[media-credit name=”T Fraker” align=”alignnone” width=”640″][/media-credit]
You want to know it’s worth the drive. In contrast to Seattle’s, Edmonds’ parking feels plentiful and simple. You will likely find a spot close to the central fountain at 5th and Main. The wait staff at Girardi’s will tell you that their happy hour is the best in the state. After your abundant and yummy food and inexpensive drink, you will agree. Then you’ll mosey along 5th or Main and stop in at as many shops as you can. Even the bank and the real estate office boast cultural events. A musician will busk and a cartoonist will paint outside Edward Jones.
In the first gallery you feel as if you’re on vacation. This is summer, when you can peruse the goods with a lightness of mind and openness to possibility. There is a show here: David Weiner’s photography. You see how the mountain views pull the climbers in your party to discuss routes and reminisce but that the artist is most in love with two works he toyed with extensively with Gimp and other Photoshop tools. He reminds you of words from a college art prof who told you how important it is to carry your idea through to completion even if you slay the product along the way—just to know what your idea was and to have had the fulfillment. This photographer took a couple of his Italian images to that furthest place, which one in the party may call “Photoshop abuse.”
In the Cole Gallery on 107 5th Avenue S you meet an artist acquaintance, Jannelle Loewen. Loewen belongs to Women Painters of Washington and the Northwest Pastel Society. Her works have won awards at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference, the Mountlake Terrace Juried Arts Show and the GM Nameplate Art Poster Contest. She teaches at the Arts Umbrella Studio in Bothell. The Cole Gallery of Edmonds and the Lawrence Gallery of Sheridan, Oregon, represent her work. Loewen craves more abstraction and wildness and suggests that marketing imposes strictures.
She paints with pastels–large scenes, most from nature, on black paper much of which she makes herself. The results glow. Some of her paintings take conventional landscape subjects and treat them conventionally: a view across a beach at the waves; an orange sunset over a reflecting slough. These are handsome. But her best pieces depict water, weeds or trees with simultaneous precision and abstraction. They plunge the viewer’s nose against a tree’s moss and point her head toward the sky or zoom in to the verge of Snoqualmie Falls. A third of Matriarch is bark (short vertical stripes) and moss (almost neon green and brown and blue arcs). The rest of the painting, the canopy and sky, she shows with blotches of translucent green, shaded green, opaque browns and pale blues. These paintings include recognizable northwestern scenery for commercial appeal and yet bring a tension of patterning and arrangement of color, of design: metaphor. Metaphor must be stronger than pure representation because it is two things at once and forces the viewer to connect.
At the Gallery North you learn two Japanese technique names: senga…like European scherrenschritten, black cut paper, but including color and scenery from the works of Sachi Tanimoto; and temari…strange and complex thread weaving around spheres from the works of Yumiko Huruyama. The temari spheres will blow you away with their precision and beauty–and imagining how long each intricate design took. Huruyama tells you the greatest challenge is maintaining symmetry over the spherical surface.
Glass. Woodwork. Photography. Water color. Bronzes. Edmonds’ Third Thursday Art Walk gives you all of it. A plus: the galleries lay out free munchies and drinks. If you wished, you could get pretty toasted. Each gallery has a stack of Art Walk maps that include the shows and the town’s many murals.
You could have spent longer. You leave in time to get your zipcar back before it turns into a pumpkin. You will remember the eagerness of the artists to discuss their methods. You will remember the expectant and light mood of the crowds. And you will decide to return for another Third Thursday in this northern neighbor town.