A night of art and romance | Gallery Cruise

Most galleries with First Friday showings are open from 6 to 9 p.m.

Most galleries with First Friday showings are open from 6 to 9 p.m.

Color and texture at the Blue Heron

The Blue Heron Arts Center will feature abstract color and vibrant texture with its exhibition of work by photographer Karen Frank and painter Ken Susynski. The opening night will also include live music by a beloved local trio that often graces the Blue Heron — Jack Barbash on piano, Steve Meyer on bass and Fletcher Andrews on percussion.

Frank, a Port Townsend photographer who refers to her current body of work as abstract expressionism, began her artistic documentation of nature versus technology after noticing the bounty of boat parts strewn along a Port Townsend area beach. Her photographs show the transformation of objects over time by natural forces — rust, seaweed, barnacles, tiny pools of captured sea water.

Primarily self-taught, Frank says her post-master’s certificate in Transforming Spirituality from Seattle University influences her work. “I want people to stop and take a second look,” she said.

Susynski, a Seattle resident, will exhibit paintings informed and influenced by his travels to Turkey and Germany. Called “Landschaften,” German for landscape, his current series is a mixed media exhibit that involves cutting older canvases into shapes and patterns, placing them under a layer of acrylic gesso, then filling in with more oil washes, charcoal, ink and sometimes even automotive base paint.

His work, he said, “is all about reinventing, recycling and reinterpretation.”

The love of leaves at the tea shop

Painter Suzanna Leigh, concerned about environmental degradation, puzzled for months about what she could do as an artist to help the earth. Then one day, when an accidental spill of red dye ruined one of her silk paintings, it gave her an idea, and her new show — “Blood on the Maple: A Love Affair with Leaves” — was born.

The painting that resulted from the spill looked like a leaf with blood on it, she said, a perfect metaphor for the way people are damaging the natural environment.

All profits from her show at the Vashon Tea Shop will be donated to the Backbone Campaign, a nonprofit that, among other things, advocates for the environment. Hoping to reach more people, she has priced her work at wholesale for this show. Prices start at $45 for a small, framed painting on silk.

What’s this? Two artists play off of each other at VALISE

VALISE will present “The Reverse of Contrapositive,” an exhibit by two artists linked by name and a begrudging respect — Tom Hughes and Hugh Thomas — or so VALISE, known for playing with reality, claims in its press release.

Thomas is a mid-career California artist, the press release says. His works are most frequently produced under a series of false names and range from commissioned design pieces for high-end international collectors to illicit street art — thus, there’s no way to find him through a Google search.

Hughes says he met Thomas at a national conference of artists and took great pleasure in their reversed names. This simple link has developed into a sincere but somewhat antagonistic relationship and drew Hughes to challenge Thomas to what Hughes calls an “Artist’s Challenge.”

“The Reverse of Contrapositive” is the result of that challenge, according to the release. Over the course of the last month, the artists placed limits on each other for materials and time. They also worked together, stole from each other, argued, lost sleep, questioned each other’s credibility and disrupted family life, the results of which will be on exhibition.

Due to health concerns, VALISE is unable to confirm Thomas’ availability for the exhibition, but Hughes expects to attend. The artists — or artist — will also give a spirited gallery talk illustrating their complicated relationship, mutual antagonism and creative process at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Lovebirds at the Raven’s Nest

Raven’s Nest will open an exhibit called “Lovebirds,” featuring the Eagle and the Raven separately and together as one.

Throughout the Pacific Northwest Coast, the Native American tribes identify themselves with animals, birds and fish from the region. The two main groups are the Eagle and the Raven. Following tradition, tribal members would seek to find a member of the opposite clan to marry. Together in marriage, the couple would be “lovebirds,” and the lovebirds motif is a popular design.

Raven’s Nest will also have a wide selection of art cards, prints, silver jewelry, apparel and gifts featuring the lovebirds in honor of Valentine’s Day. It will also sell the famous Chukar Cherries in a variety of options.

Island photographs at Café Luna

Lotus, a well-known Vashon photographer, will exhibit her native-eye images of Vashon at Café Luna in February.

Though her work includes plenty of beauty shots, her perspective is largely a personal view of the island, she says, with less attention to the typical island scenes that catch the eyes of tourists and more attention to nature, food, friends and farming, a life-long love of hers. Viewers will find striking images of Vashon’s natural landscapes, plant and food photos, portraits of Island farmers and farm animals.

There will also be cards and matted prints for sale on Friday, but not the rest of the month.

The art of pressed flowers graces Snapdragon’s walls

Snapdragon will present a unique collection of 30 framed, early 20th century pressed flower works of art for February. The works are from the Crosleycone collection, created by Aaron Crosleycone, a certified appraiser of art, antiques and collectibles, and will be available for purchase. Crosleycone, a Seattle resident, has a connection to Vashon; he’s the brother of Adam Cone, who co-owns the Snapdragon.

According to Cone, his brother’s collection has a “wistful, nostalgia” feeling, an “‘Alice in Wonderland’ quality.” The pressed flowers date from the 1890s to the 1915s and all came from the Seattle area, Cone said.

Balkan scenes at La Boucherie

La Boucherie will display several color prints of Croatia taken by Martin Koenig during his travels to the region in the late 1960s. The large-format photographs display the traditional music, dance and ceremonies of the Balkans, ways of life that have largely disappeared in recent years due to modernization, globalization and emigration, Koenig says.

The farm-to-table restaurant will also feature island singer Christie Azula and Seattle guitarist Leif Totusek Friday night. The duo will pair up for an intimate “dans le coin” (in the corner) set of nostalgic, Edith Piaf-inspired music, complementing La Boucherie’s old world charm. Azula sings in many languages, including French, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic, and has performed most recently on-island with the music group Avaaza.

At other galleries

The Eagles Club will be a hot spot for karaoke on First Friday. The Washington State Fairies — the singing duo of Jennifer Sutherland and Tami Brockway Joyce — will host a special Fairyoke featuring love songs. 7:30 p.m. at the Eagles.

Heron’s Nest will show original tempera works on paper by Scott Hovis and reproductions of journal entries by Darsie Beck.

Blooms & Things will feature artisan chocolates by Vashon’s own Tease Chocolates.