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World travelers stop in Forest Grove gallery


Watercolor, oil, fused glass brighten Valley Art exhibit

Nature, color, travel and whimsy bring three artists together in a free exhibit that will run through Feb. 28th at Valley Art Gallery in downtown Forest Grove, 2022 Main St.

Kris Preslan

Preslan, a watercolorist, never attended art school. In fact, during a college art class, her instructor told her she should quit painting. And she did—for 40 years, until a painting class at Michael’s craft store changed her mind.

Twelve years later, the self-taught Preslan paints landscapes and urban settings from a variety of cultures—faraway places she’s traveled and hopes to return. "I can find art anywhere," she said.

by: COURTESY PHOTOS - Watercolorist Kris Preslan captures a woman painting a Sidewalk Madonna in Italy.Inspired by photographs taken with her trusty Canon camera, Preslan uses vibrant realism to capture her favorite images—from Italy and Africa—as well as the close seconds from Greece, Morocco, Australia and New Zealand. Her Valley Art offerings feature boat-lined canals in Venice, with water reflections it took her years to perfect.

Strong pigments and a wide range of values are most important to Preslan, who at one point thought watercolors were all “wishy-washy mid-tones.” Her colors are bold and definite. by: COURTESY PHOTOS - Watercolorist Kris Preslan captures reflections in a boat-lined canal in Venice.

“My veins have pigments in them instead of blood,” said Preslan, whose artist-eye sees clouds that are darker along the bottoms, and trees that are at least four shades of mixed greens in the summer but in the dead of winter—lavender.

Vicki Joslyn

Joslyn, too, uses colors from nature in her fused glass creations-- clear ocean blues, rich land greens and bright sunset oranges. However, in this Seattle-educated artist’s designs, shape is the main focus.by: COURTESY PHOTOS - Vicki Joslyn creates whimsical fused-glass mobiles. The artists work is on display in Valley Art, along with oil paintings by Donna Clark.

Joslyn’s kiln-fired and sandblasted pieces range from whimsical, rainbow-glass mobiles that can twirl in the breeze or dangle over a baby’s crib, to functional, food-safe plates and bowls.

“Design and color are always on my mind,” Joslyn said. “Working with glass–its brilliance, its ‘attitude,’ the perfect imperfection of handmade glass – has opened the door to my creativity!”

Joslyn often uses an iridized glass technique made by spraying flat or blown glass with a vapor deposit of metal oxides for an iridescent finish.

Sometimes she finds that what she blasts away is just as important as what she leaves in. The amazing colors of a finished piece “brighten the grayest of days and make me smile,” she said.

Donna Clark

A native Oregonian, Clark brings her palette knife outside to create colorful, sensuous, impressionist oil paintings directly from the scene before her.

“Nothing can compare with painting a field of lavender in the evening light while the wafts of fragrance embrace you.”

A nurse by trade, the Corvallis-bred artist has painted for more than 35 years, exploring numerous mediums but favoring the luminosity and rich colors of oil paints.

Clark’s paintings are driven by her own experience. “If our lives are a canvas, each stroke of paint represents our emotions and experiences, whether they are cold and dark or warm and light. When they are filled with hills, valleys, rivers or tall mountains, eventually a picture will emerge representing the ‘wholeness’ of our life.”

From the high Cascades and the Columbia Gorge to a camelback trek through the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, to safaris in Africa or a boat trip down the Yangtze River, Clark wants her paintings to connect people to a deeper spiritual sense of the natural world-- its ruggedness, solitude and grace.

Although she’s traveled the world, Clark is sustained by her Hillsboro country home and the flowers and animals that populate it. “Without them I would be lost,” she said. “The moments of quiet pause, reflection and observation are healing and central to my creative process.”