New artists show their craft during 'Open Studios Tour'
Again this fall, many artists opened their studios to guests to show their art, and, in many cases, demonstrate their technique.
Four of the studios visited by THE BEE were new to the tour this year, and offered visitors insight into the artists and their art.
Media: encaustic, oil
When not working in his professional life as physician, neurologist Kirk Weller is a landscape artist, who told THE BEE he'd decided to pursue art when his parents approved of the first painting that he'd brought home from grade school in 1969.
"I'm a Colorado mountain boy who married a Washington gal, and we moved to Oregon," Weller smiled.
About his art, Weller pointed out, "Encaustic [using pigments mixed with hot wax] is not being used in landscapes very much. It's exciting to me, because there are media like tree resins that you can add to the beeswax to create effects that no one else is doing.
"I'm really delighted at how it invokes the texture of a distant landscape, which it's possible to capture with this artistic experimentation."
Media: acrylic, drawing, collages
Working from his home in the Woodstock neighborhood, Wayne Jiang – he told us his last name means 'River' in Chinese – loves painting.
"I like the craft of painting, I like the process of painting and I like looking at paintings – that's why I'm a painter!" Jiang exclaimed.
After leaving a high-tech career, Jiang remarked that he was finally able to focus on art, as well as teaching the mountain dulcimer.
"Painting with acrylic is my medium, it's my thing," he said. "A lot of people think it's oil painting, because I use a technique that I developed myself which resembles the work of the 'Old Masters' paintings from the 1600s, such as those by Rembrandt.
"I do lots of thin layers in my process, one atop another, so one sees more coming from below, not just from the top layer," Jiang explained. "When I finish a painting, I feel satisfaction; I've set up a goal, I've gone through the steps; and then when I'm done, I feel satisfied."
Media: Installation art, oil, sculpture
The artwork of Canadian-born Jeannie Fries lit up our imagination when, as she waved her smart phone near her works, parts of them illuminated.
"My focus now is creating interactive installations, working with electronics that pick up cell phone signals, as when they get text messages or calls, and convert the radio waves into signals that turn on LED lights in some of my panel works," Fries explained. "The idea, and my concepts behind my art, have to do a lot with uncovering the invisible structures that exist around us – with the physical and non-physical expression of power dynamics in contemporary society."
She's proposing a large-scale installation at Portland International Airport where panels above the walkway would illuminate as people are walking underneath through spaces, using their cell phones.
"The idea for that installation just came to me, and I've spent about ten months figuring out how to do it," commented Fries, who studied art in Glasgow, Scotland, as well as in Ankara, and received a BFA and double minor in Philosophy and Art History from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada.
Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood
Printmaker Kelly McConnell turned her home's basement into an art studio workshop, but said she started out in the art world as a drawing/painting major at Portland State University.
"In my junior year, I took an 'Introduction to Printmaking' class, fell in love with the process, and learned about relief printmaking – and, I've been hooked on it ever since," McConnell grinned.
Eight years later, her primary focus continues to be on linocut, but she also carves woodcuts as well.
"I sketch an image on a block of linoleum, and then I carve out to the areas that I want to be white – we call that 'negative space'," informed McConnell. "Then I roll printing ink onto the block, lay paper on top of it, and use a press to print limited editions of my blocks.
"It's physical, hands-on art, but it can turn out to be so delicate and beautiful," McConnell marveled.