This painting by Sandra Offutt, titled “Boats Afloat,” will be on display Saturday during a reception for the artist at the Northwind Arts Center, 701 Water St. (Sandra Offutt)

This painting by Sandra Offutt, titled “Boats Afloat,” will be on display Saturday during a reception for the artist at the Northwind Arts Center, 701 Water St. (Sandra Offutt)

Port Townsend vibes inspires local artist

PORT TOWNSEND — Sitting outside and soaking up the natural vibes is all Port Townsend artist Sandra Offutt needs for inspiration.

“The natural world motivates my paintings, whether they’re created en plein air or from travel sketches inspired by changes in perspective,” she said.

“When I paint, I concentrate on the way light hits my subjects and try to describe that light with color. All the elements that go into a painting challenge me. I never tire of studying, learning, practicing and discovering new ways to meet these challenges.”

Offutt is the Showcase Artist of the Month at the Northwind Arts Center, 701 Water St.

From 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, The Arts Center will host a reception for Offutt. During the reception, Offutt’s paintings will be on display and she will provide an illustrated demonstration about how she creates her art.

The reception is free and open to the public.

“In this demo, I’ll show how this pursuit informs how I start a painting — maybe with colors that will leave you scratching your head,” Offutt said.

“I’ll explain how and why I move from one color to the next in order to come up with my best effort to portray the effects of light on a scene.”

Offutt said she will also “talk about the importance of getting covered as a judgment tool, and finally give some time to the final stage of making the painting, where more reality comes into play.”

Offutt grew up in many parts of the United States, Japan and Panama; conducted graduate studies in philosophy, religion and psychology; and has worked and lived in Greece, Germany and Washington, D.C.

As a first-grader, Offutt won first prize at the Arizona State Fair for her drawing of a ballet dancer.

Later, as a working mother, she said she spent almost every Sunday drawing old houses in pen and ink. That passion evolved into watercolor, where she said she “sank or swam” for about 20 years.

Offutt said she also took night classes and workshops, one of which, with Caroline Buchanan, brought her to Port Townsend.

There she began working with oil paints, first studying for four years with Diane Ainsworth, then continuing with different teachers at the Scottsdale Artist School throughout the next three years.

“For the past year and a half, I’ve been on a journey to find out more about color, especially in relationship to painting,” she said.

“I now know that this is a life-long quest, and that I’m just in the initial phases of the trip.”

The show runs from through Dec. 30th.

Exhibit hours are 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday, and from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

For more information, visit


Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at cmcdaniel@

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