Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Washington Project - Day One

After completing a residency in Ucross, Wyoming earlier this month, Cullom Gallery artist, Eva Pietzcker is in Washington State this week to begin sketching on location in places across Eastern and Western Washington in preparation for a new series of views of Washington State. The Washington Project, which began with a summer 2010 trip to the San Juan Islands, this month will take Eva to the canyons of the Tieton River, the Channeled Scablands, the Columbia River, the Hoh Rain Forest and Olympic Peninsula.  The April leg of the Project will be chronicled in a series of blog posts by myself (Beth Cullom, owner and director of Cullom Gallery) and Seattle graphic designer and gallery booster, Joe Kaftan (who will accompany Eva on the Western leg of the Project.)

Day One
We were caught in a bizarre karmic eddy this morning getting out of Seattle.  A maze of detours in the Sodo neighborhood as we tried to get to Daniel Smith Art Supplies for more paper and paints, led to my own detour over Beacon Hill and finally to Dan Smith.  Then a mundane trip to an AT&T store for a new SIM card for Eva and a phone car charger for me.  All so we could head into the silent spaces of Eastern Washington. Do we really need the technology? (as I sit in the car, 7:10 pm along the Tieton River, and watch blue clouds blot out the last orange rays of sun, notice that the breeze is noticeably colder, listen to the natural white noise of the river.)

After settling in at Ali Fujino’s condo in the apple warehouse in Tieton, WA (huge thank you to Ali and Matthew for being our housing angels for this leg of the Washington Project – couldn’t have do this without you), we’ve been scouting out spots, several, and all but this one striking out.  Eva has been talking about fore, mid, and background.  And how she likes light against the composition to allow carving of “the white spaces.”  Lots of the sweeping, monochromatic stuff of this landscape may not fit the bill.  Eva is a woodblock print artist, not a photographer, or an oil painter.  And the medium she works in may effect the subjects she chooses, I’m realizing.  (Gray basalt is turning to purple in places, nicely set off by the sage green of scrub covering the cliffs.)

The plan and the actual, that’s part of art making, I’m thinking.  I’ve been planning the places we'd go, albeit with some (my) geographic disabilities always there.  So today my husband called to ask if I knew that Steamboat Rock was over 6 hours away from Tieton  - someplace I’d hoped to take Eva.  Did I know this?  No I didn’t.  Did I also know that Eva and I would talk till 1 am last night, looking at her new sketches and prints from her 2 weeks at Ucross Foundation?  Nope.  Which also meant that I didn't know that our actual leave time would be 12 noon -  far from the plan of 9 am.  So here we are, only  a few miles from downtown Tieton, but the clouds are now that gray blue and peach pink.  The river looks like celadon milk glass.  Black and dead Garry Oaks are blending with the scars of dark basalt on the other side of the river.  7:50 now; also thought we’d have dinner with Ed Marquand and friends, but nope, we’re here instead.  We are here.

April 16, 2011, Eva Pietzcker sketching on the Tieton River, WA.

Eva PIetzcker sketching along the Tieton River, WA.

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