Woodworking and gourds artist Henny Shepherd said that art has the power to transform, to illuminate, to educate and inspire people.

Blue Goose Gallery plans next First Friday

The Blue Goose Gallery of Artists, a community co-operative of mostly Northern California artists, is planning the next “First Friday” on Friday evening, July 5, from 4 to 8 p.m., inside the 1,500-square-foot classroom addition located in the back of the gallery.

In addition to the monthly artists events, classes are offered throughout the summer and will include jewelry making, colored pencil, drawing, photography, watercolor, segmented wood, collage, alcohol inks, batik, dying silk scarves, soapstone, pen and ink, birds in watercolor, scratchboard and more.

For dates and more information, stop by the Blue Goose Gallery of Artists to see a list of classes offered and to register or call the gallery at 258-2600 during regular business hours, Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sponsored by massage therapist Sharon Geney and featuring five artists including fiber artist Eileen Searcy, woodworking craftsperson Henny Shepherd, mosaic artist Meleese Seigler, papier-mâché artist Gayle Bower and photographer Pat Neely, this month’s theme is “Best Kept Secret,” taken from a quote from Searcy that “Lake Almanor is a first class vacation lake and I think it is a best kept secret!”

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As with previous special events, there will be refreshments and hors d’oeuvres served along with artist demos, door prizes and, of course, lots of fun!

Eileen Searcy

Fiber artist Searcy likes to keep in mind a Nigerian proverb when working on her art that also applies to life itself: “Keep your eyes on your destination and not where you stumbled.”

“I am a self-taught fiber artist who seeks to convey a world of texture and depth in a two-dimensional medium,” said Searcy, further adding that, “The characteristics of textiles, thread, pigment and wax allow me to completely express myself.”

She said much of her inspiration originates from the beautiful vistas of the surrounding region and the volcanic legacy of the terrain near her home in Susanville.

In addition to being a member of the Blue Goose Gallery, “I have exhibited in museums and galleries all over California, including the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, the Olive Hyde Gallery, the Carnegie Arts Center and the California Heritage Museum.”

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Searcy’s skills are unique and guests are always fascinated by her artwork when they visit the Blue Goose in Chester.

Henny Shepherd

Woodworking craftsperson and gourds artist Shepherd loves to quote naturalist and American essayist Henry David Thoreau, who said that, “Art has the power to transform, to illuminate, to educate, inspire and motivate.”

Shepherd also defines her understanding of the meaning of art in our lives by referring to another favorite Thoreau quote, that, “The world is but a canvas to our imagination.”

Shepherd shared that she is delighted to be chosen as a featured artist for the First Friday celebration.

“This marks the fifth year of my immersion in the magical world of art at Blue Goose Gallery,” adding, ”What amazing good fortune it was for me” to meet co-op gallery member Deb Groesser, “and be invited to participate in this magical journey in art.”

Shepherd said she is “eternally excited to be continuing to be part of this exhilarating adventure,” noting that, “I marvel at the talent of my fellow artists,” from whom she learns so much.

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“I’ve leaned toward art throughout my entire life, enjoying dabbling, creating, and immersing myself in art pursuits whenever I had time,” even during the period she was working full time as a teacher before retiring in recent years.

“My total involvement in art has come full circle,” she continued. “Now, ‘life is art’ for me.”

She said her mind “swirls, dances, envisions and delves in the creative process daily.” During her time in the studio, “I dream of the possibilities and set myself to create!”

Shepherd remarked that she has dedicated the rest of her life toward creating art. “I feel the adrenaline percolate through me each time I have a new vision, a special idea and relish the time to work in my shop to begin or complete a current project.”

She’s always amazed at how “many wonderful pieces of art emerge from the souls of the fine artists at the Blue Goose. I consider myself immensely fortunate, forever blessed.”

