Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 35° Partly Cloudy
News >  Washington Voices

Young painters know they’ll always create

Sunny Hargrave, 23, left, and Mary Weisenburger, 18, are seen with some of their creations. (J. Bart Rayniak)
Sunny Hargrave, 23, left, and Mary Weisenburger, 18, are seen with some of their creations. (J. Bart Rayniak)
Jennifer Larue

Sunny Hargrave and Mary Weisenburger are a couple of young women who are just beginning to decide what to do and what to be. What they only recently discovered but know for certain is that art will always have a place in their lives.

Hargrave, 23, manages a locally owned burger joint and lives with her boyfriend and their 3-year-old daughter in an apartment in Spokane Valley.

About six months ago, she was inspired by some art and supplies at a friend’s house. She stocked up on her own supplies and got to work, painting with no motivation other than personal inspiration.

“Painting can be very peaceful and relaxing; there are no rules or expectations,” she said. “I love that anytime I pick up a paint brush, there are endless opportunities for pure creativity.” Her work is colorful and full of unrestrained brush strokes.

Weisenburger, 18, is a senior at Lewis and Clark High School who is in the Running Start program at Spokane Falls Community College. She attended a Catholic school prior to entering LC, which she said was a hard transition. A watercolor class led by local artist Stan Miller that Weisenburger took in the eighth grade inspired her to keep painting. Once in high school, she took many art classes.

“There’s a lot of skepticism and raised eyebrows in response to my desire to be an artist,” she said, but she will not be swayed. Her weekends are often spent in art classes, and she has applied to a half-dozen colleges of art.

A flier at Spokane Falls Community College advertising a group art exhibit called Raw Space in downtown Spokane piqued Weisenburger’s interest. She paid a small fee and showed two of her oil paintings at Raw Space in early February.

A piece called “Young Buck,” depicting a deer decked out in a suit and tie and whose horns are just beginning to show, sold for $200. Her first sale, it was inspired by a scene of young-looking guys wearing suits, carrying briefcases, crossing a street in downtown Spokane.

Though just beginning, both artists believe that art will continue to be a staple in their lives.

“All the possibilities and wonder that abstract painting gives is so exciting, and I look forward to studying others’ work and experimenting with my style to become the best artist I can be,” Hargrave said.

Weisenburger’s goal is to become better at realism paintings and to have viewers see the emotions that she puts into her work. “Art is one of my only outlets for stress and whenever I complete a painting and study the finished product I can clearly see that the raw emotions I felt have left their imprint within the brush strokes. The mood of my work reflects the emotion I felt at the time of its creation. For me, art and feeling do not exist in separate realms but are closely entangled within each other.”


The Verve is a weekly feature celebrating the arts. If you know an artist, dancer, actor, musician, photographer, band or singer, contact correspondent Jennifer LaRue by e-mail
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

Annual health and dental insurance enrollment period open now

 (Courtesy Washington Healthplanfinder)

2020 has been a stressful year for myriad reasons.