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Artist’s work evokes emotional response to nature

| May 12, 2022 12:00 AM

KALICO Art Center’s newest exhibition is Fluid Landscapes: Memories of the North” by Jaimé Bell.

Bell is a self-taught painter and former high school English teacher who grew up in Eagle River, Alaska. Her family’s encouragement of close communion with nature — hiking, skiing, fishing, camping and boating — directed her path as she chose where and how to live.

Drawn to nature poetry and inspired by the power of the written word, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature at George Fox University in Corvallis, Oregon, a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree at Oregon State, and then spent her early adult life teaching literature in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She moved to Montana in 2012 to help her husband build their home on family land, joining five previous generations that have lived in the Flathead Valley. Her landscape style is influenced by these beautiful places in which she’s lived.

An excerpt from the artist:

“Nature is central to my work: all my pieces reflect whimsical or abstract representations of the world around me. The jagged mountains around my home, gnarled pine forests, copses of birch in my backyard evoke an emotional awareness that fuels my work. For me, it is the effect of nature that I want to channel, not the descriptive detail of a landscape, so my pieces have subtle or minimal hand painting in order to emphasize the background … and the overall effect of the composition. I feel no obligation to represent nature realistically, which gives me the freedom to work with the quasi-controllable process of acrylic pouring … a process that can be unpredictable and chaotic — like nature — and lead to just as many emotional responses. As I continue to grow as an artist and human, my art ushers in peace, flexibility of mind, persistence, and new perspectives. I hope those who experience my art can feel the same emotional charge I feel during the process of creation and be absorbed for a moment in the shock of color, the flowing tranquility, the burning power of the world around us.”

Bell is teaching her technique in workshops May 18 and June 4. Register on KALICO’s website, kalicoartcenter.org.

The “Fluid Landscapes” exhibit will be on display through July. KALICO is offering self-guided exhibition tours. Pieces are available for purchase through KALICO’s website, by phone, or in person.

For more information, contact Jemina Watstein at execdirector@kalicoartcenter.org or 406-471-2832.

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