ARTrails of Southwest Washington’s highly-anticipated 19th annual studio tour enters its second and final weekend this Saturday. This year’s tour highlights 29 local artists across 12 studios in the Twin Cities, Rochester, Onalaska, Toledo, Winlock and Cinebar. Studios will be open Sept. 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Though the tour only comes around once a year, ARTrails of Southwest Washington is a collective of local artists that meets monthly. In her first year involved, Barbara Burres of Tilton River Studio Gallery in Cinebar has loved being a part of the community.
“I joined ARTrails partly to get noticed out here, but partly to get to know some other artists and see what they’re doing and see how they’re presenting online to see if I can learn something,” Burres said. “That association is what’s valuable. And I think it’s great for the community to encourage artists. And on the tour they do demonstrations at every site as well. I do demonstrations on pounded flowers, which is a really cool medium.”
In her demonstration, Burres begins with a freshly-picked basket of flowers from her garden. What starts as the peaceful act of arranging flowers quickly transforms when she pulls out her hammer, which she has dubbed her “very special pounding brush.”
After laying the flowers on watercolor paper in her desired pattern, Burres covers them with a paper towel and hammers them with all her might. Luckily, she has sturdy countertops.
The result is a pigment transfer from the petals and leaves to the paper. The image resembles a bouquet, and Burres then goes in with paint to add a vase. Kids especially love the pounded flower craft, she said.
“They're not teaching a lot of art in school anymore. Because they have to teach to the test, there's just not a lot of time to teach. And art really opens your eyes to things, to see what’s out there,” Burres said.
Growing up on a chicken farm near Adna, Burres didn’t try painting until age 19. A print of her first piece still hangs inconspicuously in her studio.
For nine years, Burres worked as an engineer for the Centralia Coal Mine. She spent the rest of her career as a Christmas tree farmer. Her family’s Bear Canyon Tree Farm ships Christmas trees worldwide, with customers in Hong Kong and Dubai. Now in the process of retiring, she hopes to spend more time working on her art.
Hanging on the walls of her brightly colored studio are paintings for many different tastes.
Her most common subjects are familiar, realistic scenes from Pacific Northwest life, such as a great blue heron, the road to Mount Rainier, mushrooms or late summer wildflowers.
But Burres also strays from the natural scenes.
Another favorite subject is nutcrackers. Her nutcracker paintings range from hyper-realistic to abstract black ink doodles. Some paintings have an upward perspective on the nutcrackers, evoking the feeling of being watched from above. Others are close-ups of the painted wood figures, imitating zoomed-in photographs.
Burres also uses an assortment of methods for her craft. Her painting featured in the ARTrails pamphlet is a watercolor of Upper Tipsoo Lake at Mount Rainier.
“I just like variety. Watercolors are new to me,” she said. “Watercolors are totally unforgiving. If you screw them up, you're done.”
For decades, she only used acrylic paints. Because of her engineering background, she valued precision. Recently, she’s made an effort to branch out in both style and medium.
“I go on YouTube and watch abstracts and then I paint abstracts. I kind of copy what I see and try to learn that … to try to loosen up a little and they generally come out pretty cool. This one is painted with a credit card and a spray bottle. So it’s watercolor, you get the canvas wet, put stuff on there and then spray it to get that color to run,” Burres said.
Though, venturing into the abstract has not meant leaving behind creative uses of technology. One way Burres stays true to desired dimensions is by editing photos down to lines in Photoshop. Then, she uses an overhead projector to display the image on a canvas and trace the lines.
Sharing those kinds of problem-solving tips is exactly why Burres loves being involved in ARTrails. Plus, she said, there is value for studio visitors, who can gain insight and connection.
“It's good to have those artists in the community,” Burres said. “They're the ones that are assisting with seeing that the city's beautified and arranging for things to happen that make it nice and if you totally ignore those people they might not live here.”
Check out prints of Burres work on her Etsy, at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TiltonRiverStudios.
ARTrails Studio Tour Locations
Find all information on ARTrails of Southwest Washington and the studio tour, including a digital guide, at https://www.artrailsofsww.org.
Beyond the Loop Creations
17831 Applegate St. SW, Rochester
Artist: Joan Hitchcock — Paint, fiber art, sculpture
Verdant Fire Studio at Rectangle Gallery
209 N. Tower Ave., Centralia
Cheryl Love — Mixed media
Penny Auld — Textiles
Bonnie Blake — Jewelry
Susan Bagratinoff — Acrylic paint
Amanda Hanson — Watercolor paint
Jan Nontell — Raku
Karla Bailey — Graphite pencil
Tamara Hinck — Wood carving
1435 Mark Twain Drive, Centralia
Artist: Dan Duffy — Oil paint
2100 National Ave., Space 115, Chehalis
Artist: Michael Stephen Cook — Acrylic paint
Book N Brush
518 N. Market Blvd., Chehalis
Artist: Beverly Hartz — Pastel
Architectural Stained Glass
115 Riverview Drive, Chehalis
Artist: Marcy Anholt — Stained glass, mosaic
990 Brown Road W., Chehalis
Artist: Brent Knott — Wood
Pacific Ocean Graphics and Fine Arts
267 Dluhosh Road, Onalaska
Artist: Carlene Salazar — Painting, photography
Tilton River Studio Gallery
133 Burton Burres Road, Cinebar
Artist: Barbara Burres — Painting, photography
Grand Prairie Designs
193 Roth Road, Winlock
Richard Roth — Clay
Susan Roth — Clay
John Brooks — Soda fired stoneware
115 Ramsey Way, Toledo
Dalene Olson — Sterling Silver
Linda Shepherd — Digital art
John Fish — Acrylic paint
Di Morgan — Fiber art
Mike Morgan — Mixed media sculpture
Ina Wagenman — Mosaic
Tonie Knutz — Jewelry, cement, sculpture
Janice Sutherlin — Acrylic paint
Kit Metlen — Wood carving
Brendan Fuller Ceramics
380 Jackson Highway S., Toledo
Artist: Brendan Fuller — Clay