On the coast of Oregon, there is a very special art center that sits at the confluence of the Pacific ocean, the Salmon river estuary, the coastal Sitka spruce forest, and Cascade head. This art center is called the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, @sitkacenter and I always feel like a salmon swimming home when I return. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sitka shaped me in so many ways. In 2007, I spent the Summer living at Sitka and helped with over 100 art & ecology workshops. I later returned as an interim program manager in 2008. It was an education in Pacific Northwest artists that still shapes my understanding of the community today. I met so many of the greats - the working artists of the Pacific Northwest. Seeing how Bill Park @williamparkart painted, and Larry Thomas drew, and Pat Wheeler invested so much of her soul into her work, changed the way I worked, forever. Andie Thrams took people hiking into the forest to paint and bind elaborate books. And not only art, they taught me - little things, too. Andie always brought extra supplies, and invited me to paint with her, and that small kindness made such an impact on me. Ever since then, when I teach, I always bring a few extra supplies in case the staff or the intern wants to join in.
At Sitka, I also got a real look at how tough it can be to make a career as a working artist. I met hundreds of artists and many were quite frank with me. It was at Sitka, when sculptor MJ Anderson asked me about my BFA thesis work, and I responded with too much humility & hesitation. She said to me:
"No one is going to give a damn about your work unless you do." Oh, was she right, and I have never forgotten her words!
Tell me what your special "returning home" place is!
Pictured is a large scale reproduction (gallery-wrapped canvas) of my painting “Weave Me into the Sea”. For sale in my art shop, check it out!!