Do you feel like the world is divided between people who can draw and people who can’t and that you fall in the latter category? Well, try living in Lake Oswego. For a small community, it seems to have more than its fair share of artists so maybe there is something in the air here which will unlock your artistic gene.
“I didn’t really get into art until I moved here,” explains Barbara Vance, a member of the local painting group, Lake Area Artists, who was recently featured in International Artist magazine. Lake Oswego’s natural beauty and an inspiring watercolor class in a local artist’s home set her on the artistic path she enjoys now.
But Vance wasn’t like the rest of us wannabe’s. She drew as soon as she could hold a pencil at the age of two and her mother finally had to protect her walls from Vance’s creative expression by hanging butcher paper behind her bedroom door. “Here, have at it,” her mom said. “Just don’t draw on the walls anymore.”
These days Vance paints on canvas, and often in the company of the Color Fusion, an artist’s version of a quilting bee where seven painters meet every Friday morning to promote, help and inspire each other.
She and her fellow Lake Area Artists will be exhibiting their work at their annual Show and Sale, “Art Affair” April 27-29 at the Lakewood Center for the Arts at 368 State Street. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. A wine and music reception will be held on Friday, April 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Here’s how Lake Oswego inspires some of them:
●KAY ALLENBAUGH. Allenbaugh’s painting career follows her successful writing career as the author of the Chocolate for a Woman’s Soul series. She has been painting for six years and didn’t even know she could wield a brush until she took an art class on a lark. “I just fell madly and deeply in love with it,” she explains, “and I became very passionate about watercolor.” Like her writing, Allenbaugh sees her painting as a way to bring richness into the world.
Allenbaugh grew up in Lake Oswego but left for about 20 years. During that time she traveled around the world with her husband but never lost her appreciation for Lake Oswego’s beauty. “I think our environment is so conducive to painting—the amazing colors of greens, the lights and darks, the shadows, and the dappled sun,” she explains.
●LINDA TERHARK. Terhark doesn’t have to look too far for inspiration. Her studio looks out over Oswego Lake. “It’s a beautiful place to live,” Terhark explains. “There are lots of colors to choose from whether it be the plants, the trees or all the flowers everywhere.”
She is also impressed by the priority that the City of Lake Oswego gives to the aesthetics of the environment. She points to the Arts Commission, the Gallery Without Walls, and the plantings around town when she says, “To think that a city is devoting that kind of money and time to make the city more beautiful is just amazing.”
●AIRI FOOTE. Foote is an abstract artist who draws more from inside her own head for inspiration than from the environment around her. But she too finds Lake Oswego to be “very artist friendly.” She has been a member of the Lake Area Artists for 18 years and benefits from their monthly meetings where sometimes fellow artists demonstrate their technique. “Even if you do a different type of art, you still learn something from everybody,” she explains.
●BARBARA VANCE. Lake Oswego inspires Vance in two ways. First, the people. “The artists here—we all kind of inspire each other and help each other out,” she explains. And then there’s the natural beauty. From the Saturday market, to George Rogers Park, to the lake outside her Color Fusion co-member, Kay Allenbaugh’s house, to the flower baskets—Vance never runs out of ideas of what to paint.
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