by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
Color is pivotal to Karen Bandy’s artwork. Whether choosing a gem for one of her custom designed pieces of jewelry, or layering paint on canvas in her newer foray as a painter, her use of color drives both disciplines. The result? Vibrant works of art that have garnered awards and accolades both nationally and internationally.
While Bandy has been a professional jeweler for almost 30 years, her painting career is much younger, having picked up the brush about nine years ago. Both disciplines are influenced by her life-long love of art and continually inspired by time spent in nature.
Growing up in Portland, she explored creative outlets like stringing beads and, “aggravating her mother [by] playing in the wax of burning candles, fashioning miniature sculptures.” In high school her wax art took on more structure as she began experimenting with wax model carving and lost wax casting, both foundational disciplines in the art of custom designed jewelry.
“I went to the University of Oregon and took lots of jewelry classes, but wasn’t sure of my direction then,” she said. Bandy graduated with a degree in art education and proceeded to teach art in Eugene on the junior high level for three years.
A casualty of the recession of the ‘80s, her job was eliminated and she chose to move back to Portland to join her boyfriend (and later husband Scott Linden). In the Rose City she began working for a jewelry store where she was inducted into all disciplines of the business including sales, advertising and customer service. “It was a great education,” she said.
A year spent in Sacramento, California prior to her move to Bend in 1987 helped cement her interest in the jewelry business as she became the designer for a three-chain jewelry store. “That’s really how I focused,” she explained. “I took all of those elements [I learned in Portland and Sacramento and used them to] open my business in Bend.”
by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
The Signature artwork for the Deschutes Children’s Foundation’s (DCF) Art & Wine Auction on May 3, Cindy Brigg’s Terrazza in Toscana, ties together multiple ideas of home. Home is what the artist feels at her retreat in Tuscany, Italy, where a landscape of rolling hills and vineyards brings to mind her local view of the expansive Cascade Mountains, and home is at the core of the Deschutes Children’s Foundation’s annual fundraiser as it enables the organization to provide a home for 28 nonprofit partners around the high desert.
“Cindy was so willing to support us, I have admired her work and knew she would be able to create something special,” commented DCF’s Development Director Amy Ward.
The artist has supported the Foundation’s mission with both artwork and monetary donations since 2002 and holds the mission close to her heart. “The Deschutes Children’s Foundation from the very beginning has been at the top of my list for what they do for the community, I personally know children that have benefited,” Briggs explained.
“I have an amazing view of the Cascades from my home in Bend. I feel peace and serenity here, and I also felt at home in Tuscany…Italy continues to beckon me – the luminescent light, old world architecture, welcoming locals and beautiful landscapes are an artist’s dream,” she shared.
Briggs brings a lifetime of artistic influence to her work and has created a career surrounding her passion in which travel creates the framework for much of her art.
She enjoys painting alla prima (in one sitting) and take advantage of the spontaneity that watercolor invites. “My painting method is a bit serendipitous – mixing, mingling and manipulating the colors for subtle nuances and unexpected color transitions, then add calligraphy and finesse the edges. After I’ve started a painting I may paint non-stop into the night completely unaware of the time,” Briggs explained. “Watercolor inspires my soul – like life – the more I make the most of its unpredictable qualities the more interesting it becomes. With each painting my goal is to reverently capture the essence of my subject and infuse it with dynamic color and light.”
A recent cancer survivor, Briggs has embraced the simple joy of painting and the peace it has brought into her life. “Now that I’m a survivor it’s a part of who I am, and I want people to know that there is hope…The painting Terrazza in Toscana has a sense of hope for me.” The turmoil of the disease has led her to follow her heart and to paint what she truly cares about: the time that she has and the value of life.
“We feel blessed to be able to honor Cindy as the Signature Artist,” said Kim McNamer, DCF executive director. “She has been extremely generous beyond the Signature piece, offering guidance and other help. The generosity of the artists continues to be the key to the success of the auction.”