CVG Show: Priscilla Preus

Pricilla Preus at her Hood Canal home.

Along my journey to visit Kitsap’s most creative, I stopped at a home on the Hood Canal not far from Little Boston. With a view of the Hood Canal Bridge to the south, Port Ludlow to the north, and Olympic Mountains spanning south to north, the home sits in a sleeping garden near a tree with an osprey nest.

It’s the kind of paradise that a lot of artists might paint from their imagination; Priscilla Preus lives it. She tends the garden, watches the sunset over the mountains and observes the osprey next door. “This is a place that has not only a great view, but it still has animals — lots of them,” she says.

She spent years as an abstract painter, but lately those animals and the garden make up the lion’s share of Preus’ work as an artist. “I was always a gardener. I started painting my garden, florals and different kinds of plants,” she said. “We would walk on the beach and see foxes almost every day.”

Those walks on the beach show up in many of her paintings, as does the sun setting over the Olympics. The American Indian culture in nearby Little Boston also appears. Preus’ piece in this year’s CVG Show was inspired by the yearly S’Klallam tribal canoe journey.

Like the plants, animals and people of western Washington she chooses to paint, Preus is a native. The Silverdale house she grew up in was built in 1887. It didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing. Her father later added those conveniences. Silverdale looks a lot different today, but that home still exists and remains in the family.

She graduated from Central Kitsap High School and went on to study art at Olympic College, then went to the University of Washington to get a BFA, a BA in psychology and an MA in counseling. She worked as a school counselor at Poulsbo Middle School, and Vinland and Breidablik elementary schools before retiring in 2005.

Preus continued painting during her career as a counselor, and in the 1990 she started a series she calls her “camp” paintings, depicting young eyes peering out from tangles of blackberry bushes. She said she was once asked in a class to draw her “safe place,” which inspired that series.

The camp series seems to be a crossroads where the artist meets the school counselor.

Like seasonal gardening, painting for Preus has natural cycles. “I first started painting abstract. In the 1980s, I started doing more representational work. Now I’m interested in painting abstract again.”

You can see more of Priscilla Preus’ work on her Web site:

During February, The Artful Blogger will talk with some of the artists whose work is showing in the Collective Visions Gallery’s annual show. The show runs from Feb. 2 to Feb. 27. That doesn’t give enough time to highlight all the artists involved, but I will do my best to reach as many as possible. If you have any suggestions for The Artful Blogger, you can reach me at

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