Artists Bill Shumway and Pam Serra-Wenz will make a splash this Friday, March 8, as they unveil “Two Water Ways,” the latest exhibit at Lincoln City’s Chessman Gallery.

The exhibit will open with a public reception from 5 to 7 pm, offering wine, refreshments and a chance to meet the artists. The Chessman will also be unveiling its schedule of shows for 2019 and its new t-shirts, featuring a design 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 creates in its natural setting.

Both artists paint with acrylic and manipulate the surfaces of their canvases in many intriguing ways, sometimes even leaving paintings out in the rain as part of the process.

Shumway earned his 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-’70s, he operated galleries and frame studios in Amherst, Northampton and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

When he arrived in Corvallis, Shumway was deeply 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 towards painting more directly and in the moment with new processes.

He operated Pegasus Gallery for 35 years until his retirement in 2014 and helped start the Vistas & Vineyards plein air program. Today, he continue to paint and teach individual and group workshops.

Shumway usually paints en plein air in order to create visceral connections with his subjects. He tries to complete his paintings in under two hours so that he can retain both the light and his perceptions on the subject. He applies most of the paint wet-on-wet with brushes, then manipulates it with brush handles and rubber or metal spatulas to blend, scrape away or texturize the pigments.

Shumway’s work will hang alongside paintings by Pam Serra-Wenz, who has been a full-time artist since retiring at the age of 49.

“Being an artist provides the ability to immerse myself in hours of play and creativity,” she said. “It allows me to share my dreams with others.”

Serra-Wenz employs two distinct processes to create her aquatic images. One involves layering colors and iridescent paint in an abstract under-painting before applying surface paint on top. After the second paint layer dries, she removes some of the painted areas to expose the layers beneath.

Her other process makes use of Oregon’s ubiquitous rain. She uses acrylic pigments on non-paper supports, then lays them out in the rain for various periods of time with minor manipulation. The results are truly intriguing and, of course, very fluid.

“Two Water Ways” will run through April 8, available to view from 10 am to 4 pm Wednesday through Sunday. The Chessman Gallery is located inside the Lincoln City Cultural Center at 540 NE Hwy. 101.

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