Fresh Paint fest highlights local artists

EVERETT — To promote this year’s Fresh Paint festival on the Everett waterfront, Schack Art Center chose for its poster a piece by Everett artist Melana Bontrager.

“Harbour Home” was inspired by an overcast, quiet morning at the Everett marina, Bontrager said.

“A few people walked silently along the sidewalk and the docks leaving the still, peaceful morning undisturbed,” she said in her artist’s statement. “I was captivated, as always, with the rocks along the marina wall, the barnacles that attached themselves securely to their ridges, the lapping water that rose and fell with the tide. As the familiarity of these natural objects drew me in, I discerned a lovely juxtaposition of boats and nature.”

Bontrager generally works with India ink and acrylic paint on canvas, often incorporating natural shapes that result in abstract landscape paintings. “Landscape-esque is what I call it,” Bontrager said.

The artist has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Taylor University in Indiana, studied painting and drawing at Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy, and at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

“When I was in New York, I started passing time during the long subway ride from Queens into Manhattan by sketching and doodling,” Bontrager said. “I would draw the patterns and repetition in the cloth of people’s pants or the metal lines of the subway car. Then I started noticing the natural layers of earth and how rocks fit together in soil.”

About 15 years ago, she decided to combine her interests in pen and ink and acrylic paint, media not usually paired together. The color-fast ink goes down first followed by a translucent acrylic varnish.

For Fresh Paint, Bontrager plans to have on hand some smaller, less expensive pieces such as her canvas blocks, along with larger paintings and her demonstration work. She hopes to chat with lots of people and she plans to hand out hand-drawn business cards at the festival.

“I have learned how to draw and talk at the same time,” she said. “I take a sketchbook with me all the time, even if I am just driving a kid to piano lessons.”

Bontrager, who is in her late 30s, also is the mother of four children.

“My kids will sit and do art for hours,” she said. “That is good for the kids and for me.”

For more about Bontrager, go to www.mbontrager.com.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @galefiege.

Fresh Paint festival

Schack Art Center’s 19th “Fresh Paint: Festival of Artists at Work” is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Port of Everett Marina, 1700 W. Marine View Drive. Stroll through this outdoor gallery and enjoy live entertainment and crafts for kids. The free festival features about 90 artists doing demonstration work. When they are finished you can buy it, fresh off the easel or hot off the mobile glass-blowing shop.

In addition on Saturday morning, take the foot ferry from the 10th Street dock to Jetty Island where you can participate in the free Fresh Paint Float Find. The hunt for these glass balls, shaped like the old fishing net floats, begins at 10:30 a.m. Make a ferry reservation at 425-257-8304.

On Sunday, also look for the Everett Farmers Market at the marina.

After visiting the festival, make a stop at the Schack, 2921 Hoyt Ave, Everett, before it closes at 5 p.m. to see the work of artist of the year Joan Pinney. For more information, go to www.schack.org.

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