Lifestyle

Spirit of the West

Artist Gerry Roberts gave visitors to the Choochokam Festival of the Arts a taste of  what to expect at the Spirit of the West show when he displayed his whimsical images of Native Americans. - Cynthia Woolbright
Artist Gerry Roberts gave visitors to the Choochokam Festival of the Arts a taste of what to expect at the Spirit of the West show when he displayed his whimsical images of Native Americans.
— image credit: Cynthia Woolbright

Sip, sup and admire artwork that captures the Northwest’s essence in artworks displayed at the “Spirit of the West” show at Greenbank Farm Saturday and Sunday.

This is the second year for the fundraising event that benefits Whidbey General Hospital.

The event’s founder, artist Gerald Roberts of central Whidbey, said the caliber and scope of the art was expanded for the move to a larger space at the farm.

“We hope to make it a major arts event for the island,” he said.

The show will boast over 100 paintings and carvings as well as limited-edition prints and bronzes of wildlife, scenics, landscapes, western and Native American themes.

Nine renowned Washington artists — five from Whidbey Island — will participate. Featured artists are Don Enright, Ed Bennett, Bart Rulan, Gerry Roberts, Susan LeBow, Barbara Connor-Reed, Penney Lockhart, Joseph Albert and Judy Skinner.

Several of the artists will demonstrate their talents during the show.

Visitors may even catch Roberts painting with either his left or his right hand. It is a talent he discovered while recovering from an accident; Roberts fell in his studio Jan. 1 and crushed his right shoulder, temporarily disabling the hand he had always used to paint and draw.

Undaunted, he tried working with his left hand.

He is known for detailed, traditional portraits of Native Americans and for whimsical images, such as an Indian sporting a cell phone.

Roberts’ work remains representational, however, no matter which hand he’s using.

But he said the left-handed paintings are more impressionistic. An example is “Brave Buffalo” and “Apache Crown Dancers,” which will be featured in the Greenbank show.

New this year is a opening reception with wine and hors d’oeuvre from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. Admission fees to the reception, and from 15 percent of artwork sales, will go directly to the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation.

Money is needed to buy three new ventilator machines for patients who are having difficulty breathing. The old machines don’t accommodate babies or small children, so medical staff must rely on manual methods of artificial respiration, said Alex Louden, director of the hospital foundation.

The machines cost more than $28,000 each.So far, enough money has been raised to buy one machine. Foundation members are hopeful the balance will be raised by year’s end, Louden said.

As patrons admire the artwork, they will be serenaded by two Whidbey musicians who are donating their time: Ann Hartley on Flute and Rey Pachero on classical guitar.

“We are very thankful to the artists and to everyone who’s donating their time to the show,” Louden said.

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