Burnett Area Arts Group
Seasons change at Passage Gallery: new BAA artists debut - Fall 2022
The leaves and the temperature aren’t the only local changes of the season. The walls of the Northwest Passage Gallery are also changed to show off new Burnett Area Arts works. “We’re excited to welcome Gayle Sheahen and Susan Vander Linden to our family of artists as we rehang artwork for the fall and winter seasons,” says Jennifer Scammerhorn, Burnett Area Arts’ Gallery Committee chair and curator.
Gayle Sheahen lives in Danbury and specializes in photographing local Burnett County wildlife, many of which populate her backyard. “I like to observe animals daily to understand their behavior,” she says, having developed a sensitive eye to capturing special moments in the lives of bears, foxes, birds, otter and whatever other “critters” cross her path.
An amazing closeup image of a bear named “Petunia” is among more than a dozen of her photos of varying sizes in the Gallery. Sheahen also loves and owns horses; her photography career started by taking photos of her horses as well as those of friends at hunter-jumper and dressage shows.
Susan Vander Linden is a renaissance woman from a family of creativity. There’s hardly an art medium she’s hasn’t tried or is proficient at. A retired graphic designer, she moved to the north woods after spending 40 years in Minneapolis. “My walls are covered with photography, my one brothers’ paintings and my other brother’s barn sketches,” she says.
“I love to paint everything from little kids’ faces to your favorite pet,” she adds. Vander Linden takes commissions to paint pets and does face painting for adults and children at community events. Recently, she found a new passion: creating upscale, affordable jewelry from garage sale finds. “My roots are here now and I plan to spend time in my studio, creating.”
Her work and the works of many more BAA members as well as the nature photography of Northwest Passage’s In a New Light Gallery are on display along with cabin-themed wall décor, books, greeting cards, playing cards and other gift items. There’s also a limited quantity of hand-crafted Halloween jewelry for adults and children. Watch for a three-day Holiday Event on November 18-20. Visit burnettareaartsgroup.org or the BAA Facebook page for upcoming details.
The fall/winter Gallery hours are Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Northwest Passage Gallery is located one mile south of Webster, just off St. Rd. 35. Phone: 715.309.4254.
BAAG Offers Summer Art Classes - 2022
Add an arts experience to your summer fun this year! The Burnett Area Arts Group is offering summer art classes at the Passage Gallery starting this month.
On Thursday, May 19, 5-8 p.m., join artist Sandy Fritz as she guides you through her Mixed Media Collage Process to create fun flowers you can take home and enjoy. No previous experience necessary; all supplies will be provided. Cost: $50.
Artist Jennifer Scammerhorn will teach a four-week course in Drawing Fundamentals for Beginners on Sundays starting on June 5th. “You’ll learn about edges, shapes, shade and value,” says Scammerhorn. “You CAN draw – you just don’t know it yet!” The cost is $100.
More classes in July feature alcohol ink art and acrylic fluid art. Classes are open to everyone aged 16 and up and are limited to 10 participants.
To sign up and find more information, visit burnettaeaartsgroup.org; call or text 952.250 .8600. The Passage Gallery is located on mile south of Webster off St. Rd. 35, open Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Featured BAAG artist Carole Fure: "fabric is my paint palette"
The best way to describe Carole Fure is “spritely.” Her bright nature matches the bright colors she loves to use for her artwork. Fure is the Burnett Area Art Group’s current Spring 2022 featured artist at the Northwest Passage Gallery.
Fure’s medium is fiber and textiles. “I have come to appreciate how much I enjoy color,” she says. “I consider fabric my paint palette.” Her artwork focuses on three elements: color, geometrics and three-dimension.
Her style evolved as she grew up learning needlework with her sisters. “My mom was an excellent seamstress, which I did not inherit,” she admits with her ever present sense of humor. Her first experience with art was quilting. “When I went shopping with my children while they were little, I would first stop at the magazine rack and buy them each a little Golden Book to keep them occupied,” she recalled. “One time, I purchased a magazine for myself, and in it was a quilt.”
In the mid-70s, there was a resurgence of quilting during the nation’s bicentennial. Fure taught herself and “did her own thing” creating quilts because they were functional. “Mom gifted me with a ‘can do’ attitude; if you think you can, you can.”
Over the next 45 years – 30 of which were spent as a registered nurse – Fure’s style evolved as she no longer thought quilts had to be functional, just visually pleasing. “I seldom used a pattern and, in 1998, I wrote a quilt book describing a process by which quilters could explore their own designs.”
