September 9, 2002
By Bronwyn Wilson
Senior Staff Writer
At first glance, you can't help but notice the vibrant shade of orange. It shouts from the canvas, "Whoopee! It's great to be alive!" Free-spirited orange runs wildly in the background and throughout the painting. It bumps up against a muted pink, which bunches up against a bright blue-green hue.
"Before you know it," says the painting's creator Ted Pankowski, "you've taken a journey from color to color." The painting's exaggerated colors surround the picture's main focus—a violet-colored ceramic camel. "It's a fun piece," says Pankowski who teaches art for Cascadia Community College. He calls his expressionistic painting "Gamalisque," the Arabic word for camel, and says, "This type of painting is called a flat because it uses pure color."
The public can view Pankowski's fun piece this month at the Fall 2002 Members Art Show at Images Gallery in the Woodinville Towne Center. The show runs from Sept. 9-30 and features a variety of works by members of the Woodinville Artists Association (WAA) including watercolors, oils, acrylics, pastels and linoleum block prints.
Pankowski explains that "Gamalisque" follows the vein of the fauves, a term meaning "wild beasts" given to a group of artists in early 1900 Paris. Critics back then were appalled at the artists' use of shocking colors and rough textures and used the moniker as a form of derision. Pankowski cites a red sky as an example of fauves art, stating, "The fauves rebelled from impressionism by making objects all different colors."
Local artist Mary Aslin exhibits her watercolor painting of an Italian village at the show. Aslin once visited the picturesque spot in Italy and was struck by the light and shadows of the tiny village sitting against a mountain near the French border.
Back at home she recreated the quaint town on paper, sketching it first in pen and ink, then filling in with fluid pigments. She describes the inspiration behind the work she named "La Thuille."
"The play of light against white umbrellas and stucco buildings was striking," she says and comments that art is the passion of her life. "Second only to my family and my work as an ESL tutor," she adds. She has indulged in her passion for 13 years, primarily painting watercolor portraits on commission.
Michael Babinski, WAA president and owner of Foxfire Jewelers, demonstrates a passion for art also. He says he's been in involved in some sort of art form his whole life, from jewelry to acrylics to monotypes. His linoleum block print "Shady Grove," now on display at the show, showcases his artistic skills. In an exquisite scene that takes you to Bluegrass Country, "Shady Grove" depicts three mountain men pickin', strummin' and fiddlin' under a full white moon.
Babinski's block prints, created from an inked carving on linoleum, conveys a mood of mystery and adventure whether he's portraying images of ravens and gnarled trees on a moonlit night or a sleepy seaside village in Ireland.
"This is our second show," says Pankowski, stating that all works will be for sale. "Our long-term goal is to have open juried shows and an arts festival," he adds, explaining that the WAA started about a year and a half ago when he, Aslin and nationally noted watercolor artist Kay Barnes ran into each other. "We said, 'let's get an art group in Woodinville,'" Aslin remembers. Pankowski continues the story, "One thing led to the next and now we have twenty-five members."
Although Aslin, Pankowski and Babinski choose different mediums to express their art, the three share a common goal through their WAA membership. Each has a desire to encourage artistic aspirations in the community and to promote an art presence in Woodinville. All three would like to see more WAA members include Woodinville landscapes, such as scenes of the Sammamish Valley and River, in their work. Says Pankowski, "Painting themes uniquely to Woodinville is an area we need to explore."
In addition, Babinski mentions that members occasionally paint outside at Woodinville sites. Last month a group trekked to DeYoung Park for an outside painting session called plenaire. There, they painted the wood trellis and stone in the park with Molbak's highlighting the background.
Aslin hopes more members will integrate Woodinville history into their art to preserve images of the past. She has an idea of composing a painting that depicts Woodinville pioneer Susan Woodin taking her butter to market in the late 1800s, "I have this image of Susan Woodin paddling down the [Squak] Slough to the Lake. I picture this lone woman paddling with her butter."
Topics like art and history come up for discussion at WAA meetings. The artists also share their skills and network with each other to advance their artistic development. Pankowski says that the public can discover more about WAA when visiting the show. "People can come by and pick up literature about our group and learn about the classes that some of us teach." He invites the public to also stop by the WAA booth at the Woodinville Farmers Market Holiday Show on Oct. 19 when members will show and sell their work.
Membership is open to anyone serious about art. If interested, contact membership chairperson Edna Lindberg Reichert at (425) 788-8445 or send e-mail to: WoodinvilleArts@aol.com.