Michael Orwick

I last took part in Open Studios 10 years ago. I loved it but the amount of work both before and after is incredible. As a full-time artist that also teaches and shows in 8 different galleries time is very important to me. So it was with much consideration and convincing of my amazing family that it was time to take part in this amazing event again. So much has changed in the last 10 years and I can’t wait to share all that I have learned with you all.

As a native Oregonian, I cannot separate my art from my love of the Pacific Northwest. The coast, mountains, and meadows, each infused with mysterious light and atmosphere, weave narratives into their settings. I am inspired to tell their stories with my paint and brush strokes. Inspiration comes so naturally here.

I attended the University of Oregon for a few years to establish a business foundation, then finished with a Fine Arts degree in Illustration from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. I immediately took on an internship with Will Vinton Studios (now Laika Studio), and also began to focus on children’s book illustrations. But, true to the predictions of my professors, after a few years as an illustrator, my true passion as an oil painter prevailed, and I began my career as a full-time oil painter fifteen years ago. I was blessed with a nearly immediate collector base that found something in my work that resonated with them.

I love working on my personal projects for the galleries, as well as on commissioned paintings for clients, whether for private, corporate or civic displays. I show in eight galleries across the country.

On a typical day, you can find me working in my home studio or outside painting Plein-air in some beautiful location. I also teach oil painting and give seminars.

Last year, my wife, eleven-year-old daughter and I took the year off from “real life” to travel the world. We visited twenty-one countries and painted with over 500 inspiring children from various orphanages and schools as part of our cause, which we called Studio Everywhere. This year it is my goal to reflect on that trip and create works of art that celebrate that special chapter in our lives.

Thank you for this opportunity to share our adventures and explorations through my art. I look forward to meeting all of you. Please feel free to introduce yourselves.

Artist Statement and the thread that binds all my work
As a painter, the effects of light and atmosphere are what I remember about a location and what inspires me most. Light transforms the ordinary or even beautiful into the exceptional. My quest is to capture these fleeting moments and help people see things again through new eyes. 

A visit with Bob Heath

I am fascinated with glass art! The process seems like magic. If I weren’t holding down the fort in my own studio this year, I think Bob Heath’s studio might be the first one I would visit, so it was nice to have the chance to ask him a few questions…

What do you have in store for visitors this fall during the Washington County Artists StudioTour?
We have a fun hands-on activity for visitors to our studio. We have on hand, some basic glassware, including simple water glasses, wine glasses and beer glasses. For a small fee, visitors can choose a glass then decorate it with vinyl stickers made with a wide variety of punches that we have on hand. Then they can take their glass to the sandblast cabinet and frost everything that isn’t covered by a sticker. After that the stickers can be removed to reveal a permanent design in the glass. In the past, we’ve had everyone from children to seniors give this a try and they all had fun and left with a treasured memento.

How did you get involved with art? Did it interest you growing up?
I’ve had a fascination with art glass for as long as I can remember, probably starting with the stained glass windows in the church I attended as a child. I also fondly remember the tree that my grandmother kept decorated with brightly colored bottles hanging from strings. Blown glass balls and intricate glass paper weights intrigued me as an adult. It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I finally decided to try it myself and my wife and I enrolled in a stained glass class. I really loved the process and then I discovered glass fusing and the myriad possibilities that it held for different ways to manipulate glass and there was no looking back. The technical side of glass fusing appealed to the engineer in me and I found myself always thinking about new techniques that I wanted to try and working out processes to achieve specific designs. That’s still what drives me today, over 20 years later.

What’s your art background? Where did you learn your art?
I don’t have a formal art background. My career, from which I am now retired, was as a software engineer. My engineering background continues to be a strong influence on my glass art. I love to play with processes and combine techniques from multiple disciplines to try and achieve something new. There are a number of excellent glass art schools and organizations here in Oregon and I’ve been very fortunate in opportunities to learn from dozens of truly gifted glass artists and instructors. I continue to be fascinated by new techniques and there are always more classes on my horizon.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?
A visitor to my booth at a show looked at one of my rainbow colored “Radiant” bowls and said: “Looking at that just makes me happy”.

