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I’m Back

The Artful Blogger is back from the wonderful vacation he spent under the sinks in his bathroom.

I realize it’s an unusual place to holiday. After all, had I wanted to spend my time off in a dark, moist place, I could have just gone outside. But no, I wanted to install the new, copper sinks that my wife and I bought. The DIY project that I figured would just take a couple of days, … well, it took a lot longer than a couple of days. Don’t they all?

We did, however, get out of the house. We went over to Langley, and stayed at a B&B that allows dogs. We romped in the sun at Double Bluff Beach, and watched across the Sound as a large black cloud dripped over North Kitsap.

Opening for Business

The Rockwater Art Center is having an open house on Saturday, April 17, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 1639 Rude Road, in Poulsbo.

Local artist Carrie Goller has teamed up with Derek Gundy to create the Rockwater Center. They’re going to use the beautiful property just off Finn Hill Road on Rude Road, which is surrounded by the rock and water gardens sculpted by Goller’s husband Jeff, to hold classes and show art. The center won’t be open to the public, other than during the open house. If you can’t make it to the opening, I would suggest getting in touch with Gundy at The Artists’ Edge, or through the center’s Web site,

The first workshop at the center with be this coming Saturday and Sunday, April 10th and 11th. It’s a mixed media workshop with Eileen Sorg. Next up will be a plein air watercolor workshop with Ron Stocke, and an acrylics course taught by Ursula Stocke. There’s plenty of space at the center to stretch out and learn something. And with Carrie Goller’s work hanging on the walls, there will be plenty of inspiration. I will try and keep up with the classes they’re going to be offering at the center, but I would greatly encourage anyone interested to bookmark their Web site.

Calling All Caricaturists

The South Kitsap Relay for Life is looking for someone to volunteer their talents drawing caricatures at the annual American Cancer Society event, which will be held June 11 and 12 at South Kitsap High School. There will be lots of events going on while the relay is taking place. Sheila Cline tells me that they’ve even procured the dunk tank from Fathoms of Fun. If you’re interested in helping out a good cause by drawing caricatures, you can get in touch with Sheila at 876-0737, or email her at

CVG Show: Roy Peratrovich Jr.

Roy Peratrovich Jr. with his "Flight of the Raven" scuplture in Anchorage.

Peratrovich explains the lost wax method of casting while holding a cast of his father, Roy Peratrovich Sr.

Tools used for sculpting clay in Peratrovich's Bainbridge studio.

Plans for the base of a sculpture in Anchorage.

Roy Peratrovich Jr, with bronze busts of his mother and father.
Ken Griffey Jr.
A bronze sculpture of Mariners' fielder Ken Griffey Jr.

Roy Peratrovich Jr.

An artist who sculpts large pieces of public art can encounter obstacles. Finding the proper base material to support a heavy bronze sculpture, then welding dissimilar metals so that the piece doesn’t collapse over time are just a couple of the design problems a sculptor must solve. At times, it can seem more like the task of a bridge engineer than an artist.

It’s a good thing Bainbridge Island sculptor Roy Peratrovich Jr. is a retired bridge engineer. Peratrovich, an Alaska native, was a structural engineer for more than 40 years, working in both Washington and Alaska.

“Not too many people can do what I do, because I’m an engineer and an artist,” he said, explaining the complexities involved in hoisting the huge bronze raven he sculpted onto a 10-foot metal base.

This piece called, “Flight of the Raven,” was installed in Peratrovich Park in downtown Anchorage in 2008.

Yes, you read that right: Roy Peratrovich’s sculpture is in Peratrovich Park. The park is named after his parents, Elizabeth and Roy Peratrovich, who, as members of the Tlinget Indian tribe, fought discrimination against the native Alaskans that was common at the time.

Roy’s mother pushed through the first piece of anti-discrimination legislation in the country in 1945, long before Alaska officially became a state and before the U.S. civil rights movement began.

That’s something to be proud of. Peratrovich’s pride in his parents’ accomplishments is the focus of much of his work. Busts of Elizabeth and Roy Sr. grace the entrance of Peratrovich’s Bainbridge home, and a bronze of Elizabeth also sits in Alaska’s state capitol in Juneau; busts of both parents are in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Peratrovich reached back one more generation for the inspiration behind his piece “Whale Riders,” which won second place this month at the CVG Show for three-dimensional art.

