Beauty of nature is being set down on paper by two artists from the Camas-Washougal area

April 28, 2012

by Barb Baldus, Second Story Gallery volunteer

Miss Gerty (contributed photo)

Mary Anne Harkness and Carolyn Gunderson will unveil “The Faces of Nature” at a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 4, at Second Story Gallery in Camas. Their exhibit will continue through Saturday, May 26, in the gallery upstairs in the Camas Public Library.

A Northwest native and 12-year resident of Camas, Carolyn grew up on a Washington farm with milk cows and so, she says, animals are a special interest for her paints, along with “anything experimental.”

“Watercolor is an amazing medium, at times frustrating but always exciting” she explains.

“Trying to control and achieve your vision is always challenging and when it works, you have great satisfaction. However, my real passion is experimenting with mixed media, being surprised and excited when I discover something new, different and one-of-a-kind.”

Mary Anne says she’s been developing her approach to art for over 50 years, working in glass, encaustic, pottery, acrylics and wood in addition to watercolor. She earned a bachelor of fine arts from Arizona State University, and she notes the greatest influence on her art occurred during college when she traveled around the world with Chapman College World Campus Afloat.

Since then, she has been using photos taken during her travels as subject matter, but says she has found new inspiration in the Columbia River and Mt. Hood since moving to Washougal a year ago.

Both artists plan to put the natural world front and center in their two-woman show of water media, encaustic and batik.

As Carolyn explains, she “collects” photos of exotic beasts at zoos and wild animal parks throughout her travels because she loves the design and shape of them and the wildness of their spirits. “Almost 100 percent of my paintings are from these references,” she notes, “and I hope to live a hundred years to use them all.”

The gallery is open during regular library hours, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It’s located at 625 NE Fourth Ave. in Camas.