Here’s the quick rundown of the Fossil event:
Fossil Oregon, a town of 469 people, is the home of the Oregon Paleo Lands Institute, a small but energetic group of people dedicated to the paleontology and ecology of eastern Oregon. They are primarily an educational institution, but they also run a tiny bookstore and gallery. It was at the bookstore and gallery of OPLI that I put up my painting exhibit last Wednesday.
The reception was Wednesday evening, but while we were hanging the paintings that morning, the open door of the store made it irresistible to the townspeople, who wandered in to see what was happening. The greatest conversations were with Barbara Bowerman, widow of Bill Bowerman who invented the waffle sole for running shoes and trained many of Oregon’s best runners. Mrs. Bowerman lives in Fossil (one of her sons has a ranch on the John Day River) and at 94, she is definitely a celebrity in her own right. She not only had to find out what was happening at the store, but she brought with her two of her husband’s students, now teachers in their own right. I didn’t catch the last names of Leon and Neal, but here’s the whole crew, including Jan, gabbing away while Kelly hangs the exhibit.
Jan is on the left; Karen, who runs the fossil diggings behind the high school can be seen just behind her, Leon and Neal are just behind Barbara Bowerman.
This is how a few of the paintings looked in-situ: Kelly was worried about the sun hitting the bright-colored Sheep Rock (on the easel) but I was charmed by the way the light came through the canvas and persuaded her to let it shine.
The most charming (and funniest) encounter we had among the attendees were with a couple from Beaverton. The guy found a photograph by Ellen Bishop (the founder of the Paleo Lands Institute) and wanted to commission me to paint it. Everyone in the room tried to explain, first about copyright and second about artistic inspiration, but he was unconvinced. He said he would be setting the photograph (which he bought) outside my door, and expected to find it painted. I told him that for a half million or so dollars, I would go to the place where the photograph was taken and paint from life. He snorted at that a bit, bought the photo, and disappeared into the setting sun. I have yet to see the photograph outside my door.
The reception was jolly fun, the food good, and Kelly invited Jan and me to dinner at her tiny house around the corner. She is a musician as well as an efficient manager, and she gave us a private concert of some of her compositions. We got to walk back to our B&B through the silent village later that night, looking at the stars, feeling well fed, well entertained and content. –June
Kelly Riley, the administrative assistant at OPLI.
This painting on the easel is what made us take 14 hours to return to Portland the day after the opening. Jan had to see this, the Blue Basin, just because…..
And this is Kelly’s sign, which is just to say that she’s a person it’s good to get to know!