Join us at First Thursday, March 3rd to meet the featured artists: Virginia Paul, Susan Blubaugh, Mai Ding, and Mary E. Huels.
Mingle with fellow art lovers in historic downtown Longview. Live music provided by local musicians. Featured artists artwork is on display all month.
During the March 3rd First Thursday from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, enjoy the original music of John S. Crocker.
About The Artists
Virginia Paul, Photography
I grew up locally. I am self-employed as the owner of a leather business. I have made custom made chaps since 1973.
My art background consists of drawing and painting all my life. I jumped into photography as a challenge after surviving breast cancer in 2000 and wanted a new focus.
In 2013 I was the overall winner in the annual photo contest in the magazine Cowboys and Indians. My main focus photographically is western art and the western lifestyle.
Susan Blubaugh, Pansanky and Batik Eggs
A mystic, according to one definition is one who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect. By that definition, any artist who strives to capture nature, a person, or an everyday object in an abstract or representational image revealing a truth—intentional or not–about their subject, is a mystic.
Susan Blubaugh is a retired public school teacher and guidance counselor who recently moved to the Pacific Northwest from Lafayette, IN, with her husband, Rob, to be near children and grandchild. She is a self-taught artist. Susan’s mystical journey through art began about 20 years ago with a venture into pysanky and batik egg art when she purchased a pysanky (pea-son-kee) kit for her children. Though the kids grew tired of the activity, Susan became hooked on this ancient art.
Pysanky or Ukrainian Easter eggs are intricate colorful designs created on the egg shell through the layering of beeswax and dyes. The geometric shapes, floral and animal figures, and even the eggs, are steeped in symbolism. Over 2000 years ago, before the time of Christ, people decorated eggs believing that great powers were embodied in the egg. To them eggs symbolized the release of the earth from the shackles of winter and the coming of spring with its promise of new hope, new life and prosperity. With the advent of Christianity, Easter eggs symbolized the Resurrection and a promise of eternal life. Legend has it that as long as pysanky are decorated, goodness will prevail over evil throughout the world.
Susan’s eggshell designs are often inspired by traditional Ukrainian patterns. Other inspirations come from southwestern Native American pottery designs, Wedgewood Jasper Ware, Cosmati marble floor inlay (found in Italian medieval churches), and her imagination. Chicken eggs, both white and brown, provide the usual “canvass” for the art. However, Susan also uses quail, duck, goose, emu, rhea, and ostrich eggs shells.
After moving to Washington and settling in a small town, Morton, in a Cascade valley, Susan began working with alcohol inks on ceramic tiles. Unlike the pysanky and batik eggs which require control and precision, the designs created with alcohol inks are, literally, free flowing. Susan’s “Spirit Scapes,” created for display purpose only, are abstract designs suggesting landscapes. Creating a Spirit Scape is an intuitive process that uses no brushes or pre-planned sketches. Coffee stirrers, drinking straws, expired credit cards, and other every-day items are used to move the inks and create designs on the ceramic surface. Susan’s designs are inspired by the mountains, lakes, palisades, rivers, and other geologic features of the Pacific Northwest. Susan also creates representational art tiles and functional art tiles which may be used as drink coasters inset into napkin holders.
Mai Ding, Watercolors
I am a full time physician in Longview, so painting is another passion for me. I have always loved art and drawing since as long s I can remember. During my high school years, I practiced pencil drawings of still life and casts. I also started dabbling in photography during that time using an old 120 format camera. When I started medical school, I had to give up both painting and photography because of my busy schedule. It would be many years before I returned to art.
A few years ago, I took up photography again and started taking it more seriously, focusing mainly on landscapes, wildlife and travel photography. One of my photos was featured on the National Geographic web site, ‘World Architecture’. I also won a photo contest sponsored by National Geographic Traveler.
However, it was not until I saw the Columbian Artists Association’s Art in the Park that I was inspired to take up painting again after such a long hiatus. My watercolor painting is still evolving. I love the spontaneity and unpredictability of the medium. Just as in my photography landscapes, I try to capture the light, color and the mood in my paintings. I am delighted to present a sampling of my recent works which are mostly focused on the beautiful sceneries from small town Longview, Washington.
Mary E Huels, Pottery
An accidental artist – that’s what I consider myself to be.
While working full-time as a forester, I wandered into the evening “Ceramic Art” class at Lower Columbia College. I’d never been considered to be very “artistic”, but found I liked playing with clay and had a little aptitude. I took pottery classes off and on (mostly off) for many years from Richard Roth and Trudy Woods.
Fed up with my forestry job, I left it in 2005 and became a casual hire wildland firefighter. Spring through fall, I go when and where they send me to work on fires, both on the fire line as a supervisor and safety officer, or in camp as an information officer. It’s a strange lifestyle, but it pays the bills.
The rest of the year, I play with clay when the weather is too bad for gardening. Pottery lets me challenge myself to do something different and better, to be literally “constructive” with my free time. (“Go do something constructive” was a frequent admonition from my parents.)
My non-clay art education is limited to what I learned through eighth grade (close to nothing). After many years working with trees and watching them grow, I seem to have absorbed the ability to draw trees. Each of my trees is individually drawn, with no two ever growing quite the same. Sometimes I can identify which species I’ve drawn, but many are “maples and oaks”, which cover a lot of growth forms. Obviously I like trees. I hope you enjoy them, too.
Most of my pottery is fired to Cone 10 (2340°) for a durable finish. These items are food-safe, microwavable, and dishwasher-safe. I also experiment with horsehair raku and aluminum foil saggar firings, which are strictly ornamental.
More of my pottery can be found at the Pacific Northwest Gift Gallery in Castle Rock. I will also be participating in Oregon Potters Association’s Ceramic Showcase in Portland, Oregon. It will be held at the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum at the Rose Quarter from April 29 to May 1, 2016.