Pastel Dust & Seattle Rain at Kirsten Gallery

So it didn’t rain a couple of days in Seattle during my 5 day stay, during which time I did a little car trip up to Mount Vernon, stopped at Dakota Art (world’s best pastel supply store).  Getting ready to leave there, it was about 2:30 and decided to not go back to Seattle via I-5, but to take a scenic route and drive the length of Whidbey Island and catch a ferry to Mukilteo back on the mainland.    It was a great drive, but disappointing in that there was not much color in terms of plants and flowers blooming.

The coolest color of the day was this image painted on a wall near the Woodland Park Zoo.  A little side trip I took going to the Ballard Locks and a stop at Tim Towner’s bakery Dessert Works in Phinney.

Sunday was clear in the morning and after a board meeting for the NW Pastel Society I headed off to the show opening at Kirsten Gallery.  We had hung the show on Thursday and was happy with how the show looked.  It is exciting to see the show,  however, with the awards posted next to the winning paintings and the energy that a show opening brings.

What I really want to focus on in this blog is the Kirsten Gallery.  It is a great gallery on Roosevelt Way in the University district.  From the exterior you sense you are going to walk into a special space.  Once inside, the gallery is really several room on 3 levels; a variety of rooms which make looking at the art very interesting because there are lots of small walls to nicely show smaller works and around corners to view others; large open walls as well.  

Rick Kirsten and his wife own the gallery and it is in its 39th year.  March 2012 is the 40th birthday of the gallery.  Rick’s father is a wonderful artist and his work fills the 2nd floor.  Last summer when I visited to gallery to see if it would work for the NPS show, Rick came in after I was there and with him was his father, a sweet elderly gentleman who is in his 9th decade of life.  Rick set his father up with a table, chair and all the necessities an artist needs in a warm sunlit window of the main floor and the senior Mr. Kirsten proceeded to work!  It is a nice memory of these fine people and their gallery.

After the NPS show is finished hanging, the next show at the gallery will be Mr. Kirsten’s body of work that spans all 9 decades of his life!  From a child, through college at the Art Institute of Chicago and beyond, his work will grace the walls of the family gallery.  What a tribute!  He had gone to the Art Institute in the 20’s.  Rick and I talked about the fact that my great-uncle and my aunt both went to the AI of Chicago and we wondered if maybe they knew each other. I don’t have any data about when my uncle went there…I think somewhere in that time frame!  Rick wondered how he was going to hang all the massive amount of works…I suggested chronologically (I had seen that done one time for another artist whose works spanned several decades and changed greatly over time.)  

When you go to the Kirsten gallery, expect to be warmly greeted as you enter this friendly atmosphere.  But one of the best things about the gallery is the garden.  A lovely zen garden, as beautiful in the early spring without the blooms and color as in the summer!…One needs to walk into it and relish the peaceful atmosphere and ponder all the work that was put into this private, secluded space, hidden from a busy street!

 From the bamboo to the statues to the artfully raked gravel and sand…it is a fabulous little place to stop and meditate for just a moment.  The photos of the garden were shot the day we hung the show – after the rain stopped for a moment!

So when you go to Seattle and you happen to be in the University district, you need to stop in and visit this gallery.   

Besides great shows, the gallery has a wonderful supply of art cards really nice art cards, pottery, baskets, the senior Mr. Kirsten’s art and books he has published and other great artifact.  You will warmly be welcomed…

So on Sunday about 3:30, I left the gallery to drive back to Walla Walla.  there is a little drizzle, but not a bad rain.  By the time I get to I-5 it is raining hard and that was my send-off…a downpour!  


About bonnie griffith

I am a landscape artist who works in pastels, oils and acrylics. My work focuses on representational studies of the western US. I am basically self taught with lots of workshops and studies with several landscape artists such as Bruce Haughey and Clark Elster. I live in southwestern Idaho, am a native Montanan with a strong connection to the land. I spend as much time as I can in MT painting as well other parts of the northwest. I appreciate getting out in the field and working plein air because there is nothing like completing a painting in the true light of day and visually not being compromised by the use of a photo. In my work, my goal is to produce a piece of work that draws the viewer into the painting and challenges them to explore the scene; get a sense of the time of day, the temperature, the light or lack of. If I have gotten that viewer to step out of their reality and into that painting and enjoy it, then my work was accomplished as I wished. View all posts by bonnie griffith

2 responses to “Pastel Dust & Seattle Rain at Kirsten Gallery

  • Dianna Woolley

    I love the new look here at Pastel Dust! Your review of the Kirsten definitely makes me want to visit the next time we are in Seattle!

    You’ll note I’ve entered my more current email and new website in your info boxes.


  • bonnie griffith

    Great gallery space and the garden is enchanting. I love the feel of the gallery – warm, comfortable…
    thank you for adding info on your site, Dianna. Can’t wait for the June show of your work in Dayton!


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