“Whale Riders” was inspired by a story his grandfather told about a trip he took as a child on a war canoe to settle a dispute with a rival clan. His grandfather rode on the boat’s rocking bow for hundreds of miles in the rough waters off Alaska. The oral history might have ended there, but Roy cast it in bronze. He imagined what kind of dream state the rocking boat might put his grandfather into. He then began thinking about the boat being carried up and down across the sea on the back of a whale.

He had to research the kind of boat his grandfather would have taken that trip in. “The research is good because it gives my brain something to do,” he said.

Pertrovich has been retired since 1999, and the sculpting does keep his brain active. First he had to teach himself how to perfect working with the clay and learn the lost wax process of casting. He is self-taught in all that.

Then he had to figure out something that perplexes many 3-D artists — how to make the piece look interesting from every angle. “I put it off-kilter, making it look like it’s about to fall,” he said. “That gives it energy and excites you.”

As for the more than 40 years of civil engineering that morphed into a second career as a sculptor, Peratrovich says, “…the creative part is the most difficult. The right brain has a little trap door, which opens the creative process. You can get it open, then suddenly it closes on you.”

You can see more of Roy Peratrovich Jr.’s work at his Web site at

This is the last Artful Blogger post on artists whose work appears in the Collective Visions Gallery Show in Bremerton.

CVG Show: Eric Carson

Eric Carson at his Bremerton home.

Eric Carson has a great day job. He’s a gallery attendant, or “service representative” manager, at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle.

It’s a job that involves a few hours of commuting from his downtown Bremerton house to the University of Washington’s art gallery. Carson wishes he had more time and space for painting large, but his hours on the ferry are productive. “I turn the ferry into my studio for two hours each day,” he said.

Instead of hauling around paint, canvas and easel, Carson works small on the boat. Small is descriptive of the size of the paper he inks. He has the ability to pack a universe onto a 10- by 6-inch piece of paper. He draws mandalas — those beautiful geometric circles of color that Buddhists and Hindus use as spiritual teaching tools.

“You look at my work and it’s very confusing and dense. But the more you look at it, the more you look at it,” he said.  That’s true. You can spend a lot of time pondering what he’s doing with religious symbolism. He uses Catholicism, Taoism, Celtic and American Indian icons, and says he’s, “…playing with the dichotomy.”

Carson acknowledges that his art expresses a personal spirituality, and he’s not out to hit anyone over the head with it. “I do it for myself, to work out my own problems,” he said.

Carson was raised Catholic in Seattle. He became interested in Eastern religions while he was at Central Washington University studying painting. “If I’m interested in something, I go at it.”

He claims his wife, Kristin Shiplet, keeps him grounded. “My wife is the best criticism I’ve got. She helps me walk the line between shoving art down your throat, and just stepping back.”

“I can’t tell you that I’m enlightened,” he said. But Carson’s art is enlightening. You can see more of it on Eric Carson’s 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

Winners Announced

This list of winners of this year’s Collective Visions Gallery Show has been announced and posted on the CVG Web site. Kitsap Sun Arts & Entertainment writer, Michael Moore has the list of the award winners on his blog, too.

Kingston artist Priscilla Preus, whom I recently highlighted right here on The Artful Blogger, won the 2010 Purchase Award from the Kitsap County Art Board for her painting “Little Boston Welcome,” which was inspired by the S’Klallam canoe journey’s arrival in Little Boston.

Congratulations, Priscilla!

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

CVG Show: Caroline Cooley Browne

Caroline Cooley Browne in her Bainbridge Island studio.

An art professor I knew used to say that red is not a color, it’s an emotion.

No doubt, red is emotional. Put it next to its complement green, and red becomes so red that it can jump out of a chair. Caroline Cooley Browne knows how to make red jump out of a chair. Her pastels on paper are so full of emotion that she could easily paint the couch in Sigmund Freud’s Vienna office. Instead she choses to paint chairs from her Bainbridge Island studio.

The rich hues of oil pastels and the simple geometric shapes of her tables and chairs become an entire family of feelings and emotions. Spend some time talking with Cooley Browne, and you’ll soon realize how important community and family are to her. Whether she’s using pastels or weaving yak twine to make vessels, she’s busy building a community of similar objects where no two are exactly alike. A family. “I’ve always loved repeated units — it’s a theme of mine,” she said.

