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Nearly 300 artists converge on coast

Brookings artist Buzz Stewart was presented with the Award of Distinction for his watercolor “On That Day the White Birds Flew.” The Pilot/Marge Woodfin
The past weekend was filled with art, art and more art everywhere one went in Brookings-Harbor.

The statewide Watercolor Society of Oregon (WSO) convention, held for the first time in Brookings, brought more than 230 artists with family and friends from all over the state.

Adding to that plethora of art and artists was the usual Second Saturday Art Walk with its monthly display of art and entertainment in galleries, studios, and businesses throughout the community.

Long before the festivities even began, members of the Pelican Bay Arts Association (PBAA) were busy painting and refurbishing the Manley Art Center and Gallery to make the building shine for the influx of paintings and painters.

Just receiving and hanging the 80 contending watercolor paintings that were chosen from the 380 original entries to participate in the final judging in Brookings was a undertaking led, by Horst Wolf, PBAA chair Lorelei Hanna and Nola Range.

Prior to the show opening at 4 p.m. Saturday, juror Stephen Quiller from Colorado reviewed the entries to choose the 20 top-rated paintings that will be in a traveling show throughout Oregon for the next six months.

The watercolor paintings of Brookings artists Buzz Stewart and Janeen Vick, and Gold Beach artists Pat Renner and Shelley Wierzba are included in the show. Stewart’s watercolor, “On That Day the White Birds Flew,” was chosen by Quiller to receive the Award of Distinction.

WSO members and guests began to arrive and activities started at noon Friday with hospitality and convention registration at Best Western Beachfront Inn  at the Port of Brookings Harbor.

Registration was followed by a new member meeting and a time to meet and greet Quiller, who is a nationally celebrated artist, instructor, and judge.

Weekend activities available to convention participants included, golf at Salmon Run golf course, an ocean fishing trip, a paint in/out with Dauna Roberts at Dale Wells’ beach house, a paint in/out with Sara Broderick at the “The Cove” gazebo, paint-in with Alexandra Eyer and Pat Renner at the Beachfront Inn conference room., collage workshop with Audi Stanton at her studio, hiking the Chetco River with Charlie Blozinski, photographing the coast hike with Bill Schlichting, Wild Rivers Coast bus tour with Pete Chasar, Create and Collaborate Using Photoshop with Linda Rothchild Ollis, critique sessions with Quiller, artist reception at Manley Art Center, Art Walk guided tour, Awards Banquet at Elks Lodge, plus a Sunday morning demonstration and lecture by Quiller.

Event co-chairs Wolf and Hanna, assisted by Bobbie Geney, Vick, Vi Burton, Wells, and Pat and Paul Renner, plus the entire membership of the PBAA, received high marks from visiting WSO officers and members.

Members praised the Brookings convention, and WSO President Harold Walkup declared, “This was the biggest and best WSO convention in a small town ever.”

Linda Nye, convention coordinator from Portland said, “I have never encountered a team as solid and coordinated as the one in Brookings.”

Jurist Quiller commented, “I have never seen, an all my career, such active organizations as WSO and the Manley Art Center team.”

WSO members also mentioned “warm fuzzy feelings” generated by the signs, “Brookings Merchants Association Welcomes WSO, Watercolor Society of Oregon” displayed all over town.

There were also comments such as, “I’ve never seen such a wonderful spread,” about the box lunches, finger foods, and other refreshments provided for several of the events by Noel Hanna of Ray’s Food Place.

The watercolor display will be hanging at the Manley Art Center through the month of April, prior to the six-month tour to galleries throughout the state of the 20 award-winning paintings.

Manley Art Center, 433 Oak St., is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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