“This is a big honor,” said Orchard. “There are incredible artists here, so I was very surprised.”
Orchard, the featured artist in 2018, has been attending this show the past five years.
“This is one of my favorite shows,” said Orchard, “because the people running the show always make you feel so welcome. I've made a lot of friends here. It's a small town, but a lot of people always come to this show and I do real well here.”
Orchard said she now just does four or five shows a summer after “narrowing it down to her favorites.”
Don Nutt, chosen for next year’s poster artist as well as winning “People’s Choice” this year said he was “inspired by the view out of my studio window. The sky we had, and everything else was made up,” Nutt said of his painting “Gatherin' Remnants.” Nutt's Cariboo Trail Studio is located on W. Main St. in Coulee City.
“I was very surprised. I wasn't expecting it,” said Jack Babcock of taking the “Heritage Award” for “Trail Hands,” a scene he said was “made up out of my head.”
“At some shows, you have to mark what you want to enter. Here, they just come around and pick out what they like. It was quite an honor. I even posted it on Facebook.”
“This is one of the highest honors I have ever had here,” said David Craig, winner of “Best Native Art” for “All My Relations.” Craig, a native of Eatonville, has been attending the show for many years.
Western Wildlife Artist LeElla Day took “Best Western Art” for “Adobe.” Born and raised in Oroville, Day now travels over from Granite Falls. “I always come here. We used to go to a lot of shows, but we're older now so we've slowed down. That's why I joined a guild, so I'm in the gallery over there,” Day said of her participation in the Stanwood-Camano Guilded Gallery. “Most of my work now is of people's pets.” Her many drawings of dogs and horses mixed in with wildlife portraits captured the essence and often personality, of the animals.
Appearing for the first time this year was the Sinkietqu Okanogan Basketweavers Association, inspired by featured artist Georgia Orr Tongel to join the show.
The group, who formed in the summer of 2015, displayed items ranging from delicately woven cedar bark earrings and bracelets made on-site to larger projects that took months to create.
A variety of hats were displayed, from plaited cedar bark hats to intricate plateau styles with symmetrical designs which the group began creating after taking a class by Coeur d'alene's Leanne Campbell.
Other materials crafted into masterpieces included corn husk, bone, beads, shells, buckskin, and wild hemp whose harvest into a workable product includes breaking open the sticks it grows in to retrieve the threads. Harder to find now due to spraying of noxious weeds, some was said to be gathered along the Similkameen River, some in Wenatchee and some by Omak Lake “in a secret spot.”
Elaine Emerson of Colville, called a “master” by fellow members of the group, grew up making baskets along with her sister, taught by their mother. Emerson displayed several large baskets of intricate design.
“If it hadn't been for her, a lot of us wouldn't be involved,” said Jeanette Lezard, known for her detailed beading work.
Barbara Conner-Reed of Desert Rose Studio in Okanogan has been attending the show for over 25 years.
“I used to come over from Maple Valley to do the show before moving over 13 years ago,” said Conner-Reed, whose display featured contemporary, abstract and mixed media art.
“I wanted this one to be a central piece,” she said of an abstract called “Faces.” At first glance looking like a bunch of blobs, Conner-Reed pointed out several random caricatures seemingly emanating from the piece of their own volition. “The longer you look, the more you see,” said Conner-Reed, pointing out a wolf, an angel, a butterfly and a fox tail as a horse, a hamster and a fairy sprang forth from the liquid acrylic. “It's a new technique,” said Conner-Reed. “I like the liquid paints; I pour and splash and do all kinds of different things.”
Ron Adamson also demonstrated a talent for drawing forth likenesses from mediums. Displaying wood and bronze sculptures along with chainsaw carvings and oil paintings, Adamson pointed out a carving of a Native American he had completed in just an hour. “Someone came along and bought two blanks (pieces of wood) today, so I've got another one to do tomorrow,” Adamson said.
Famous for his life size “Standing in the Corner of Winslow, Arizona” bronze sculpture that brought a Route-66 town back to life after a new highway had left the town behind, Adamson shares a story of the sculpture coming to life. Or, perhaps, imitating a past life.
Adamson said taking a clay model of the proposed sculpture down to Winslow as one of several artists being considered for the commission, he noticed the need for a quick alteration.
“I had the model showing the man standing up and playing guitar, but when I saw the corner where it would be placed, I realized someone riding by on a motorcycle could be at risk of getting hurt,” said Adamson. “So, I broke the guitar off and placed it resting on top of his foot.”
A decade after creating the sculpture, he discovered a surprising photograph.
“It was of my grandfather standing in front of a Route 66 sign. He was holding a guitar on top of his foot, just like in the sculpture,” said Adamson. “I didn't even know my grandfather played the guitar.”
Adamson said he was 16 the very first time he heard the song “Take it Easy,” written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frye and opening with the words, “Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona.”
“I was on the way to Norway, with my grandfather,” said Adamson.
He recounts another random act that he said may have played a part in his becoming an artist.
“When I was 18, I was standing in the lobby of the Davenport Hotel with a couple of wood carvings. A lady looked at me and asked to buy them,” said Adamson. “If that hadn't happened, I might have had a paying job all my life.”