Two Vashon artists exhibit new work at Blue Heron

VAA will show the work of two Island artists in November at the Blue Heron Art Gallery.

VAA will show the work of two Island artists in November at the Blue Heron Art Gallery.

Janice Wall will show new works in pastels, and Charlotte Masi will unveil her painted gourds. The opening will take place 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, and will include appetizers and live music by pianist Jack Barbash and upright bass player Steve Meyer.

Seattle native Janice Wall has pursued her love for art since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Armed with degrees in interior design, education and graphic arts, she now focuses primarily on creating beautiful pastels.

Wall is a signature member of Northwest Pastel Society, winner of multiple national and international awards and manager of the Biannual Studio Art Tour.

Wall approaches her art with strategic planning. She says her ideas may come from photos, plein air painting or other references, but she works out composition before putting down color.

Process is important.

“Ibelieve in learning everything you need to know, then sticking it in the back of your mind to make plenty of room for the creative response,” she said. Although she’s worked with watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, she most en-joys the inherent forgiveness factor with pastels and the feel of the pastels in her hand.

Texas native Charlotte Masi knew from an early age she would find a career in the arts. A professional commercial artist by age 27, she left Texas for Los Angeles, where she worked in advertising until 1984. Tired of southern California, she moved to Seattle, site unseen. She discovered Vashon and moved here in the mid-1990s.

Her career in corporate commercial art gradually gave way to a successful freelance graphic arts career and the opportunity to grow a garden. She grew gourds and found herself drying and decorating them.

“I wanted to do more. I kept thinking about them,” she said.

Masi researched and experimented with decorative techniques for the gourds. They will be exhibited for the first time at Blue Heron Gallery during November.

Gourds of all shapes and sizes fill the shelves of her working studio.

“I get many of them from Georgia,” she said. “Most are grown in the South — they need a warm climate.”

Wearing a mask, she cuts them open, pulls out the inner membrane, scrapes, then sands and smoothes both interior and exterior surfaces. She draws patterns, from insects and flowers to strong, simple lines, and transfers drawings to the gourd surface.

Using wood burning tools, she adds depth and texture to the image by painstakingly outlining every detail of the drawing.

Stain or leather dyes — in striking greens, reds, browns and fuchsia acrylic paint — add definition and life to the intricate drawings, whether a swarm of bees or a ginger flower in full bloom.

She finishes both the inside and outside of the gourds with varnish to make designs pop. Masi has also added beads and finished wood bases to some pieces, rendering them suitable as either functional or decorative mixed media art pieces. The finished vessels demand to be handled, she said.

“I want people to pick them up. They need to be touched,” she said.