Calvin’s Fine Art Gallery: A Painter and a Potter

Calvin presbyterian church, calvin fine art gallery,
Debra Nelson's work.

Calvin Presbyterian Church’s Fine Art Gallery is presenting two well-known artists in Oregon for it’s January – February 2020 art exhibit and sale.

First, Sue Jensen’s journey as an artist is a long one. She has been painting for over 32 years and teaching for 25 years. Her work has evolved in many directions over the years. She loves the process of making art as it brings her a feeling that is calming and centering.

Calvin presbyterian church, calvin fine art gallery,
Sue Jensen’s work.

Right now, she is working on encaustics, collages, and acrylics. Encaustic painting uses beeswax and damar resin, heated on a palette. Each layer of wax applied, whether clear or colored, must be fused to the layer below. This way, a solid foundation is formed, and the wax is embedded into the surface, thus becoming archival. The Greeks used this wax mixture in shipbuilding, and the early Egyptians used this method in their famous Fayem portraits. Sue loves the surface work and the feel and smell of the beeswax. To paint her collages, she makes the papers with tissue, acrylics, inks homemade stamps and just brushstrokes.

Over the years, Sue finds it a pleasure to share her experience with students and to place her work in homes across the country.

For Debra Nelson, clay is as a blank canvas is to a painter. There is a form in there waiting to get out. Between the two of them, the clay and her, they agree as to what that shape might be. This is most evident when exploring new shapes. And if this isn’t enough, there is always the struggle between the glaze and the fire. The kiln is like the world, you’ve formed the clay, calculated and applied the glazes, now it is up to the fire to determine the final look of the pot. Opening the kiln is always an opportunity for learning for what worked and what needs to be reevaluated.

It is this moment that keeps her going back to the wet clay possibilities and more to learn.

Debra was a ceramics major at Portland State University and continues to work as a studio potter. She shows her work at various shows and galleries in Oregon and teaches out of her studio and at the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg.