‘Two Water Ways’ exhibit opens March 8

This painting by Bill Shumway will be included in a new exhibit, “Two Water Ways,” that opens on March 8 and the Chessman Gallery in Lincoln City. Also featured will be painting by artist Pam Serra-Wenz. (Courtesy photo)

The Chessman Gallery, inside the Lincoln City Cultural Center, will host a next exhibit, “Two Water Ways,” featuring artists Bill Shumway and Pam Serra-Wenz.

This water-themed body of work will be unveiled at an opening reception on Friday, March 8, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., with wine, refreshments and a chance to meet the artists. The show will run until April 8.

Also unveiled at the reception will be the Chessman shows for 2019 and the annual Chessman art T-shirts — this year’s design is by Liisa Rahkonen.

Shumway and Serra-Wenz have exhibited extensively in the Pacific Northwest. Both painters believe that water is the key to life on this planet and that people should pay heed to conserving and retaining clean water resources. As artists, they have decided to bring attention to that issue by focusing on the characteristics of water and the beauty that water beholds in its natural setting. Both artists paint with acrylic and manipulate the surfaces in many intriguing ways, sometimes even leaving paintings out in the rain as part of the process.

Shumway earned a master’s degree in painting from the University of Massachusetts. He has been an artist, teacher and arts consultant since 1968. Prior to moving to Corvallis in the mid-1970s, he operated galleries and frame studios in Amherst, Northampton and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

When he arrived in Corvallis, Shumway was moved by the wildness of Oregon’s multiple landscapes and decided to open up to new ways of seeing and painting while incorporating the elements of abstraction that he had previously embraced. He shifted toward painting more directly and in the moment with new processes. He operated Pegasus Gallery for 35 years until his retirement in 2014.

Shumway uses acrylic, mostly on signboard panels, because the surface is smooth and resistant to the kinds of pressure he applies with rubber brushes and an assortment of scraping tools. He usually paints en plein air in order to create very visceral connections with his subjects. They are done in under two hours so that he can retain both the light and his perceptions on the subject. At times, he moves to his studio and works from the plein air images and his memory to produce more abstract and, sometimes, larger paintings. 

After working for more than 25 years and raising two children, Serra-Wenz retired at 49 years of age and become the artist that she’d always wanted to be. Her paintings embody movement and color intensity. Sometimes her abstract paintings reflect dreams. Being an artist provides the ability to immerse herself in hours of play and creativity and allows her to share her dreams with others. She says it is also an opportunity to grow and develop a skill that flows with the richness of life. 

Serra-Wenz employs two distinct processes to create her aquatic images. One involves the technique of layering colors and iridescent paint in an abstract under-painting. Then surface paint is applied. After the second paint layer dries, she removes some of the painted areas to expose the illuminated under-painting.  Her other process is rain painting. She uses acrylic pigments on non-paper supports, then lays them out in the rain for various periods of time with minor manipulation. That process may be repeated several times.  The results are truly intriguing and, of course, very fluid.

Learn more about the artists at www.williamshumwayart.com and www.pamserrawenz.com

The Chessman Gallery is inside the Lincoln City Cultural Center at 540 NE Highway 101. For more information about this show or any of the many events going on at the cultural center, call 541-994-9994, head to lincolncity-culturalcenter.org, or become a friend on Facebook.