- The Teenage Years
Bear Creek Palettes | An Exhibition of Perspectives, Personality, and Passion
Gallery Kirkland Arts Center, 620 Market Street, Kirkland, WA 98003
Exhibition February 25 – March 5
Details The exhibit is open during regular gallery hours, Thursdays and Friday, noon – 6:00 p.m., and Saturdays by appointment. Please contact the gallery to confirm hours. Visitors must answer a Wellness Screening upon entering the gallery, and those answering “no” to all the questions may enter to view the show. Masks are required and social distancing is practiced while walking and viewing the gallery.
What do teens of today think about? What affects our youth so profoundly it alters the way they think, the lens they look through, and the art they create? Come and see the perspectives of eight diverse personalities, each a passionate student-artist exploring his or her thoughts through visual form.
This combined exhibition by Advanced Studio Art students features the works of seniors Katelyn Britney, Eleanor Carruth, Parker Jani, Lisa Le, Claire McArthur, Kate McDonough, Zoe Osborn, and Lily Parker. Continue to see a sneak peek of the artists' work and read their statements.
by Katelyn Britney
I believe animals have a very important role in our world. They bring a different light that people do not necessarily possess. When people say a dog is a “man’s best friend,” I believe it to be true. Dogs understand you at a different level, comfort, and will listen when no one else will. It brings me great sorrow seeing these hopeful, loving dogs on the street with nowhere to go and no one to love. They can look gruffy on the outside, but their appearance shouldn’t matter. Unfortunately, it is quite common for a dog to go throughout their whole life without ever finding “their” person or source of companionship.
My dog is a rescue and was abandoned by his previous owner for reasons I cannot understand. When we first got him, he was frightened, dull, and seemed intimidated. But regardless of his painful past, he adapted and began to trust again, the spark in his eyes crept back like it was never gone. To this day he has grown to be a lovable, hopeful, and very happy dog who deserves the world and more.
I have created this piece in honor of my dog, Chester, in hopes to bring attention to the other dogs who struggle to find a home. In each piece, it demonstrates the different emotions the dog experiences whilst being adopted. This art represents that dogs have feelings too and they matter a lot more than people perceive them to. I hope to bring light to the situation, by sharing that every dog deserves a chance at a wonderful life and should never have to live in fear and sadness. When I adopted Chester, I could already feel a wonderful bond emerging from the cracks. He taught me responsibility, compassion and most importantly a different form of love. I learned that not just dogs, but every animal has a big heart that is beaming with hope and it makes me feel so honored to be able to be the person who gives that animal that opportunity. Even though the outside appearance may not be pleasing, you must take the time to uncover the beautiful light that’s hiding deep inside. An act that takes an unconditional love.
by Eleanor Carruth
No matter what stage of life we are in, we are growing, learning, and changing. I have always felt an unprecedented gratitude to people in my life and to God for giving me the ability to explore and express what I wish. The freedom to speak, think, learn, and act the way I choose is something that I am forever grateful for.
So, I chose to focus on depicting birds. Together, they are the paragon of freedom, but as individuals they also present pieces of my person: Spring, Scotland, and the Swallow.
The sparrow represents spring. What is your favorite season? In my experience, the answers I have heard are “anything but spring,” which has always surprised me. Springtime means fresh air, vivid colors, and magical rain. A sunrise in early spring is simply breathtaking. It captures a perfect bridge between winter and spring, a movement from hibernation to growth. For this reason I chose to paint a sparrow with a pale-yellow background. It depicts the encapsulation of springtime and change. The sparrow reminds me of spring, like how a wolf would remind someone of winter. This thing, this time of the year, holds a special place in my heart.
The golden eagle represents Scotland. In fact it is the official national bird of Scotland and is where I am from. Not directly, but I still find it influential in my life. Values of justice, vigilance, and perseverance are often attributed to it; values that I hold in high regard. Even though I have never been, Scotland is still a place that I love.
The swallow represents family. They say happiness is measured by how thankful we are in life. I am so grateful and thankful that I have my family. My family has made me who I am and given me the opportunities to pursue my passions. I chose the swallow, because not only is it my mothers’ favorite bird, and the type that swarm at Mt. Rainier when the lupines start to blossom, but because they are the symbol of loyalty to family. Because at the end of day, no matter how much we argue, laugh, or fight, we are family, the people who I love.
The pieces that shape an individual’s life are unique. The people, places, and things we love shape us. Whether that be through art, writing, or working we express these pieces and values in different ways. This is my way of showing my gratitude for having the freedom to express what I value. Lift off and show yours!
