Archive for the ‘Local Art Scene’ Category

Mom would’ve been pleased… I think!

Monday, November 4th, 2019

Dale Espy Little – “Mom” 2010

When my mother advised “moderation in all things,” she was speaking of indulgences, not character traits.  Or so I’ve always thought.  Not too many desserts.  Not too many drinks.  Not too many party clothes — not too many parties, for that matter.

Saturday night, however, 6×6 Art Auctioneer Bruce Peterson put a whole new spin on what mom might have meant.  Just before the bidding began, I had been asked to draw the winning raffle ticket.  As I recall, I performed that task last year as well — without incident.  But this year, when it was time, Bruce introduced the drawing with a bit of an explanation.

He reminded the crowd that, for many years, Kaye Mulvey had been the one to draw the winning ticket.  “Kaye was the most honest person we knew,” explained Bruce.  “And so now that Kaye is no longer with us, we looked for the second most honest person…”

Bruce and Betsy, Nov 2019

“Gadzooks!” I was thinking.  “I really hate to be identified as second best at anything.”  However, before I could finish the thought, Bruce said something like, “But we finally had to settle for someone who is moderately honest… Sydney Stevens!” That got a big laugh, of course, and I’m sure mine was most enthusiastic of all.  It sure put a different spin on my mother’s life-long advice.  I think she’d have been proud!

Coming Soon: Music in the Gardens!

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

Perhaps you’ve noticed.  There’s a lot of fluffing and buffing going on in Peninsula gardens these days.  The gardener-owners of seven properties — from Stackpole Road in Oysterville to Sahalee Hill in Ilwaco — are giving ‘what-for’ to potential weeds or other pests and talking sweetly to buds about to burst forth.  They are, of course, all readying for Water Music Society’s 13th annual Music in the Gardens Tour!

Tickets ($20 each) are already on sale.  If you haven’t yet ordered yours, they are available online through the Water Music Society’s Music Gardens Tour webpage at or by phone at 1(800) 838-3006. But, even if you have your tickets, the venues will remain a deep, dark secret until July 6th.  Not until then will the maps with garden locations be revealed!  Tickets purchased online or by phone must be presented at one of our three local outlets in order to receive the Official Garden Tour Map with the addresses of the gardens. This is also your ticket to the Gardens. Outlet locations will be posted the week before the Tour.

By now, most of us know that the gardens on these annual tours are full of surprises — unusual plants and plantings, imaginative solutions to common coastal garden problems, and eye-candy that goes far beyond the expected.  In addition each garden will feature an artist (in some cases, working at their craft) and musicians, both local and imported!

Musicians this year will include guitarist George Coleman; jazz pianist, Tom Grant; two music duos, “Tanz” and “Sea Strings”; guitarist Brian O’Connor; guitarist Terry Rob; Jean Pierre and Al Perez; guitarist Dave Drury; and pianist Tom Trudell and his son, saxophonist Tristan Trudell.  Wow!  And the line-up of artists is equally impressive — Susan Spence (basketry); Stan Reidesel (watercolors), Renee O’Connor (tile work), Nansen Malin (welding for topiary);  Jason Moore (Sculpture); and Somsri Hoffman (eclectic paintings on unusual objects!).

And did I mention that raffle tickets will be for sale for items yet to be revealed?  (I do know that a lovely floral by Marie Powell is among the items that a $5.00 raffle ticket could win.)  All-in-all, Saturday July 13th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. promises to be a feast for all the senses.  Oh!  I didn’t mention that most venues will also offer “small bites” — taste treats to keep you going in case you don’t want to take time out for lunch!  Pack a sandwich, I say.  You’ll have trouble tearing yourself away from each garden, as it is!

The best part of all, of course, is that Music in the Gardens is a fundraiser put on by the Water Music Society each year to raise money to support Ocean Beach School District’s music program.  It just doesn’t get better than that!






Seriously Conflicted

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

Sometimes the gods smile on us.  Sometimes they frown.  But right now, they are seriously toying with us!  Either that or they have their wires totally tangled.

