The skill for a plein air painter is in knowing when to quit, refraining from overworking a canvas. Instead the painter gives you just enough to make you feel like you know the place or thing emerging in front of you. With a singularity of purpose, Kyle Paliotto is this kind of painter, an alchemist who conjures imagery from deftly applied bits of color, contrasting light and dark to evoke something just beyond emotion.

Citing the influences of such painters as John Singer Sargent and Frans Hal, Paliotto has created a body of work that captures the essence of northwestern life ranging from pastoral scenes to winters and waterways. His first solo exhibition at The Art Spirit Gallery in Cda opens June 5.

"The Entree Gallery at Coolin Bay will open for the season on Memorial Weekend with Nature’s Palette, featuring the oils and acrylics of Coeur d’Alene artist Mary Maxam. The exhibit, which runs May 22 –June 30, will highlight the artist’s lively bold color and brushwork, ranging from still life and landscapes to colorful fly-fishing scenes.

An art instructor for many years, and member of The National Watercolor Society and Northwest Watercolor Society, Maxam’s work can be found in regional galleries and national exhibitions, as well as in several books and magazine articles.

One of Maxam’s newest pieces, a mountainous waterfall landscape, will be available at The Priest Lake Chamber of Commerce annual “People Helping People” auction, held on May 23rd. The community is cordially invited to attend an artist reception for Maxam on Sunday, May 24 from 2-4 pm at the Coolin gallery.

The Entree Gallery, now at two locations, presents affordable art by over 140 regional artists. The gallery at Reeder Bay, located just 2 miles east of Nordman at 1755 Reeder Bay Rd, can be contacted at 208 443-2001. The Entree Gallery at Coolin Bay, located at 379 Bay View Road, can be contacted at (208) 443-2002. Both galleries open daily at 10am."

Photo: Rocky Blues, Acrylic on Canvas

Every year the Art Spirit Gallery holds their Clay Invitational, this year celebrating their 10th anniversary. This exhibition showcases a broad swath of regional artists whose excellence in ceramic arts is as varied as the pieces on display. While one may emphasize glazing, firing or finishing techniques, another demonstrates unique construction, while another uses clay to explore content in an unusual way.  The standouts this year for me are:

Marilyn Lysohir, based out of Moscow, Idaho, who invests personal narrative into her figurative works. There is a stoic wistfulness to her most recent figurines, which stand sentinel-like, white porcelain dolls with a girdle of applique flowers beneath a sheer, fabric A-line skirt. 

Alex and Sandy Anderson also exhibit figurative works, suggested by the form in a way that reminds of Mary Frank's early draped clay works. These have a rich, graphite patina and harken to historical and geographic journeys with titles like "Lady of the Floating World II," "Elder," and "Kabuki II."

A majority of the work tends towards functional ware, varied in size and shape and finish. To me that's a testament to the need for more conservative works in a depressed economy, yet the boon is that humble vases, bowls and plates get to be front and center stage for awhile. That's when the clean aesthetic of Paddy McNeely's willow and porcelain basket or the integration of precious metals in Ken Turner's plates really get to shine.

First Friday May 2009 in Spokane

Thumper and I hadn't seen each other in awhile so he drove down from Sandpoint and we made the trek into the "big city" for First Friday artwalk in May. 

As usual, we started on the westside and make our way east, never with enough time to see all the places we'd like to:
Sandy Ayars at Kolva-Sullivan
Dean Davis at Barrister Winery
Gail Grinnell at Lorinda Knight Gallery

Dean's work is interesting moreso for his technique, which uses multiple exposures of the same image through a super high quality camera. The images are then recomposited to create an almost surreal vision of the space, in this case mostly familiar Spokane interiors like the Glover mansion or Fox Theater. And, of course, he's a fabulous photographer capable of working across genres. Although better known for his architecture photos, his commercial portrait work is also strong. Barrister is a great place for an opening because it has all the elements for a lively social event: wine, food, places to sit, and the interesting ambience of the winery itself.

At Lorinda Knight, Gail's work hung like seacreatures, with us the underwater observers gazing up at their floaty and translucent forms. Using layers of dressmaker pattern paper, silk, ink drawing and other media, this artist creates work that is highly imaginative. Not whimsical, but somehow otherworldy, a compression of memory and method and media that feel both familiar and ghostlike.