What research do you do before you start a project?
Where possible, I like to start by making a drawing of what I want a piece to look like. This is usually done on a computer where I can easily edit and play with shapes, sizes and colors. For complex pieces, I use the computer model to dissect the work into component parts which can then be constructed separately. I take extensive notes about each kiln firing I do, so when I’m finally ready to convert the computer image into glass, I have a reference library of previous work to consult in order to get just the effect I want. If I am doing something new, I’ll often do some test pieces first to work out the details before committing to larger work.

Chris and Merry Goldthorpe

Chris and Merry are artists who will be part of the Open Studios tour in October. Chris is a photographer (and also our Open Studios webmaster) and Merry makes the most exquisite, little felted animal figures. They each do their own wonderful work and have also come up with a delightful way of collaborating.  Several weeks back they came by to take some photos of my studio and to talk about the blog and web site and I noticed Merry working on a little cat as we visited. “He’s going to England and Spain with us, next week,” Merry explained. “Chris will be photographing him in some interesting settings, we hope.”  Intrigued, I asked them to send me at least one photo for the blog and this arrived this week, with Merry’s note.

“Please meet our new friend, Ildefonso ! He was on tour with us in Segovia, Spain. Here he is next to the bandstand in the main plaza. We took a day trip out to the royal palace, La Granja de San Ildefonso, to view the luxurious home and gardens of King Phillip V. He was the grandson of Louis XIV. This “little Versaille” has been restored to its’ original 18th century splendor with acres of cultivated gardens, rose beds, wooded areas, and massive fountains. Inside the palace were halls of marble sculptures, original furnishings, art collections, and tapestries. The tapestries were stunning…about 20 feet high and a length of a large room. Each had a title, like “Fortune,” “Prudence,” and “Nobility”. Figures swirled over decorative motifs, depicting scenes of history, mythology, and Biblical events. Alexander the Great led his batallion of elephants across the landscape, while fashionably dressed saints recorded good deeds and bad in their notebooks. Each tapestry was created in the workshops of Flemish weavers over several years’ time, all by hand. We hope this note finds all of you inspired, and Ildefonso sends his best wishes.”

Whatever you do, don’t miss the Goldthorpe’s magical studio on the tour!  In the meantime you can see more at their website,  https://www.extremefelting.com/


Watch This Space!

Washington County Artists are gearing up for the 2017 Studio Tours! We are thinking ahead to October, planning what we want to share with our neighbors, making sure our studios are going to be welcoming and interesting for visitors and thinking about what makes our art and our studio unique.  Through the summer we will be spotlighting the artists and giving you a taste of what you will see when you join us the weekend of October 21 and 22.

My name is Terry Grant and I am one of the artists participating in the tour. This will be my 7th year! I make fiber art and love sharing my studio with neighbors and friends every October. I will be coordinating the content for this blog this year and look forward to introducing you to the other artists as we tell our stories here.


Our 2017 Artists and Galleries

These are the artists and galleries that will be participating in the Open Studios Tour 2017.

  • Catherine Bede
  • Darla Boljat
  • Michele Bufton
  • David Cordes
  • Susan Curington
  • Les Dougherty
  • Kathie Ellis
  • Peggy Falconer
  • Penny Forrest
  • Evelyn Fritz
  • Joyce Gabriel
  • Tim Gabriel
  • Linda Gerrard
  • Chris Goldthorpe
  • Merry Goldthorpe
  • Angela Grainger
  • Terry Grant
  • Jennifer Harlow
  • Bob Heath
  • Sam Hingston
  • Amanda Houston
  • Maria Huppi
  • Patti Isaacs
  • Paulina Kriebel
  • Gretha Lindwood
  • Michael Mason
  • Dee Montague
  • Angela Neiwert
  • Michael Orwick
  • JoAnn Pari-Mueller
  • Virginia Parks
  • Annie Salness
  • Donna Sanson
  • Alise Sewell
  • Victoria Shaw
  • Helvi Smith
  • Christy Stephens
  • Meylan Thoresen
  • Nanette Tsatsaronis
  • Bruce Ulrich
  • Emma Weber
  • JoAnn Wellner
  • Jim Zaleski
  • Art On Broadway Gallery
  • Florence Street Studio & Gallery
  • Valley Art
  • The Village Gallery of Arts