PORT ORCHARD — First-place-winning artists and their creations from the 2017 Helen Norris Open Art Show were headliners at the Winners Circle reception on Sunday, Jan. 14, at the Sidney Art Gallery.
The artists’ reception was the gallery’s featured show for January, said Cindi Foye, who is on the board of directors of the Sidney Museum and Arts Association.
Work done by winners Jani Freimann (mixed media), Carol Ward (oil), Mike Krona (watercolor), David Lewis (3D mixed media), Tom Martin (photography) and Ben Butcher (drawing) were on display. Freimann and Ward are longtime Sidney Art Gallery artists; Krona, Lewis, Martin and Butcher are new to the gallery.
Ben Butcher, 32, who had on display his paintings “Rainbow of Guitars” for the show, was a winner in the Helen Norris show last year with his interpretation of “a painting of a painting in a painting,” he said. Butcher, from Chehalis, said he has been an artist for 20 years and occasionally sells pieces on a commission basis.
Steve Havert of Manchester said he became serious about photography about four years ago. And now that he is semi-retired, the erstwhile city IT computer consultant — who said he has dabbled in photography as a hobby for many years — said he is now trying to sell some of his works.
Havert said he first started taking photos of landscapes and wildlife but has branched out into other visual realms of photography. Two of his creations on display, one featuring a wood stove in the ghost town of Bannack, Montana, and the other, a blue vintage pickup truck sitting in an abandoned lot of trucks in Sprague, Wash., captured some attention at the reception.
In both images, Havert highlighted the interplay of colors — one vibrant, the other understated. In his wood stove photo, the rusty yellow splashes on the wall behind the stove stand out from the image and offer a homey visage of the abandoned kitchen in which it remains.
On the other hand, the photo composition of the pickup practically reaches out to the onlooker with its peeling but piercing, robin’s egg blue paint job. It’s offset by white daisies that pop out in front of the truck’s tire.
Tweed Meyer, an artist from Gig Harbor, creates work inspired by the impressionistic plein-air school of oil painting. Her art pieces are derived by the Pacific Northwest’s nature and its real-world people. It’s a style she says stands apart from others: “I’m very different.”
One of her art pieces, “Wild Pond,” features native bluegrass rising among other vibrant renderings from the natural world.
“I’m a nut about nature,” Meyer explained, “and I document what’s going on.”
Much of Meyer’s work as an artistic documentarian includes scenes revolving around music and the musicians who perform in venues ranging from a Starbucks to a concert hall.
John Riselvato is a 3D mixed media artist whose work first took form 40 years ago. In fact, the winner from the Helen Norris Open Art Show last year has a piece on display that makes note of his fourth decade as an artist.
Riselvato said he hopscotched as a mixed media artist over the years on Whidbey Island and then in California, where he dabbled in Southwestern art. He also worked to produce artistic woodwork and furniture there.
Returning to the Northwest, the artist’s smaller living quarters wouldn’t allow for his furniture work to continue. Riselvato, however, jumped into his mixed media art, much of it inspired by Bremerton artist Amy Burnett, American abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock and the legendary Spanish painter Pablo Picasso.
For most of Riselvato’s art pieces, their genesis begins when the artist finds elements like metal bolts, fabric and things from the urban landscape and nature.
“I find stuff where I find them,” he said simply. “Sometimes the art comes together easily when I’m inspired. I visualize the concept in a 3D effect. It’s not based on real life, it’s a vision in my head.”
In other instances, the artist says he will start with a canvas background, place elements such as a metal grid on top, study it and them move them around until it fits his vision.