Artist brings sunflowers to rain country

Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2001

Artist Dianne Anderson will bring the sun to Juneau this fall.

"Sunflowers in Rain Country" and "Sunflower Worship" are two new works Anderson will feature in her upcoming show. Anderson's exhibit opens Friday with oil paintings, collages and etchings on display. A reception from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Big Picture gallery in Lyle's Home Furnishings will open the event.

Anderson's etchings are done by inking an engraved zinc plate and pressing the image onto handmade paper. Anderson's prints are signed and numbered in closed editions. She generally runs one or two editions of 50 prints from a plate before canceling it.

Sunflowers are more than simply subjects for the show - some of the paper incorporates pieces of stems, petals and leaves from Anderson's homegrown sunflowers. Yellow sunflower petals adorn the paper in her etching, "Sunflower in Raincountry."

Anderson makes her paper using cotton rag shredded from artist's mat board and often adds blue denim threads from jeans. The indigo dye from the jeans colors the paper pulp with a distinctive hue.

"You chew it all up in a blender and pour it into a tub, then lift it out on a screen," she said. "It's a lot like cooking, except you don't eat it."

She's also incorporated pussywillows, fireweed and beet skins into handmade paper for previous projects.

"Ice Passages" is a new collage Anderson made for the upcoming show by cutting apart and reassembling other etchings. At first glance it's a landscape with a prominent glacier terminating in water; closer inspection reveals a myriad of details - a Tlingit carved canoe, Capt. George Vancouver's tall ship Discovery, a cruise ship and a kayak. A bear cub, a fireweed stem with feathers for seeds, the phases of the moon and a school of sockeye salmon also adorn the collage.

Anderson serves half-time as a teaching assistant at the University of Alaska Southeast and teaches art at Harborview Elementary School and at the Juneau Community Charter School. She's had her second-grade students working with her sunflowers this fall as well.

"I bring sunflowers in and wow them with a huge 10-foot model," she said. "They draw them and do van Gogh studies."

A collection of 18 student drawings and paintings will be on display at the Big Picture gallery along with nine by Anderson.

Anderson has several recent oil paintings debuting at the reception Friday. One, titled "A Yin Yang Thing," features a Southeast glacier grinding down a mountain.

The exhibit will be on display until mid-November at the Big Picture.

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