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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment July 22, 2018

11/7/2017 1:15:00 PM
Oil paintings on display at library
Artist and framer Chris Nelson stands in front of her depiction of aspen trees in the fall.  photo by Sue Stafford
+ click to enlarge
Artist and framer Chris Nelson stands in front of her depiction of aspen trees in the fall. photo by Sue Stafford

By Sue Stafford

Chris Nelson, co-owner of the new Wildflower Studio in Sisters, is the featured artist for the Friends of the Sisters Library art exhibit in the computer room of the library for the month of November.

Her warm rich oils of landscapes, still life, songbirds, and dogs also showcase Nelson's framing talents. She moved to Sisters 15 years ago from Minnesota, and had been doing art framing at the Clearwater Gallery since two weeks after her arrival, before opening Wildflower Studio.

Nelson was an art major at St. Olaf's College in her native Minnesota.

"In college, (art) was the thing that was easy," Nelson recalled. "I loved college. Everything was fun."

After graduating from college, Nelson spent a year in China teaching English. She began framing when she returned to Minnesota, as well as getting married and having her three boys.

"My dream was to become a painter, and I stayed in a field connected to painting," she explained.

Looking for a new arts community when leaving Minnesota, Nelson and her family drove through the West, decided against Sun Valley, and then discovered Sisters one fall. The next spring, they moved to Oregon.

"If you can move down the street, you can move across the country," Nelson said. "We just fit in Sisters. It has felt that way ever since we moved here ... The boys have grown up knowing the outdoors."

Nelson has found fun (or made it) wherever she has been. Right now, with her new artist studio/gallery/framery with business partner Wendy Rickards, she is enjoying having more time to just do what she loves.

"There are things I want to explore; like trying looser, bigger oils. I have a little studio at home, too, so I can paint either place. I love the light in the new store," Nelson added.

She had promised herself that when her youngest son graduated from high school, it would be her time. He just started his freshman year at Portland State University.

All of the pieces exhibited at the library are for sale. Most are original oils. The small birds and the two Labrador retrievers are giclee prints on canvas. Nelson prefers working in oils.

"I like the feel of oils. I love the look of the old masters," she said.

When her children were small, oils were a logical choice.

"You can come back to them after stopping (for the kids). I was able to be frugal - not wasting paints."

Nelson also has pieces on display at Wildflower Studio, 103 E. Hood Ave., Monday through Friday,

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday,

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday,

12 to 3 p.m.; and by appointment, 541-904-0673.

The Central Oregon Spinners and Weavers Guild exhibit continues in the library Community Room through November.

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