(Old Mill District Winter Art by Shelli Walters)
The Old Mill District commissioned local artist Shelli Walters to create its annual winter artwork, which is featured on annual holiday ornaments, the backdrop for SantaLand and on banners, kiosks, billboards and in printed pieces throughout Central Oregon. Walters created the original piece by layering paint and collage, a process she says reflects the layers of life.
“I wanted to portray the warmth and charm of winter in the Old Mill District,” says Walters, a lifelong Oregonian who moved to Bend from Seaside 40 years ago. “Summer’s easy. Winter’s tougher. It’s not as vibrant outside and I was intrigued by that challenge, bringing forth the color and beauty and magic that exists in the winter.”
Inspiration for the piece came from Walters’ own deep history living in the area, her love of the outdoors and her adventurous spirit. The composition captures the natural beauty of the region reflected in the golden tones of sunset, as well as a nod to the area’s timber history. She included elements in the collage such as music sheets and upcycled Old Mill District guide pages to create depth and texture. The finished piece features the snow-capped mountains, a majestic elk and the iconic Old Mill District smokestacks.
A graphic designer for more than 25 years, Walters began pursuing art full time last year. In addition to curating the Old Mill District’s annual winter theme, Walters has had solo shows at Tumalo Art Company and Spokane’s Marmot Art Space in 2019 and was part of a group show highlighting artists from the western part of the United States at the Favell Museum in Klamath Falls. She also created the foundational art piece for the Deschutes Children’s Foundation’s signature fundraising event, Ripples. Walters is currently working on signature artwork for the Deschutes River Conservancy’s annual RiverFeast dinner and auction in April.
The original artwork will be on display at Tumalo Art Co. from November 20 through the end of the season. A limited amount of the exclusive holiday ornaments will be available for purchase at the art gallery and SantaLand after Thanksgiving.