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Meleese Seigler

Woodcarver and mosaic artist Seigler reflects on her journey and involvement in art, quoting philosopher and writer Jean-Jacques that, ”The world of reality has its limits, the world of imagination is boundless.”

Seigler considers it good fortune to have “wandered” into joining the other artists at the Blue Goose Gallery; “A place I truly love, and as a result evolved an awakening in me that has led me to delve deeply into a world of art and creativity,” for which she said she’s forever grateful.

Recalling one of her most important influencers, “My mother was an accomplished oil artist, and my younger sisters are also artists and crafters extraordinaire.”

Seigler said ever since her youth she had longed for an outlet to express “a feeling moving around in me for a long time that I may someday pursue art more seriously. … I began a journey, exploring the possibilities of being involved personal in art.

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“When I had an impetus to join the Blue Goose Gallery of Artists a whole new world began for me. My years with the Gallery have been magical. I have learned how much this journey means to me; to my view of life and the world around me.”

Today she creates with wood, mosaics, glass, gourd art and more. “I am loving every minute of this time of my life,” she said. “As a result, my retirement years are filled with such joy and elation. I am so pleased to have met and worked among the many folks at the Blue Goose Gallery.”

Gayle Bower

Rope bowl maker and papier-mâché artist Gayle Bower said inspiration for her artwork comes from everywhere, both the natural world and the imaginary world.

“I love to see different colors side by side or blended together,” said Bower, who became a founding member of the gallery in 2011.

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“Colors and textures that one would not think could be combined give me a particular pleasure,” she said.

Her passion includes currently making lamps using different colored paper and a variety of woods, as well as creating rope bowls and doing papier-mâché pieces.

Much of her art is by trial and error. “Getting the lamps to be straight, making sure the electric is connected properly, trying different kinds of colored paper; some of which are embossed or lace-like and sometimes using pressed flowers that are light enough that the light will shine through, but not so light that the bulb can be seen.”

Building these unique lamps “allows me to use basic woodworking machinery; a drill press, chop saw, table saw and other tools. … I feel like a big kid when I get to use these tools.”

The rope bowls she creates can be used for a variety of purposes and requires a lot of patience and precision to make, she noted, while confiding that, “using papier-mâché utilizes my wild side!”

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As a co-op, the gallery’s mission is focused on working together in a family-like atmosphere, said Bower.

She gives co-founder Deb Groesser credit as an inspiration for all the artists. “She helped us define our goals, and has been the driving force that has led to the success of the gallery.”

Bower said the artists support one another and share in the joys of new creations and in personal experiences. “We welcome new artists and continue to seek out people who have different ways of expressing themselves artistically,” Bower said.

“People coming into the gallery from out of town are often both pleasantly stunned and delighted at the quality and variety of artwork in the gallery. They often remark how incredibly talented the artists we have in the area.”

Bower quoted American designer and architect Maya Lin as one of her inspirations: “I try to give people a different way of looking at their surroundings. That’s art to me.”

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Pat Neely

Photographer Pat Neely is renowned for her prize-winning photos in her wild horse series.

A favorite quote she likes to share is by environmentalist and author John Muir: “Keep close to Nature’s heart … and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

While most of us enjoy time in nature, few have the opportunity to truly enjoy being as close to nature as Neely has through her career as a wildlife photographer.

“Animals have always been a part of my life.” She said she grew up with a lot of them, including chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, cows and a favorite horse named Babe.

“The abundance of wildlife in the area provides never-ending, exciting subject matter,” she noted. “To find and photograph those animals, I will travel anywhere and wait days for just the right moment and just the right shot.”

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Her keen observational skills and a great deal of patience have resulted in many signature works.

Neely said, “I enjoy being out by myself seeing the beauty of the lakes and the forests. I work to capture the exact moment in time in which an animal’s story unfolds. I hope that others can experience the feeling that I do through my photos.”

The Blue Goose Gallery has many wonderful people to get to know and share with, she said. “My hope is my photos will bring you pleasure.”