with permission

Fourteen years ago, a drifter named John, a talented artist, agreed to create a pastel drawing of two children believed to be from Kalama or Woodland, but John left the area before the family received the finished artwork.

I don’t know how this family met John. It’s likely that they saw him sketching on a napkin in an area restaurant. He often went into a restaurant, ordered coffee, and sat for hours creating elaborate artwork on napkins. Often, customers admired his work, and sometimes they paid him to sketch something for them. These jobs gave him enough money to move on to the next stop in his never-ending journey. He never stayed in one place very long.

My husband met John more than twenty years ago when he stopped  by his store in Longview to ask if there was anything he could paint. John agreed to paint signs on the building. That probably wasn’t the kind of painting he had in mind, but he needed money. When he finished the job, he moved on.

For the next six years, John stopped by every year or two when he was in the area, and my husband always found a little work for him. When we moved to Vancouver and opened a store there, John located us and painted our building. We took him to lunch one day, and I can still remember a man in the restaurant saying, “Oh, you’re the guy who’s painting that building across the street.” Bright yellow blobs of paint covered John’s shirt, pants, and worn shoes.

By then, we had seen some of John’s sketches, and we realized he was a very bright and talented artist by choice, and a building painter only by necessity.

 My husband, who had never met or even seen photos of his Indian grandfather, but had been told he looked like him, asked John to capture on canvas what he thought his grandfather would have looked like, dressed in furs.  After a few days of work, John showed us the unfinished picture; it was incredible, but he kept working on it until he no longer liked it, and he sold it to someone in a restaurant for next to nothing. He started again, and then once more. Finally, he showed us two pictures: one that he was happy with, and another that he considered garbage. We loved both. Today, framed and matted, they hang side-by-side in our home. We enjoy looking for the similarities and differences in the two pictures, and wondering if my husband’s grandfather really did look like the man in one of the pictures.

I was so impressed with the Indian pictures that after my daughter was married in 1993, I asked John to do a pastel portrait from her wedding picture. However, after we saw the partially-finished picture once, John left and did not return.

I thought about that wedding portrait, and was sad that it had never been finished. I didn’t expect to ever see it again. Then, one day I received a phone call from a lady in Astoria. “Did you ask a man named John to do a wedding picture of your daughter?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Well, I have it here, and you’re welcome to pick it up. John left the area, and he wanted me to get this picture to you.”

 We drove to Astoria and picked up the beautiful wedding portrait. That’s when we found out John had left another undelivered picture, a pastel of two children.

“I’ll send this one with you too,” she said. “Maybe you can find out who it belongs to. John told me it’s for someone he met around Kalama or Woodland.”

 The children in the picture had probably been in a wedding. The dark-haired boy wore a white hat and tux, and the little blonde girl, not even reaching the boy’s shoulder, was dressed in frilly white. The boy stood proudly and the little girl, clasping her hands together, looked shy.

These kids would be young adults now. Their family probably gave up long ago on ever receiving the picture. Maybe with the help of The Daily News, this won’t remain “lost art.”

Leave a comment

Filed under art, Kalama, The Daily News, Woodland