Seeing Green During Portland Open Studios

The word ‘green‘ is prominent in this year’s Portland Open Studios, a tour of 98 artists’ workplaces throughout metro Portland.

‘Green’ and ‘art’ said in the same sentence usually means the color. Marcy Baker uses a lot of green, gentle new grass green and deep rich pine, in her prints and paintings which are abstractions of her garden and the plants in the backyards of her neighborhood.

Below, Marcy Baker’s work:

These days ‘green‘ means the use of recycled materials. Many of the artists use found objects. Allen Kinast makes one of a kind furniture out of reclaimed lath left over from remodeling sites. He uses the cut narrow pieces of wood both on end and flat for a mosaic-like technique that yields geometric designs that are anything but static. His furniture is a great marriage between function and art. He uses the same techniques to make wall works, from tile sized to those that fit on a whole wall.

Allen Kinast:

What do french fries and ceramics have in common? Sure, you could eat a bowl of fries in a beautiful ceramic bowl thrown by Careen Stoll. But you would be wrong. Stoll uses recycled vegetable oil to fire the kiln that she has built in her backyard to turn raw clay into beautifully colored, elegantly shaped bowls, cups, plates and other utilitarian objects. The technical and physical challenges are numerous in both building the kiln and every time it is fired. She has to be part scientist and part magician to get the desired results in using this unusual fuel. Who said being green or an artist is easy?

Careen Stoll’s work, and her building her kiln:

Tom Soule, another artist on the neighborhood has his studio in a green house, actually gray in color, but has a 3.5 KW solar panel system on the roof that feeds directly into the (PGE) grid. The southward, oriented system has no “dark” periods during the day, and is on a slant with the roof to make its exposure 95% efficient. It has radiant floor heating, a passive solar heat storage in the concrete floor and low E glass on the windows. Don’t neglect Soule’s watercolor and gouache paintings which combine strong color with textured areas to create abstract images suggestive of buildings or geometric structures. His wood sculpture is more organic in form.

Tom Soule’s work and studio:

Whether you go by bicycle, car, bus or walk your own neighborhood you will be transported to the land of imagination, craftsmanship and beauty. Go ahead, paint the town green.

You can watch artists at work in your green neighborhood during Portland Open Studios and other areas throughout the metro area on October 11, 12 and 18, 19. New this year is that many are open both weekends. Check the map and Tour Guide for the complete schedule, then cross the river both weekends. The $15 Tour Guide comes with two tickets, maps, pictures of all artists’ artwork, and contact information (in 2009 calendar format). Children under 18 are free. Available at Art Media, New Seasons, and other stores listed on

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