(Jennifer Priest Mitchell is a freelance writer in Beaverton. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

In this season of holiday joy, many of us are also seeking peace. Local artist Magda Moor brings joy to others with her unique, peaceful paintings of aquarium and sea life, coral and other natural subjects.

Her extensive travels, as well as a youth well-spent in close proximity to Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, fostered her fascination with natural beauty and now give her the inspiration to bring vivid, soothing images to others through art.

'I've always been fascinated by puddles, and other ordinary, but beautiful things,' Moor said. 'I like doing fish, animals and landscapes. I am really interested in textures and colors. I enjoy painting things that people can look at and relax.'

She laughed a little when she said, 'Moms always tell their kids not to touch things, but I say, 'No, it's okay to touch' when it comes to these works of art.'

Moor's earlier athletic career allowed her to collect many images for later use in her paintings. She was quite the track star (a four-time All-American), and won a college scholarship for her accomplishments.

'I attended the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and earned a BFA, majoring in painting.' Her college track career allowed her to spend a lot of time outdoors, as well as a great deal of time traveling. She used her camera and notebook quite a lot, and also made a mental catalog of the many natural images she enjoyed at that time in her life.

'I was always noticing things, and really taking them in … puddles, rain, oceans, and sea life, in particular. I love how those things look, and how looking at them could make you feel. Now I recreate those images, and hopefully those feelings, for other people,' she explained.

After graduating from college, Moor worked for several years as a graphic and commercial artist, but was still painting all the while in various mediums. She eventually moved to Oregon with her husband and felt this intense desire to follow her dream of painting. Like a lot of creative spirits, Moor now paints part-time, while also working in an office part-time. This allows her to pursue her painting career and goals, while also remaining grounded with a professional commitment and steady income from her other work.

Moor's paintings have been featured in a number of shows, and she has also been hired to paint on commission for people or businesses with specific needs as far as what art to display in a certain area. She delights in helping people find art that will work for them, and create a mood or feeling that they wish to share with others.

'I aim to create a playground of sensory pleasure in my work, 'she said.

Her track career was a very large part of her young adult life, and she beamed when she recalled the joy of those days, though she has clear memories of the images she experienced at that time - not mere images of her tremendous success, but her own mind's pictures of the clear or stormy skies, the movement of the water in a lake, or the colors she saw in nature while traveling.

'I always remember beauty and when I can, I try to call upon those memories for my own art.'

In 1995, Moor was ranked 16th in the nation for her track achievements, and when she graduated from college, she missed making the nationals by 1/100th of a second. She offered this piece of her personal history with pride, and then quickly added, 'But that's okay, life goes on. In 2001, I moved here with my husband, and we are happy and I am doing something I love.'

For more information on Magda Moor's paintings, please visit the Web site

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