Michael Hale’s acrylic paintings are on display.

Michael Hale’s acrylic paintings are on display.

Paintings, wood-turned objects featured at Gallery 9

PORT TOWNSEND — Gallery 9 is featuring Michael Hale’s acrylic paintings and Jim Conway’s wood turnings this month.

Gallery 9, home of the North Olympic Artist Cooperative, is open at 1012 Water St., from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday.

It is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Masks are required.

Hale was born in the Northwest, and has been at his art since the time he could hold a pencil and later a brush, organizers said.

He attended Washington State University where he majored in his second love of architecture and minored in fine art.

Not liking the ridged conformities of architecture, he switched to a commercial art program at the Burnley School of Professional Art in Seattle.

After a three-year diversion in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, he went back to school at The Museum Art School in Portland, Ore, where he resumed his studies in commercial and fine art.

Taking his knowledge of building and marrying it with his architectural training and his skill of art, Hale started an architectural rendering business, first in the Northwest and then in the Phoenix area.

Moving to Los Angeles in the early ’90s, Hale became a scenic artist for various movie and scenic production studios, working on everything from movie sets to stage drops to cruise ship productions.

Then he moved to Port Townsend in 2000.

“There was just too much of everything to paint here: the water, the mountains, the boats and yes, that grand old architectural element of buildings … beautiful, red-bricked buildings,” Hale said.

Ever since, that’s the subject he’s painted the most of, a close second being the masts and the sails of wooden boats moored at Port Townsend harbors.

Influenced by Maxfield Parrish and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Hale gears much of his work towards fantasy landscapes incorporating figures often nude, with imposing architectural elements.

Jim Conway

Jim Conway

Conway grew up working on a farm in the El Paso valley of Texas, where he built things of wood and of metal. It wasn’t until he moved to Port Townsend that he became acquainted with turning wood on a lathe.

It was love at first shavings.

“I was always enamored with pottery throwing, but never could do it because of the effect of the wet clay on my hands. When I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I took a class in bowl turning and found ‘dry pottery,’ he said.

“I’m fascinated by how a boring chunk of wood from the wood pile can be shaped and transformed into something beautiful and functional,” he added.

Jim Conway’s wood turning makes art of functional objects.

Jim Conway’s wood turning makes art of functional objects.

Conway makes most anything that can be turned on a lathe; decorative bowls, utility bowls, seam rippers, pens, ice cream scoops, cremains vials, kitchen utensils, covered vessels, tops and wands.

“I use unique woods that will add to the finished product due to their varied and dynamic grains and colors,” he said.

“There are so many surprises that come out as a piece is turned that you didn’t know were there in the shape and color of knots and grain in the original piece.”

For more information, see www.gallery-9.com.

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