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Artists' visions support Johnson Creek watershed health

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Artist Gary L. Michael shows to his wife, Oregon Rep. Carolyn Tomei, his entries in the art show. Again this year, throughout the summer, local artists have been encouraged to draw, paint, and photograph scenes along Johnson Creek – leading up to an art show and sale.

“This is our third annual Johnson Creek Watershed Council Art Show,” commented the organization’s event coordinator Marty Urman, at the September 7 opening on the Reed College Campus.

“This concept was started to raise awareness of the watershed and get people more interested in Johnson Creek, the activities that go on in the watershed, and how they affect the creek.”

This year, 20 artists put 45 pieces of artwork on display. “We don’t give the artists a theme; we just ask them to depict something that interests them, anywhere along the watershed.”

Here is a sampling of the art, and the artists, who participated this year.

Sarah Ferguson

Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood

Medium: Watercolor on paper

Professional artist Sarah Ferguson feels a deep connection with Johnson Creek that flows near her home. “I love walking through the park and noticing how it looks, at different times of the year; what’s happening as the seasons change.”

Ferguson is a hands-on volunteer who participates in the watershed council’s clean-up and restoration efforts.

This year, she submitted three paintings for the exhibition. “I love painting outdoors. This event inspires me to go out and explore, and paint at different places along the Johnson Creek Watershed.”

Gary L. Michael

Website: HYPERLINK "http://www.garylmichaelart.com" www.garylmichaelart.com

Milwaukie resident

Media: oil/pastel, oil, and soft pastel

While perhaps not as well known has his wife, Oregon Rep. Carolyn Tomei, Gary Michael is a Portland native who grew up near Powell Butte. “I’ve done 20 paintings of the Powell Butte area; the meadows are among my favorite subjects.”

Michael said he discovered his artistic talents at an early age. “I've always been able to draw. But, I decided to earn my living professionally as an architect. I’ve done all the architectural renderings for my firm, Michael and Kuhns Architects, PC – perhaps hundreds of depictions of our projects.”

He decided to participate in the annual Johnson Creek “Paint Out” when it started three years ago, because “I've always had some attachment the creek, so when I heard about the Watershed Council and what they’re doing, I decided to get involved. I’m happy to support them however I can.”

The art show continues through October 12 at Reed College’s Vollum Lounge. A portion of the sale of each artwork goes to support the JCWC programs.

Find out more about the Johnson Creek Watershed Council at their website: HYPERLINK "http://www.jcwc.org" www.jcwc.org