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Painting by Marie Powell
Springtime on the Long Beach Peninsula; under an iron-gray rain, the Port of Ilwaco shines with its art scene, its boutique shops, fine restaurants and even its new wine bar. But nowhere is the glitter brighter than at the Shoalwater Cove Gallery, the haven of Marie and Randy Powell, she, the talented pastel and acrylic painter of local flora and fauna. Recently, Marie has jumped again, this time with mixed media, and, a bit surprising for a representative painter, into rich stirring abstractions. The shop is around the west corner from the Powell's previous incarnation, the original Shoalwater Cove Gallery.
How sublime the photography of Bruce Peterson of the Wade Gallery, just a hop and skip along the west side of the port, down a pedestrian walkway that faces the brightly painted charter boats that punctuate the port with primary colors, reds and greens and yellows. Peterson's photos are actually pigment prints, his stunning images transformed into pigment dyes set into 100 percent watercolor paper. The compositions appear faultless, the images harkening back to the rich Northwest treasures: sea trollers, ocean panoramas and old growth forests, often eclipsed by soft ocean mist.
Between the Shoalwater and Wade galleries, Don Nisbett presents his clever watercolors at his Crewhouse Gallery, part cartoons and part Northwest imagery. The artist is often called "the ambassador of the Port." The gallery is bright and cheery and polishes off a happy renaissance of art and good taste, in this case, much of it with a sense of humor.
There is a new show in town. Artisan, opened recently by Donna and Truman Rew, is a shot in the arm for the small hamlet. The center offers artistic exploration and expression. Artists can rent space. This spring, the master watercolor painter Eric Wiegardt is offering a class. Both professionals and beginners can watch Wiegardt wield his brush with all the dexterity of a Winslow Homer.