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Fanciful Woods, Fabric Portraits and Art for Nature

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Well, the weekend just ended and the week ahead were and are busy and full of local artists presence for art in the valley and beyond from Wenatchee to Ellensburg and on to West Seattle.

First off having been specially invited to attend and cover the opening reception for fabric artist Deborah Ann at the Loft Gallery in Ellensburg on Friday on the evening of the Ellensburg Art Walk which coincides with the Wenatchee First Friday Art Walk, I made a point of getting out to Wenatchee Valley College at noon to get a private tour of the Milo Mirabelli show at the Robert Graves Gallery before I had to head out of town. The Director of the gallery John Crew was kind enough to meet me there to give me the chance to see and photograph the wonderful wood works of Mr. Mirabelli hours before it would have opened for the First Friday’s event. I was happy to meet and chat with John and his wife Suzanne there and another treat was that fellow artist Phill Yenney happened by and got to see the show and visit with John as well.Phill and I both love bike riding so you can imagine how pleased we were with this empty pair of pants on a bike seat all made of wood. Unbeleavable!

Milo with whom I have met and talked with at length previously was not present but that took nothing away from the impressiveness and creativity and inventiveness of his work like these 'Little Wings'.

I'd have to say that whether looking at one of his wall mounted pieces or his Disney like teapots or his wonderful rocket boxes they are all a marvel of woodworking craftsmanship and artistry.

The engineering involved is impressive in so many of these works and the care which he must take to gently carve out the digits of a frogs fingerlike front toes over a perfectly smooth globe with daylight shoeing between globe and toes is not something to take lightly. And the petina used to make wood look like rusty metal on this creative and whimsical piece was a ppleasant visual experience.

I hope he does well with this show and kudos to John for getting Milo who though a local resident currently is well known and has had numerous shows all across the country. To learn more of Milo Mirabelli and his art I would recommend checking out his web page at: http://www.milomirabelli.com/traveling-through-space.html there one can see more of his works and the extensive list of shows and accomplishments too long to list here.

Once having stopped in at the Robert Graves Gallery, it was time to get ready for the trip to Ellensburg for the Art Walk there – mea culpa x’s 3 for missing the Wenatchee Art Walk and Kudos to Mike Endlsey the Marketer for getting nearly a full page in the print edition of the Wenatchee World for his clients Karen Dean and the Tumbelweed Bead co. in Wenatchee. Sorry I couldn’t be in two places at ones or I would have loved to have seen Karen Dean breaking pottery as performance art at Wenatchee Valley College Music and Art Center Friday evening. I'm sure that must have been a lot of fun for art walkers to see and participate in.

Finally off to Ellensburg. Having arrived early enough we were able to get a personalized tour of Gallery One at 408 Pearl Street by Gallery One Associate Director Monica Miller. She was expecting a heavy turn out that evening so it was great to get in there before the crowds and see everything with ease. From Monica we learned that the gallery which is a non-profit organization was started in 1968 by a small group of women from what was then Ellensburg College. Eveleth Green and Edith Connolly were key figures in the story of how that original art study group evolved by 1994 into the Gallery One Visual Art Center which it remains until today. So successful are they that they even own the building in which the gallery is currently located.

All this information and more was presented as we took the tour of the three floors of the gallery. Along the way we learned of the Community School of the Arts Annual Art Show featuring the art of their younger students which was on the upper floor. This we were told would partly accounted for the better than usual expected turn out and what a turn out it was. There were well over 350 people in the gallery at one time later in the evening.

On the main floors were featured An Invitational Exhibit of Artist Who Live or Create in Tieton, WA. There was the print exhibit of the Goathead Press. Including the work of several printmakers including Fay Jones and Karen Quint who were also to offer an Artist Talk the following day. Also featured from Tieton were the ‘Corona Truck’ photos of John Kane and the ’36 Shades of Tree’ acrylic paintings of Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield and acrylic pigment print ‘Bottle Cap Series’ by John Jenkins III. There were many more works and a lot of jewelry to be seen and enjoyed and lots of people having a great time there later when we returned to take one last look before heading home. All that and a great art studio in the back.

After our early show at Gallery One we went straight to The Loft where good friend Deborah Ann was featured artist. The Loft is a wonderful venue that any artist would love to show in. The attractive design and open air layout between floors of this one time bank building with its art deco exterior let in lots of light and allowed one to see and hear the musicians on the first floor while enjoying the art on the second floor.

And, that art on the second floor was well worth the trip to Ellensburg. Deborah Ann has the unbelievable ability to take fabric and quilt making to the level of fine art. Whether capturing the image of a young break dancer in motion, a floral work or a day in the life scene of commuters waiting for a bus her works are truly paintings done with fabric.

One has to admire and appreciate the care with which she celebrates the day to day lives of individuals in her more ethnically inspired works giving honor and grace to simple acts such as the grinding of corn flour for tortillas on a stone by a woman on her knees, the grace and dignity of an aged woman with head held high or the balance and confidence of a women carrying water upon their heads. These and many other fabric paintings by Deborah Ann will be on display at The Loft through the month of April. I would recommend that anyone able to get to Ellensburg and who loves art to take the time to stop in at the Loft at 420 Pearl Street for a real visual treat.

Meanwhile here in town, First Friday events were taking place. Two Rivers Gallery Director Jan Theriault shared that they had a really good time at Friday nights festivities there and that I had to make up for missing First Friday by volunteering at the Gallery on Saturday. Hey, I missed you all too. Congrats to Russ Hepler by the way for the sale of one of his gorgeous mixed media pieces that day.

Readers will also like to know that artist are now submiting their works for the upcoming BirdFest Show at Icicle Arts, like this fanciful work by local artist Martha Flores.

And if that weren't enough local artist Martha Flores was also busy making final preparations for her upcoming show at the Nature Consortium above the Shadowland Pub at the corner of California and Oregon streets in West Seattle this Thursday April the 11th. Martha will be presenting an array of her colorful and imaginative small to medium sized works some with Central American Themes. Visors will be able to visit with her and enjoy the music of Madelein’ and Amy Denio who will be playing Latin Music while visitors enjoy the art and the complimentary wine and appetizers.

Well, enough for now a keep in mind the words of Rabindranath Tagore who said, “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” And, with that go forth a make or enjoy art and enjoy the art of living.

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