Oregon coast art

Dualing & dueling at the easel

Landscape painters Michael Orwick and Anton Pavlkenko have a friendly showdown at Cannon Beach's Earth & Ocean Arts Festival

It all started five or so years ago with one of those “what if” conversations — the kind no one really expects to go anywhere. But in this case, it did. They call it “dualing easels,” or, if you’re painter Michael Orwick, “dueling easels”: “It is a little bit antagonistic in a way,” he notes, adding, “Playfully.”

 The showdown is part of this year’s Earth & Ocean Arts Festival, a new event in Cannon Beach aimed at blending art with environmental awareness. Fifty percent of the proceeds go to five ecology-focused nonprofits.

 It’s the best of the Plein Air & More Arts Festival, which ended in 2018 after a 10-year run, with some added twists, Orwick says. Along with Anton Pavlenko, he’ll lead the “Painting Coastal Color and Light 2019” plein air workshop leading up to the festival.

Orwick and Pavlenko, at work …

“I was part of the Plein Air Festival every single year,” says Orwick. “I think there is no better way to appreciate the Oregon Coast — the wind, the sun, the smells. To be out there and letting that affect you and your image. People can tell; there is a freshness and vitality that comes through. I love painting in my studio, but there is nothing like painting on location.” You can learn more about that here.

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Studio tour spotlights creatives along the coast

Artists at more than 20 studios along the Central Coast will open their studios during Art on the Edge

Lovers of local art and the Oregon Coast can combine their passions May 17-19 during the Art on the Edge Studio Tour along the Central Coast. More than two dozen artists will open their studios to visitors.

Maria Esther Sund incorporates old and new elements in her collage and mixed media work.

Maria Esther Sund incorporates old and new elements in her collage and mixed media work.

The Lincoln City Cultural Center will host the opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 10. Guests will meet some of the artists on the tour, see their artwork, and save 50 percent — one night only — on the button that provides entrance to the tour, which is regularly $10.

We talked with Krista Eddy, director of visual arts at the center about the tour.

Mosaic artist Joanne Daschel works in glass and stone tiles to create art on themes including garden, food, landscape, and nature, such as this western meadowlark.

Mosaic artist Joanne Daschel works in glass and stone tiles to create art on themes including garden, food, landscape, and nature, such as this western meadowlark.

What is the Art on the Edge Studio Tour?

Eddy: It is a self-guided tour from Depoe Bay to Neskowin of local, well-known visual artists. You get a map that is kind of like an arts treasure map, you purchase a wood laser-cut button made by our high school kids, and you take the button and the map and go around to the artists’ studios. There are 21 stops. But there are more artists than that, because we have three group studios and each has more than 10 artists. People can choose to go to as many as they want.

How long has it been going on?

This is the third year. We’re still pretty young, but we’re going strong.

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Art on the Road: Au Naturel, Astoria

The Royal Nebeker Art Gallery's evocation of the contemporary nude in international art reveals the human, unadorned

Story and photographs by FRIDERIKE HEUER

We have this thing in our household about language. Well, someone has a thing in our house about my language – more specifically, my usage of the verb to love as applied to something other than a human being. Don’t devalue such a strong emotion, I am told, by wasting it on things, not persons! (That from the same Beloved who still despises split infinitives…)

Jay Senetchko, Sleepwatcher at the End, oil on wallpaper, detail

I can’t help it. Here I go again: I love this state. I love finding out new, beautiful things about it, even after 33 years since our arrival from New York City. You turn around and face surprises, in the natural as often as in the cultural landscape. Case in point was a recent visit to Astoria. I have written here before about this small former fishing and cannery town at the mouth of the Columbia river. I’ve described the increasingly vibrant art community, the diversity of what is on offer, from music to photography, from the perspective of a visitor as well as from that of an exhibiting artist.

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Coos Bay’s Everybody Biennial

The Coos Art Museum's big biennial of Oregon art is a come-one come-all affair, with no gatekeepers. How's that work? You'd be surprised.

COOS BAY – What if they gave a Biennial and invited everyone to join in?

That’s not, of course, the way biennial art shows ordinarily work. From Venice to São Paulo to Shanghai to Sydney to Istanbul to Havana to Berlin to the Whitney in New York, biennials tend to be ambitious, careerist, elbow-throwing affairs, intent on one-upping the art world with the biggest names, the newest trends, the deepest scent of money, and the even deeper desire to shape the next chapter in the shifting story of global contemporary art. Competition is fierce, and acceptance into one of the big-name biennials can make an artist’s career.

Coos Art Museum’s Biennial 2018. In the center: Alan Bartl’s funkified bike trailer “Pork Slider.” Photo: Laura Grimes

Or you could just invite any and all artists in the state of Oregon to drop by with up to three works, and then fit them all onto your museum’s walls. That’s the way it works at the Coos Art Museum on the southern Oregon coast, where since the 1990s a “come one, come all” approach to its biennial has prevailed and, perhaps astonishingly, largely succeeded. In a way, it can’t get more daring. The show has no gatekeepers. Museum officials don’t know who or what’s going to walk in the door. You trust that it’ll be good, or at least not embarrassing. And what you get, you show. If ever there was a People’s Biennial, a purely democratic approach to the state of the art, this is it.

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