We are fortunate to have four local artists, four friends, for our featured art exhibition How We Express Ourselves from September 17 through October 19 with a Meet the Artists Reception on Tuesday September 22 from 6-8pm. The exhibition has been curated by Tami Figliola featuring the work of Gretchen Giese, Liz Morkill and Peter Morkill for their first exhibition along with some of Tami's beautiful work. Come and enjoy these fabulous local artists.
A singular boat docked in the summer sunset; still trees lining the local harbor, reflecting light and space; a woman's figure vulnerable in the dim light. A lifelong theme of beauty, isolation, and intimacy that yearns to be approached defines this Northwest artist. Gretchen Giese developed an interest in art at a young age growing up in Gig Harbor.
However, her greatest influence came from her long-distant aunt. "My aunt opened my eyes to a life I wanted for myself-where passion for creating art and the love of being a wife and mother could exist harmoniously. Her endearing personality lured you in and her art could speak to any audience. She proved it was all possible." With limited access to art classes as a child, Gretchen would only formally begin her art studies as a college student at Washington State University, taking a serious interest in interior design-as well as a variety of art classes. It was then that Gretchen discovered her talent-and passion-as a drawer and painter. To focus fully on art training, she transferred to Pacific Lutheran University, where she earned her degree in Fine Art.
Post graduation, Gretchen built an audience through her life-like charcoal portraits, timeless figurative drawings, and still-life acrylic paintings. She draws inspiration from the deep connection she shares with her long-time home surrounded by the harbor, as well as the emotional intensity that comes with drawing people. The juxtaposition of bold colors to charcoal sketches makes it easy for any viewer to relate to her pieces.
I still don't call myself an artist, but I'm enjoying the journey. It all began growing up in a village in Germany. I found myself running and playing in fields of flowers surrounded by mountains. I could entertain myself for hours in those fields. My brother would join me and we were amazed at the scenery and its stillness. We were fortunate and blessed to have those memories together. After thirty plus years as an oncology nurse, I retired and indulged my time in gardening, traveling and volunteer work.
Five years ago my brother died suddenly and all the gardening and traveling just didn't give me peace. That's when painting came into my life. A wonderful friend, a painter herself, encouraged me to go to a class with her in Puerto Vallarta. After much coaxing, I went along. After 2 sessions, and many tears, I completed a painting of a mountain surrounded by fields of flowers to honor my brother. Healing began! Since that time I've been painting other subjects, but my heart always goes back to nature. It's what gives me peace and happiness. I encourage anyone going through a loss, or change in life to pick up a brush.
Peaceful painter...peaceful me
When I was a young boy I curiously started sculpting busts of people, I have no idea how I got started or why I liked it...but interesting faces got my attention. This led to a major in art at the University of Oregon. Four years later having learned nothing about sculpting, I came out of college with a keen interest in business and the idea of working for myself "making money." It seemed to me this required just as much creativity, more work, and was very exciting with great rewards.
Fast forward 40 years, family raised and essentially retired I went to visit the art studio in Puerto Vallarta where Liz takes painting lessons. There I met Pat Gawle who shared the studio with Liz's teacher. Pat, a clay sculptor, was also giving lessons. I asked her if I could join her class...she said the next session started tomorrow. I guess you could say I got hooked. Now it's more interesting than making money, perhaps harder, and perhaps giving me greater rewards.
To this day I love doing busts, interesting animals, and drift wood. I have not found a niche, a style, or a purpose other than to try new things, new styles, textures and finishes. To create anything I want and learn in the process. Now I've bought a kiln to fire my clay and built a studio next to the house. I am in my first show, this will be the first time I have charged for my work. Oh yes, this is exciting too......I hope this doesn't turn into a business.
Tami studied at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles evolving from metal arts into painting, predominately in acrylics and mixed media. She enjoys leading painting classes and fun painting parties at her studio in Gig Harbor. Working in this format is a way she satisfies her other passion, working with people to bring out the hidden artist in them. Tami's feeling on her art is "I begin most of my paintings by freely placing paint on canvas, then the image comes through with the color placement, therefore each piece is a true original and a surprise. There is not enough time in the day to do all the creating I want to do!"