Blue Whole Gallery features multiple artists for the month of January

Winter can be dreary.

The weather is cold and sunset is before 5 p.m. But members of the Blue Whole Gallery are doing everything in their power to bring a little sunshine and color into the month of January.

Stepping away from the art gallery's tradition of featuring two artists of the month in the front windows, the Blue Whole Gallery is displaying work from more than a dozen artists through Jan. 31.

"Usually we draw names out of a jar for who gets what month," explained mixed media artist Karin Anderson, who originally drew the month of January. "I thought, 'Let's do something fun and whimsical - something a little out of the ordinary.'"

So, she gave up her "artist of the month" title in an effort to feature more artists from the gallery and to brighten people's day as they walk by the windows on Washington Street.

Each window features work from artists that's unmatted and unframed, hanging from a clothesline. The show is titled, "Out of Line."

About the gallery

Blue Whole Gallery is a cooperative, which means each member pitches in to cover operating expenses by paying monthly dues and donating a commission on all work sold in the gallery. Members also participate in day-to-day operations, including answering telephones, hosting First Friday events, attending committee meetings and other special projects.

New members are juried into the cooperative. If artists are interested in joining, they can stop by the gallery, fill out a membership application and then bring in examples of their work for other members to vote on. All members vote. A new artist must receive at least 60-percent approval to be accepted into the group.

The gallery's name stems from a term pilots use to describe the "blue hole" in the sky above Sequim that contrasts with the typically cloudy Pacific Northwest. The "hole" in the sky was changed to "whole" to convey a message of acceptance to diversity among the artists and their mediums.

A new show is hung each month. A First Friday reception welcomes the public to meet the artists whose work is displayed in the window.

More information is available at

A year in summary

The art world is a busy place and Sequim is no exception. A lot happened during the year 2008.

George Zien's painting, "Carnival in Italy," was accepted into the Northwest Watercolor Society's annual member show "Waterworks 2008." The show was held Oct. 30-Dec. 6 at the New Dimensions Frame & Gallery in Bellevue.

Lynne Armstrong's paintings were featured at the Port Townsend Gallery's Wine Seller Artist Loft for the month of September. Armstrong shared her work while pouring wine for visitors.

Priscilla Messner-Patterson received a Public Service Award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for two of her aviation paintings being accepted into the U.S. Coast Guard 2008 art program's permanent collection.

Armstrong, Gail Larson and Maria Loe had works accepted into the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center Strait Art 2008 exhibition March 16-May 11. Jake Senuik, Port Angeles Fine Arts Center director and exhibition curator said, "Lynne Armstrong's watercolor's eschew prettiness for mood. Maria Loe's clay figurines look as if they might have been unearthed on some rocky Aegean isle. Gail Larson (homes in) directly on painterly gestures that stand only for themselves."

Catherine Mix was featured in the "Art on the Peninsula" section of the March/April issue of Pacific Northwest Home. The article included 11 color images of Mix's pastel paintings and a brief story about her art career.

Zien and Patricia Starr both had paintings accepted into the Arizona Watercolor Association's 2008 National Exhibition Feb. 3-29. Juror Chris Van Winkle, president of the National Watercolor Society, reviewed hundreds of paintings and selected 60 works for the show. He commented to a Blue Whole Gallery representative, "I look for the unusual, the original, the creative. A lot of high quality does not make the cut. The next 100 on my list would make a great show of themselves."

This is only a small portion of the awards and recognition Sequim artists received in the past 365 calendar days and a sneak preview of what is to come in 2009.

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