Arts and Entertainment

September at the Blue Whole Gallery

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By Ashley Miller
for the Sequim Gazette

The Blue Whole Gallery is full of surprises and special treats every month.


During September, new member Jody McLean will share her unique fused glass art.


McLean, originally from Canada, came to Sequim by way of Portland, OR., last January. Though she’s lived in many beautiful places, McLean describes Sequim as “very artistically inspiring.”


  With her, McLean brought a custom glass tile business. Examples of her work are on display at Blake Tile & Stone and in both Seattle and Portland.


  McLean has been an artist for as long as she can remember. She ran an art gallery, has taught pottery and ceramics and has dabbled in just about every medium imaginable.


“Once I got into glass, though, it became my whole life,” she said.


“I find myself processing a design, drawing or photo into a vision of glass. How would it work in glass, what colors and shapes would be layered to achieve what I see?”


In McLean’s opinion, people see images differently when they’re in glass. A historical photograph or painting hanging on the wall on the ferry might go completely unnoticed under normal circumstances, but would it attract more attention if it were printed into the glass?


  “Could color represent emotion and movement in glass?” McLean mused. “I question, I try and I see through the light and passion of glass. I push the envelope and try new things, experimenting with colors, shapes and layers.”


  Working with glass is a hands-on art form with a little bit of mystery, according to McLean.


“You put things together, use your imagination and then wait to see how it looks when it comes out of the kiln,” McLean said.


More of McLean’s work can be seen online at
Painting for pleasure

Lynne Armstrong is the second artist-of-the-month at the gallery and specializes in acrylic and watercolor painting. She has an advanced education in art, including bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts, and spent a year studying abroad in Italy.


“Art has been part of my life forever,” Armstrong said. “It’s truly my passion.”


Armstrong moved to Sequim six years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, where she still owns a home and visits regularly. She has five children and 13 grandchildren.


When she’s painting, Armstrong focuses on lighting.


“The way that light moves — over figures, across mountains, in the sky, on flowers, landscapes and people — is what I try to capture,” she explained.


“Light is the energy in a painting.”


Armstrong’s paintings are anything but ordinary.


“I’m not a careful old lady painter,” she warned. “My paintings are wild, powerful and invoke feeling.”

Sunflowers are one of Armstrong’s favorite subjects to paint.


“Their exuberant color, grand size and cheerful presence evoke a smile, a good feeling,” she said. “When Van Gogh wanted to persuade his friend Gauguin to come help him form an artist colony at Arles, he painted his famous sunflower series to decorate the walls of the room he was preparing for him.”


Armstrong has a series of eight sunflower paintings of her own, including one that is 4 feet high.


Over the years, Armstrong always has been involved in the arts. She started experimenting with painting as a child, later declared it her major in college and eventually made a career out of teaching and showing. Now, she’s “retired” but that hasn’t slowed her down any.


“I paint because I can’t imagine not painting,” Armstrong said.


“The most pleasure I’ve ever had is when I’m painting.”


Meet the featured artists of the month
Join the artists of the Blue Whole Gallery, 129 W. Washington St., for a First Friday party 5-8 p.m. Sept. 2. Artists of the month are painter Lynne Armstrong and glass artist Jody McLean. The gallery is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. For more information, go online to or call 681-6033. 


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