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Youre invited to the Mount Hood Flora Art Jam

Seven area artists hike the trails of Bald Mountain and interpret high-elevation flora
by: Jim Hart Leslie Cheney-Parr is seen at work in her studio on a monotype image. Among other printing techniques in the baker’s dozen prints at the chamber’s visitor center are linocuts, screen prints, carved woodblock printing, hand-colored relief prints and photo painting.

Seven area artists walked the wildflower-lined paths of Bald Mountain in the Mount Hood National Forest in mid-July.

It was a very stormy day, but they were inspired by the flora that surrounded them as they gazed at the heavenly landscape and the majestic mountain in the distance.

In an activity inspired by the Native Plant Society of Oregon and sponsored by Print Arts Northwest, seven water-soaked but creative minds gathered at that high elevation to record what they saw and felt - to depict the plants that thrive in the thinner air and brighter sunshine.

The results of that summer jaunt - called Mount Hood Flora Art Jam - are on exhibit daily throughout January in the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, 38963 Pioneer Blvd.

The event for members of Print Arts Northwest (PAN) was organized by Brightwood artist Sue Allen, who took some artists back on a second hike on a sun-filled day in mid-August.

Exhibit's print artists

Following is a description of their print art and comments from each of the artists about their work:

Sue Allen of Brightwood is a screen print artist who has been living in the foothills of Mount Hood for 30 years. She says she has been inspired the entire time with the forest and flowers that are a dominant part of her environment.

'The opportunity to organize an art jam on Mount Hood with a focus on the native flora,' Allen said, 'was a way to share my passion.'

Marcy Baker said she gains her inspiration for art mainly from the plants near her home in Southeast Portland. Her work is a little more abstract, and is created with the monotype process.

A hike with a group of printmakers was a welcome diversion for Baker, and an opportunity to bring some images home to her studio.

'I returned to the area a few weeks later for a hike at Mirror Lake,' she said, 'and was quite taken with the shapes and patterns of bear grass growing around the lake.'

Leslie Cheney-Parr of Sandy said this is an inaugural (traveling) exhibit for the local group of PAN printmakers - an exhibit that moved from the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum to the Sandy chamber. It is expected to move next to a gallery in Oregon City in February or March, said Cheney-Parr, who used a monotype process to create the Mount Hood images.

'My two works (in the chamber exhibit) explore a small portion (of the flora) and enjoy color and texture in the process,' she said. 'They're not botanically correct, but are designed to give the impression of the color and the spirit of the locations.'

Michael McDevitt of North Portland first trained in college as a naturalist and was employed as a backcountry research technician for the University of Washington.

That background and love for the outdoors, along with an affinity for natural systems, drove him into a field of art occupied by few. His work in this exhibit is a hand-colored relief print.

'Though I chose to pursue art rather than science,' he said, 'I remain an enthusiastic naturalist and use this experience to inform my work.'

Even though it was raining heavily on the first hike, Carrie Moore of Oregon City says she enjoyed seeing the flora of the Top Spur Trail in the wilderness.

'I went back on a sunnier day with a photographer friend,' she said, 'and overcame my fear of heights by walking out onto the ledge.'

There she discovered that by viewing plants closely she could see their delicate nature. She used the linocut process to reproduce mages.

'Being the second mountain I've carved into a block, Mount Hood is an important part of my composition,' she said, 'while the avalanche lily is more playful and whimsical in the foreground.'

Renee Ugrin of Damascus grew up in the Pacific Northwest. It was the tree-covered hillsides, scenic rivers and mountain vistas that were responsible for her love affair with nature.

'The gentle rainy winters and cool springs,' she said, 'bring a wealth of wildlife and an environment of abundant plants and trees.'

Ugrin jumped at the chance to visit the wilderness with people of like mind, and decided to use the hand-colored woodblock print and monotype processes to record the images.

'I have always been interested in gardening,' she said, 'however, these images (in the chamber exhibit) focus on the native species - the sturdy plants that survive without the gardener's careful guidance, but rather bloom freely and gallantly in the most rugged and challenging places.'

Mickey Weaver of Oak Grove loves Mount Hood, and felt fortunate to be able to see close-up 'nature's delicate patterns in fungi, fog patch and flower.'

'The Mount Hood National Forest always inspires,' he said, 'but hiking on Bald Mountain with a group of talented artists lifted my definition of inspiration.'

Weaver says he has always focused on what he calls the 'micro world' as he creates artistic images with the photo-painting technique.

'Energized by the hiking experience,' he said, 'I returned to my studio and found myself emphasizing tiny details such as the hairs in a blossom and veins in a leaf.'

Chamber art exhibit

The Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center is located at 38963 Pioneer Blvd., and is open winter hours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. seven days a week.

An artists' reception for the January print art show is scheduled 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, in the visitor center.

For more information, call the chamber at 503-668-4006.

As many printing methods as there are artists

Sandy watercolor artist Leslie Cheney-Parr often uses the monotype print process to reproduce an image she sees in the field.

Monotype is an example of one of the printing techniques on exhibit at the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center throughout January.

Cheney-Parr begins a print with a pen-and-ink sketch on paper that is placed under a sheet of clear Plexiglas so the sketch can be seen through the sheet.

The print artist places several water-base colors (paint or water-base crayons) on the Plexiglas wherever they are appropriate to the image. The process in summary is as if a painter applies a mirror image to the clear sheet, lets it dry and then places a wet sheet of paper on top of the mirror image, which transfers to the paper in its correct form.

An alternative is to apply a sheet of dry paper to the still-wet image, allowing the image to transfer before the paint dries .

Another method has the artist painting on an acrylic sheet placed over a sketch, and then applying that wet image onto a dry sheet of paper.

But those methods aren't the only ways to apply the monotype process to printing images, said Cheney-Parr.

'There's probably as many types of monotype as there are artists,' she said. 'But (the word) monotype means there's one image, and it's an offset print process.'

The paint can be applied with brushes or rolled on or applied with other implements, according to Cheney-Parr, or it can be textured with other implements to create desired effects.

'And if I don't like the effect,' she said, 'I can go back and change it later.'

The effect of the picture is not to create a hand-made photographically-perfect image. Instead, it is to re-create a mood, feeling or combination of colors that continues to inspire. Cheney-Parr called it 'sensual' (affecting a viewer's senses).

'This (monotype process) is not for people who have to have everything perfect,' said Cheney-Parr. 'You, absolutely, cannot control anything. But there are a lot of fun things you can do .'

All who visit the exhibit at the Sandy chamber visitor center will have 13 chances to have an emotional experience and at the same time see the effects of a half-dozen methods of printing.

For more information, call Cheney-Parr at 503-668-7401 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Her website is cheneyparr.com.