Inspiration on the waterfront at Camano studio tour

You can pick out Kathy Hastings’ studio overlooking Elger Bay by looking for the kayak strapped to the vehicle parked out front.

The kayak plays a crucial role in Hastings’ life and art.

The 16th annual self-guided Camano Island Studio Tour by the Camano Arts Association begins Friday and continues May 10, 11, 17 and 18 across the island. The tour is free.

Hastings is the cover artist for this year’s tour brochure.

The cover portrait of a great blue heron is a fine example of her work.

The piece began with a photograph of a rusty ship hull in Ballard and a photo of the heron that stared at Hastings from its perch at nearby Salmon Bay.

Using photo editing software, she layered the photos, then, using encaustic techniques, covered the image with melted beeswax combined with oil paints, oil pastels and mica sand for texture.

After her husband’s death 14 years ago, Hastings, now 65, spent an increasing amount of time in the double kayak they had bought together.

She also returned to art, her passion, which she had mostly set aside during the years her husband was pastor at Faith Fellowship Church in Mill Creek.

In the double kayak, she was able to keep her digital camera and other supplies at hand.

Fishermen’s Terminal in Seattle was a draw, especially when the evening light danced across the water.

“You have to be open to what leads you,” Hastings said. “The water is my muse.”

The encaustic pieces she produces from her photos of ships at water level have the sense of ethereal, abstract landscapes.

The scratches on the side of a crab boat look like Northwest School artist Mark Tobey’s “white writing.”

Other photos, tinted with watercolors, have the feel of Maxfield Parrish paintings.

“I am still learning and experimenting,” Hastings said. “It’s a gift.”

Those who visit Hastings on the tour on the second weekend will be treated to demonstrations of the encaustic technique, and children will be able to take something home.

Mary Simmons, a Camano Island glass artist and tour manager, said she moved to Camano Island just to be part of the tour.

“My art has exploded since moving to Camano,” Simmons said. “An artist can really breathe here.”

On the tour people will find work they might not see anywhere else, Simmons said. “Much of it is Northwest-inspired, but we have a lot of diversity on the tour.”

The tour’s featured guest artist this year is Alfred Currier of Anacortes. His landscapes include those of tulips and farm workers in Skagit Valley.

“The tour this year promises to be a great one,” Simmons said.

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

16th annual Camano Island Studio Tour

The best way to start the Camano Island Studio Tour is to stop first at Windermere Real Estate, Terry’s Corner, 818 N. Sunrise Blvd., on the island for a brochure and map.

You also can download a brochure from www.camanostudiotour.com.

More information about Kathy Hastings is available at www.kathyhastings.com.

Artists on this year’s tour include Yonnah Ben, Chaim Bezalel-Levy, Roger Cocke, Dian Dangler, Marguerite Goff, Rena Mahurin, Susan Cohen Thompson, Lee Beitz, Marc Boutte’, Erin Bradshaw;

Mark Ellinger, Ray Fossum, Dolors Ruscha, Mary Simmons, Kathy Dannerbeck, Marie-Claire Dole, Karen O’Bryan, Patti Pontikis, Liane Redpath, Dotti Burton, Marilyn Crandall, John Delzell, Linda Demetre;

Betty Dorotik, John Ebner, Betty Frost, Jack Gunter, Diane Hill, Vicki Johnson, Dan Koffman, Karla Matzke, Bobbie Mueller, Robert Paczkowski;

Frank Renlie, John Ringen, Helen Saunders, Pamela Searcy, Jim Shipley, Wayne Simmons, Sue Uhrich, Jeffrey Zigulis, Kathy Hastings, Chris Tuohy, Diana Yackowitz, Dan Freeman, Bill Matheson, Kathy Edelman Hutchinson, John Luke and Russ Riddle.

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