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'Weather Conditions' reception set for Tuesday, Aug. 25

Mark Twain famously said everyone talks about the weather but nobody ever does anything about it.

Artists in our area, however, are doing something about how we perceive the weather, through the latest Gresham Art Committee exhibit “Weather Conditions,” which opened this month at the Public Safety & Schools Building, 1333 N.W. Eastman Parkway. An artists reception takes place from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 25, and it’s free and open to the public.

The exhibit features 23 pieces by 14 artists, says Cathy Huntington, chairwoman of the Gresham Art Committee. The pieces include acrylic, watercolor, pastels, steel quill pen and ink and photographs as well as digital photographs.

“We wanted to see how artists created or interpreted various weather conditions,” Huntington says. “We feel it is rather easy to capture a sunny day or a beautiful garden, but rather difficult to paint a rainy or windy day, stormy weather etc. We received some really great pieces, and this show will be a little different than our past shows.”

The Outlook talked to three artists about a piece of work they are exhibiting. Here’s what they had to say.

Robert Bassett, “Stormy SeasCONTRIBUTED PHOTO - 'Stormy Seas' by Robert Bassett.

“When storms came in, as an adult, I would rush to watch its amazing wind and surf,” he says. “When the subject for the show came up as ‘Weather Conditions,’ right away I knew what I was to do.”

He adds that the black ink he used “brings about a feeling of dark storm bringing rough weather.”

The Sandy resident says he’s been drawing since he was 8 years old, and has grown fond of using steel quill pens despite the fact they are seldom used in contemporary art.

“I find them to be connected much closer to my physical hand, giving the drawing a more unique and personal touch, where you can feel the art’s energy much more than a mechanical pen,” he says.

Marcia Morrow, “Pacific MistCONTRIBUTED PHOTO - 'Pacific Mist' by Marcia Morrow.

A member of the Watercolor Society of Oregon, Gresham artist Morrow created “Pacific Mist” by photographing Cape Lookout in Tillamook.

“I photographed it and translated it onto watercolor paper, evoking an ethereal feeling,” she says. “It’s my hope that people will be inspired by the harmony between water, mountains, mist and trees. The Oregon coast can be immense, but a watercolor makes it personal.”

Morrow says her passion for watercolors was ignited three years ago.

“I started taking classes from watercolorist Beth Verheyden,” she says. “With every painting I continue to learn about design, color theory and a sense of balance. I try to bring life and energy to each painting by incorporating various techniques. I’m also a photographer and paint from the photos I have taken. To develop my style of painting I have committed to paint one original painting a week.”

Kate Ampersand, “Rocky ShoreCONTRIBUTED PHOTO - 'Rocky Shore' by Kate Ampersand.

The Washington County artist is a photographer whose work has been showcased in juried exhibitions throughout the Pacific Northwest, and this year one of her photographs won “Best in Show” in the professional division of the Washington County Fair.

Her photo “Rocky Shore” won third prize, out of more than 2,500 entries, in Alaska Airlines Magazine’s photo contest for 2015, and was published in the May issue.

“This image is special to me because it uses a vintage gazing ball borrowed from my mom’s garden, and was taken on the beach about 10 minutes from my parents’ house on Vancouver Island,” Ampersand says. “It took multiple attempts over several days to get it just right. The challenge was to find a suitable background and interesting foreground, while hiding myself from the reflection, all wrapped up into a single image.”

Ampersand says she doesn’t use Photoshop to modify her images, so “whenever I try to create one of these gazing ball shots, I have to hunt for a large object — rock, log, bush — to duck behind so that I’m not caught in the reflection.”

Typically, landscape photographs show what is in front of the camera, she says, but with this shot she also had to be conscious of what was behind her, as well as above her.

“If you look dead center in the reflection, you’ll see my head peeking out over the driftwood log,” she says, adding, “I hope that viewers will appreciate this piece as a ‘cool image,’ which was accomplished with just my camera and my imagination and without any digital manipulation. Unlike most contemporary photographers, I intentionally limit the amount of computer processing I apply to my images.”

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