By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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The posters will be used to promote the festivities for the 17th annual celebration of lavender, which this year will span July 19-21.
Activities are spearheaded by the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association, which hosts the Sequim Lavender Farm Faire, and the Sequim Lavender Growers Association, which hosts the Sequim Lavender Festival.
Both groups are populated by the area's lavender producers, who stage the festivals to mark their cash crops.
“It's important to the festival,” said Paul Jendrucko, spokesman for the growers association.
“The poster gives an identity to why we're here, which is to recognize the plant and the agri-tourism industry.”
“People love it already. It's one of the best paintings we've ever had,” said Scott Nagel, director of the farmers association.
“And having that iconic image is an important piece of keeping the word about lavender out there.”
A tiny California quail sits sentinel atop a birdhouse while quail chicks scour the ground beneath lavender plants in Moses Lake painter Julie Peterson's “Lavender Quail Watch.”
Peterson's painting was selected by the growers association from about 30 entries as the poster for the 17th Lavender Festival.
A native of Bellingham, Peterson has been selling paintings at the city's lavender extravaganza for the past decade.
While relaxing with an ice-cream cone at the Purple Haze Lavender Farm last year, she spotted a confident quail atop a birdhouse.
Unfortunately, the battery in her camera had died earlier in the day.
“But I picked it up to give it another try and got one more click,” Peterson said.
That last gasp of battery life then provided the scene that later was picked as the growers' poster for the 2013 festival.
For painting the poster, Peterson received a $750 cash prize, free vendor booth space at this year's festival and lifetime booth admittance to future festivals.
The farmers association selected a painting by acclaimed harmonica player Lee Oskar as the poster art for its Lavender Farm Faire.
Oskar's painting “Lavender Fields Forever” features rows of deep purple bushes stretching toward a blue sky guarded by a row of trees that stretches across the horizon.
He said he was inspired to create the painting by fields of purple lavender he saw on one of his trips to Japan.
“It's just such a wild color. It's a lot of fun to work with,” Oskar said.
In addition to his artwork, Oskar is a world-renowned maker of harmonicas.
He also played with the 1970s funk group War.
While playing at last year's balloon festival in Sequim, Oskar stayed at the Purple Haze farm.
After speaking with farm owner Mike Reichner, Oskar decided to donate his painting to the Farm Faire.
“It's a cool thing, that festival up there,” Oskar said.
“Whatever I can do to help these farmers, I hope it helps them out a bit.”
Prints of the painting and more of Oskar's other work will be on sale during the Farm Faire. He plans to donate proceeds to the farmers association.
Oskar also plans to play a set of music at this year's Farm Faire.
The farmers and growers split into two groups in early 2011. The city has since combined their dual festivals into the Sequim Lavender Weekend.
More about the Sequim Lavender Farm Faire, hosted by the farmers' association, is at www.sequimlavenderfarmersassociation.org.
Sequim Lavender Festival information can be found at the growers' association website at www.lavenderfestival.com.
More of Peterson's work is at www.juliepeterson.net.
More of Oskar's work can be seen at www.leeoskarpaintings.com.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.