Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I See Beauty Everywhere -- Myrna Leija

Loving Eyes

Beauty, beauty everywhere.  Photographer Myrna Leija says beauty is her subject matter. 

June will mark Myrna's first exhibit in Camas and quite naturally, she is calling her solo show at Second Story Gallery "I See Beauty Everywhere." She explains, “I have never focused on a theme, as my goal is to capture the beauty of everyday life that all of us can miss if we don't stop to smell the roses.”

She firmly believes this David Roper quote she stumbled across: “Sometimes in life we must hurry.  But overall, life should be less hurrying and more noticing.  Life is the present.  Life is being aware.”

Taken by the beauty of the ocean and the mountains of the Pacific Northwest when she moved to the region in 1967, Myrna began trying to capture that beauty with her camera.

“I was overwhelmed by my feelings of seeing beauty everywhere!” Myrna says. “I carried a camera with me over the years and even if I was driving, I would pull off the road to capture the beauty of the moment.”

Without any formal training, she was named the grand prize winner in a Seattle photo contest in the early 1970’s. At that time, she was a stay-at-home mom, raising her four children and volunteering in the community.   But, still, “I constantly took pictures of everything, entering my photography at the Evergreen State Fair, in which I won best of show and blue and red ribbons.”

After Myrna moved to Clark County, she worked for 21 years with the Clark County Sheriff’s Department.  She lives in Battle Ground, where she is a member of the Battle Ground Art Alliance and stays active in the arts community throughout the county. She has answered many "calls for artists," which has led her to opportunities that have included a two-day Artist Trust Workshop.  Her photos have been in shows at Gallery 360, the Northbank Gallery, and the Sixth Floor Gallery in Vancouver; and at every spring's Battle Ground Art Alliance Annual Show and at the Ridgefield Bird Festival.  

Myrna will unveil her photography at Second Story Gallery, upstairs in the Camas Public Library, on Friday, June 5.  She is dedicating the show to her father, Ralph W. Homes, who passed away in October at the age of 94.  A portrait of him in his last year will grace the gallery.

The June 5 reception, from 5 to 8 p.m., is part of the downtown Camas First Friday activities.  In addition to having Myrna on hand, the gallery will feature live music from guitarists Anthony Utehs and Andrew Dodge

"I See Beauty Everywhere" will continue through June 27.