Artists quirky passions on display at Sequoia Gallery

Vintage cars, self-reflections, hummingbirds and pet Boston terriers are a just a few things local artists responded with when asked to submit works under the theme of “My Favorite Things.”

This year’s theme motivated nearly 30 of Sequoia Gallery and Studio’s 33 members to display distinctly personal work at the artist-run gallery’s annual, all-member art show, which runs through Feb. 2 in downtown Hillsboro.

To avoid a dry show-and-tell, participants chose a wide variety of media, from paint and mosaics to glass and ceramics.


Grace Hensen

Hensen didn’t have to consider for a moment what to paint for her favorite thing.

Dogs dressed like humans are regular stars in her richly colored, realistic paintings, but this time, Hensen picked her favorite pet, a Boston terrier named Willis, as her subject. Hensen describes Willis as a constant and faithful friend. “His face always brings a smile, even a laugh,” she said in her artist statement. Hensen’s offering is titled, “Willis a La Magritte,” a double portrait of her tongue-hanging Boston terrier in a politician’s suit and Derby hat — but with a giant green apple over one face.

Hensen said she was thinking about her dog’s Bostonian origin when she began conjuring images of politicians and Derby hats. Derby hats made her think of Rene Magritte, a surrealist artist who painted stiff, little men in dark suits wearing Derby hats. “His paintings also make me smile, even laugh,” she said.

“Willis a la Magritte seemed like a logical combination,” she said.

Gordon Campbell

A love for both automobiles and the environment may seem contradictory, but recovering car collector and Hillsboro artist Gordon Campbell makes it work.

He satisfies his adoration of vehicles by creating landfill-friendly mosaic images in their memory.

Unlike most mosaics that impress onlookers with arrangements of colorful ceramic pieces, Campbell uses recycled linoleum and vinyl torn from discontinued flooring samples, including the backing made from shipping crates and furniture, as mediums.

As a result, Gordon is challenged to turn the recycled fragments, which boast a limited range of color, into images of cars or trucks in various settings and conditions. When complete, he hopes the mosaics bring back pleasant memories of former vehicles and the places he’s traveled in them.

The piece he chose for Sequoia’s exhibit, “Artistic License,” is a mosaic of an Oregon license plate, true to its vintage fading, with the words “ITS ART” imposed over the iconic fir tree. “It implies mosaics are art, not craft,” said Gordon, “Well, okay, maybe mine are a combination of the two.”

Linda Jerome

Jerome, of Hillsboro, finds hummingbirds endlessly fascinating. Among others in the neighborhood, she keeps a feeder outside her home year-round for her “hummers.”

At the Sequoia exhibit, Jerome brings an oil painting on board that beautifully captures her observations of the palm-size winged creatures called, “Daily Humming Routine.”

A vibrant yellow background suggests an early morning sun. Three hummingbirds flutter and hover over a flower stem. Painted with pinks, lavenders and iridescent blues, Jerome’s quick and wispy strokes imitate the constant movement of the birds while sharp, dark lines halt their motion for the human eye to catch up.

In her artist statement, Jerome says she uses unrealistic colors to fit the idea that these are birds that inspire myth and imagination.

JoAnn Wellner

JoAnn Wellner's favorite thing appears to be self-reflection — in a very literal sense.

“Look Here” is the title of the glass-framed mirror Wellner submitted to the gallery. But the ever-changing faces of curious gallery visitors are incidental to the mirror's real art, which is the intricately decorated glass frame around it. Creating that was a challenge.

Thirty years of glass-making experience gave Wellner the know-how to fire colorful glass powders, in this case lime green and black-checked designs, onto pieces of sheet glass, adding layers of glass and firing them over and over until they reached her desired effect.

The textured felt on the top of the piece is the result of a final firing at “tack fusing” temperatures — which are just hot enough to make the pieces stick to one another, but not so hot that they lose definition or fuse flat.

Sequoia Gallery is located at 136 S.E. Third Ave. in Hillsboro. For more information, call 503-693-0401.

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