The community is once again invited to check out the Blue Goose Gallery of Artists “First Friday” event scheduled Friday, Aug. 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. The gallery is located at 607 Main St. in Chester.
The showing is an hour earlier this month because past attendees have expressed a desire to come and enjoy the festivities earlier so they could make it an evening of going out afterwards for dinner or to head back home to cook dinner or catch a favorite TV show, explained Blue Goose co-founder Deb Groesser.
Featured artists include wood turner Ron Magoon, pine needle basket maker Linda Vanella, mixed media artist Jan Harston, mixed media and jewelry maker Terri Withrow and watercolorist Susan Dunklau.
The theme this month is “Gifts from the Forest,” because much of the inspiration for the artists at the Blue Goose comes from the surrounding environment; the beautiful forests of Plumas County, and the many natural materials some of the artists at the gallery utilize in their artwork that they find in the forests, such as pine needles and specially chosen pieces of wood.
As in past events, there will be artist demos, along with refreshments and door prizes. Said Groesser, “Come have fun, visit with the artists and enjoy the new artwork!”
An expert wood turner, Ron Magoon’s formal education was at CSUC in Chico, where he majored in agriculture with a minor in art.
“My favorite mentors were Ken Marrow and Janet Turner,” he recalled. “They opened my mind to all the wonders of color, texture, and the beauty in nature.”
He said he and his wife ran a successful business for 40 years, “but there was always the artistic part of my brain that was not fulfilled. Yes I always dabbled in oil painting and woodworking, but in 2001 my neighbor Tom Arcalao introduced me to turning wood on a lathe.”
Magoon was instantly hooked, he said. “Turning is a celebration of Mother Nature’s natural beauty in wood with the addition of form to show her beauty to the fullest. … It is very rewarding to see a finished piece completed and to know that it will bring joy to others for a very long time.”
He said his wooden pieces are meant to be “touched and used as well as admired.”
“I love creating my pine needle baskets with mixed materials,” shared Linda Vanella. “Experimenting with new ways of weaving my baskets by using figured wood bases, a variety of beads, walnut shells, antlers and most anything else that nature provides brings me great enjoyment.”
Her process starts with pine needles gathered locally in Plumas County, said Vanella, “and the embellishments are collected from locations my husband and I have traveled to. … I have also done beading for many years,” adding that, “I like to incorporate materials that I have gathered for the jewelry that I apply to the baskets I create.”
Vanella and her husband had a place in Prattville for a long time, but after retiring from the almond tree farming life, they now live together in Orland.
She called to mind that, “I started weaving pine needle baskets in 2007, when my friend and I took a weaving class from Lynn Kelleher, a local weaver who was blind. I was so taken by Lynn that I just had to perfect the art and in doing so I became possessed with the medium!”
Her challenge is always to “see what new basket I can create and what embellishments I can add to make it the best one yet! … Adding a variety of accessories opened up a whole new dimension to my work, and lately I’ve been inspired by forest animals.”
Vanella said her favorite pastime is her involvement in the Blue Goose Gallery of Artists and visiting with customers, especially at the First Friday meet-and-greets. “It’s a chance for everyone to enjoy a sip of wine, nibble on yummy finger foods, win prizes and learn about the artists and their art. I hope to see you there!”
Jan Harston said mixed-media serves her artistic ambitions well.
“According to my mother I have been an artist since I was about 3 years old. I have given a lot of thought about her conclusion and how it has affected my life. … It is my rock — while people, places, occupations, and the various roles in life may all come and go. But my creative side and the passion that drives me and at the same time sustains me, is constant. It is where I express my happiness, my sadness, jubilation and grief. It is my spiritual path and yes, my political philosophy. It is where I go to help my community and my circle of friends; it is as essential as language and how I communicate with my “tribe” of fellow artists.”
Harston stated that she loves the Blue Goose and “that my own artistic contribution is appreciated and applauded there. It is my conduit to all that exists beyond me. … Art is where I go to have fun. I love making something from nothing and of course I hope other people connect with it as well.”
Upon reflection, Harston believes that artists could run the world very well, explaining that, “We are natural problem solvers, tuned in, and communicators. We have a vision but are quick to adjust if an alternative vision arises. … My favorite times in my life have been hanging with artists in that most creative space!”
“As a lifetime crafter, I was always interested in making things,” said mixed-media artist and jewelry maker Terri Withrow. “My shift to becoming an artist began in 2006,” when she took art workshops and expanded her personal library of books and video tutorials.
“It became a new way of life,” she said. “The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn,” and that was when the “shift” occurred. “I began to see things differently and am amazed everyday at what there is to observe all around me! Learning to re-create those experiences as art is my challenge.”
The creative process itself is fascinating to Withrow and she confided that she could easily be distracted by her need to create art.
“Currently I have been focused on mixed-media acrylics and jewelry design. Watercolor is another favorite that begs to be explored further. Now that I am retired, I finally have more time to play!”
Watercolorist Susan Dunklau said that for her entire life “I have been interested in drawing and painting. I work primarily in watercolor because of the freedom it allows, as well as the challenges it creates.
“The stories I tell through my paintings are depicted not only through the subject matter, but also through the use of color, light and shadow. My inspiration is found outdoors and while traveling. Both play a part in the subjects of my artwork.”