She bought and studied books by well-known artists she considers her early “mentors,” although she didn’t actually take classes. She was inspired by Jinny Beyer, Michael James and Caryl Bryer Fallert whose work she saw online and at quilt shows. “I loved the way they used color." Her work won awards. “I was juried into the National Quilt Show in Paducah, Kentucky, and I won Viewers’ Choice and Teachers’ Choice at the Minnesota Quilt Show – that was many years ago.”
Moving forward artistically, Fure created pictorial quilts using an innovative process called “tulle applique.” During that time, she started incorporating three-dimensional components. “Then I began doing three-dimensional fabric weaving art pieces which were considered 'wall quilts.'” And she took that a step further, adding geometric fiber art.
Carol G. Johnson’s lifelong journey culminates in Featured Artist selection
You might say Carol Goerke Johnson is a late bloomer. At 81, she is the Burnett Area Arts Group’s Fall 2021 featured artist. It’s been a life-long journey, parts of which are captured here.
She was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where she grew up; her first experience with art came in the 4th grade. “We had a once a month art teacher,” she recalled. “I drew a picture of our house. She told me it was the worst thing she’d ever seen. I thought it was perfect. I loved it. That turned me off to art.”
Fast forward to junior high. The art project was paper maché masks. “I made a mask and my best friend made one. The teacher held up my friend’s, saying it was wonderful and pointing out all the elements of design,” reported Johnson. “Then she said mine was even more wonderful because I made it ‘from the heart’ – that gave me a new perception.”
In high school, art history teacher Roland Schrupp covered more than just art. “We learned about music, architecture, what foods people ate, how they dressed, their mannerisms,” she said. “I loved the art and architecture parts, but it was the stories of how people actually lived that made me fall in love with [history].”
Johnson got married right out of high school and was mom to four children. After the children started school, she attended Carroll College, majoring in History, Elementary Art Education and Christian Education – earning degrees in all three.
As part of the curriculum for elementary art education, students were introduced to elements of design and various media. “I wanted to do welding, but they didn’t allow girls to do welding back then,” she explained. “I wanted to do sculpture so badly.”
In 1977, she and her husband, Don, moved the family to the north woods, settling halfway between Spooner and Webster. She continued her career, teaching high school history and elementary art in Minong. A decade later, Johnson was turned on to watercolors when she took a weekend class with Karlyn Holmen in Shell Lake. “She made me think that there was more that I could do. I went home feeling like ‘oh, this is wonderful,’ But then I put it all away again because I had responsibilities and a job. I was teaching and working as an EMT full time. I didn’t have time for art.”
Johnson retired after 26 years of teaching. Then sometime in her 70th year, she and her daughter, Julie, attended an art show in Eau Claire. After viewing the works, Johnson said to her “I can do some of this stuff.” And Julie said “Why don’t you? Go over there and talk to [the artist].” The artist was Patricia Mayhew Hamm and she was about to hold a watercolor workshop. “I can’t afford to do that,” Johnson recalled saying. To which her daughter replied “you can’t afford not to.” “So I took the workshop, and I’ve been puttering around ever since.”
Her chosen media are primarily watercolor, some acrylics, ink and collage. “I found watercolor incredibly exciting, but difficult to control,” commented Johnson. Holding up a new work entitled The Light Within, she said, “This one I matted this morning is mostly alcohol ink and gouache.*”
In describing her creative process, she explained: “Mentally -- I don’t plan a thing out. I have a general idea where I’m going. It’s more an intuitive thing that leads me somewhere. Sometimes I’ll have a piece partly done and I’ll put it across my living room under the TV.”
She continued “I’ll sit and look at it for weeks, thinking it’s not right, and then something will pop and it will come. I think a lot of things are given to me on a spiritual level; something I have to do. I enjoy the process more than the finished product.”
For Johnson, art is also therapeutic. “I think my art has always been an emotional part of my life. Even when I wasn’t practicing art, there were a couple of times I had crises in my life. What I’d do is take crayons and paper and go sit on the basement steps and just draw. You can look at it later and say ‘This reminds me of that time or place’ and it can be a healing process as well.”
Her work is on exhibit and for sale at the Northwest Passage Gallery located one mile south of Webster at the corner of St. Rd. 35 and North Bass Lake Road. The Gallery operates in partnership with the Burnett Area Arts Group, showcasing local artists’ work in many mediums. Hours are Friday 9–4 and Saturday 10–4. For additional BAAG and Gallery information, visit baag-wi.org or nwpgallery.org or call 715.309.4254.
*Gouache: a method of painting using opaque pigments ground in water and thickened to a glue-like consistency