(Lindsay Gilmore | Photo courtesy of Old Mill District)
Bend artist Lindsay Gilmore admits she gets a little giddy while perusing homes on Zillow and randomly catches a quick glimpse of one of her paintings or prints on a wall in a home for sale.
This winter, Gilmore’s unique art will be front and center for all of Bend to see.
Gilmore, one of four artists in the Old Mill District who make up The Stacks Art Studios & Gallery, was chosen artist to create an original piece for the district’s annual Winter Art Series.
The Old Mill District approached Gilmore nearly a year ago and proposed the project, telling her they’d like it to include the iconic smokestacks, maybe the mountains and the river – but left the final piece open to Gilmore’s own interpretation.
“I decided to paint the first thing that came to mind — a peaceful, snowy winter morning in the Old Mill District,” she said. “My family and I live nearby and spend a lot of weekend mornings walking or biking the paths along the river, grabbing a treat at Sisters Coffee, and playing at the playground with our two young daughters. The Old Mill District is such a vibrant and fun gathering spot in Bend — there’s a little something for everyone. I feel so fortunate to be able to work and play there and wanted to capture that feeling of gratitude and appreciation with my painting.”
The Old Mill District marketing team asked Gilmore for some sketches along the way so they could weigh in, but she said she’s never really been good with sketches of her work.
Instead, she’d just walk the piece down the sidewalk from her gallery to the admin offices and show it to them, getting valuable feedback along the way.
“I actually don’t do a lot of commission work…and when you’re creating for yourself, you don’t get that feedback. It’s all up to you to decide whether or not the painting is finished or if it needs more work,” she said. “I tend to feel that people’s feedback always improves the artwork. I find it to be a nice collaboration between myself and who I’m creating the piece for.”
Her artwork will serve as the basis for the Old Mill District’s winter marketing campaign, appearing on the cover of the district’s winter guide, in SantaLand, on street banners, as the OMD website’s backdrop, the company ornament, and on other marketing pieces during the season.
“I’m going to be geeking out at all the signage along the street,” she said. “Being able to see my art around town and around the community is a real pinch me moment.”
The serene winter setting Gilmore painted fits into her style of creating art that exudes the peace and quiet of Central Oregon’s natural settings.
“The unifying theme in my work is that it’s inspired by nature and the outdoors,” she said. “Being outside, running, skiing or biking and all the other amazing things we can do here – that’s where I find my peace and rest. I’m super inspired by our surroundings.”
Her artwork’s color palette mirrors the landscapes we might see on the Deschutes River Trail or at Sparks Lake on a summer morning.
“I want to paint a place as you see it in real life and how it feels when you’re there,” Gilmore said. “I often make the colors a bit more vibrant and make the mountains a bit bigger. You know when you’re looking at the mountains from town and they look so big and majestic, but when you take a photo it’s always disappointing? My hope is to capture our beautiful local landscapes in a way that a photo never could, and help people bring a bit of the outdoors into their homes.”
To an outsider, some of her pieces can appear a bit abstract. But Central Oregonians can look at much of her work and quickly be transported to a familiar place in the woods, along a river or on a trail.
“If you can identify a place, you know what you’re looking at,” she said.
Gilmore worked out of her home – her young daughters’ playroom, to be specific – for about 10 years before moving into The Stacks in 2022. She said going to the studio every morning has changed the perspective about her own career choice.
“It’s just really nice on a personal level to put on real clothes and leave the house and it helps me take myself more seriously,” she said. “When I say I’m an artist, I’m fearful that others don’t see it as a real job. But having a studio, where people can come in and see the work and say hi, makes me feel like it’s more legitimate. And I’ve acted as such.”
The Old Mill District’s Winter Art Series started in 2017 as a way to showcase local artists through a large-scale marketing campaign.
“It’s really special to feel like I’m beginning to be a bigger part of the community of Bend and giving back to it,” Gilmore said. “I love capturing what’s beautiful about this place we’re so lucky to call home.”
About the Old Mill District:
Celebrating 20 years as one of the Pacific Northwest’s most distinctive and dynamic mixed-use developments, the Old Mill District is located on 270 acres that formerly housed one of the largest sawmill operations in the world. The rich history of the land is coupled with spectacular mountain views, scenic river vistas and an extensive trail system to enjoy the outdoors. More than 55 local, regional, and national retailers and businesses call the Old Mill District home. Bend’s Old Mill District – the most unique shopping, dining, living, and entertainment experience in the region.