It has been a while! I have been out of town for a week and am just now recovering.
You have to take every experience and make the most of it. That is what this week has shown me. I have been in Salem now for five days training for work and while I expected to miss my family I did not expect that I would miss my studio the way I have. i have been working now for a year to make the space exactly what I want and need it to be and spending five days away from it has been hard. However I have been taking what opportunities I have and doing art in other ways.
You see like Portland, Salem has a monthly art walk that I was lucky enough to be here for! Not only that but the art walk was downtown surrounding my hotel. It is amazing to be reminded of the amazing things that smaller communities do to celebrate art. Growing up in Eugene, Oregon I know all about those insular art community. During the art walk I stumbled into a small little gallery with the most incredible selection of art. One of the artists was Lynn Whipple showing her mixed media work. If you have not had the opportunity to see her work she had two primary styles, mixed media and plain air paintings. I admittedly can get bored with landscape paintings but find her style of plain air painting to be just abstract enough that I enjoy every piece of her work.
It was a delight to stumble upon her work but also a delight to be able to enjoy the Salem art scene. I also really enjoy another gallery space called Project Space. Having grown up in Eugene, Oregon I can say that store front felt a lot more like home. I have been trying to think about how I would explain the subtle difference between the three cities art scenes, Portland, Eugene, Salem. Portland is definitely more of a larger city scene. You do full gallery submissions with proper resume, art statement, and photos. When I am going to those art shows I imagine full time artists working in Pearl District lofts. Salem is very similar to Eugene, people working out of their homes sharing their art in large temporary spaces. I also enjoyed the way that the artists greeted every person coming into the gallery. Typical in communities like that. It reminds me of a conversation with one of the gallery owners in the Pearl a couple of weeks ago. People go to the Pearls art walk to buy art. People got the Last Thursday in Alberta to experience art. I think it is the same way in Salem. People are coming out to experience art. They talk with the artist and I found the public to be truly excited to know who is making the art and why.
I brought some work with me to Salem and found that I had filled my sketch book. I went out looking for some art supply shops and let me tell you I found a gem of a shop in Runaway Art and Craft Studio. I included a link to the facebook because I hope if you are in the area you stop in! If I lived in Salem I would go this shop all the time. I went inside when I saw the selection of stencils. Upon walking into the shop the owner not only introduced herself to me by name but when she asked what I was looking for and I gave my typical I am just saw your shop and stumbled in she followed up with great questions. She seemed genuinely interested in the kind of art I like to do and in the end introduced me to Gelli Plate mono printing. This wasn’t your typical sales lady. She showed me some of the work people had done just a few weeks earlier when her store opened. I walked out with new gelli plate in a hand and a thoroughly genuine experience.