Artists of South Whidbey honor longtime member at annual show

It is the time of year when the island's artists make their way out of the studio where they’ve been squirreled up for the winter months and show the fruits of their labors.

Artist Robert Fansler is being paid tribute by the Artists of South Whidbey for his status of having been with the group the longest. Pictured is the artist in his studio.

It is the time of year when the island’s artists make their way out of the studio where they’ve been squirreled up for the winter months and show the fruits of their labors.

This year, the Artists of South Whidbey pay tribute to Robert Fansler, their longest running member who has been painting with the group since 1995. In 2004, Fansler was given the status of lifetime membership in the organization for his contributions over the years.

Fansler’s work will be shown in a special exhibit along with the work of all of the Artists of South Whidbey. The annual show and sale is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 27 through June 29 in the Fine Arts Building at the Island County Fairgrounds in Langley.

Fansler’s primary profession has been as an architectural illustrator which he said required the practical side of many hours of drawing and painting. Such an abundance of practice, he said, provided him with the technical skills required for fine art.

He went on to study fine art with Fay Chong and Perry Acker and studied the Sumi-e style of brush ink painting.

Indeed, Fansler is a prolific painter who was inspired by frequent trips to Europe, Japan and Mexico; cultures which often serve as subjects for many of his paintings.

“But my heart is always in the Northwest and this is where I find the most satisfaction; painting its character and beauty,” Fansler said.

Fansler works in oil, watercolor and acrylic and his canvases are studies in vibrant color with attention to detail of character.

Whether it’s an old cowboy on horseback by the water, as in his painting “Yellow Slicker,” or the dewy morning of a diaphanous seascape dominated by the color green and a distant ferry in “Out of the Fog,” he captures the particular aura and light of the island, the sea and many points beyond.

Fansler’s works have been shown in the Frye Museum in Seattle, in Edmonds, at Bumbershoot, at the Renton Annual Exhibit, the Nautilus Gallery, the Northwest Boat Show and the Artists of South Whidbey annual shows.

His work is currently on display at the Desert Art Center in Palm Springs, Calif. where he now lives and where he continues his career as an artist.

The Artists of South Whidbey Annual Show and Sale will also feature original art and handmade prints by all the members.

A selection of printed cards depicting members artwork, many featuring island views, will be available at the show and at the Rockhopper Cafe in Clinton, Casey’s Crafts in Bayview and the Book Bay in Freeland..

Additionally, a silent auction of collaborative pieces donated by the members will be held during the show. Proceeds from both the cards and the auction will go to a scholarship fund for South Whidbey High School senior planning to continue the study of fine art in college. Guests can bid all weekend until 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 29 when the top bidders can claim their art.

Admission to the show is free.

Patricia Duff can be reached at 221-5300 or