by Parker Jani
Life is difficult. Life is unpredictable. Life rarely goes where you expect it to. My life has been nothing short of these descriptors. Like many I have lived through astounding highs and tremendous lows. I have experienced feelings so great I could not even begin to describe them, and feelings so dark I wish no one would ever have to experience. I have had moments where I have never felt more alive and times spent wondering if this moment or the next is when I will die. Life is a struggle; it is not easy. It is like swimming against current that is trying to drag you out to sea or trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube that is constantly fighting back. However, in some odd way, through all the trials and tribulations I have experienced I have come to realize life is the most beautiful thing the world has to offer. The most prevalent memories we have are the highs and lows in our lives. These are the moments we remember most, the ones we tell stories about and the moments shape the way we view ourselves. We get so caught up in these big moments we tend to overlook the little moments in our lives, the moments that pass in the blink of an eye, the moments that truly make life Beautiful. Through my series I attempted to find instances of beauty in my own life and capture a handful of little moments to be frozen forever in time. While memories fleet and change over time, these small moments will evade and hide from us. To properly capture these distant memories, I had to portray them in their purest form, silhouettes. In my life these moments have become a shadow of who I have been. The outline of the moment, the shadowy figure that is the subject is meant to allow me and those who know me to recall the moments that made me. It is not just exclusive, and the ambiguous darkness of each moment allows for the darkness of the silhouette to be filled in with the memory the viewer associates with it. In the final moments of my childhood, as I wait for the next chapter and journey life has to offer me, I present a summary of the little moments in my life I cherish and hold close to me. These are the moments that have made my life beautiful.
by Khanh Le
Home always waits for us. Despite traveling thousands of miles and through all the changes, home is always home. Adjusting to a new city, community, and school was a challenge because I was used to being in Vietnam, with my old friends, at my old school. I often got homesick and wanted to go home. But I soon adjusted to the new environment learning to become more independent. When I first moved to Seattle without my family, I could feel a clear contrast. As an international student with no friends who speak the same mother language, I experienced a loneliness that grew in time. I found solace in my video calls with my family in Vietnam. They would never fail to let me know that despite being on two different continents, they will always be there for me.
Leaving my home abroad and entering a new city, I miss all the holidays that my family usually gathers together to celebrate. Although being far away from home, it’s always there in my heart. My parents always make sure that I know they are waiting for me at home. Home always welcomes me back despite what happened. I decided to portray my feelings and thoughts through paper sculpture because of the delicateness of the material. How one can fold, bend, cut, and stick pieces of paper together and turn them into wonderful yet fragile artworks. I want to use paper sculpture to show my memories with my family at home, all the moments that I cherish so much along with the times when I feel very lonely not having them right next to me.
Raised in a culture that values holidays like Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn festival, my family and I spent countless hours in preparation each year. My dad would maneuver through the crowds on his motorbike to purchase ingredients from the local vendors, while my mom and I would head towards the blooming flower market and pick up these radiant blossoms to adorn our house with. The house was bustling as it usually would each holiday. It was never the same when I left to study abroad. Being away from home helped me become a more independent person, yet I miss all these moments with my family. But since then, every holiday like the Mid-Autumn festival, my mom would film all the preparations along with all the wishes and send them to me to make me feel like I’m at home. The origami rabbits staying next to the girl show that my family is always there for me even when they are not physically right next to me. The bridge depicts the connection and the foundation my family has for me even though I live away from home.
In the end, no matter what happens, home is always there waiting for you. They are there to cheer you up, to fill you with laughter, and to make sure that you know that they have your back. You do not have to be in the same location with your family to create memories with them. You can always do that no matter where you are because they will always be there for you.
by Claire McArthur
My feet clip-clopped on the sidewalk, my ponytail swooshing from one shoulder to the other. Back and forth. Back and forth. My shoes slapped on the pavement as I gazed up at the trees and sunny spring sky. Despite being sweaty, sore, and sick of the same old routine, I had begun to find a certain hidden joy within runs through my neighborhood. They soon became a staple of my spring and summer of 2020 as I relished the moments away from my desk as I focused on the simple breeze blowing through my hair. Such afternoon runs led me on a journey to joy. After countless spring school days stuck behind my computer, wondering when normalcy would ever return, I discovered moments of happiness, joy, and hope within my new normal. The sun on my shoulders, dirt on my forehead, the smoky smell of a campfire. Before I knew it, every moment of quarantine became an opportunity for a shift to a more joyful attitude.
My series, “Count it all Joy” was inspired by a shifting attitude as I began to see moments of joy within an ever-changing landscape rife with raging viruses and a world that seemed to be falling apart before my eyes. Each piece centers around a path, representing the various ups, downs, and seasons of life. Some paths are implied, drawn out by the natural landscape. Others are more obvious. While I reflected on the many twists, turns, and forks of 2020, I realized each change of direction was an opportunity to find a little more joy, to find the golden lining, if you will, amongst the detours. All of my pieces feature gold paint, alluding to my theme of finding joy in every season of life. Whether the glimmering edge of a poppy or the sparkling arc of a cloud, I aimed to show that every moment, even seemingly small, can bring joy.
by Kate McDonough
Every individual has a beginning, middle, and end. People have a story, full of climax or anti-climactic instances, innocence and hardship, joy, and sorrow. Each of our stories are just as diverse as each person is individualistic. However, we all share the commonality that our stories are what shape and inform us.
When I was young, I was told innocent stories of my parents’ childhood. Their past is indicated by the stories told in orange and blue. These stories reminded my young self, why not to drop shovels from barn ladders or the importance of a five-dollar bill. Slowly, as I grew out of my innocence, so did the stories. They were no longer playful tales that you came to know, but rather used them, to understand. Stories that gave the dark, harsh context and the truth about life. The lows of life are indicated by the darkly drawn stories. They illustrate the hard, beautiful, redeeming truth of life. Stories of truth voiced with love and grace.
