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Birds of a feather


Husband and wife duo create complimentary odes to nature

Tucked away on a 5-acre farm in the Eola Hills of Amity, it's easySUBMITTED PHOTO - Toni and Steve Tyree (pictured) create their nature-theme pieces at their farm in Amity. Surrounded by trees and wildlife, the couple doesnt have to leave their farm to find inspiration for their work. to see where artist couple Toni and Steve Tyree draw inspiration for their nature themed pieces. With a mixture of 8-10 oil and watercolor paintings and a dozen metalwork sculptures, the Tyrees will be showcasing an exhibit dedicated to the beauty of the natural world at the Wilsonville campus Clackamas Community College (CCC) Jan. 9 through March 17.

When looking at the upcoming exhibit, viewers likely wouldn't guess that the pieces weren't created as a set but rather as two separate collections that ended up complimenting each other.

"We have our own studio spaces," Toni said. "There's shared subject matter because we both happen to love nature."

Toni said that she and husband Steve have both been involved with art for large portions of their lives, and that although she majored in art in college and was a graphic designer professionally for many years, she creates for the joy of expression now.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Toni Tyrees paintings all have a softness and focus on aesthetically pleasing aspects of nature, from landscapes to animals."I wanted more freedom with the art," Toni said.

Painted from inside of their home, Toni's work centers around vibrant colors. From landscapes to animals, she paints whatever appeals to her at the moment. Compared to the quiet and serene creation of Toni's work, Steve's artform of metalwork is less placid and more industrial.

Steve started to sculpt small steel animals in 1974, taking advantage of the welding skills he had picked up while working at this brother's auto body shop. As Steve's skills developed, he developed his own techniques of fabricating his work from sheets of bronze. Many hours of manual labor go into Steve's pieces, all of which are created by hand without the aid of casts and molds.

"I'm always working everyday on something," Steve said. "When there's a pile, I'll do a show."SUBMITTED PHOTO - Steve Tyrees hand fabricated pieces take hours to create and each sulpture is unique, even if it is seemingly identical to another, because each is crafted with tools instead of casts or molds.

The show at CCC materialized when a mutual friend invited them to show in the space. With an ongoing body of work growing between them and having no individual shows planned in the immediate future, the couple accepted the offer and are approaching the exhibit organically.

"I haven't really picked out any pieces yet," Steve said with a laugh.

Although the exact shape of the show is a mystery, the couple said that they aspire for people to walk away from viewing it with an appreciation of the handmade and the natural world.

"I hope that take away a love of nature and a peaceful feeling," Toni said.

Contact Claire Green at 503-636-1281 ext. 113 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..