Airbrush Art by Erika Paleck


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I grew up in an artistic family.  When I was a teenager, I was waiting at the DMV office where there was a beautiful airbrushed wall mural of cars from ‘30’s and 40’s in a beach scene.  I was immediately enchanted, not only by the hyper-realism of the chromed bumpers and shiny paint colors, but by the subtleties of the seabirds and colors in the sky, clouds, and sand.

unnamed (1)I didn’t learn to airbrush until I was over fifty, and my work tends to the dreamlike—almost something half-remembered after awakening.  I’m creating scenes with liquid music, using symbols and scenes that resonate in ways for which I have no words.  I know that a piece is completed the same way that I know I will love a song after first hearing it; there is a knowing, but not from the mind.

IMG_1020I’ve heard stories from people who wear my shirts about how they become their favorite shirts.  The beauty of airbrushing on clothing is that it will outlast your shirt while getting softer.  You can cut it out and frame it later if you want.  It’s art you wear over your heart.

IMG_0793Currently my work is available at the Vernonia Open Air Market during about half the Saturday events through Salmon Festival the first weekend of October.  Otherwise contact me at:  or 503-704-5970.

More examples of airbrush art:

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Acrylic Paintings by Randal Harvey

Red Dog 003Vernonia artist Randal Harvey worked a number of jobs over her lifetime. It wasn’t until her husband and she moved to the East Bay from San Francisco to help take care of aging parents that she had the time to get back to what she have always loved – Art.

“I have always loved arts and crafts.  I love color and the interplay of colors. I was first drawn to stained glass because of the vivid colors. After a few years I decided to begin painting; it seemed a natural progression.”

She started with watercolors under a delightful teacher, Pat Strout. She also took classes in California Impressionist Painting with George Holmes and completed a short stint with Mark Jezierny, who showed her the effects of Light and Shadow, and Perspective and Grids. Then she met two incredible artists (and teachers) to whom she says she owes so much: Gary Bergren and Margaret Bromstrom.

“Gary hammered into my head the elements that make a good painting:  The A, B, C’s and all the rules and reg’s of how to paint.  His portrait class, ‘Creating an Illusion,’ changed how I paint.  He taught me how to listen to a critique without my ego getting in the way.  He said to me once that you have to know the rules before you can break them successfully.  He was right of course.  He was and still is a wonderful and giving teacher, and just a plain fantastic person.

Red Dog 002“Margaret Bromstrom taught me to be free and brave with my painting, and offered the gift of time to do so.  I spent over two years with Margaret and a little over one year with Gary.”

Randal started with watercolor, still likes the medium and does it occasionally.  She tried oil, but discovered she was allergic to it!  So, she now paints in acrylic.  “With all the moisture in the air, the Pacific Northwest is a great place to paint with acrylic. I can keep my sponge palette workable for up to a month and, on occasion, longer.  Really!”

She describes her style, if forced to put a name to it, as somewhere between Realism and Surrealism.  “I’ve tried impressionism, but my style and colors seem to end up more realistic and dark.  I’m still evolving. Who knows what the future holds.”

Red Dog 001Her work covers a range of subjects including animal portraits and a “Vernonia Series.” The series includes: “Dogwood Blossoms on Texas Avenue, Vernonia, Oregon,” “Treasures from Julie’s Garden: ‘Beets and Squash’, Vernonia, Oregon” and “Christmas Pomegranate from Sentry Market, Vernonia, Oregon”.  She currently has nine in the series, with more in planning stages.  How many will be in the “Vernonia Series? She has no idea.

Randal loves and is influenced by many artists: “Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Vermeer–I love the darkness vs. light of their portraits. John Singer Sargent, whose brush work just blows me away – so loose up close, but stand back and it’s magic how he makes it come together.  Salvador Dali because his body of work just sings. Anything from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Dante Rossetti being one of my favs, and John William Waterhouse, who some say isn’t a Pre-Raphaelite, but I say he is, so there.  And I can’t leave out Henri Rousseau, another of my favorites.”

Before closing this, Randal added, “I love seeing the work of the young artists in town and want to see more, please.”

The Good Ol’ Days – February 1908

diaryFrom Virgil Powell’s Diary

by Tobie Finzel

Virgil Powell was a long-time resident who had a farm somewhere in the Upper Nehalem Valley between Natal and Pittsburg.  Each year from 1906 until 1955, he kept a diary with a brief entry almost every day of his activities.  He noted what he did on the farm that day, what the weather was, if he worked in the woods or delivering mail, and what entertainments he attended. In the 1960s, then-curator John Stofiel transcribed the diaries to typewritten pages; both the original diaries and the transcriptions are kept the museum.  Here’s what Virgil wrote in February 1908:

Saturday, Feb. 15:  Carried the mail to Mist.  Got to Mist at 11 A.M.  Grange day at Natal.  Pretty fair day but rained after I got home.  Had a fine time down at the store talking basket social for next Saturday night.

