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Experimenting with art until he gets it right

Phil Wells of Boring uses unusual methods and materials to create art
by: Jim Clark Artist Phil Wells of Boring stands in the Sandy Chamber by his eye-catching art pieces, which use mortar, acrylic paint, glaze and the impression of a zucchini leaf — framed with recycled wood. Wells’ art exhibit will hang in the Sandy chamber’s visitor center throughout February.

For Phil Wells of Boring, at first glance, art is an experiment.

Wells displays unusual topics, expresses his art in unfamiliar ways, occasionally uses uncommon media and often uses recycled materials to form his artwork.

But a closer look proves this artist knows a lot about texture, color and balance, and the content of his images shows his expertise in artistic expression.

'You keep trying until you get it right,' said Wells, describing what he means by art as an experiment. 'It's an experimental process that's brand new - like a prototype.'

Examples of Wells' work will hang in the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center throughout February, with an artist reception during Sandy's First Friday, 5-8 p.m. Feb. 3.

Wells, whose art business is called Blue Moon Farm, plans to show art created on mortar placed on cement board, with shape and texture created by hand and the impression of an object such as a large leaf. When dry, the mortar is painted with colorful acrylic paint and coated with a glaze.

He'll also show his artistic creations using very thin acrylic paint on watercolor paper.

'It's an experiment in textures and colors,' he said of his unusual form of art expression. 'I have fun trying to find out what colors are appealing for backgrounds in contrast with the natural colors coming from the plants.'

Those who visit the art exhibit also will see Wells' ability to create artistic framing from recycled wood that he cuts and shapes and sands and varnishes to enhance each piece of art.

'Conversation pieces' doesn't begin to describe a viewer's first impression of Wells' art work. 'Thought provoking' also would help describe its effect.

But his creative expression is not limited to framed art, just as his topics are not limited to outdoor scenes.

Wells says he loves airplanes, and he knows a lot of details about specific planes. He knows them so intimately that he can put together lightweight models of the planes and then fly them, using remote controls, on his acreage northeast of Boring.

He is so much into planes that many model airplanes of various sizes are suspended from the ceiling of Wells' work area. He says he has been making model airplanes since he was a child growing up in southern Idaho near an Air Force base. He also depicts specific models of planes in watercolors or by using thin acrylic paint on watercolor paper.

Wells also has created large sculpture art using mortar slabs that are embedded, before drying and curing, with objects that create an image. The objects often are common materials initially created for a different use such as the smaller parts of bicycles.

Art pieces he created in the past 30 years are located in galleries in Idaho or they are commissioned works in private homes as well as at Wells' rural home. So the best way to see his unusual methods of art expression is to visit the chamber's visitor center at the artist reception this Friday or during the center's regular open hours - seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The visitor center is at 38963 Pioneer Blvd., and can be reached by calling 503-668-4006.

Contact Wells by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..