Part of the emotion in Cooley Browne’s work comes from grief. In 1982 when Browne’s brother died in an auto accident, she used a set of oil pastels that her sister gave her to work through her sorrow. The result was a series she calls The Hallway. “In some ways, something that’s real tragic can spur you into doing something with great depth,” she said. “My art became more internal, conceptual and meaningful,” she said. “Chairs became a metaphor for me, people, how we live together and interact.”

Later that sister gave her a small-frame loom. She began rag weaving rugs and pillows. But a couple of years ago, she started weaving three-dimensional baskets out of yak twine her husband brought home from Bhutan. Once again, she began to repeat the forms she was creating. Referring to her woven piece she calls The Hive, which you can see at tonight’s CVG Show opening, she said, “…after I started making a few, I thought I’d make a community.”

Cooley Browne also had a piece in the 2008 CVG Show and has shown her work at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, the Bainbridge Library and other galleries both on Bainbridge and in Seattle. You can visit her Web site at

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

CVG Show: Barbara Wilson

Barbara Wilson in her Bainbridge Island home studio.

Barbara Wilson

Next time you’re in Poulsbo’s That’s a Some Italian Restaurant, check out the mural of the two monks with wine barrels in the dining room. Barbara Wilson painted that. The Bainbridge Island artist has painted a few murals in the area.

When Wilson speaks, her accent gives testimony to the fact that she lived 39 years in Great Britain before moving to the states in 1997. In England she attended the Norwich University College of the Arts, then transferred to Goldsmiths University in London.

Although she studied art she says she worked in accounting for 20 years after college. In 1997 her computer programmer husband took a job in the states and the family packed everything they had into a few suitcases and moved to Southern California.

After a very short stint in the south, Wilson moved up to the picturesque, mural-thirsty wine country of Sonoma County. The wine country must have put her back in touch with her desire to paint, because in Sonoma she began painting murals. She said business was booming there, and she often had a three-month waiting list for her work. Wilson spent six years in Northern California before settling in Bainbridge after the bank her husband worked for in California was taken over by WaMu.

She’s found the mural business slower here, perhaps because of the slow economy, but her work is still visible on walls throughout the peninsula. She has one in Moses Lake and a couple up in Canada, as well.

Besides murals, she’s been inspired to paint Seattle cityscapes on canvases in her garage studio. “I’m attracted to the lights and reflections,” she says. “I like the movement and the feeling of the rain.”

Her cityscapes really capture the filtered light of a rainy day in the city. And recently one of her paintings also captured the grand prize at a national contest sponsored by the Daniel Smith art supply company. Wilson says her art won the grand prize out of 3,000 artists’ submissions.

Winning the Smith prize and getting into the CVG Show was a big boost for Wilson. “Every year I feel I’ll get a little bit farther ahead. It’s tough because there’s a lot of really good artists out there,” she says.

In March 2009, Wilson also had art hanging at the Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Group Show; the same month, she had a one-woman show at the  Adobe Gallery in Fremont.

You can view some of her work at

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

This and That

THE BIG SHOW: The 2010 Annual Washington State Juried Art competition at Collective Visions Gallery begins next month. There are a number of Kitsap artists participating this year. I’m sure I’ll be posting more about it before the exhibit opens on Feb. 2, then throughout the month. There’s a schedule of events on their Web site:

I just received some information from Loretta Anderson, who is the vice president of the South Kitsap Art Association, which has been in existence darned near as long as I have. The SKAA meets at Cedar Heights Junior High School, 2220 Pottery Ave., in Port Orchard at 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month. They meet in the art room. If my calendar is correct, that means that they will be meeting on Monday, Jan. 25. Artist Jo Ann Sullivan will demonstrate pastels at the meeting. Perhaps someone can take a picture of Jo Ann’s demo so I can post it on the Artful Blogger. The only time the group doesn’t meet is when there are school vacations.

FREE CLASSES: Al Mulkey is offering some interesting free classes at both Artists’ Edge locations in Silverdale and Poulsbo. Classes will be held in Poulsbo from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, and in Silverdale, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Mulkey will teach some india ink techniques, as well as a class in caricature. You can get the schedule of classes here: