by ASHLEY BRUCE, Cascade A&E Editorial Intern
Last year, local retiree Richard Butler took a Central Oregon Community College class teaching him how to construct a paddleboard. He enjoyed the process so much that he decided to continue creating the boards independently and began looking for an artist to help him. Butler felt artwork would add “a personal touch to the board,” and after coming across the work of local painter Judi Williamson, he felt he had found the art it needed to have.
Redmond artist, Williamson, attended the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and received a bachelor of arts degree from Chico State University, where she graduated in 1992. She works with a variety of materials, including oils, pastels, sculpture, watercolors and bleach. Williamson particularly likes painting horses and people and describes her style as “bold and unique.”
Recently, she expanded her repertoire for Butler’s boards. “The latest [board] was inspired by Richard…he likes Hawaiian flowers,” Williamson comments. Butler affirmed his appeal for the work by saying, “I have always liked the Island’s style of art. I wore “aloha” shirts at work and like that motif.”
Together, Butler and Williamson work on the paddleboards, with Butler creating the board and Williamson painting on it. Butler feels the boards are “works of art in wood themselves,” as they are tedious to make. The production of each board takes 60 to 100 hours, not including the painting.
The process includes selecting the wood, sawing it, creating supportive internal frames for it to lie on and sanding it. Butler’s boards are generally constructed of 5-millimeter hardwood plywood and planks of 1/4 to 3/16 inch thick cedar wood, which is used to make a pattern with the wood.
“The wood has a wide variety of colors and grain patterns, so no two boards look alike,” explains Butler. After all finishes and the sanding are done, Williamson paints her design on the boards, using acrylic paint. The board is then sprayed with a coating that protects it against weather and water.
The duo recently showed both in-progress and completed boards at an open house on April 26 at Noble Romans in Redmond. The boards are now being sold through Butler’s website, www.rbboards.com, or through contacting Williamson. Custom boards are also available.
“I can deliver a board in any stage of construction that a person wants,” explains Butler. “I recently helped a person complete a board in my shop…I would like to do more of that.”