The maple leaves seem happy to feel
the heat of the sun on their bodies
like children in summer …
— From “She Who Walks the Earth,” by Kathryn Hunt and Loretta Libby Atkins
PORT TOWNSEND — A free pop-up celebration of art and poetry is set for Saturday as a painter and three poets get together at the Cotton Building, 607 Water St. in downtown Port Townsend.“She Who Walks the Earth,” the new collaborative book by Loretta Libby Atkins and Kathryn Hunt of Port Townsend, is the spark for the event from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Visitors will have time to see and contemplate giclee prints from Atkins’ paintings and listen to a poetry reading at 5:30 p.m. Hunt will read from her poems in “She Who Walks,”Alice Derry of Port Angeles will read from her book “Asking,” and Kate Reavey of Sequim will share poems from her debut collection, “Curve.”
All three books will be for sale during the event. Soft drinks and treats will be served and prints of Atkins’ artwork will be available for purchase, with proceeds to benefit Dove House and Northwind Art.To introduce the color-drenched encaustic paintings in “She Who Walks,” Atkins likens the images to the fish she knew as a girl.
“I was raised in Colorado and learned to fly fish on the North St. Vrain River,” she writes.
“When fish are pulled from the water, their color is unsurpassed — usually all the colors of the rainbow — though the color will last only a few minutes before it begins to fade.
“Pulling [encaustic] prints from the hot plate after painting them with hot pigmented beeswax is like pulling trout from the St. Vrain River, only the color will not fade.”
Hunt, for her part, writes that her creative impulse comes alive “in the reciprocal nature of the human body and Earth.” She finds inspiration in Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric” and in her garden.
Hunt has authored two other poetry collections, “Long Way Through Ruin” and “Seed Wheel,” and the chapbook “The Country I Come From.” In another life, she was a movie director whose film “Take This Heart” won the Anna Quindlen Award for Excellence in Journalism.
Atkins, also retired from other work, now devotes herself to her art. The pieces in “She Who Walks” seemed to make themselves, she writes in her artist statement.
“They came as easily as a leaf falling from a tree. Effortless after 75 years of effort.”
Northwind Art is collaborating with these artists to present the Saturday event. The nonprofit Northwind Art School at Fort Worden State Park offers courses in encaustic painting and other art forms, with information at https://northwindart.org.