Artist and graphic designer Maureen Zoebelein hosts first show in Forest Grove

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Landscapes and flowers are among the subjects captured by artist Maureen Zoebelein in her oil paintings, 15 of which are on display through Feb. 28 at Caffe Montecassino in Forest Grove.Long Island native Maureen Zoebelein’s first public art show is the culmination of more than 30 years spent as an artist — the last two as a painter.

A Forest Grove resident for 22 years and the News-Times’ production manager, Zoebelein took up oil painting in 2010 after working in collage, printmaking, basketry, felting, weaving, pottery and graphic design since her college days.

She studied printmaking at Buffalo State College in New York and completed her degree in clothing, textiles and related arts at Oregon State University after moving to Oregon in the 1970s.

Through the years, while raising two sons with her husband, Tim Zoebelein, Maureen also worked with watercolors, colored pencils, but eventually found that oils allow for a fluid and natural expression of her art.

“I took a pastel class at Valley Art (in Forest Grove), then bought pastels and tried that,” Zoebelein said last week. “It was frustrating, so I tried oil paints.

“Oils are very forgiving in the way they blend and flow — I had an immediate affinity for them.”

Focusing on landscapes, seascapes and animals, Zoebelein has painted coastal scenes, a pastured cow and a rooster, among other works. Many of her paintings are influenced by hours of hiking, biking, paddling on the East Coast and the Pacific Northwest.

The “weathered look of boats, flowers showing off their colors and skies creating drama from above” are pictures she’s drawn to when painting. A lifelong love of photography has also provided a collection of images Zoebelein references for her paintings.

She’s displaying 15 of her creations at Café Montecassino in Forest Grove through the end of February, but it took some convincing to get here there.

“I had shown my paintings in various stages of completion to friends on Facebook and elsewhere,” noted Zoebelein. “People were saying how much they liked them, and Cherri Rose (Caffe Montecassino’s owner) had been using her space for local artists’ shows.”

Her show’s debut last Wednesday was a solid success, with an estimated crowd of 40 people attending and three paintings sold the first night. “It was really great to see so many people come to the show and enjoy the artwork and being together,” said Zoebelein.

The Zoebeleins renovated their garage five years ago, which allowed for a small studio space for Maureen’s artwork — something that spurred her to pursue her goal of showing her work in public.

“Tim is really the one who has pushed and encouraged me over the years,” Maureen Zoebelein said. “I’m just grateful I’ve had my first show before I turned 60.”

At 57, Zoebelein is happy she persevered.

"We're always told we should do the thing that makes us the most money," she said. "But if you're passionate about something, you can become good at it — and it brings you happiness."

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