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Former bookshop owner's art shown at St. Helens library

Pieces from mixed-media artist Luanne Kreutzer displayed in third part of library's quarterly art show

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - A display case at the St. Helens Public Library showcases mixed-media pieces by Luanne Kreutzer. Many of the pieces are available for sale.The third installment of the St. Helens Library Quarterly Art Show will feature the work of Luanne Kreutzer, a local mixed-media artist.

A former St. Helens bookstore owner and community volunteer, Kreutzer will showcase pieces featuring textured, colorful imaginary landscapes and geometrical, eye-catching florals.

Her pieces, which draw on her inspiration from nature, will be on display throughout the month of May.

“I’m really excited just to have it in the library because [it’s] books-related, but also so people can see the artwork,” Kreutzer said. “I feel honored that I was asked to be part of it.”

Barbara Lines, vice chair and secretary of Friends of the St. Helens Public Library, who organizes the quarterly art shows, said she first met Kreutzer when a small group of St. Helens residents traveled to Portland together to attend an art collective gathering within the last year. Lines, who is also a mixed-media artist, said she didn’t know Kreutzer worked in a similar medium and invited her to showcase her work.

KreutzerAn artist by passion

Kreutzer said artistry has always been a part of her life. Her mother was an acrylic artist in the 1970s, she said, and hosted a children’s craft show on TV for several years. While she was exposed to art as a child and always found it to be thrilling, she did not pursue it as a career.

Instead, she pursued a degree in packaging engineering and worked for forest products companies Crown Zellerbach Corp. and James River Corp. for eight years in the Portland area. In 1992, she purchased the St. Helens Book Shop, which she owned and operated for 17 years.

During that period, Kreutzer began stocking her store with older and antique books. She unexpectedly found a new artistic inspiration — line drawings of landscapes and ink pen portraits — in old works of poetry and text books.

Expanding her skills

After selling the bookstore in 2009, Kreutzer said she began exploring the creation of her own pieces and taking art more seriously, rather than just as a weekend hobby. She joined several art groups, including the Portland Art Collective, and took classes to expand her skillset.

She learned from fellow Oregon artists Danya Collins and Stephanie Brockaway, from whom she learned a technique of layering and removing plaster on wooden cradles and covering the cradles with acrylic paint. Many of those pieces are now on display at the library.

Those interested in learning more about Kreutzer’s artistic process can join her during an “Artist Talk” at the library, Thursday, May 12, at 7 p.m. She will also delve into literature and books other artists can use to explore the medium.

Involvement in the community

In addition to spending time creating art, Kreutzer works part-time at Broadway Books in Portland, volunteers at Top Notch Thrift Store, and volunteers with the Columbia River Fire and Rescue Toy ‘N Joy Auction. She also served on the St. Helens Arts and Cultural Commission from 2010 to 2015, has shown pieces at Alterations by Heather, has been featured during the inaugural St. Helens art walk, as well as several farmers markets over the years.