It’s a date and time conflict of unparalleled proportions.  On Saturday, February 9th from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The Oyster Crackers will be performing in Ilwaco while Cate Gable, Sarah Day and Tony Pfannenstiel will be reading from their recent works of poetry in Ocean Park.  Which to attend?

An impossible choice!  Both events involve friends and creative works near and dear to our hearts.  The Oyster Crackers event at the River City Playhouse has been planned for some time.  It’s a benefit concert for the Ocean Park Food Bank and the crackers, themselves — Bette Lu Krause, Rita Smith, and Chrystl Mack — have been handing out little flyers about it for over a month.  We’ve told them from the get-go that we’d be there.

The Oyster Crackers

We learned about the poetry reading just the other day.  There was an announcement on the bulletin board at Adelaide’s – right beside the Oyster Crackers announcement.  I could scarcely believe it!  And then, I saw in the Community Calendar in the ObserverOCEAN PARK — An Afternoon with the Peninsula Poets is set for Saturday, Feb. 9, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., a poetry reading will be held at the Ocean Park Library. Featured poets are Sarah Day, Cate Gable and Tony Pfannenstiel, with guitar accompaniment by George Coleman. An open mic will begin at 2 p.m. Please feel free to share a poem with the audience. If you have questions call Tony at 503-720-6786.

Aaaaugh!  I don’t know whether to scream or go deaf!  The last time Cate hosted a poetry event on the Peninsula (at least as far as I know), it was at our house in Oysterville and we couldn’t be there.  Nyel was in the hospital in Portland for a serious heart-related event and, of course, I was with him.  With the help of neighbors Tucker and Carol, the poetry reading – that time with our friend Bob Pyle and with Tod Marshall, then the Poet Laureate of Washington – came off without a hitch.  Or so we were told.

Cate Gable

On the one hand, The Oyster Crackers – friendship, a verbal commitment, a desire to support the food bank vs. we’ve seen them several times already, have hosted them here for a House Concert and have them booked for another next Fall so it’s not like we’d be abandoning them.

On the other hand, The Peninsula Poets – friendship, a first-time opportunity (at last!) for us, my own abiding interest in the written word and those who write them vs. a previous commitment and the hope of another opportunity SOON!

On the other hand – I feel like Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”…

In the Thick of Proud

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

Tucker and Sydney

If I’d had any buttons, I’d have burst them for sure.  Last night at the 6×6 Art Auction our friend and neighbor’s oil painting went for the next-to-highest price.  And, really, if you are at all familiar with the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum’s annual fund-raiser, you know that the sock monkey painting (always submitted by Leslie Hall Lipe and always acquired by Karla Nelson and always fetching top dollar) is in a class by itself.

There was a serious bidding war for Tucker’s painting.  It came down to two people on opposite sides of the room and, unbeknownst to them during the bidding tumult, they actually know one another.  In the end, it was Kenny Tam who took “Oysterville Regatta” home with him and his smile was as big as if he had won the actual race.

Won by Kenny Tam

It was a wonderful ending to a fabulous evening.  This was the ninth annual and I think it was the best one yet.  Certainly, it was the most crowded necessitating opening up a side-room-storage area and setting up several tables there.  Auctioneer Bruce Peterson immediately dubbed it the “VIP Room” and hinted that next year it will include a hot tub – or was it a massage table?  In true VIP fashion, the bidding was hot and heavy from that area, and the Wine Tasting Dinner for Six donated by the Shelburne Inn went for more than $1,000 to a man rumored to have a 6,000-bottle wine cellar in his South Carolina home.  Wow!

Our table was in the middle-ish on the north side of the big room.  We had reserved it hoping to accommodate Nyel’s wheelchair.  It was perfect!  Bill and Sue Grennan, along with Tucker and Carol shared the table with us and I felt absolutely honored to be sitting next to the artist, himself!  They always say “pride cometh before a fall,” but I don’t think taking pride in a friend’s accomplishments is quite the same.

