Hey, Kathie Ellis…

Who is “Mad Moisan” and why is that the name of your studio?

My husband and I built my studio last year, and I named my watercolor business Mad Moisan Watercolor.

My father died several years ago at 98 years old. During his life he built several dairy farms from the ground up. Also helped to raise 8 children. He was quite a guy, and was affectionately named Mad Moisan. He always wore a red and white striped night shirt, and my mother had the back embroidered with his nickname. Every one of us have some amazing stories about our dad—getting lost at sea, herding cows in the middle of the night to name a few. My favorite story is one that all of us have different versions of, and that is our dad’s practice of suddenly appearing on the front porch, just as we were saying goodnight to our dates, wearing his red striped night shirt, usually carrying a shot gun and yelling “What the Hell is going on out here?!!”.

My dad was also quite artistic, and usually carried a notebook in his pocket for an occasional sketch. I named my studio after my dad to honor him and his vibrant spirit. I’m looking for a red and white striped night shirt to fly as a flag. This is my first year on the tour, and I’m pretty excited!

Linda Gerrard’s wonderful glass

My Beaverton neighbor, Linda Gerrard, makes fused glass work that has this wonderful depth of color and texture that you just have to see. Wetlands (above) and Turning (below) are both new wall pieces just finished for Washington County Open Studio Tour on October 21st and 22nd.

Like many of our Washington County Artists, Linda uses her art to support causes that are dear to her. Her 22 month old grand daughter was born with Cystic Fibrosis and besides loving her to bits, she’s trying to help the foundation raise funds for continued research. She just donated Mountain Stream (18″ in stand) and Haystack Rock (9×15″ self-standing) to their dinner and auction coming up in a couple of weeks. Says Linda, “It’s a pleasure knowing my work goes to an art-loving contributor and toward such a worthy cause.”

Stop by Linda’s this coming weekend to see these wonderful pieces and find out how they are made.

JoAnn Pari-Mueller is inspired by the Natural World


JoAnn Pari-Mueller

This is my third year in the Open Studios Tour. I love peoples’ reactions to my country studio and my work. They have thoughtful questions and are genuinely interested in how some painting, calligraphy, pastel, or collage was created. One woman asked me if I’d be willing to paint a beaver and it led to being part of the Wetlands Conservancy Statewide Beaver Tales Exhibit. One of these beaver exhibits also led to my being asked to participate in a group show at the lovely Fairweather Gallery in Seaside, OR

Watercolors are my first love – I was introduced to them 8 years ago. I started calligraphy a year later and gradually started exploring pastels and collage, and recently, acrylics.

My two-year-old studio addition is a lovely space with big windows and skylights in a park-like setting with a wooded backdrop. It is full of my books and inspirational materials such as rocks, shells, feathers, and art objects collected from around the world. My two papillons, Daphne and Minerva, like to hang out there, too.

My mother is a painter a printmaker (age 96!). While growing up I was surrounded by art and artists. I was also a Portland Art Museum Docent (tour guide) for many years. Although I chose a career as a registered nurse I feel as though those art genes were just lying dormant – ready for exposure.

I love demonstrating various interesting art techniques in my studio and have added a few new techniques since last year – especially experimenting with beautiful natural plant materials and acrylic overlays.

During these past 8 years I have discovered that nothing is as exciting as seeing an idea come into existence. Flora and fauna provide endless inspiration that allow me to continue exploring the use of rich backgrounds, detailed subject matter, calligraphic words, and sometimes grids or elaborate borders.

I have some questions for Anji Grainger…

It’s been fun talking with some of the artists on the tour. I love the beautiful color effects Anji Grainger achieves in her watercolors and wondered where she finds her inspirations and what she’s working for her visitors to see later this month, so I asked a few questions…

What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a body of work exploring the world of raindrops. The series is called Pacific Northwest Raindrops.
If we look closely, there are many wonders to see inside a raindrop – its own little world so to speak – but actually it is a refraction of what is around us. In this painting series my goal is to give the viewer a look into the tiny world of raindrops and to create a feeling of magic and mystery. The challenges I face are accomplishing the combination of the exactness of a raindrop with the blurred and distorted effects that happen in the refraction process of a round and clear sphere. With watercolor as a fluid medium, it was very difficult to get sharp clear lines so it took many hours of working slowly to achieve my goals.

Is it (Art) your main business?
Yes. 4 years ago I quit my day job and began a full time career as an artist and instructor. It was a leap of faith and has taken many hours of hard work. This last year I made it past the earnings mark and had a great year supporting myself solely as a working single artist.

What art do you most identify with? What’s your favorite art work?
My work derives its inspiration from the magic and wonders of nature. I paint with the movement of nature and visualize the growing twists and turns of a twig or a leaf. I try to capture the stillness of an early morning walk in a field, along a river or in a forest. I also focus on detail whether it’s simply the blending or bleeding of two colors like one would see on a ripening peach or the finite lines and edges of a raindrop. My current explorations are in the discovery of how elements of nature and texture react in watercolor to leave beautiful patterns and surprises in unique patterns on the paper.

What research do you do before you start a project?
I familiarize myself with the subject as thoroughly as I can via research, sketches and practice paintings.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Paint was comes from within you. Don’t listen to naysayers who don’t understand your passion or your visions.

Anji Grainger
Blue Pansy Cottage Arts

Peg Falconer is almost ready…

Yesterday I was sweeping up the latest layer of scraps and threads from the studio floor and thinking about all the studio tidying that is happening in Studios all over Washington County right now. The Studio Tour just a little more than two weeks away and the participating artists are getting their spaces ready!

i got this note from Peg Falconer, tour organizer and book artist/calligrapher, sublime—

“Thank goodness for the Open Studio Tour; it forces me to clean up the clutter and make art. This is the state of the studio this morning…ACK.

The good news is that buried in the mess is a sketch for a collaborative project I participated in last January, led by local artist Shu-ju Wang. Fifty artists contributed their version of these words; Shu-ju printed them on to fabric, making prayer flags to hang or hand out on Inauguration Day. Once I find my table space, I am going to rework this as a card that will be available for the Tour!”

Good find, Peg! Back to work, I go. Wonder if I’ll find something that good buried in the pile of stuff on my work table…