Stories are not something that are only recited during holidays to keep conversation light. Stories are told with tears in eyes and coffee in hand on Sunday mornings. Late at night huddled around one another in dim light. They illuminate mornings. Late at night huddled around one another in the dim light. They illuminate our context, exposing our highs and lows from not only the past of others but our past as well.
We all have stories, good and bad, for better or for worse, that provide context and insight as to where we are from, where we are, and where we will go. I hold stories with a sacredness and importance which I seek to share. My family's stories are a part of me, informing me and helping to shape what I believe and my values. My parent's stories, blue and orange, become my stories, molding into an array of purples, blues, blacks, and oranges. Stories are our table of contents. However, our chapters are not bound by ink but rather blank and ready to be filled with a beginning, middle, and end.
by Zoe Osborn
Whether you are a coffee or a tea person, or maybe both as I am, you will understand that a good beverage can make your day that much better. When we miss that special morning drink, we can feel like our day didn’t start out on the right foot; something feels missing and we are not completely satisfied. In a similar way, life can sometimes leave us wanting more, leading us to desperately try and fill our lives with things we think will satisfy us. Everyone has a way of trying to fill the empty spaces in their lives, trying to fill their cup with things they equate as “meaningful.” I often think about how much better I will feel once I achieve all my goals, making list after list of all the things I want to do someday. While goals are important to have, I often find myself dreaming of things that are yet to come and forgetting the precious things God has already given me. In our busy and complicated lives, we can forget to cherish the things that fill us with joy and give us meaning. To replicate this idea, I chose to make my series about the things I love, and often forget to appreciate.
Coffee and tea have always been a part of my life, from grabbing a hot drink before a road trip, to having tea parties with my grandma as a little girl, and so what better way to symbolize the fullness of life then cups. The first cup is empty and leaves something to be desired; it lacks appreciation of life. The second cup is crammed full of lists and goals, things that once consumed my time. After the mess of coffee stains and paper comes a cup, empty of things, but full of the realization that there is more to life then my “things to-do.” It represents the realization that sometimes we need to be still and know that God has blessed us with wonderful things. The next three cups are full of the things that I forget to appreciate. The first represents family, full of the favorite flowers of the women in my family. The second is filled with ticket stubs, polaroid photos and road trip snacks, things that remind me of the great adventures I have been on. The second to last cup is surrounded by hobbies and passions that bring me joy, such as martial arts, journaling, and music. All these things, family, adventures, and my passions, fill me with joy, yet often go unappreciated. To sum up my theme, the final piece in my series pictures two cups, one pouring into the other. It symbolizes that once you appreciate your own life, your cup will be full to the brim, and thus you are able to pour into someone else’s life.
Whether it is due to COVID-19 or the fact that this is my last year in high school, or likely a combination of both, I have been struck lately with the realization that my life is good. I have an incredible family, I have been on amazing adventures, and have a collection of marvelous memories. No matter the season of your life, it is important to appreciate the beautiful things that pass your way. My life is filled by family, the adventures I have undertaken, and the passions God has given me, but everyone’s cup is filled differently. So, sit back, enjoy a cup of your favorite beverage, and ask yourself: what fills your cup?
by Lillia Parker
History is written by the victors, the powerful, the mature. But what would a child tell us about being sieged by the Nazis, or marching for civil rights, or carrying tradition forward? We always look to the leaders for the story, when truth can also be found in the small and the innocent. Children do not just represent the future, they reveal our past as well. They are a beacon of hope in troubled times. I convey this idea in my series through three children, from three different pieces of history. I have tried to give them each a voice, and a name, so they can speak again.
Zvezde (star) is a boy I found in a photo while researching the Siege of Leningrad, a military blockade undertaken by the Nazis during WWII, lasting almost three years. His background features both Russian and American newspapers documenting the time, as well as music and stories. His gaze is one of seriousness, but also of hope, something most did not have at that time.
Lucile (luminous) is wearing traditional clothing of the Scandinavian holiday St. Lucia’s Day, celebrating the Christian martyr who, according to legend, once sailed into port in a shining light, giving clothing and food during a dark winter riddled by famine. She is surrounded by Swedish children's stories, newspaper, and my great-grandmother’s Swedish recipes. As tradition tells, Lucile brings breakfast to her family as dawn breaks and light returns.
Rashaun (shining) is also from a photo, taken during the Children’s Crusade of 1963. On May 2nd, over a thousand students skipped school and marched on Birmingham, the resulting violence and arrests making headlines around the world and spurred unprecedented growth and support for the Civil Rights Movement. He is centered by newspapers and posters about resistance from both pre-and post-Civil War, and is just as aware of the gravity of his actions as any adult, carrying the American flag in longing for a brighter time.
People always say “children are our future,” but they are also our past. Through "Voices of Hope," I convey history as written by the young, as they carry just as much truth as any great leader. Whether in past, present, or future, children embody hope. They enact change. They keep the past alive. They are our light in the darkest times.