Sock Monkey of the Wild Northwest

The whole evening was glorious – the art seemed better than ever, there were lots and lots of friends in attendance, the food and beverages were perfect, and the staff did everything so seamlessly, you’d think this was a daily activity.  And, while the entire audience was full of quiet concern when “Security Guard” Richard Schroeder toppled over, even that event was handled smoothly.  Dr. Weaver (whose wife is always a contributing artist) was in attendance, the EMTs came quickly and, as the audience clapped, Richard gave a wave from the gurney as he was carried out.  The last we heard, he should be fine.

And thanks, Tucker, for giving Oysterville’s Regatta a solid place in the local art world.  Can you hear us calling for “More!  More!”?

Time to Clap and Cheer

Friday, October 19th, 2018

If ever there was a time to clap and cheer, it’s tonight!  The crème de la crème of the local art community will have their work on display at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  Actually, the artists will be there, too!  It’s the Opening Reception for the 6×6 Show & Auction – time to check out the artwork AND the artists before the actual auction two weeks from tomorrow.

From what I can see of the CPHM website about the auction, there are at least 72 entrants this year.  The theme is “The Spectacular Wild North West and, as is always the case, each artist had his/her own take on how to express that idea.  Subjects range from our natural world – wildflowers, crows, salmon and pelicans – to familiar scenes of North Head and Washington Star Route 4 and night skies at the beach.  Media choices range from photography to collage, to charcoal to watercolor and beyond – even clay.

I had to search the website a bit for Leslie Hall’s traditional sock-monkey.  He’s peeking over the bottom of his canvas – not camouflaged, but concealed none-the-less.  I wonder how collector Karla Nelson will react to a partial monkey!  The auction may be even livelier than usual.  (And if you have no idea what I’m talking about… be sure to attend on Saturday, November 3rd from 5 to 8.  We’ll see if Karla feels half a monkey, or less, is only worth half the price…)

The auction was conceived a number of years ago as a fund-raiser for the Heritage Museum.  It has been wildly successful and has become one of the stellar events of the Fall Season here at the beach. People attend not only for the artwork but for the “show” itself.  Auctioneer Bruce Peterson, Security Guard Richard Schroeder, and Switchboard Operator Karla Nelson all have their groupies and never disappoint the audience.  They are definitely a show within a show!

From the online preview, it seems to me that this year’s entries are particularly fine.  (Or maybe I say that every year.)  I understand that, as an added attraction at the reception tonight, there will be some large panels displaying photographs of all the previous years’ entries.  What a great idea!  I wish I could conclude this with, “See you there!” but circumstances are such that we will be missing out.  If you go, take lots of pictures and send them my way!  Attending vicariously and after the fact will be better than nothing.

Gardens! Music! Art! Appetizers!

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Music in the Gardens is coming right up!  Saturday, July 21st from ten to four.  We’ve have our tickets in hand.  We also have lists of musicians and artists, which gardens they will be in, and at what times. Trying to decide where to go first and in what order to proceed is a lot like putting together a life-sized three-dimensional puzzle.

Tickets, which include a map and the garden descriptions, are the crucial element.  They cost $20 and are available at the English Nursery in Seaview, the Basket Case Greenhouse in Long Beach, and at the Bay Avenue Gallery in Ocean Park.  Hurry!  Do not pass go!  They are your entrée to a day of enchantment.

If you are like me and want to see it all, musicians and artists schedules are available on the Water Music Tour Facebook page:   Rather than duplicate that information here, I’ll just give an overview to whet your appetite.

Garden #1 – Singer Songwriter Brian O’Connor with Ceramic/Garden Tile Artist Renee O’Connor.
Garden #2 – Jazz Musician Tom Grant with Basket-Maker Susan Spence.
Garden #3 – Tanz and Sea Strings (musical duo Judy Eron and Charlie Watkins) with Metalwork Artist Jacob Moore.
Garden #4 – Brad-n-Dave Acoustic Band with Watercolor Artist Betsy Toepher with Kent Toepher selling garden books.
Garden #5 – Jean-Pierre Garau and Al Perez of the Al Perez Band with Sculptor Constance Jones.
Garden #6 – Guitarist George Coleman with Potter David Campiche and Topiary Artist Nansen Malin.

