Washougal gears up for 2018 art festival

More than two dozen regional artists will show work at Aug. 11 show in Reflection Plaza

A carved wooden bear paw by Amboy artist Beck Lipp. (Courtesy of Beck Lipp)

Shoppers hunt for treasures at the 2017 Washougal Art Festival in Washougal's Reflection Plaza. This year's festival features 26 professional, juried artists from across Southwest Washington, and will be held Saturday, Aug. 11, in downtown Washougal. (Contributed photo courtesy of Rene Carroll)

A painting of a yarn-haired "muse doll" by Vancouver artist Glo McCollough. (Courtesy of Glo McCollough)

A unique wooden box by Amboy artist Beck Lipp. (Courtesy of Beck Lipp)

A wood fish sculpture by Amboy artist Beck Lipp. (Courtesy of Beck Lipp)

A painting of a yarn-haired "muse doll" by Vancouver artist Glo McCollough. (Courtesy of Glo McCollough)

Bold, bright necklaces by Camas artist Toni McCarthy. (Courtesy of Toni McCarthy)

"Mojo rings" by Camas artist Toni McCarthy. (Courtesy of Toni McCarthy)

A beaded bracelet by Camas artist Toni McCarthy. (Courtesy of Toni McCarthy)

A painting of an egret by Ridgefield artist Barbara Wright. (Courtesy of Barbara Wright)

An illustration of a flame poker plant by Ridgefield artist Barbara Wright. (Courtesy of Barbara Wright)

An illustration of a moon jelly by Ridgefield artist Barbara Wright. (Courtesy of Barbara Wright)

Interested in finding new, locally made art? Head out to the 2018 Washougal Art Festival in downtown Washougal Saturday to view work by 26 professional regional artists.

The event, presented by Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance (WACA), will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 11, at Reflection Plaza, 1703 Main St., Washougal.

“We are expecting another large turnout at this year’s festival,” WACA President Janice Ferguson said. “Now in our third year, we have artists and community members who look forward to this annual event. We love transforming Washougal’s Reflection Plaza into a gallery of fine works of art.”

This year’s art festival poster features the artwork of Wilson Cady, a local birding enthusiast.

“Wilson will be at the festival and plans to work on his current piece,” Ferguson said. “He is looking forward to chatting with people about his process and his inspiration.”

A limited number of signed 2018, 2017 and 2016 posters will be available for purchase at the festival for $20 each.

The festival is family friendly and will feature food available for purchase, a free mobile art project for children and $5 raffle tickets for a chance to win donated artwork.

The event benefits public art in Washougal. This year’s festival proceeds will help fund a mural on the outside wall of the Washougal Community Library inspired by Washougal matriarch, Princess White Wing (Betsy Ough) and created by Native American artist Toma Villa.

Below, we feature four artists — two returning and two new — who are part of this year’s Washougal Art Festival. For a full list of 2018 artists, visit WashougalArts.org.

Beck Lipp

Amboy artist Beck Lipp has always loved working with wood, but when she discovered the scroll saw a few years ago, she knew she’d found a key to unlocking the unique artwork inside her mind.

The pieces Lipp creates are inspired by the Pacific Northwest nature she loves to explore. There are usable pieces, such as the spatulas, boxes, switchplates and coasters she creates and on which her partner, Cheryl Welch, burns nature-inspired designs. And then there are the unique, sometimes giant 3D sculptural pieces that show Lipp’s full range of talent.

All of Lipp’s artwork is naturally colored. Instead of using stains, the artist uses oils to bring out the wood’s naturally beautiful colors.

Lipp, who retired from the Tualatin Valley Water District in Tualatin, Oregon, in 2013, and works on her 5-acre parcel in the woods of Amboy, in northeastern Clark County, said she enjoys making unique custom pieces for her clients.

“A lot of the people who contact me also love the Pacific Northwest and nature,” Lipp said. “And they often want me to do some intricate work.”

One of the more memorable pieces she created was for a woman who wanted to give her son something special.

“Her son had Pacific Northwest tattoos — the stag sign from Oregon, a rose, (evergreen) trees and a ‘Keep Portland Weird’ tattoo,” Lipp said. “She wanted to know if I could replicate those and do a wall hanging. I put the Portland skyline in the background, and he has it hanging in his living room now.”

