(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
COLORFULL CHEWELAH: Chewelah mainstay Gail Johannes showcasing a year of art from around the area…
Gail Johannes is well known artist in Chewelah, but this year was a challenge for her. With COVID-19 shutting down many gatherings and businesses, she also cancelled all of her classes until further notice.
Johannes said she felt the inspiration escape her as a relatively high-risk person during the pandemic.
“When I’m distracted my creative side shuts down, I end up going outside, hiking, gardening and that’s when I do a lot of my photography that in turn inspires me to paint,” Johannes said.
Due to travel restrictions, Johannes was outdoors a lot more around Chewelah. While she was not painting much between March and July, her outdoor excursions re-engaged the creative side of her and paintings began to happen once again.
Johannes’ show in November at the Trails End Gallery is titled “2020 – A Year of Change” which is a fitting title for obvious reasons.
The show will include a wide variety of abstract natural art, many with a Chewelah theme.
The pieces have been accumulating for close to a year. Johannes said in choosing what natural scenes to paint, she looks for an emotional impact and tries to capture that on paper.
“With this show I am going with an open expansive feeling,” Johannes said. “No ceilings. There are many local scenes in this show, but they won’t be exactly how they appear in real life.’
Johannes paints in an abstract manner but says things are generally recognizable.
“I like people to look at a painting and then finish it themselves,” Johannes said. “The paintings are 80 percent “explained” and people fill in the blanks. That way it’s more personal for them.”
Johannes works in watercolor and mixed media. She has been using more inks, along with adding pastel and acrylic. Johannes’ paintings are sometimes created in the natural setting (plein air) or in the studio.
The Chewelah artist will have 30 pieces in the show, which will hang for the rest of the year. She said people should recognize some paintings of Quartzite, Eagle Mountain, the Sand Canyon area, and the Chewelah Valley.
“I felt free to move around here in the Chewelah area as opposed to taking off on a road trip during a pandemic,” Johannes said.
While at higher risk for the virus, Johannes said she was relieved to hear Trails End would be taking all the necessary COVID-19 precautions. She said she’s been more mindful of where she goes and what she does during the pandemic.
The “2020 – A Year of Change” show begins on Nov. 5 and will go until Jan. 8, 2021. The Show opens at Trails End Gallery from 5:30-8 p.m. on Nov. 5.