Coordinating the times is the tricky part, especially if you want to catch all the musicians.  For those, checking the FaceBook page is really a must.  If it helps any, the artists in Gardens #1, #3, #4, and #6 will be there all day. Other artists and all musicians have two- to four-hour blocks of time.  As I said at the beginning — Trying to decide where to go first and in what order to proceed is a serious challenge – but a delightful one, even so!

The tour will truly be a feast for all the senses!  Oh… and did I mention food?  Many of the garden hosts will be offering appetizers – often being served on porch or deck. I hope to see you somewhere along the tour route on Saturday!

When Things Are Perfect!

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Welcoming A Full House

I suppose it’s a fear of jinxing things to say right out loud while it’s happening, “This is perfect!”  In fact, isn’t there a saying we are all fond of that goes, “The best is yet to come.”  Well, I’m here to tell you that last night’s House Concert here was, indeed, perfect, and I don’t think it could possibly be topped.  The most we can all hope for in the future is parity – if that word can even be used in the context of musicians, performance, audience, food, wave-lengths and all the other nuances and subtleties of the evening.

The musicians were Larry Murante and Wes Weddell with a guest appearance by Nick Drozdowicz.  Plus, there was an audience participation opportunity, as well the ambiance added by a whole host of ‘connections’ among us all — connections that spanned the centuries. They ranged from Sarah Crouch, our resident ghost who lived here in 1892, to Tod Marshall, the current Poet Laureate of Washington State who we hosted for a Poetry Reading last September. (Actually, Nyel had a sudden hospital stay and we couldn’t be here as planned, so I guess we were ghost hosts!)

Nyel, Bear and Tater

Larry and Wes were fresh from a ten-day Singer/Songwriter Retreat co-sponsored by Sue and Bill Svendsen of the Performing Arts Center in Long Beach and by Cyndy Hayward of the Willapa Bay Artists in Residence here in Oysterville.  These accomplished musicians shared the stage, one song each, throughout the evening – some new, some old, and all heart-tugging in one way or another.  Of special note (but we hope not by You-Know-Who) was Larry’s “Ballad of Mrs. Crouch” written back in the early 2000s, after his first stay in this house.

And topping things off in a fabulous serendipity, Holly, one of Nyel’s favorite nurses at Emanuel Hospital came with her husband, Max AND with their two wonderful dogs, Bear and Tater.   When the concert was over, ‘the boys’ came in to visit.  Nyel, who has been saying “We need a dog” for months now, was in seventh heaven.  Shhh!  Don’t tell the chickens!

Gardens+Music+Art=All Day Saturday Fun!

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Terry Robb

At last!  The Water Music Festival has revealed which gardens will be hosting which musicians and which artists during tomorrow’s Music in the Gardens tour. It’s by the numbers – like a giant puzzle.  Half the fun will be plotting the course!

Garden 1 Brian O’Connor (guitar), 10:00 – 1:00; Ocean Bay Trio (three of the Dixie Chicks), Afternoon
Garden 2 Gary Stroutsos (flute), 10:30 – 12:30
Garden 3 Brad and Dave (bluegrass banjo, guitar, mandolin), 1:30 – 3:30
Garden 4 George Coleman (guitar), 10:00-1:00
Garden 5 Terry Robb (blues guitar), Noon to 2:00
Garden 6 The Winterlings (indie folk duo), Noon to 3:00
Garden 7 Barbara Bate (piano), Noon – 2:00

Noel Thomas by Noel Thomas

Garden 1 Susan Spence (beach baskets), 10:00
Garden 2 Patricia Fagerland (garden art), 10:00
Garden 3 Jacob Moore (jewelry) 10:00, – 2:00
Garden 4 Noel Thomas (watercolors), Noon to 2:30

The garden numbers correspond to the numbers on the map in the Music in the Gardens ticket.  If you’ve already purchased yours, you can plot your tour by when and who will be playing/ displaying at what times and where and for how long.  Got that?

