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'ARTWalk' highlights Southeast Portland's aesthetic endeavors

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Anton Pavlenko says he enjoys being a full-time artist.Now in its tenth year, the Southeast Area ARTWalk showcased the remarkable art being created here, in more than 80 locations around the area.

The four artists which THE BEE visited on the afternoon of March 3rd – the second day of the two-day event – were a bit far apart to walk, but were well worth the drive.

Figure studies in metal mesh

At our first stop, on S.E. Gideon Street just east of S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, Eric Boyer was showing off his most unique sculpture.

“My medium is woven steel wire mesh,” Boyer explained. “I started working in it some twenty years ago, when I was blacksmithing. I discovered it because I was making wire-mesh fireplace screens.”

The woven metal appeals to him, Boyer added, “Because it has both open space and structural integrity. All that’s added is just a powder-coating finish.”

After his first exhibition in 1989 in the New England area, where he was living at the time, “I just kicked it into high gear, and started enjoying doing this full time.”

Discover this unique artwork at his website: www.boyermesh.com.

Beauty of the great outdoors

In the same studio complex, Anton Pavlenko was greeting visitors as they came to enjoy his landscape paintings, done in oils on canvas and linen.

Anton says he’s always been an “arty guy” – “probably from when I was five years old,” Pavlenko smiled. “When I took up painting in my teen years, my parents purchased supplies for me and supported my talents. Now, with the support of my wife, I started painting professionally about three years ago.”

See his work online: www.antonpavlenko.com.

Artist’s vibrant ‘chalk’ images

At the Ford building, a little further north along S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, Janet Rothermel was working in her studio between visitors.

“My medium is soft pastel on sanded paper,” Rothermel told THE BEE. “People think of it pretty much like chalk. But, it is actually pure dry pigment with very little binding that is formed into a chalk-like stick.”

Unlike oils, she said, soft pastels provide a very vibrant color palette.

A native Oregonian, Rothermel said she dabbled in all kinds of arts while growing up, and graduated with a fine art degree in graphic design – a “fallback for the real world”. After working for Daimler Trucks North America, LLC, for some thirty years, she became a full-time artist about six years ago.

“The best part is coming in every day and discovering something new in my art. Every composition I work on takes me somewhere else, in my mind; I love that.”

Learn more about her at her website: www.janetrothermel.com.

Nurse unwinds with ceramics

At her home studio on S.E. Tibbets, Cheri Holly had her ceramicware on display, and for sale.

“My medium is slab-built stoneware ceramics,” said Holly. “Slab-built means I don't do it on a potter’s wheel.” Instead, she starts with flat clay, then imprints designs from nature – like flowers, leaves and stones – and then folds it, or presses it over a mold. Holly doesn’t dip her works in glaze; she paints that on before firing it.

Her artwork can also be used as tableware; all of the glazing is food-safe.

A full-time registered nurse, Holly said her artwork allows her creative expression for which she yearns, and helps her unwind from her job.

See more of what she does online: www.cheriholly.com.