As COVID keeps more and more people indoors, dependent on the virtual world, more and more of them are turning to online art for relief and escape, and consequently...happily jumping on the art-loving bandwagon, as regular patrons.

A great many who might never have given art a second glance, as they go about their busy, hectic lives, have now changed their tune, finding themselves basking in the mood-enhancing, oftentimes life-changing, impact of rejuvenating art.

A salve on universal, collective wounds.

Denise Cole — Cole Gallery owner, and supporter of the Edmonds arts scene — says business is booming, as art patrons from all over the world are taking advantage of the many ways to appreciate and purchase art that moves them, from virtual showings and drop-offs to reduced-capacity in-person viewing (thanks to Snohomish County recently receiving the go-ahead to enter COVID Phase 2).

Whatever your situation, artists and the Edmonds galleries, boutiques, museum, and other venues that serve them are ready to meet you where you are.

Gallery North Edmonds, an artist cooperative, presents realist oil painter Ben Groff and clay sculptor Cyndi Brown in their “Washington Wild” element for the Feb. 1-28, 2021 show (11 a.m.-5 p.m.). “That’s wild as in wilderness and wildlife: Groff’s closely observed and very popular landscapes lovingly capture the beauty of the Cascades’ remote mountain areas, while Brown’s exquisitely colored mid-size figures bring to vivid life the indigenous fauna of our beautiful state,” according to the gallery press release.

Groff’s landscapes seem dipped in the space between reality and gossamer-fantasy, “realism must never be an end in itself; rather the brush must adapt itself to the object and the object to the brush so that a deeper sense of the reality of the scene can emerge. Above all, I seek to work with heightened color and light to express the spiritual essence that I find in that sudden, transitory moment of illumination the image contains, making it permanent [artist statement].”

New Edmonds resident Brown’s hand-molded, bisque-fired, hand-painted wildlife becomes animated with a mix of realism and an almost humanizing appeal, especially her doe-eyed sea lion. “…I allow the element of chance to influence the final posture and attitude of each of my sculptures. My deep admiration and fascination with the unique beauty, dignity, and humor of all animals is the inspiration for my work [artist statement]…”

Additional art, such as Naomi Schneider’s smiling Kibori wood-carvings, can be found on Gallery North’s IG.

Award-winning, “Images of the West,” nature photographer Randall J Hodges takes pictures applying “Old School Techniques” with a lot of patience, waiting for the right opportunity to snap his shutter — only when the light hits in all the right places. His photography has graced magazines — Hawaii, Oregon Coast, National Geographic, Seattle Met — and is available for you to purchase. Galleries in Edmonds and Cannon Beach, OR. Visit his Edmonds gallery virtually via his YouTube tour, and website, to see what’s available. Call 425-210-2506 or e-mail randall@randalljhodges.com for inquires. Get his comments on stunning photographic projects on his IG.

Every month at Cole Art Gallery downtown, a new batch of art is on display for your viewing and purchasing enjoyment. In February, Kimberly Adams revisits Alphonse Mucha’s “Four Seasons,” JM Brodrick reveals “Brother Wolf,” a “Juggernaut” of wild mustangs in motion, and other abstract/realistically rendered wild life selections, and Robin Weiss infuses rippling life into his “From City to Country — Seattle & Beyond” landmarks. Learn a little more about these artists here. View in-person, or online. 

A not-so-hidden secret for art seekers seeking nifty gift ideas? Cascadia Art Museum Gift Store. Cascadia Art Museum, anchoring Salish Crossing at the waterfront, is one of the only Washington museums of its kind devoted solely and thoroughly to PNW artists from as far back as the 1800s to present-day. Recently reopened Feb. 4, the museum features exciting new exhibits, workshops, and other events designed with you and your love of art and art history in mind. 

Don’t miss a trip to the gift store before or after any scheduled show. It’s full of art and art-related finds, including “The Lavender Palette,” a July 12, 2020-published catalog by curator David F. Martin — a wonderful companion piece to the Oct. 24, 2019-Jan. 26, 2020 debut exhibit.

The watercolor world of Joan E. Archer Gallery, open since 2002, is waiting for you to claim. Original paintings portray a fishing, beach-going family on a summer day, musicians at play, and far-flung places doused in rouges and blush colors. The artist has been teaching budding and accomplished artists how to paint what they know and love in watercolor form, in fun workshops out of her 535 Main St. studio in the heart of downtown Edmonds. Reach out on the artist’s website or phone (425-774-5811).

crow gives new life to original, hand-painted works of art that you can hang, admire, and even play with. On any given day, shop owner/jewelry designer Jen Lawson will surprise and delight with ready-made gifts for family, friends, and yourself (you deserve it!), from hand-painted ceramic cat trays, teeny little gold heart earrings, thick, chunky, cozy infinity scarves, and peachy-pink leather totes, direct from Spain. Sales and specials always appear on a regular basis on Edmonds.crow’s IG.

Driftwood Modern’s furniture is more than antique; it’s art, and you can own your own piece of it. Like a 1970s English, Nathan teak bookshelf-cabinet and fold-down, lockable desk. Oh, but owner/clay sculptor Hannah Alex-Glasser carries fine art, too, with a focus on mid-century modern creations. Bookmark her IG to keep up with the latest offerings, including Richard Morhous’ 2002 oil on panel, “Bouquet,” and Itzhak Feier’s signed, 1960s “Still Life” oil on cardboard. Interested in a piece? DM.

