Month-long exhibit of bright watercolors is on display at the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce
by: Jim Hart On his back porch, Welches watercolor artist Steve Ludeman works on a painting of the large burner at Oja Lumber Company in Sandy. Ludeman’s work can be seen at the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce visitor center throughout November.

After 25 years expressing himself with a brush and colorful water-based paint, Steve Ludeman of Welches refers to his life as an artist as a 'joyful journey.'

Even though his interest in art began in elementary school in a small town in northern Iowa, Ludeman pursued another career and eventually returned to his easel - with his most intense work completed during the past 16 years while living near Mount Hood.

Ludeman will put some of his work on display during November in the art gallery inside the visitor center of the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce, 38963 Pioneer Blvd.

During the month, the gallery will display images of memorable places around the Mount Hood area, with about one-third done in the field and the rest located, sketched and photographed in the field and finished in Ludeman's home studio and frame shop, where he has lived for the past 16 years.

'Moving to the mountain really stimulated my creativity,' he said. 'I've always done landscapes, but even more since I moved to Welches.'

But Ludeman is beginning to add other subjects to his repertoire of images, particularly animals such as dogs and ravens as well as motorcycles. The original paintings of (dogs) Bruno and Heidi, mascots at Timberline Lodge, are in the chamber show. He also has a couple of images of ravens, which he will hang at the chamber.

Ludeman describes his interest in painting BMW and Harley motorcycles as a 'side pursuit.' He calls it 'The art of the motorcycle,' and he has images in a number of galleries and other locations such as the new wing at Oregon Health and Science University.

Ludeman's work can be seen at the Timberline Lodge gallery, Mount Hood Museum and Cultural Center in Government Camp, Wy'east Book Shoppe and Art Gallery, Sandy Historical Society Museum and the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.

Ludeman also shows outside the local area, including a current show in Sun River.

He is a natural artist, and has developed his skills over the years through self-study and workshops from leading artists along with experience.

That background enables Ludeman to capture what he calls the 'mood and feeling' of the image he is painting.

He considers what he heard about 13 years ago from a native of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Northeastern Washington as one of his highest compliments.

The comments were about a historical image he created of a party of Indians on horseback pulling a travois with all their belongings. The image was entered in a Native American fine arts festival, and bore a first-place ribbon.

One native complimented Ludeman, saying the image had a lot of meaning for him because it accurately portrayed the history of his people in their dilemma with the onrush of Eastern settlers.

Ludeman says he has a love of bright color, reflecting his optimistic nature, and with watercolors he is able to achieve the appropriate mood that fits each scene.

Ludeman has invited area residents to the artist's reception 5-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, at the visitor center.

'My work is the joy of creation,' he said, 'and it represents the beautiful area in which we live. I would invite people to come and share that.'

The chamber's visitor center, 38963 Pioneer Blvd., is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be reached by calling 503-668-4006.

For more information, call Ludeman at 503-622-5632, email [email protected] or visit

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