Welcome to the Valley Arts Group

The Winter 2022 Valley Arts Group Exhibit

We hope everyone has enjoyed our art exhibitions throughout 2021. The new Winter 2022 exhibition is currently on display from January 15th thru April 16th, with our featured artists Dena Weigel showing at the Community Rec Center at the Barn and Karen Peter displaying her art at the Sudden Valley Clubhouse (El Agave).

We welcome all people interested in art to come explore what your local Sudden Valley artists are working on at a reception at the Barn from 4-6 on Saturday, January 15th. See a preview of all the art included in the exhibit below.

“Color and Inspiration”

Featured artist Dena Weigel

Just like many other artists, the seclusion of the past two years pushed me to explore new ways of expressing myself through art. However, working full-time and being a wife and mother still posed constraints on my ability to focus and the time I could spend with a painting. That led me to a new style of art that I had never experimented with before.  

“Fluid” or “pour” painting is an abstract style that relies on color theory and artistic skill to produce beautiful art. Using bold colors and different application techniques, the artist creates depth, contrast, and tone in a variety of shapes and colors. It also eliminates the need for brush work to create details and shortens the time required to complete each piece while still producing amazing results—a key aspect to my ability to create a finished piece.

Color theory has always interested me, and fluid painting provides the perfect avenue to explore its many dynamics. There are multiple ways the paint can be applied in fluid art and for this exhibit I have chosen five—pressed, swipe, flip, puddle, and blown—to demonstrate the range of this style of abstract art. No two paintings are alike and each one presents a new experience for the viewer, even within the same type of application. 

For most of my life I have been attracted to traditional styles, but lately I have turned my attention to abstract art where the viewer can have a more intimate experience. I believe my interest in fluid art comes from my childhood growing up in Western Kansas, where the notoriously flat lands provide an amazing canvas for the constantly changing colors seen in the sky. In Sudden Valley, I turn to the changing seasonal colors and northern lights to find inspiration for my fluid art.  

I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1993 and continued my art education during two overseas university programs where we studied European, the Middle Eastern, and Asian masters dating from prehistoric times to the modern period. Since moving to Sudden Valley I have become more involved in the local art community and look forward to exploring many new styles and mediums and learning from the other artists of the Valley Arts Group.

If you are interested in joining the group, please visit the Become a Member page.  

“Hope and Longing Expressed Through Watercolor”

Featured Artist Karen Peter

I retired with my late husband to Sudden Valley from Denver, Colorado in 2006. While living in Colorado, I was active in the Lakewood (CO) Arts Guild and the guild’s South Union Gallery.

I am a self-taught oil painter for many years and have always particularly enjoyed painting still life subjects, people, and animals. After moving to the Pacific Northwest, I became enamored with the new and very different challenges present by watercolors and have subsequently worked almost exclusively in this medium, continuing with my predilection towards painting mostly people and animals.

Since coming to the Bellingham area, I have participated in both the Whatcom Art Guild and the Valley Arts Group, serving on the VAG Board of Directors for many years. I have enjoyed taking part in several casual painting groups and attending an ongoing, informal weekly watercolor class, most recently via Zoom. I’ve also been fortunate enough to participate in several days long, in-person watercolor workshops taught by artists whom I greatly admire.

The pandemic has had an impact on my recent work, as evidenced by several paintings in the collection on display at the Sudden Valley Clubhouse (on the wall between the administration office and El Agave Restaurant). During the long months of social isolation, I found themes of hope and longing creeping into my work without my seeming awareness. I would finish a painting and then have a kind of epiphany as to what might have been behind it and where the mood of it originated. In “Out of the Woods,” for instance, I had intended to make a painting of the incredible patterns, textures, and colors of the tree trunks I see on my walks along the Lake Louise trail. As the painting developed, I saw the base of the trees rising from a murky darkness below toward a lighter, brighter sky above. This inspired me to add the beautiful and brilliant Western tanager as a kind of beacon of brighter days to come. And then, voila! There was a COVID painting.

You may also see the pandemic’s influence in several other paintings I have on display. I would love to hear if any of them evoked particular feelings, thoughts, or emotions in you relative to your experience of this difficult time. You can email me at KarenLPeter2@msn.com, or leave comments on my website.

The Artists of the Winter 2022 Exhibit