Andrea Savar’s detailed, hand-made jewelry appeals to the romantic Victorian in everyone’s soul. The Curious Nest houses a wealth of treasures referencing that time period, from a colorful, jangly heart and arrow gemstone charm bracelet and a Frida Kahlo domino necklace and matching earring set — hot off her workbench, to Janie Olsen’s surreal, “magic realism” dusk paintings.

The Crafty Bs Artisan Boutique LLC, located in the Firdale Village Shopping Plaza, supports local artists and vendors. The artisan boutique is a treasure trove of art found in everyday places: Creations by US2U’s glass ornaments, tiger wood coasters, and wood art, Emmages’ canvas photography prints, No Limits Art Co.’s canvas and resin art, Etched by Designs glassware. Really cool: follow the product photo links, which will take you directly to vendors’ online stores (not all vendors have websites).

Besides framing and restoring your prized art, Christopher Framing & Gallery downtown also shows some incredible original art from veteran and emerging artists. The best way to view the latest is by going to their IG to inquire, and scheduling an appointment. Featured and gallery artists run the gamut in media and style. 

Some noteworthy ones up now include featured bronze pendant artist Tsovinar Muradyan, whose ancient artifact-looking pieces pay homage to “long-forgotten” cultures, abstract-indigo dye artist Whitney Buckingham-Beechie’s rich, liquid-gradient surfaces, and abstract/realist painter Beverly Shaw-starkovich’s shape-shifting scenes, often inspired by music.

“Music is a constant in our home with my husband constantly working out tunes on the piano in much the same way I work out my ideas on canvas. Music is a motivator in my studio, prompting me to reach back to experiences I've had or places I have visited. Music can be soothing, as I work, or invigorating when I feel my work is getting stiff, and I need something to loosen it up…. Ultimately, it is my hope that my work will tap into a memory or feeling for the viewer [artist statement].”

Cheryl A. Hufnagel’s warm, fuzzy pastels of people, pets, places, and things (you can’t help but want to get to know better) can be found in gallery spaces all over Western Washington, including the Schack Art Center, Mountlake Terrace Library, Shorelake Arts Gallery, Edmonds Veterinary Hospital, Gallery North, Café Louvre, and The Papery downtown. Hufnagel is also a member of ArtistsConnect of Edmonds.

Her “Architecture & Interiors” series invites you inside those warm and fuzzy spaces, where the light always chases out the darkness. Whatever she sets brush on canvas to, oil pastels or collages, she does so with a loving eye and tender touch, drawing out natural beauty and charm, and thoroughly engaging the viewer. 

“Since early childhood, my life has been filled with art and creativity. Every day I am captivated by the Master Artist’s handiwork, and my soul is deeply stirred by creation, and humanity’s touch in it. I desire to craft a vibrant and emotional interpretation of my subject. The results are usually unexpected, and keep me intrigued and motivated as I go forward. My goal is to stir the viewer’s soul, providing a place of respite in a hurried and chaotic world [artist statement].”

Subscribe to her email newsletter to keep up with projects and showings.

Fantasy illustration is a collector’s item, and Krister Eide Art’s got some fantastic creations going on. Eide is an Edmonds-based digital and traditional fantasy and children’s book illustrator, whose charming, life-like works (prints, face masks, coffee mugs, pillows) are available on his website, society6, and Etsy, locally, and at conventions (San Diego Comic-Con). 

His love of animals stems from having actually taken care of injured rabbits, crows and owls, and other creatures out in the wild. “I often liked imagining the world from animals’ points of view [website].” His current imaginings are up on his IG. Sign up for his newsletter to stay in touch.

Jon Inge is a fine art photographer in Edmonds who often finds himself led wonderfully astray by the world just outside his airplane window, when traveling around the globe. Some of what he sees, and feels, is translated beautifully into prized prints — flight and ground level — for sale. Just ask.

More art to look forward to:

  • Edmonds Arts Festival is back, Aug. 27-29, 2021, with safe, social distancing in place.
  • Edmonds Art Studio Tour, tentatively scheduled Sept. 18-19, 2021, connects artists with the general public, opening up their studios for tours.
  • Coming soon… Art View, which promises to keep up the spirit of Art Walk Edmonds, but on a safer, social-distancing, month-long basis. Businesses are encouraged to participate by hanging art on their walls, so visitors can check out all the artists’ works while shopping. Art View will not replace Art Walk Edmonds.
  • Art Walk Edmonds will resume, when it is safe to do so. Held on the third Thursday of every month, the free event occurs 5 p.m.-8 p.m. The whole town turns into one big art gallery, shop to shop, restaurant to restaurant to museum. Not just fine art on canvas, but all other types, culinary, performance, liquid, literary, musical arts. Stay tuned.

Featured, Ben Groff’s “King of the Mountains." 
Gallery, Groff's "Mt. Rainier, Sunset Amphitheater,” Cyndi Brown’s “Sea Lion” stoneware animal sculpture.
Photography Courtesy Gallery North.

Gallery, inside Cascadia Art Museum Gift Store by Carol Banks Weber.