As soon as Juneau artist Heather Ridgway was asked to put together a solo show at Rock Paper Scissors, she started oil painting. She quickly realized this was not a good idea. For one thing, she had only completed two oil paintings in her life.
"I was forcing myself to do this oil painting, and I thought, 'This isn't my work. I'm used to working in three-dimensions,'" Ridgway said.
So Ridgway reverted to her background: maskmaking. A former middle-school art teacher and props builder for the Anchorage Opera, Ridgway moved to Juneau last summer and married in August. She designed the set for Perseverance Theatre's production of "King Stag," painted the set for "The Mommy Dance" and is helping build props for Juneau-Douglas High School's adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz."
Her show, "This 'n' That," a collection of multi-media masks, digitally manipulated photos and random works, opens at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, at Rock Paper Scissors, 245 Marine Way, as part of the February First Friday.
"I find that I work best under someone else's direction," Ridgway said. "Someone says 'I need a bird' or 'I need a minotaur' and I do it. Coming up with my own ideas, I take a little too long. There are too many possibilities and there's no deadline. So I don't create a lot of artwork of my own design."
Ridgway has built about 10 masks, most out of papier-maché, clay, filler and joint compound. She hopes to show a few in the upcoming Wearable Art show, Feb. 20 at the ANB Hall. The collection includes an eagle, a minotaur and at least two masks made out of washed-up beach bone.
JAHC GALLERY: Last April, Juneau artist Michelle Morrell showed one of her works in the anti-war exhibit at the Empire Gallery. A girl approached and asked to buy the piece, then reconsidered and disappeared.
"She said, 'I've never heard of you,'" Morrell said. "And I thought, "Maybe I should do something, put on a show.'"
Morrell was well-known in Sitka as an artist and printmaker for the 15 years she lived on Baranof Island. She was the secretary for Baranof Arts and Crafts for all 15 years, and she's sold prints through galleries in the Southeast, recently with the help of Taku Graphics, since 1985.
But she had to stop painting when she moved to Juneau in 1999 with her husband, John. She had a full-time job with the U.S. Forest Service, and she was taking care of her ill mother. Except for an occasional pot and a few prints, she stopped making art until last June, when she was offered a show at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery.
"This was a way to give myself a kick start," Morrell said. "There were a whole bunch of things that I had really gotten rusty in. But things are starting to go a lot better. It's really been good to start painting again."
Morrell will show paintings, prints and ceramics in "Multiple Media," a co-show with Juneau artist Mark Horn at the JAHC gallery. The show opens from 4:30-6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, and runs through Feb. 28.
JAG GALLERY: Textile designer Cara Rodgveller is the newest member of the Juneau Artists Gallery, 175 S. Franklin in the Senate Building, and her latest works, hand-knit, hand-dyed scarves and felted wool hats, are currently featured. Rodgveller is studying toward a master's degree in fisheries at University of Alaska Southeast and will present her thesis this spring.
Rodgveller knits wool hats and bags in double size, then washes them in hot water until the wool and mohair blend and are felted to the right size and density.
"The result is a very durable product and unique piece that will last for years," she said in a JAG press release.
JAG is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information about the artists, check out www.juneauartistsgallery.com.
ANNIE KAILL'S: Juneau artist Tisket Sesler, a teacher in town for the last 14 years, will be sharing Annie Kaill's with at least five of her students during the First Friday walk, 4:30-7 p.m.
Sesler works in oil pastel, dry pastel, colored pencil and scratchboard (or scraperboard) - rectangular blocks covered in layers of masonite, white clay and black ink. She uses a sharp tool, to scrape off the black ink and create reverse black-and-white images. Sesler adds dry pastel for color. A 9-by-11-inch scratchboard can take her two weeks. For more examples, visit www.annieandcojuneau.com.
"Scratchboards started out in England when they were doing advertising for diamonds and jewelry," Selser said. "It came out in black and white and made the items look like they were sparkly. They make beautiful prints - very hard and very crisp."
Most of Sesler's work includes animals (bears, puffins and wolves) and landscapes. She's been learning oil pastels lately because, she said, "I just kind of got tried of all that chalk dust, and I like to keep changing and developing my skills."
Seslser will be joined by five of her students: Cailey Neary, oil pastel; Phillip Huebschen, scratchboard; Tesia and Erin Meade, pastels; and Ione Linzmeier, colored ink.
EMPIRE GALLERY: Following in the vein of last February's "Eros & Art: an Exhibition of Sensual Art" exhibition at the JAHC gallery, Empire Gallery co-manager Heidi Reifenstein has assembled a 2004 version of "Eros & Art," starring at least 12 local artists. Reifenstein, who is still awaiting word on when a proposed pizzeria will take over the Empire Gallery, found out in late January that she will have the space through at least February.
"I was very impressed with last year's show, and I hope this year's will be just as good, if not better," Reifenstein said.
"Eros & Art" premieres from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6. As of Feb. 3, the artists included: Jane Stokes, Stephanie Marnon, Dianne Anderson, Jane Lindsay, Mark Daughhetee, Noelle Derse, Sara Harriger, Rick Clair, Heidi Reifenstein, Ashton Fuller and Barb Craver. Most of the pieces will be nudes or semi-nudes in "sensual poses." Last year's show included drawings, paintings, photographs, mixed-media, jewelry and a wooden "penis pull toy," created by Paul Gardinier.