Sidney’s Tulista Gallery Celebrates West Coast Artistic Collaboration

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An upcoming art exhibit in Sidney that includes a book launch celebrates the collaborative process and the West Coast.

Connections and Collaborations, November 18-25 at Sidney’s Tulista Gallery on Fifth Street, features works by Wendy Picken, Lorraine Douglas, Kerry O’Gorman, Heather Maciak and Mara Szyp.

“This show is called Connections and Collaborations because it brings together things that I love to experience on the West Coast,” said Picken, who will launch her new children’s book Rainbees and Honeybows at the show’s opening reception. Nov. 18 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pickens, who runs the show, said she wanted to include people she’s worked with in the past.

The work of Douglas, O’Gorman, Maciak and Szyp or at least their inspirations and subjects browse Picken’s book.

“When I was doing the illustrations for my book, I collaborated with Lorraine,” Picken said. “She did some of the calligraphy for some of the designs, the book illustrations.”

Picken had been working on the book for 11 years. “And she (Douglas) just brought new enthusiasm and excitement to the project for me and I’m sure that’s why I was able to finish it.”

The central character of the book is named Angelina Carolina Wilhelmina Figs, “a damsel-mouse-bird-moth with a complex mix of beetle and frog nose”. Picken said the inspiration for the character came from 19th-century English illustrator Edward Lear and his character Scroobious Pip. Picken said she just fell in love with this character after her daughter received a copy of Lear’s absurd poem immortalizing Scroobious Pip, an animal of unknown taxonomy.

Picken’s character follows this tradition, and longtime friend O’Gorman felted a three-dimensional model of the character.

Picken admits that the story of a newcomer to the West Coast has biographical elements, with the story being inspired by the things Picken grew to love about living on the West Coast. Picken was unfamiliar when she came to the area to study art, but she quickly fell in love with it thanks in part to the writings and paintings of Emily Carr, and remained that way.

“It’s always magical to me and I’ve always been amazed that there isn’t a fairy tale set on the West Coast.”


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