Editor’s Note: This portrait of local painter Rose Belknap is the latest in our ongoing series, “Our Town,” presented in partnership with Vashon Island Visual Artists to highlight Vashon’s vibrant visual arts scene. Here, Belknap tells us in her own words about her life and work.
I moved to Dockton, the Palm Springs of Vashon, 45 years ago. It is an amazing community of caring neighbors, wonderful light, close proximity to the water and lovely gardens.
I’ve loved painting ever since I was a child. In the late 1980s, I graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. There was always some part of my home functioning as a makeshift studio.
My love for art manifests in my own works, and in teaching children and adults how to draw and paint. For many years, I served as artist-in-residence working with 4thgraders at Chautauqua Elementary School and taught classes at the Blue Heron.
About six years ago, my husband and some of our friends built a detached studio where I could paint and host exhibitions during studio tours. It is a gem of a building — set among our garden and a place in which I try to work every day.
In December of 2017, I was diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer. A successful stem cell transplant has put the cancer on pause for now. Facing cancer, I asked myself, “If I only have so much time, what do I want to do with it?”The answer for me is: paint.
The COVID pandemic has not changed that decision. I mainly paint and walk. My husband and I take short trips around Washington and Oregon appreciating the beauty of this region. I take photos of images that will challenge me to render unusual light, water and nature scenes. The light of the Northwest is spectacular.
Whether coming through the trees, bouncing off the water or coloring the sky — I love it all, and try to capture the light and stunning scenery of this region.
To find out more about VIVA’s 300 members, visit vivartists.com.