Saturday, Feb. 22.  Carried the mail down to Mist.  Got to Mist at 10 A.M.  Left Mist at 1 P.M.  Got home at 2.25.  Stayed home till 3.10 then started for the doings at Vernonia at 4.45.  From Mist to Vernonia 3 hours.  Had a deuce of a time.  Did not start home till 7 A.M.  Good fine day.

Tuesday, Feb. 25.  Sawed wood all day.  Shot at some salmon in the afternoon but did not kill any.  Cloudy and looks very much like rain.  Received a postal from Florence Williams.

Open Air Market Potluck!

On Saturday January 17th the Open Air Market is hosting an informational potluck to kick off a recruiting drive for the 2015 season. The Market runs June through early October and features farm fresh produce from around the Vernonia area.

In past years the market has included locally made crafts and other goods and has been located at different locations throughout Vernonia. Without a permanent home, the market has relied on advertising and word of mouth to bring in vendors and customers.

While 2015 will not bring a permanent home to the market, it is hoped that new developments on the old school site will include a suitable place for the market. With the possibility of new features and a new home, the market managers are seeking guidance from the community.

At 1 pm on January 17th they welcome anyone interested in the future of the market to join them at the Grange building on the corner of Washington and North streets, across from the Vernonia Christian Church. Please bring a small dish of your choice to share.

Following the meal, attendees will be encouraged to let their voices be heard. A short history of the market will be followed by a question and answer session. Everyone is invited and the managers are especially interested in hearing from vendors and public who have been unable to participate in the market, but desire to do so.

Interested parties may contact Rachel or Bill Langmaid with questions or to RSVP. They can be reached at,, or by calling 503-429-0438.

Vernonia Arts for Children

Vernonia, a small community in the coastal range of Oregon, has a secret that is slowly going public. It’s a growing haven for the arts, where amazing old talent appears unexpectedly from small shops, barns and studios, and new talent is nurtured and appreciated across the board.

This beautiful youtube clip gives a small peek into what Vernonia children are doing with their free time. Enjoy!

Pottery by Wanda Aszman

082Finding herself with an empty nest and time on her hands, Wanda Aszman started taking art classes at Mt. Hood Community College. There she fell in love with ceramics and now, many years later, she’s an accomplished artist creating one-of-a-kind works of clay that are both functional and stunningly beautiful.

078Wanda’s small business, My Jars of Clay, operates out of her studio in Vernonia, with a portion of her time spent in Portland where she’s one of the founders and an 18-year member of the NW Potters Guild. Her experience includes 5 years of study under Don Sprague, a well-known Northwest potter with pieces displayed in the Smithsonian.

Pottery Lantern
Pottery Lantern

When asked what draws her to ceramics, Wanda states that it’s the hands-on creativity, the total immersion in an artistic project that she most enjoys. She loves puttering with clay and would like to do more hand-building—playing with alternate shapes and interesting designs that lead to one-of-a-kind creations. Lanterns are one of Wanda’s specialties because she gets to “cut and paste” with clay.

062Wanda makes all her own glazes, which allows her to tinker and experiment with her own blends. Green glazes of all shades (an Oregon-inspired color) are her favorites and she tests new ones all the time.


Currently, Wanda provides finished pottery, custom pieces, and kiln services. She vends her pottery at several street fairs in Portland as well as during summer and holiday events. Someday, Wanda hopes to find space in Vernonia to offer classes for children and adults.

Interested in pottery? Wanda can be contacted via email at

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Kerri Boutwell and Grace Fine Arts

Landscape by Kerri Boutwell
Landscape by Kerri Boutwell

Kerri Boutwell is the founder and director of Grace Fine Arts, a Christian after-school program designed to celebrate beauty in a spirit of thanksgiving.

Portrait by KB
Portrait by KB

She is passionate about fine art being accessible to children and overcoming the idea that only people who are “born with it” can be artists.

Portrait by Kerri Boutwell
Portrait by Kerri Boutwell


She strives to teach the foundational methods of perception – of “seeing as an artist” to her students by using many strategies to engage right brain thinking in her classes.  She also teaches at the Beaverton campus of Masters School of Arts.

Portrait by Kerri Boutwell
Portrait by Kerri Boutwell

She has worked in Acrylic, Pastel, Watercolor, Charcoal, and pencil, favoring Portraiture in any medium.

Landscape by Kerri Boutwell
Landscape by Kerri Boutwell

She has illustrated a children’s book, working with local author, Stacey Rech. She and her husband are currently collaborating on a children’s book about their delightfully precocious little girl, Luella.2015-06-17 17.06.53


Grace Fine Arts – Student Art Exhibition

Grace Fine Arts – Student Art Exhibit
Grace Fine Arts – Student Art Exhibit
Grace Fine Arts Exhibit
Grace Fine Arts – Student Art Exhibit
Grace Fine Arts – Student Art Exhibit
Grace Fine Arts Exhibit
Grace Fine Arts – Student Art Exhibit