Karen Lewis: Painter of Water and Air

Recently, Beth Yazhari, Artist No., 11, turned the tables on Karen Lewis, Artist No. 6, who has been interviewing her fellow artists this summer. Here is Beth’s interview with Karen.

When you visit oil painter Karen Lewis and talk to her about her artistic process, you will find that the words “shapes,” “movement,” ”harmony” and “air” recur frequently. You may also find that you are yearning to visit Hawaii after you hear her passionately talk about her relationship with the air and water there!
Karen has a lifelong relationship with water. She grew up kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling; as she puts it, “My number one favorite thing to do is paint, and right now in my life my number two favorite thing to do is snorkel.” The warm Hawaiian waters, as well as the fact that she can have air flowing through her house all the time, inspire many of Karen’s lush landscapes.
When Karen is working at home in West Linn, she is always prepared to encounter a beautiful sunset or inspiring landscape. Her van is well-stocked with all the paints, canvases, and other materials that a plein air painter needs. She is often inspired by a scene while driving, and she has even spontaneously pulled out her easel in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s in order to capture an amazing sky!
Karen’s favorite part of the artistic process is “being outdoors and really looking.” She pays close attention to how the air moves around her when she is painting—the crenellation of moving clouds creating vibrations in the sky or the emotional quality of an interesting shadow under a tree can provide the inspiration for a painting. She tries to capture the many moods of water, and her sweeping brushstrokes beautifully express fluidity and color in motion. Be sure to visit Karen’s studio for interesting conversation and an inspirational breath of fresh air!

Wrap Party – it won't be the same if you don't come!

Every year after the tour ends we have what we call a ‘wrap party’. This is a time for the artists to come together and celebrate another successful year. This year we have decided to open the event to the public and include a silent auction to support our mission. You’ll be able to visit with the artists, and view and bid on artwork. There will be food to purchase in the main pub area.
The party starts on Sunday, November 8 at 5:00 pm at the Oregon Public House, 300 NE Dekum Street, Portland, and ends around 7:00 pm.  Please join us.


We have received reports that a few Tour Guides have printing issues. The issues appear to affect only about 1% of the Tour Guides, but if you have already purchased yours, please check it and let us know if it has these or any other problems:

1) Page 39/40 and page 43/44 are missing.
2) The spiral binding is not properly crimped at both ends making it possible for the spiral to come loose

If you do have problems, please let us know and we will promptly replace the Tour Guide. We are so sorry for any inconvenience this error might cause you.

Also, just to let you know, the paid Mobile Apps ($4.99) will be available around Sept 25th and the free Mobile App will be available around Oct 1st.  If you have purchased the Tour Guide, all you really need is the free app.  We will let you know the minute the app is live at the app store.

We’re excited to see you all on the Tour!

Bringing a new life to the hand work of women through the ages

Karen Lewis had the pleasure recently of visiting Beth Yazhari  in her studio.  Here is an idea of what you could experience in a little over a month when Portland Open Studios opens.
When you enter Beth Yazhari’s studio, you first notice a rich collection of textures and patterns. She delights you with colorful designs, many reminiscent of Persian carpets or Amish quilts.  Then you are drawn in to discover the layers and layers of textures that make up her beaded textile collage paintings.
Beth begins her work on canvas, using acrylic paint in washes textured with cling wrap.  This gives the piece a rich, luminous color field, much of which will be covered in subsequent layers.  Vintage textiles inspire the design, defining the initial pattern of the piece.  She will play with a bit of fabric or lace as if it’s a puzzle, cutting out pieces and laying them out in symmetry– hence the carpet-like designs of the paintings.  Once the starting piece is in place, Beth layers her painting with gold paint, more textiles, stenciling through laces, and thin layers of acrylic paint.  She creates transfers from her own photographs, adding those and painting over them for permanence and color harmony.  And she sews beads on to the canvas, making everything secure so that the painting will stand the test of time, as the pieces of lace and vintage beads and buttons have done.
Beth delights in searching for interesting pieces of vintage textiles.  Her collection of materials is global, embracing Victorian era lace, Indian sari fabrics, embroidery from Pakistan, beads from Africa, buttons from Germany.  Items with character and handwork catch her eye.   Beth’s collections fill a whole closet in her studio, and just browsing through the materials can be a treat.
In creating out of recycled and found handicrafts, Beth is “giving new life to the hand work of women” through the ages, honoring their creativity and giving it a place in our modern life.  Take a trip through time and space and visit Beth Yazhari’s studio!