This week's blog was written by painter Jennie O'Connor. Jennie interviewed Jamie Gilmore of Bee Lux Candles.
How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op? I’ve been with Artistic Portland since October 2016. I wanted to join to be part of the Artistic Portland community and to have a place to sell my beeswax creations.
What’s your background? My background is finance and law. For over 25 years, I worked in Portland as a trust and estate paralegal with an emphasis on tax work. Prior to that, I lived in Los Angeles and worked as an internal financial auditor, real estate agent (sold condos on the beach!), and mortgage loan officer. I was born and raised in LA and graduated from USC with a degree in Finance.
Why do you do what you do? I work with beeswax because for me, it is a magical and miraculous substance – I love everything about it – the way it looks, smells, feels, and burns… It’s endlessly intriguing to me.
Describe yourself in one word. Why that word? One word to describe me… curious. I am extremely curious about how things work and how they are made. I research a lot of things that seem to have no bearing on me or what I am doing, but I’m just so curious.
What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have? I guess I would say that I like to scour thrift shops, EBay and Etsy for interesting objects that would make cool candles. Also, I conduct burn tests with new candles and wicks, which is fun to do while I’m not making candles. Cleaning the beeswax is also one of my “routines” – it’s mostly a passive task, but it takes a couple of days and there are several steps to it.
What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever created? Too many to choose… but if I had to choose only one of my 200+ molds to keep, it would be the footed St. Nicholas – I put a huge amount of time and effort into finding it, and now I also own the master (from which the vintage candle company(ies) made their molds). The footed St. Nicholas candle is not particularly impressive nor is it a customer favorite, but for whatever reason, I love it.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill, what would it be? Definitely pottery skills
What do you like to do when you’re not creating? I love cooking for family and friends, gardening, traveling, reading, working on genealogy, and camping.
This week’s blog is written by Carl Sandeen of Kristi Usher Fine Art. Carl’s wife Kristi is a bronze sculptor of western themes as well as a two-dimensional artist with oil, pencil and ink. Kristi's work is known for realism and projects her intimate knowledge of horses, dogs and the cowboy way of life.
Kristi and I took an end-of-season trip to Odell Lake, staying in a rustic cabin. The popular Odell Lake Lodge, down the hill, was mostly deserted, and late in October not much was going on around us. But in the stables, near our cabin, were two majestic Belgian draft horses, well cared for, left alone with nothing to do but lay their massive muzzles on our shoulders and enjoy the attention we gave them. Kristi visited at least twice a day, bringing snacks, talking with them, and braiding their thick manes
Kristi's favorite subject for her art is the horse. And her love for horses, her lifetime of experience with horses, comes through in her art. I help Kristi at shows, but it's her love for the subject, showing up in her sculptures and paintings, that keeps folks at our display tables, talking and reminiscing. It's the intimacy crafted into her art that tells a grandfather that a piece will be a perfect gift for his granddaughter. It tells a retired ranch couple, that a bronze sculpture is a reminder of their years of hard work, and will look great on display in their living room.
Daydreams is an example of this love of subject, and almost a self-portrait of Kristi. She writes on the display card:
Her world is still so young
A heart filled with hope
Visions of reaching for the stars
With the strong and lasting love for her best friend
Confidant and partner
She pauses in the midst of life's journey
Yes, Kristi will often daydream with a sculpting tool or brush in her hand as she adds loving detail to a new piece of art
KRISTI USHER FINE ART
(503) 397-3740 firstname.lastname@example.org