This is Lipp’s first year at the Washougal Art Festival, and she said she’s excited to be a part of a show where “people actually want to buy art,” and where the artists support and inspire each other.

To view more of Lipp’s work, visit becksoriginals.wixsite.com/becksoriginals.

Toni McCarthy

Camas jewelry artist Toni McCarthy has been creating unique, bold statement pieces for 25 years, but she wasn’t always an artist. In another life, McCarthy was a teacher, instructing students in the Evergreen School District for much of her career.

It wasn’t until a chance encounter in the mid-1990s that McCarthy discovered her true creative niche.

“We were on vacation in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with our two sons, and I saw a bead store and said, ‘I want to stop,'” McCarthy recalled.

She had worked in other creative mediums before, but for some reason, that bead shop pit stop changed McCarthy.

“I knew I’d found my niche,” she said.

For the next 25 years, McCarthy discovered everything she could about beading and jewelry making, and said she still loves taking classes and learning new techniques. Recently, she has been getting into a different look, working with metals instead of beads, and creating a line of jewelry that appeals to a different set of clients than her bright, colorful, dramatic beadwork, which she describes as jewelry “women buy for themselves.”

This is McCarthy’s second year at the Washougal Art Festival, and she said she loves the feeling of community at the show, and is looking forward to meeting new and returning customers as well as chatting with other artists and getting inspired by their creativity.

To view more of McCarthy’s work, visit beadsandthreads.com.

Glo McCollough

Vancouver-based acrylic painter Glo McCollough describes her clientele as “geek fantasy people” and said she began her artistic journey creating fabric “muse dolls” about four years ago.

Sewn by hand with button eyes, yarn hair, elf-like ears, wooden hearts and “muse messages” of creativity, positivity, courage and similar inspirations, the time-intensive dolls gained fans but not as many buyers as McCollough had hoped.

Then, in January 2015, McCollough met another Vancouver artist who encouraged the dollmaker to paint backgrounds to go with her dolls, so people would associate them with works of art.

“The first time I purchased a set of six-color (acrylic) paints was on Aug. 11, 2016,” McCollough recalled. “I started to paint a background … and did the face of one of my dolls. I called my husband and said, ‘I can paint the dolls!'”

After that, McCollough switched over to painting instead of handcrafting the muse dolls.

“You can do so much more with painting,” she said. “Of course, my husband would love it if I used all the fabric I have left.”

McCollough is new to the Washougal Art Festival this year, but said she’s looking forward to meeting other regional artists and getting to know a new base of Camas-Washougal area customers.

If you miss her at the Washougal festival on Aug. 11, the artist also will be at the Camas Vintage & Art Faire from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 25, in downtown Camas. To view more of McCollough’s work, visit stitchedheartart.com/.

Barbara Wright

Ridgefield artist Barbara Wright’s scientific illustrations and nature-inspired paintings are the result of a woman who has raw artistic talent combined with a lust for scientific research.

“I was interested in art in high school and college, but I’m a pretty practical person so I didn’t think art would be a career choice,” Wright said. “I got my degree in mapmaking because I love the synergy between science and art.”

Later, Wright would teach math classes at a Seattle area college. But then, in 2011, Wright retired from teaching and she and her husband relocated to Ridgefield to be closer to the national wildlife refuge there. The refuge inspired Wright and brought out her artistic side full-time.

Today, she creates realistic yet surreal images of the plants and animals that call to her.

“Most of my older work was a combination of watercolor and pencil and ink, but recently I’ve been working with acrylics on preprinted fabric,” Wright said. “I (paint) all kinds of plants and animals … I go to the refuge, or to aquariums and zoos for inspiration.”

Once an animal or plant appeals to her inner artist, Wright’s scientific side takes over and she delves into research, finding out everything she can about the animal or plant’s habitat and scientific attributes.

“I love to research the animals,” she said. “Their habits, habitats, lifespans.”

Wright has been part of the Washougal Art Festival since its beginning in 2016, and said she feels honored to be coming back on Saturday, Aug. 11.

“The thing I like about this particular show is the variety of arts and crafts that are there,” Wright said. “Also, it is very well organized.”

To view more of Wright’s work, visit alcoveartgallery.com/barbara-aw-wright.html.