Paintings, turned objects in gallery 9


PORT TOWNSEND – Gallery 9 shows Michael Hale’s acrylic paintings and Jim Conway’s woodworking this month.

Gallery 9, home of the North Olympic Artist Cooperative, is open Thursday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1012 Water St.

It is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Masks are compulsory.

Hale was born in the northwest and has been involved in his art since he was able to hold a pencil and later a paintbrush, organizers said.

He attended Washington State University, where he majored in his second love of architecture and majored in fine arts as a minor.

Disliked the jagged adaptations of the architecture, he switched to a commercial arts program at the Burnley School of Professional Art in Seattle.

After a three year diversion in the US Army during the Vietnam War, he returned to school at the Museum Art School in Portland, Ore, where he resumed his studies in commercial and visual arts.

Hale used his knowledge of construction and combined it with his architectural education and artistic skills to open an architecture rendering company first in the Northwest and then in the Phoenix area.

Hale moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s and became a stage performer for various film and stage production studios, working on everything from movie sets to stage drops to cruise ship productions.

Then he moved to Port Townsend in 2000.

“There was just too much of everything here to paint: the water, the mountains, the boats, and yes, that great old architectural element of buildings … beautiful red-brick buildings,” said Hale.

Since then he has dealt with the subject most often, closely followed by the masts and sails of wooden boats moored in the harbors of Port Townsend.

Influenced by Maxfield Parrish and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Hale focuses much of his work on fantasy landscapes, which often contain nude figures with imposing architectural elements.

Jim Conway

Conway grew up on a farm in the El Paso Valley, Texas, building things out of wood and metal. It wasn’t until he moved to Port Townsend that he learned how to turn wood on a lathe.

It was love at first sight.

“I’ve always loved pottery, but I could never do it because the wet clay worked on my hands. When I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I took a course in bowl turning and found “dry pottery,” he said.

“I’m fascinated by how a boring piece of wood can be shaped from a pile of wood and turned into something beautiful and functional,” he added.

Jim Conway's turning turns functional objects into art.

Jim Conway’s turning turns functional objects into art.

Conway makes almost anything that can be turned on a lathe; decorative bowls, multi-purpose bowls, seam rippers, pens, ice cream scoops, cream bottles, kitchen utensils, covered vessels, attachments and wands.

“I use unique woods that contribute to the finished product because of their diverse and dynamic grains and colors,” he said.

“When a piece is rotated, there are so many surprises that you didn’t know that the shape and color of the knots and grain were in the original piece.”

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