One-of-a-kind paintings on hand-marbled surfaces by Jean Blatner, Susan Cowan, Sandy Dutko, Airi Foote, Carol Sands, and Liz Walker are on display in the Runyan Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center through Sept. 30. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.
These Portland area artists, who first learned to marble from fellow artist and instructor Susan Cowan, have been experimenting with paints and paper for more than 5 years — creating their own modern version of an artistic practice called ebru marbling that dates back to the Ottoman Empire.
Paper marbling is a method of aqueous surface design which can produce patterns similar to smooth marble or other stone. The patterns are the result of color floated on a viscous solution known as “size,” and combed with a stylus or rake before being carefully transferred to an absorbent surface, such as paper or canvas. Part of its appeal is that each print is a unique monotype. Not content to marble solely on paper and canvas surfaces, these painters have also marbled baskets, wooden boxes, and dried gourds and other objects — some of which are included in this exhibit.
Jean Blatner, Susan Cowan, Sandy Dutko, Airi Foote, Carol Sands, and Liz Walker exhibit their paintings on marbled surfaces in the Runyan Gallery. Liz Walker will give an artist’s talk at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 6.
Marbling has a long, rich history. Officials of the Ottoman Empire used marbled paper for their official documents right up until the 20th century. For this reason, marbling techniques were a closely guarded secret. If papers could not be marbled, documents could not be forged or altered.
Until computers superseded ledgers, it was usual for ledgers to have marbled edges. Marbling is often employed as a writing surface for calligraphy, and especially book covers and endpapers in bookbinding and stationery.
Although marbled paper can be bought in art stores, these artists, who first learned to marble from fellow artist and instructor Susan Cowan, have been experimenting with paints and paper for more than 5 years — creating their own modern version of an artistic practice called ebru marbling that dates back to the Ottoman Empire.
They use marbling as a painting technique and an element in collage. Each artist has a different painting style and preference for subject matter.
Airi Huoponen Foote has been involved in art since her childhood in Lahti, Finland. She has always had a strong interest in drawing and painting and creates both abstract and traditional works, utilizing watercolors, acrylics, mixed media, and collage.
Jean Blatner studied art at both University of Portland and Portland State and is a member of the Oregon Society of Artists, the Northwest Watercolor Society and the Watercolor Society of Oregon.
Carol Sands studied at Washington State College and Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. “I enjoy painting all subjects in either watercolor or acrylic. I am especially drawn to colorful subjects that express the joy of life and the beauty of nature,” states Sands.
Susan Cowan has been painting professionally since the late 1970s, finding her niche in the world of aqueous media. She currently splits her time between her home in Portland, where she teaches for Clark College in Vancouver, Wash. and leads painting tours, and her studio/home in Fircrest, Wash., where she paints and returns to her roots.
Sandy Dutko enjoys experimenting with watercolors, acrylics and mixed media. Much of her inspiration is from nature and her travels, or from playing with monoprinting, marbling and abstract starts. An idea emerges and leads to a journey of experimentation and unexpected surprises that makes the process fun and exciting.
Liz Walker has a bachelor’s degree in art from Trinity University and five years of instruction from the DeCordova Museum School. Walker will teach a watermedia workshop, “From Marbled Paper to Finished Painting” on Saturday, September 7, from 10am to 2pm. Walker will teach students how to glaze and layer over pre-marbled papers. Marbled papers will be provided.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to 6pm.
The Runyan Gallery is located at 777 NW Beach Drive. For more information about the exhibit or the workshop call 541-265-6569.