Abstract artist at Blue Whole

Abstract artist Terry Grasteit doesn't care so much what you see in his work, so long as you see it.

"I want to move people off center," he said.

"Even if they look and move on after a second, it's OK."

Grasteit joined the Blue Whole Gallery in July and is one of the featured artists through Sept. 29. He previously showed his work at Waterfront Gallery in Port Angeles.

He thought more people would see his art if it were shown together with different styles.

"Sometimes people just skip abstract altogether," Grasteit said.

"The opportunity for me to approach people seems greater here as an artist."


Before becoming a professional artist, Grasteit worked 30 years in marketing for the aerospace industry.

During his time-crunched career, his goal was to finish 10 paintings a year.

"(Painting) was my release after doing a highly technical paralegal profession every day," he said.

"It suited me, though, because it was always changing."

He and his wife, Anne, feel abstract art's openness suits him.

"We've lived with some of the same art for 25 years and I always see something different," she said.

Grasteit has worked to further expand his art and his mind. At age 40, he earned a degree in cognitive psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

"Now, I see how little an amount of information I can give to convey an image."

"What's amusing is when people don't get his art. It's whatever you want it to be," Anne Grasteit said.

"Abstraction is perfect for dislodging people from archetypal images," Grasteit said.

"In painting, most of the time trees are trees, flowers are flowers and you don't make distinctions. Do we want to be reminded of what we know or do we want to be challenged a little bit?"


Grasteit has lived for 13 years in Sequim, where he now works at least four hours every day on his art.

He normally moves among three to four paintings to keep his ideas fresh.

Each painting's process is different, but Grasteit said he often starts by laying out dark colors with areas of light left for him to work over. He likes to use negative space advantageously and yellow because "it is the most advancing because it comes to your eye."

At Blue Whole, his fellow artists tell him that his work is contemporary, but Grasteit wants to remain fresh with his work.

Struggling with


Referencing a magazine, he said, "I'm still struggling to do landscapes."

"Cityscapes, portraits and compositions in current magazines is where I want to be."

His biggest artistic goal would be to sell through galleries in Seattle, but he remains comfortable with his current standing.

"If I do nothing more than bring people to a new visual awareness, then my paintings have done their job," he said.

"Even if they hate it, then now they know what they don't like."

Blue Whole Gallery is at 129 W. Washington St.,


Reach Matthew Nash at

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