Artist paints vibrancy of 'nature's chaos' in Port Angeles exhibit to open Thursday; free talk, reception slated Friday
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“Surroundings: Painting Nature's Chaos” brings Greg Navratil's vibrant, abstract, multi-paneled paintings to the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center this week.
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“Surroundings: Painting Nature’s Chaos” brings Greg Navratil’s vibrant, abstract, multi-paneled paintings to the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center this week.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Twenty-eight years ago, the artist boarded the train for Seattle, his bicycle in tow. Upon arrival, he toured the San Juan Islands, Expo 86 in Vancouver, B.C., and Vancouver Island — and on the last day, he pedaled to the top of Hurricane Ridge.

“I never forgot the beauty of the Northwest,” Greg Navratil said.

He'd lived in Denver for years, but when the time was right, he found a place to live and paint near Seaside, Ore.

And this week, Navratil will return to the Olympic Peninsula for “Surroundings: Painting Nature's Chaos,” his exhibition of 19 multi-paneled works at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center.

Opens Thursday

Admission is free to this unprecedented show, to open Thursday and stay on display through May 11 at the fine arts center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Also free are Navratil's talk at 4 p.m. Friday and the reception with the artist from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. that evening.

The “Surroundings” panels are “bursting with brilliant, vibrant colors . . . Close up, his paintings seem haphazard,” but from a distance, you'll recognize the natural scene, said Robin Anderson, the center's executive director.

Navratil has painted — and hunted his natural subjects — full time since 1989.

“I love the Northwest forests during a foggy and misty day,” the artist said. “Then, I become a part of the forest with the fog and mist clinging to me and the trees.

“But this is not what I like to paint. I need light and color — the more the better. Spring and fall are my favorite times to be out hunting for paintings. I look for the abstract and chaotic qualities in nature . . . When you get intimate with it, it can bear a resemblance to a Jackson Pollock drip painting.

“I believe there is a painting in every square foot of ground.”

Thick layers

The “Surroundings” show contains scenes from the Northwest, Colorado and northern Michigan, with acrylic paint applied not with brushes but dispensers.

Navratil uses these to inundate his canvases with thick layers of color, edge to edge, corner to corner.

Some are more abstract than others: Two in this show are awash in iridescent black, white and silver.

The painter extends a fervent invitation to his show.

“It is a journey into light and color,” he said. “Your eyes are invited to wander everywhere.”

For information about the show and the center, open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, visit www.PAFAC.org or phone 360-457-3532.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 01. 2014 7:46PM
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