Dark Wolves Vivain Olsen

Sunriver Resort Lodge Betty Gray Gallery

(Photos above: Dark Wolves, pastel by Vivian Olsen)

Karen Bandy, Vivian Olsen, Barbara Slater

Sunriver Resort Lodge Betty Gray Gallery celebrates 2017 with artists Karen Bandy, Vivian Olsen and Barbara Slater.  The gallery’s winter quarter exhibit continues through February 24.

In the lower gallery, Bend artist Karen Bandy presents whimsical acrylic paintings of Central Oregon wildlife, arising from life-long artistic endeavors and influences. During her early years in Portland, stringing love beads and drawing, she also annoyed her mother fashioning miniature sculptures from warm candle wax. High school brought serious interests with her study in wax model carving and lost wax casting.

Art continued as a focus at the University of Oregon with her courses in painting, sculpture, design and a degree in Art Education. After graduation and three years teaching art, she began her career in jewelry design and manufacture.  In 1987, the artist and her husband moved to Bend.

Building a successful jewelry studio, Bandy’s creations earned many awards including first place in the prestigious Spectrum Awards of the International American Gem Trade Association. Her winning ring design featured a blue chalcedony, a less well-known gemstone at the time.

Increasingly recognized for her blue chalcedony designs, she brought worldwide attention to the now rare gem and spurred collections by Cartier and David Yurman.

This rewarding but exacting work of jewelry design and manufacture also encouraged her desire for more expansive forms of creativity. Hence, 10 years ago she picked up brushes and began to paint.

The artist notes the rewards of that decision, “The impermanence of paint (unlike a gemstone’s permanence), the constant movement of painting, use of brilliant color, the possibility of layering paint, scrubbing away to reveal underpainting, and adding back again are freeing, always leading to change and my newest style.”

But, avows Bandy, life on the high desert greatly broadens her perceptions and further stimulates her desire to create, “I am inspired by every sunrise on the high desert.  Wandering among the sage, juniper, pines and bitterbrush, seeing and being seen by animals great and small, discovering the rich language of pictographs – I am compelled to paint!  I’ve combined animals, paint, color, emotion and symbolism, linking all my experiences of the natural world of the Great Basin.”

Her fanciful wildlife paintings – blond bears, expressive deer, stern jackrabbits – and their amusing titles (Waiting for a Return Call [MockingbIrd]) differ greatly from her more formal jewelry creations; these artworks intimate the youthful artist creating shapes from candle wax.  Now mature and accomplished, Bandy continues to design stunningly beautiful jewelry in addition to fueling her newfound passion for painting.

In the upper gallery, Vivian Olsen exhibits her watercolor and oil paintings of  “what I love – animals and birds of the high desert,” and Barbara Slater shows realistic oil paintings depicting the personalities of dogs, cavorting and curious goats, a noble wolf and other creatures.

Sunriver Resort welcomes the public to the exhibition open all hours. Billye Turner, art consultant and gallery curator, provides additional exhibition information at 503-780-2828 or billyeturner@bendnet.com.

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