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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Artist molds eggshells into art

The egg can symbolize many things, including birth and new beginnings, fragility and strength. As a child, Sherry Wilson was enthralled by eggs. Her uncle had a book of birds’ eggs, and she wore out the pages studying the different sizes, colors and textures. In the spring, she would gingerly collect the blue pieces of robin’s eggs that littered the yard and put them in piles. Now, she incorporates them into her art, creating sculptures and three-dimensional paintings.

Bejjani finds art, beauty everywhere

Collista Bejjani sees art wherever she goes. “The woman in the yellow dress sitting on the red bench at the bus stop, the white tree next to the white church, the way the weeds grow behind the barn. I see art and beauty in most places, even where there is disarray, and this has always been the case with me. I have an eye for potential,” she said.

Memories shine through her paintings

Emma Randolph has been an artist for 72 years. She grew up in Sandy, Utah, in a household where singing, sewing and painting were the norm. Randolph, 86, picked up a paintbrush when she was 14, and it became just another appendage to her full and rewarding life. “Life has been wonderful. I can look back on it with pride,” she said. “Painting is rewarding. All your hopes and dreams become alive on paper or canvas and are captured forever as memories.”

The Verve: A shrieking success

About a year ago, a couple of teenagers were listening to music. They began jotting down words they heard. “Shrieks” was a good word, so was “impaled” and Shrieks of the Impaled was born. True to its name, the death metal band is loud, fast and brutal, definitely not mainstream, and often misunderstood. The band members are all students at University High School where they are all enrolled in music theory. They practice in drummer Ben Hall’s basement in Spokane Valley. “Our message is creativity. There shouldn’t be boundaries,” Hall, 16, explained, “Our songs are about brutal stuff, the stuff found in movies and on the news where they show the blood and gore but bleep out profanities. We never cuss in our songs.”

A shrieking success

About a year ago, a couple of teenagers were listening to music. They began jotting down words they heard. “Shrieks” was a good word, so was “impaled” and Shrieks of the Impaled was born. True to its name, the death metal band is loud, fast, and brutal, definitely not mainstream, and often misunderstood. The band members are all students at University High School where they are all enrolled in music theory. They practice in drummer Ben Hall’s basement in Spokane Valley. “Our message is creativity. There shouldn’t be boundaries,” Hall, 16, explained, “Our songs are about brutal stuff, the stuff found in movies and on the news where they show the blood and gore but bleep out profanities. We never cuss in our songs.”

Coop converted into chick’s haven

Punkin the beagle exits the main house through a doggy door and trots across the yard on the path embedded with paving stones. She enters the coop, not to harass the chickens but to curl up in her doggy bed and bask in the calming creative energy within the walls of what once was a chicken coop but now serves as the Art Coop where “chicks” make art. Artist and Art Coop owner Lou Carver wants to make it clear that roosters and children are included in the chick category. “But sometimes it’s nice just to be with your gal pals,” she said.

The Verve: Spokane Valley artist creates fanciful fairies

Susan Burger has a lot of friends, ones she met as a child in the pages of the “Golden Book of Elves and Fairies” (Jane Werner and Garth Williams, 1951). They are elves, fairies, jesters, witches, mermaids and other playful characters brought into existence by Burger’s imagination. Burger has not wandered far from her youthful expressions. “For me, art has always been a staple in my life. It goes right up there with eating and sleeping,” she said, “At times it even comes before and along with the sleeping, as I will often draft ideas and jot them down. Since I use many mediums, I still ask for school supplies as an adult.”

Spokane artist takes playful approach

Michele Mokrey owned the Artist’s Tree Gallery for six years, where she displayed an eclectic mix of art in many mediums. The gallery, at 828 W. Sprague Ave., was filled with the “oohs” and “aahs” of possibilities, not cluttered but overflowing with the creative spirit, something that is very important to Mokrey. “Art and all forms of creativity are my passion, my grand addiction and what occupies my thoughts. I love sharing this passion with others and inspiring them to explore their own creativity,” she said.

Artist paints with a positive stroke

There is a striped cat camouflaged in a cluster of birch trees and a vintage truck in a field of tall grass. Two empty deck chairs enjoy the view of a fall sunset in Montana. Poppies and hydrangeas bloom brightly while a young boy, “Jake,” sits on a dock examining a tiny find clasped in his hands. “Danielle’s Flower Girl” studies the flowers stitched into the gauze of her white dress, dragonflies dance on water lilies, horses converse, a cougar hunts in winter, and koi swim in clear waters. And Jeannine Marx Fruci has captured them all with her brush dipped in watercolors.

Spokane Valley artist’s creations inspire smiles

Painting discovered Timothy Hauser at West Valley High School. “I fell into it on the first day of art class,” he said. Hauser’s art teacher recognized something in him and gave him creative freedom and the tools to paint to his heart’s content. Since then, Hauser rarely sets down his brush. From his heart, through his arm, and to his hand, passion emerges.

