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Estacada artists paint different worlds

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ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Pictured is Earlean Marsh's watercolor Rocks on the Water.Books are known for taking people to other worlds, but does visual art

do the same?

Many of the artists who participated in the Estacada Library Exhibit Program’s current show, “A Celebration of Watercolors,” believe it does.

“(The paintings are) like a glimpse into a different world,” artist Nolene Triska said. “I like to imagine someone looking at it like it’s a window to a scene.”

The show features watercolor paintings from five local artists. The library hosts the event through March 14.

Estacada Arts Commissioner Am Griswald, who coordinated the watercolor show, noted that there are typically four exhibits at the library per year, and each one stays up for three months. ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Connie Athman stands with several of her entries in the Celebration of Watercolors show at the Estacada library.

Each show features a different medium.

“Having a local place (to display art) is great,” Griswald said.

Griswald likes the diversity the show offers.

“(The watercolors range from) impressionism to realistic, and they’re all different sizes,” she said.

Artist Earlean Marsh likes the influence impressionism has had on her work because of the opportunities for creativity it offers her.

“There’s no need to paint something to look exactly like a picture,” she said. “You can take a bad picture and make it beautiful. I don’t get discouraged if it’s not as good as a picture.”

Connie Athman feels similarly.

“It’s an interpretation, not an exact copy,” she said.

Sally Hingley, on the other hand, embraces realism. She often works from reference photos she takes while hiking in Clackamas County.

“I like to freeze moments in time,” she said.

These bookend approaches allow the paintings to be windows into our own world or to others all together.

Watercolor is often regarded as a more difficult medium, but the artists in the show have not been discouraged.

“Oils are too easy,” Marsh said. “I enjoy the challenge.”

Triska also finds the challenge rewarding.

“Most pieces go through a period of looking horrible, but if you keep pushing through, you come to a point where you just think, ‘Oh wow,’” she said.

Light also plays a significant role with watercolors, which is often difficult to get correct.

“Light and how it strikes (the painting) makes a huge difference,” Marsh said. “With watercolors, once you go dark, you can’t get that light back. You have to know where the light will be.”

Many of the artists appreciate the way the colors blend in their medium.

“I love the way the colors spread,” Marsh said. “Some things are unexpected, perfect little accidents with the way new colors can bump the dry colors.”

Athman agrees. ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Nolene Triska hopes her tiny paintings will act as windows to different scenes.

“I love how the colors flow into one another,” she said.

Triska hopes viewers are captivated by the paintings.

“I want people to believe that it’s like a window to a scene,” she said. “I love it when their eyes light up.”

Athman noted that the creation process is often just as satisfying.

“While I’m working, I’m taken away to somewhere else, and transported to another zone,” she said.

Marsh believes the watercolors are a valuable addition to the library.

“It’s great to have paintings on the library walls,” she said. “The library will be enhanced.”