Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Eclectic Friends: Quiet Scenes to Abstract Realism

Sometimes life gets in the way.  For two educators who met in the field of early childhood education, life got in the way of  making their own art..  But when Judith Howard visited Katey Sandy's children's learning center she was impressed with the hands-on learning and "lots of art happening."  Throughout their professional relationship, Sandy said the two never mentioned their individual interests in painting.  It was only after retirement that they walked into the same art class and made the connection.  "The words 'I didn't know you painted' seemed to come from both of us at the same time," laughs Sandy.
Aster Glow by Judith Howard

Now the two educators are displaying their artwork together at Second Story Gallery in January.  They call their show "Eclectic Friends:  Quiet Scenes to Abstract Realism."  The exhibit of watercolor, acrylics and mixed media will open with a reception for the artists Friday, Jan. 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the gallery.

Howard confesses she picked up a brush after many years because she was facing an "awkward empty space" on the wall of her newly remodeled home in Vancouver.  "By coincidence a three-foot-square canvas fit perfectly," she remembers.  "But plain white has never been satisfying to me so I splashed some red acrylic paint on it before our open house."  From that start she began experimenting and finding inspirations through other artists.  Now her work hangs in homes and businesses from Canada to Arizona.

Sandy, an award winning artist, paints intuitively from the internalized inspiration of nature's shapes, colors and textures.  After retirement in 2007 she returned to painting, using a variety of approaches but leaning towards the abstract.  Her work can be seen in galleries and homes throughout the northwest.  She says her style and Howard's are very "diverse," which is why they call their show "Eclectic Friends."

Shell Montage by Katey Sandy
Howard concurs.  "I get my inspiration from a whole variety of places, from the shadow on a leaf, the deep rich color of an iris, or the twinkle in a child's eye.  My style is still evolving so it hardly looks like one artist."  The watercolorist says she is enchanted by color.  'I thought at one time I would be a textile designer but practicality took over and I went into administration and early childhood education.  Now, finally, I am letting the many colors and images flow onto paper and canvas, and getting to share them through exhibits and shows.”

One thing the two artists agree on, their show will be filled with variety.  It will continue through Jan. 31 in the gallery, located upstairs in the Camas Public Library and open to the public during regular library hours, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

First Friday Artists' Reception
Jan. 3 from 5 to 8 p.m.