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South Whidbey artist is painting the blues away

All proceeds from a raffle for a local artist Louie Rochon’s painting will benefit a food bank.

As a way to combat the “gloom and doom” of present times, a Clinton-based artist decided to donate one of his paintings to a good cause.

Louie Rochon, who specializes in free-form abstract art, recently painted a series of bright works characterized by their resemblance to flowers and the natural world.

“It felt like spring to me,” Rochon said about the paintings. “I wanted to put something out that felt optimistic, encouraging, inspiring.”

The soft-spoken painter has written candidly about his struggles with bipolar disorder and past addictions. Over the last several years, art has become an outlet for his energy.

His art sales had been down because of the pandemic, and Rochon was feeling helpless until he thought of an outlet.

“Thinking about my problems and meditating, all of a sudden the idea was, ‘Stop thinking about yourself, go do something for somebody else,’” Rochon said.

He contacted Good Cheer about holding a raffle for one of his art works, with all ticket proceeds going to the food bank.

Rochon’s piece, titled “Revival,” will go to one lucky winner of the raffle. The painting is currently available to view at Useless Bay Golf and Country Club. Raffle ticket buyers need not be members of the club to enter the prize drawing.

“We’re really grateful that both the country club and Louie want to reach out and help those who are struggling in these times,” said Carol Squire, executive director of Good Cheer.

Raffle tickets can be purchased for $100 each at the club, where Rochon currently has an exhibit.

“Even though it’s a private club, they’ll welcome anyone in to see the exhibit,” he said.

People can also send $100 donations directly to Good Cheer, which will enter them into the drawing. They can do this by donating on the website goodcheer.org and including a memo specifying the raffle and mentioning their address and contact information. People can also mail checks to Good Cheer/Rochon Raffle, PO Box 144, Langley, WA 98260 and provide an email address so a receipt for the raffle ticket can be sent to them.

The drawing takes place Dec. 13. The winner does not need to be present to win and does not need to be from Whidbey Island.

Rochon’s painting has a value of $3,900. He said around 20 people have already entered the drawing.

No stranger to charitable causes, Rochon completed a 5,000-mile walk across the country to raise awareness for pediatric AIDS in the 1990s.

This year, he has donated paintings to Feeding America and the UW Medical Center.

“Revival” was created over a few hours using a series of quick paint strokes. Palette knives, rather than brushes, were involved in the painting. To make certain shapes, Rochon used his hands or an old sheet to dab at the canvas.

Rochon said he put on some loud music — Lady Gaga, in particular — as his aid in creating the abstract art pieces.

“There’s no plan to the work,” Rochon said. “It’s all down on open canvas.”

He plans to continue painting similarly cheerful scenes as long as the pandemic continues and until “normal life” resumes.

Artist Louie Rochon contacted Good Cheer about holding a raffle for one of his art works, with all ticket proceeds going to the food bank. Rochon’s piece, titled “Revival,” will go to one lucky winner of the raffle. Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News-Times

Artist Louie Rochon contacted Good Cheer about holding a raffle for one of his art works, with all ticket proceeds going to the food bank. Rochon’s piece, titled “Revival,” will go to one lucky winner of the raffle. Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News-Times

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