Tickets are for sale online at or at these places on the Peninsula: Bay Avenue Gallery, Ocean Park; Basket Case Greenhouse, Long Beach; The English Garden, Seaview.

Coming Soon: Music in the Gardens!

Monday, June 19th, 2017

2017 Poster – Music in the Gardens

Never mind that the flowers may not yet be in bud.  And never mind that the musicians won’t be tuning up for another month or so.  It is time to mark our calendars for the Water Music Festivals BIG EVENT OF SUMMER – Music in the Gardens 2017.

It’s a one-day-only extravaganza scheduled for Saturday, July 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Tickets don’t go on sale until July 10th, so mark that down, too.  And just as a reminder-to-self, jot down which of the locations you want to go to pick up your tickets – the Bay Avenue Gallery in Ocean Park, the English Nursery in Seaview, the Basketcase Greenhouse on Sandridge in Long Beach.  It won’t be until you purchase said tickets ($20) that the whereabouts of the gardens and the whoabouts of the musicians will be revealed.

Garden Scene – 2016 Tour

What I’ve gleaned, so far, is that there will be eight gardens on the tour this year and they will be located from Oysterville to Chinook!  There will also be (for an extra contribution) a specially decorated trolley to take you from garden to garden if you so desire.  And, as if you may not already be on sensory overload, there will be a raffle of selected works of art (perhaps garden related) on display at one of the venues.

This is the 11th annual Long Beach Peninsula Garden Tour.  If music and gardens and art are not quite enough for you, consider this:  the event is a fundraiser for the Water Music Society whose mission is to bring classical music to the Peninsula.  Each year, part of the money raised by this particular event is earmarked for the Ocean Beach School District Music Fund.  (Last year that amount was $5,000 — hardly small potatoes by anyone’s gardening standards!)

Garden Scene – 2016 Tour

Oh… and one last thing.  Organizer Nancy Allen says that many of the gardens this year have “a water orientation” – to the Columbia or to Willapa Bay or, perhaps, to Loomis Lake.  She is careful not to reveal too much… not yet!  So, mark those calendars.  Quick!

Talent duly noted! Applicant accepted!

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Willapa Bay AiR, the artist in residency program located at the south end of Douglas Drive in Oysterville, is now in its fourth year.  There is a ‘waiting line’ for residencies – only about ten percent of applicants are invited to one of the coveted available spots.  Six lucky ‘emerging and established artists’ each month, March through September!  Applications for 2018 are now being considered.

Visual artists, writers, scholars, singer/songwriters, and musical composers apply from all over the world.   Of special note in February this year was the early arrival of writer Aida Moradi Ahani who managed to get here from Tehran during the initial confusion of Trump’s travel ban.  But a few days ago, there appeared, in person, an ‘applicant’ who may have surpassed even the determined Aida in his forthright bid for inclusion at Willapa Bay AiR!

He walked right up to the wall of glass doors at the main lodge and, though he spoke not a word, demonstrated his artistic merit unlike any other applicant has done before – or is likely to do again.  He came alone, having lost his mate somewhere along the way, according to local gossip.  Although he (and she) have been seen around the Nahcotta area for some time now, no one seems quite clear about where they came from or even their exact arrival date.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind, however, that he is “in” as far as the residency program goes.  Though AiR founder Cyndy Hayward’s dogs seemed a little too interested in him (and were quickly spirited away), current residents offered immediate friendship (and apples!) hoping he would find the residency to his liking.

Fortunately, in case he decides to apply elsewhere instead, Christine Herbert, a visual artist from Brooklyn, managed to get three marvelous pictures demonstrating 1) his confident stride onto the patio, 2) his approach to the main lodge, and 3) his full-blown display of talent – and never mind that it was documentation from behind.  Hopefully, he’ll become so comfortable in his surroundings that he will reveal his glorious talents from all angles many times during his residency!