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Summer colors surface for Coupeville art show
Painting may be a fun pastime for Helen Bates, but as part of Whidbey Allied Artists, it has become even more. Bates will be one of many artists showing at the Whidbey Allied Artists’ art show to be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday, July 6 to 9, at the Coupeville Recreation Hall.
See artists in action and view art; there is no admission charge.
The walls of Bates’ and her husband, Ken’s, home are lined with Bates’ paintings of flowers in vases, colorful landscapes and images of her dog and cat.
Bates uses acrylics, monotype, watercolors and oils to represent the world as she views it.
“As for my style of painting, if I have one, I guess it could be called ‘augenblick,’ a German term referring to the blink of an eye. I cannot paint in the naturalistic style of some Pacific Northwest artists. My pictures are simple and lacking in detail, much like what one might see in the blink of an eye,” Bates said.
The Whidbey Allied Artists do three or four shows a year and many of the artists, including Bates, show their work year-round at Wind and Tide Book Store on Pioneer Way.
“It’s a good group,” Bates said, adding that the variety of art includes photography, stained glass, hand-dyed scarves, pencil, basketry and even orbs that tell stories.
Bates has been with the group off and on since 1994 but she’s been creating art for most of her life. When she and her husband lived in Texas in 1988, their apartment had no art. Since she knew no one in the area, she spent her time painting and filled her home with beautiful landscapes.
The retired teacher/administrator moved to Oak Harbor in 1994 and learned under Joan Brosnahan, the late artist. Brosnahan got Bates started with watercolors and into the Whidbey Allied Artists.
From traveling with students overseas to leading cruises and being part of the American Association of University Women and the Whidbey Playhouse, Bates has kept busy.
“Even though I’ve been involved in a lot of things around here, I still come back to the art,” Bates said.
Bates’ art beautifies her home with bright colors inspired by Monet and scenes right out of Whidbey Island. One room bursts with the myriad colors of her art hanging three or five to a wall. A verdant landscape hangs near a portrait of her dog Tipper and vases of painted flowers bloom beneath towns painted from cruise ships.
Hanging beside her own art is a variety of works by other artists, especially local artists she supports.
“It’s more than a hobby, I guess. I love being surrounded by beautiful things, including my dog and my husband --- and not in that order,” Bates said, laughing.
Bates said she does her art for fun, not to sell. One plus is getting to be around other artists.
“They’re neat people,” Bates said.
The positive reinforcement she’s received from them has been wonderful for her, Bates said. However, she said she’ll always remember the highest accolade she received from Brosnahan: “Helen, you’re improving.”
“That made me feel good,” Bates said.
“We’re all very indebted to Joan (Brosnahan). She was our mentor and everything else. Our friend, our mentor, our teacher,” Bates said.
Nearly 20 artists will present work at the show, including Margaret Livermore, the show coordinator and a watercolor artist. A number of artists will do demonstrations at the show, including Bates, Mary Alice Sterling, who creates baskets, and Mike O’Connell, who makes story orbs and more.
For details, call 360-969-2111.