Artists draw attention to Johnson Creek

You might be surprised to see which outer East Portland neighborhood volunteer is also a fine oil-painting artist! And, you’ll learn about a new, and perhaps annual, event that benefits the Johnson Creek Watershed Council …

Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s outreach associate, Marty Urman, and executive director, Matt Clark, welcome guests to the first Johnson Creek Community Art Show.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Inspired by scenes along Johnson Creek, fifteen artists took out their easels, pencils and paints, and created magnificent works of art during September.

These works of art then  on display – and up for sale – at the brand new Umpqua Bank in Sellwood, on October 1. “It’s our Johnson Creek Community Art Show,” said Matt Clark, executive director of Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC). “We’re happy so many people have come to the show.”

More than 100 visitors met the artists at the this, the first Johnson Creek Community Art Show, held in East Portland.

“We’ve gotten so much excitement, and seen a lot of interest in this project,” Clark added. This new event is the brainchild of Marty Urman and our former Community Outreach Coordinator, Laurie Sams. The artwork is beautiful; the turnout is astounding.”

JCWC’s outreach associate, Marty Urman, was all smiles about the event. “This project has been ‘in my head’ for years – to put together an art show that reflected the watershed. I am completely impressed with the level of artistry we’re seeing. As an artist, myself, I can say that all of these pieces beautifully represent the watershed.”

Powellhurst Gilbert’s Dolores Wood displays works
One of the artists displaying works at the show was Powellhurst Gilbert neighborhood’s Dolores Wood.  We’ve often seen her, as Chair of the neighborhood’s Greening Committee, volunteering along Johnson Creek during restoration events and at other nature restoration efforts.

But we had no idea that Wood was also a fine artist!

Powellhurst Gilbert artist Dolores Wood, displays her paintings of Johnson Creek near Leach Botanical Garden, and Reed College.

“I made these paintings, and have them for sale here, to help raise funds to restore the Johnson Creek watershed,” Wood told us. “I am donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of my paintings to their work.

“Art has been a life-long interest of mine,” Wood continued. “I did my first painting when I was about five years old. My mom gave me a paint-by-number set, and I didn’t like it because they didn’t blend the colors. I just turned the board over, and made my own painting on the other side.”

When Wood heard about the Johnson Creek Days ‘Paint Out’ event in September – JCWC arranged for artists to meet and paint on three Saturdays – she decided to participate. “I like the idea of local artists painting and illustrating scenes depicting and highlighting Johnson Creek. I attended sessions at Leach Botanical Garden, and Reed College. I just set up my easel and paints, and I went to work. You see the result here.”

The result, in our opinion, was two astonishingly beautiful works of art.

Wood said she likes working with JCWC because “Mother Nature is having enough trouble balancing her act.  If people don’t take the time to help out, it’s going to be even worse in the future.  It’s a matter of protecting the ecology and environment of our area. I volunteer when I can, to help out.”

Brentwood Darlington artist, Sarah Ferguson, shows her works, a scene in Reed Canyon, at Tiedemann Johnson Park.

Another of the artists displaying works at the show was Brentwood-Darlington resident Sarah Ferguson.

“I’ve been meaning to do some painting near Johnson Creek,” Ferguson said, as she showed off two of her works. “September’s Johnson Creek Days ‘Paint Out’ – they arranged for artists to meet and paint on three Saturdays – inspired me to get out on three different weekends to go out and paint.”

One of her works was a scene in Reed Canyon, and the other one was in Tideman- Johnson Park. “That one’s a view from the bridge closest to 45th Avenue, where the beavers hang out.”

Involved in fine art for more than 30 years, Ferguson frequently works in schools with the Artist in Residency program, she said. “I’m happy to support JCWC; I’m really impressed with the restoration work in which they’ve become involved.”

Ashley Bannon and Gretchen Matthey admire a bronze, “Crown Jewel” by sculptor Laran R. Ghiglieri, supplied to the event by Masterpiece Investments.

Will there be another “Paint Out” and Johnson Creek Community Art Show next year? “I’m certain there will be, Clark predicted.

To find out more about the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, see their website: CLICK HERE to view it!

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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