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Jeannie Brandstrom and Bonnie Dennis' exhibits run until the end of February

PMG PHOTO: COREY BUCHANAN - Wilsonville resident Jeannie Brandstrom's exhibit at the Wilsonville Library features many animals.

A pair of Wilsonville residents who discovered their craft later in life are hosting exhibits at the Wilsonville Public Library throughout February. Here's a sneak peak into what they have to offer.

An eye for animals

Jeannie Brandstrom didn't think of herself as an artist when she took a painting class at Charbonneau Country Club a few years ago.

But she soon realized she enjoyed — and had a knack for — the pursuit.

In fact, she describes her transformation from novice to bonafide artist as a miracle.

"All of a sudden I could paint and there was a time I couldn't draw a straight line," she said.

The Charbonneau resident's exhibit features wild animals ranging from lions, tigers and polar bears to domestic animals like cats and dogs. The characters in her pieces are expressive and some exemplify paternal and maternal bonds.

"I think, to me, animals have such a love for their tribe," Brandstorm said. "They protect their own. Sometimes families don't do that as well as these little animals do. They hunt together, help each other, share the food."

Besides from the PBS channel, Brandstorm draws inspiration from publications she finds at the library such as National Geographic or Smithsonian magazine. Her pictures also sometimes include parrots, toads or butterflies in the background or resting on the larger animal, and she prefers black canvases.

Her artistic process includes listening to jazz music.

"It's very comforting," she said. "It takes your mind off everything."

If you would like to inquire about Brandstorm's work, call 503-694-6327.

"I hope they (library visitors) enjoy looking at them, and if anyone is interested or wants me to do something for them I can do that," she said.

An elegant look

Similar to Brandstorm, Wilsonville resident Bonnie Dennis didn't conceive of the idea of creating jewelry until she visited a trade show in Colorado about 12 years ago.

"I didn't know it was something you could so easily do," she said. "I saw hers (a jeweler at the trade show) and bought something and really looked at it and thought 'I could do this.'"

After starting her own small jewelry business there, she recently began selling jewelry in Oregon.

Dennis views her products as everyday wear.

"I would describe it as very feminine and understated, but classic and timeless," she said. "I hope women could wear my jewelry going to work, an event or the grocery store."

Dennis' preferred gemstones include topaz (blue), labradorite (blueish green) and amethyst (purple). She also collects material on the beach and often uses sterling silver or gold-plated metal.

While Dennis is an accountant at her day job, she can be less structured and more creative during her side gig.

"Most of the time I visualize it in my head lying down in bed," Dennis said. "I'll start creating it in my mind, and once I get to the table and start making it, I'll adjust it. It's kind of freestyle."

Dennis says she has received positive feedback from library visitors so far.

"A lot of them have said they like it because it's not overpowering. It's not bulky jewelry. A lot of women enjoy that it's handmade, local," she said. "They thought it was a lovely line of jewelry."

For more information about Dennis' jewelry, visit Adornne.com.


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