WEEKEND: Artists come out of woodwork for gallery walks

PORT TOWNSEND — On the first Saturday night of the month, the artists come out of the woodwork. They’re looking to connect with the rest of the community and remind newcomers and old-timers that art is for everybody.

“I just do honest work and have done for 40 years,” said Larry Eifert, the painter behind the giant pieces inside Gallery Nine this month.

Eifert, whose works grace national park visitor centers across America, is unveiling his latest during the Saturday Gallery Walk from 5:30 p.m. till 8 p.m.

These images — totaling some 70 square feet — show the White Mountains and the Inyo National Forest of California, where the air is thin and the trees are ancient.

“It is an amazing, spiritual, ethereal place to walk,” said Eifert. His three paintings, which together stretch 17 feet in length, offer a visual journey of the climb from the Owens Valley and the town of Bishop, Calif., all the way to the 14,252-foot summit of White Mountain Peak.

Eifert’s paintings show the life along the way: old-growth bristlecone pines, tiny woodland birds, bighorn sheep, alpine flowers.

“Few people on the Peninsula ever see the larger paintings that I do for parks elsewhere in the country, so instead of immediately shipping these out, I thought we might hold them back for a month for a show in Gallery Nine,” Eifert said.

He’ll be on hand for the opening reception Saturday evening at the gallery at 1012 Water St.

Curious welcome

And lest it’s too crowded then, Eifert urges the curious to come by any time in February. Gallery Nine is open daily from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. Details are at www.Gallery-9.com.

Eifert has also done wilderness paintings for California’s Yosemite and Redwood national parks and for Kenai Fjords and Glacier Bay national parks in Alaska.

Locally, his murals of the Elwha River — as he envisions it post-dam removals — are on display at the Feiro Marine Life Center on City Pier in Port Angeles.

West of town, 24 Eifert paintings form a wayside gallery on Sol Duc Road between the Olympic National Park entrance gate and the Sol Duc Falls parking lot.

Eifert and his wife, Nancy, a well-known photographer, make their home in Port Townsend. Naturally, they hope the city doesn’t turn into yet another place where artists can’t afford to live.

“At Gallery Nine, there are a whole bunch of working artists — and there’s no snootiness,” he said. “We’re all trying to make a living . . . and to hold the lines and keep this a working-class town.”

The Port Townsend Gallery at 715 Water St. is another Gallery Walk stop with a new show. Titled “Industrial Arts,” it mixes Ginny King’s steampunk-style dolls, replete with dangling elements and propellers, and Dawn Sagar’s industrial-landscape paintings. The latter include scenes of the Boat Haven and Port Townsend Paper.

Sagar invites art lovers to a reception with “light refreshments and warm winter cheer” from 5:30 p.m. till 8 p.m. Saturday at the Port Townsend Gallery.

For more information, phone 360-379-8110 or visit www.PortTownsendGallery.com.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

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