Arts and Entertainment

Lavender and other hues

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Walking up the steep path to the Tiger's Nest, a monastery in Bhutan, Pheryl Montroy's eye was caught by prayer flags blowing in the wind that were the same color as the monks' bright orange robes.

The Sequim artist snapped a picture and came home to paint that and many other memories.

Montroy loves to travel and takes photographs wherever she goes. These become the basis of her semi-abstract paintings.

Returns to easel

Montroy was an education and art major in college, but her painting fell aside to her career in education. She started painting again after she retired in 1993.

She has painted pictures from her travels in South and Central America, Australia and Asia. She has been to Mexico many times and fills one room in her house with artifacts from that country as well as her paintings of churches in Mexico.

Each painting brings back happy memories.

Lavender's new look

Another of Montroy's subjects is the lavender fields around Sequim. These she paints as abstracts focusing on the colors and patterns of the fields.

She says so many people paint realistic pictures of

them that she wanted to do something different.

When Montroy went to school, abstract art was very popular. That's what she was taught and that's still her preference.

Still, her art is not entirely abstract, and some of her artwork is more abstract than others.

Support group

Montroy is in a painting group with Linda Larson, who teaches at Peninsula College. The members support each other, offering suggestions and trading techniques.

Montroy says the group keeps her painting. Without this weekly commitment, she says, she might get snarled in everyday tasks and not put aside time to paint.

"I'm really a slow painter. I start with an underpainting but when it is finished, it may look very different."

First: Draw

Montroy's advice to anyone who wants to paint is first to take a drawing class. Ninety percent of painting is about seeing and drawing first, she says, so that is the place to start.

Also she tells beginning artists not to be intimidated.

"I think there is a little bit of art in all of us when we are children until someone tells us there is one way to draw or one way to paint," she says.

"Your art shouldn't look like anyone else's; it should be your own. We all see things a little differently."

Reach Dana Casey at

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