Packed with emotion, Spokane artist’s work resonates

Jody Young sits in a coffee shop, sketching and writing in her notebook. She is fueled by the busy chatter and movement around her. She overhears a conversation and becomes enthralled and slightly fearful. She begins to take notes, labeling them “The Coffee Shop Conversation about Reproduction and Repression.” She writes, “So weird. An arrangement of marriage for citizenship is what I’m witnessing – so far from home, so foreign from love. I’m scared for her. I wish her the best.” Young, a writer and a painter, is hyper-aware of the ways of the world. Raised is an environment some might call tumultuous, she learned to eventually “let it go” through art. “(My childhood) has provided me with these strong emotions that need to be set free through art, my therapy,” she said.

Packed with emotion, her work resonates

Jody Young sits in a coffee shop, sketching and writing in her notebook. She is fueled by the busy chatter and movement around her. She overhears a conversation and becomes enthralled and slightly fearful. She begins to take notes, labeling them “The Coffee Shop Conversation about Reproduction and Repression.” She writes, “So weird. An arrangement of marriage for citizenship is what I’m witnessing – so far from home, so foreign from love. I’m scared for her. I wish her the best.” Young, a writer and a painter, is hyper-aware of the ways of the world. Raised is an environment some might call tumultuous, she learned to eventually “let it go” through art. “(My childhood) has provided me with these strong emotions that need to be set free through art, my therapy,” she said.

A love of art, a family legacy

Stanley Wood never really expected much to come of his creative habits, his paintings and his musings that took the form of a children’s book and one of poetry. He created because that was who he was. Wood died on March 17. He was 77. He began his life in 1931 in a segregated farm town in Illinois. In the introduction to his book of poetry, “Wood Chips,” he wrote, “I’m happy to say my old town is now integrated.” He also explained how he viewed the world in many colors. “I’ve always been a dreamer, one who looks at life through a spectrum. I see the good and bad in everything and try to cope with what is about me.”

Al Blum creates sculptures from machinery

The Flaming Breasted Horned Eagle Owl, perched on the archway that leads to Al Blum’s Otis Orchards property, is a visitor’s first indication that a creative soul lives there; the bird’s body is a gas tank, its outstretched wings are handle bars, and its large eyes are turn signal lenses. Blum’s palette is filled with heavy metals. His supplies include transmission gears, lifters, exhaust pipes, fenders, sprockets, springs, chains, shocks, heat shields and headlights. Blum is a green artist, and to him, “parts are art.”

Spokane Valley artist’s energy fills her work

When you meet Carmen Murray, she might ask you to hold your arm up, pointed toward the sky at about a 50-degree angle. She’ll put her hand near the top of your wrist and push down while telling you to resist. You’ll think, “Easy enough,” but she will win the first round. She will then give you a breathing exercise and ask you to do the arm thing again. You are much stronger the second time around. “You need to breathe,” she explained. Murray has a lot of tricks up her sleeve; she learned shaman teachings from her father and grandmother when she was a child growing up in Edinburg, Texas. Her ethnicity includes Spanish, Mayan and Apache traditions. Her spirituality led her to art. She painted her first piece on a brand-new canvas cotton-picking bag. “It was of the Virgin of Guadalupe and it was pretty good,” she said, “I didn’t know that I didn’t know how to paint. My dad always said ‘everything is possible.’ ”

Eclectic creativity

When you meet Carmen Murray, she might ask you to hold your arm up, pointed toward the sky at about a 50-degree angle. She’ll put her hand near the top of your wrist and push down while telling you to resist. You’ll think ‘easy enough’ but she will win the first round. She will then give you a breathing exercise and ask you to do the arm thing again. You are much stronger the second time around. “You need to breathe,” she explained. Murray has a lot of tricks up her sleeve; she learned shaman teachings from her father and grandmother when she was a child growing up in Edinburg, Texas. Her ethnicity includes Spanish, Mayan, and Apache traditions. Her spirituality led her to art. She painted her first piece on a brand-new canvas cotton-picking bag. “It was of the Virgin of Guadalupe and it was pretty good,” she said, “I didn’t know that I didn’t know how to paint. My dad always said ‘everything is possible.’”

The Verve: Couple share creative force

Dirk and Helen Parsons became artists when they were young. Helen Parsons was presented with a cigar box filled with sewing paraphernalia when she was 8 and began sewing anything and everything. Her first job was at a fabric store, and textiles became her palette.

The Verve: A shop is their studio, their canvas a car

“Man heaven,” if there were such a thing, would probably be very similar to Davis Pro Shop on Spokane’s North Side. Or, if heaven is too strong a word, perhaps the shop could be described as a “man museum” or “man gallery” where pictures of automobiles and such are plastered onto the walls. What’s really amazing are the things parked in the shop that are worthy of an “awesome.”

An outlet for infinite possibilities

When Connie Janney was growing up, her Christmas trees were not the norm. One year it was tumbleweeds, and another it was blue with plastic fruit. “My mother has always been very open and creative,” Janney said. “She likes change and that’s an inspiration in itself.”

Artist takes viewer across threshold of the mundane

A door is just a door and a window is just a window. Or are they? Darlene Pucillo’s series of oil paintings called “Portals” are linear yet flowing depictions of windows, doors, archways and steps. Simple in composition, the series illustrates Pucillo’s ability to take a subject that seems uncomplicated and turn it into a catalyst through which a viewer could question his/her own path in life. “To me the portals symbolize change,” Pucillo said, “a spiritual search upwards.”