PORT TOWNSEND — Gallery 9’s featured artists for July are landscape painter Ann Arscott and Sarah Fitch, who creates ceramic tiles and sculptures.
The gallery at 1012 Water St., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Arscott started drawing and painting as a small child and was about 5 when she entered her first art competition, organizers said. She used to return old soda bottles for money to buy paint. Her family loved backpacking in the wild, and always a tiny “art kit” would go into the bag.
Oils, pastels, water colors, ink and pencil are her mediums used on canvas, silk, and various papers.
She has traveled to 125 different countries and takes “thousands of photographs on my journeys,” she said. “These are the jumping off places for my art.”
There is a strong Asian influence to her style and subject matter that was shaped by her time at the China Institute in New York, organisers said.
Her connection to nature developed during studies of geology and while teaching at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.
“My Sumi-E work is special because our children have been living in Japan,” she said.
Sumi-E painting, “black ink painting,” is an ancient art form popular in Japan that strives to express the essence of forms rather than their realistic appearance.
“I find that influence creeps into most of my other work as well,” Arscott said.
“We came to the Olympic Peninsula about 20 years ago and I still can’t get enough of the astonishing beauty. In Gallery-9 this month you’ll see a couple of my new sunrise and sunset paintings. They tell a lot about this place.”
Fitch is a self-taught artist making bas relief stoneware ceramic tiles and sculptures.
Organizers of the show described her work as earthy folk art with a whimsical and spiritual nature.
Her enchantment with ravens is why she named her workspace the Rolling Raven Studio.
“My studio is in the woods where nature’s wildness still exists,” she said. “I need the quiet and the wild in my creative space.
For me, art is a meditative practice that helps in clearing mental clutter and maintaining a sometimes precarious hold on sanity in this capricious world.”
Fitch acquired her business license over 15 years ago while maintaining her nursing license and working in the medical field.
Her highly detailed tiles are created one at a time, and are not like mass produced items.
“When creating, my feelings are much the same as when I was a small child who wanted to touch the animals. Imagining and remembering a feeling are part of my process of transforming clay into a sculpture,” she said.
”My goal is to create a sense of liveliness, character and expression in my animal themed works.”
Fitch has turned to art as a healing process.
“My sons Pete and Sam helped to build my studio. Both have gone before me,” she said.
”It’s a risky thing to try and put into words what no language can actually describe. How art can be a balm for a wounded heart. How love never dies. How I honor my sons by living a creative life.
“It is in my studio more than anywhere else that I’ve come to know the gift of my one wild and precious life.”
For more about Gallery 9, see www.gallery-9.com.