Winter 2008

Community

Community Events: Nordstrom Opening Gala
Community Events: Capitol Land Trust Gala
Galleries Tour
Artist Spotlight: Melanie Kirk-Stauffer

Design & Style

In Living Color
The Commencement Condominiums
Selden’s Home Furnishings

Cuisine

Fujiyama
Toscanos

Toscanos

Toscanos
437 29th St NE, Suite A, Puyallup
253.864.8600
www.toscanospuyallup.com

No spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, or pepperoni pizza are on the menu at Toscanos Café and Wine Bar. With a passion for food, unparalleled creativity, and years of experience, chef/owner Tom Pantley has taken Italian food to a new level.

The dining room is warm and inviting, yet elegant. Soft lighting glows dimly on rich wood. In the corner, embers glimmer in a stone fireplace, gently illuminating muted gold and terra cotta walls. We feel immediately comfortable and at ease.

A touch of sherry adds depth to housemade cream of mushroom soup. Tuscan onion soup bears a mild resemblance to its French cousin; a rich stock featuring roasted onions is topped with garlic croutons, chopped scallions, and melted provolone cheese. The seasonal chanterelle appetizer is sautéed in butter, garlic and rosemary, then garnished with a sprig of the fragrant herb.

Toscanos’ house salad combines mixed greens with raspberry vinaigrette, tomatoes, hazelnuts, and dried cranberries; the Caesar is light and lemony. Crunchy herb bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dipping accompany the salads.

My husband ordered the ahi tuna filet; it was wrapped in prosciutto and served rare on delicate angel hair pasta. Prepared in a sauce of red wine, figs and grapes, the entrée is an elegant marriage of sweet and salty. I had tender ravioli filled with a creamy blend of ricotta and mascarpone and served in a brandied gorgonzola sauce. The salty bite of the Italian blue cheese was evident, but not overpowering.

The desserts served at Toscanos are created by Pantley’s wife, Cindy. My husband enjoyed her signature chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Plates are garnished with raspberry and chocolate sauces and a dollop of whipped cream. I savored delicate tiramisu. The sweet mascarpone topping is light and fluffy; the ladyfingers are subtly flavored with an espresso and coffee liqueur syrup. The classic dessert is cut into squares and artfully presented in a martini glass.

Every Tuesday Toscanos features a cocktail promotion with trivia, contests and giveaways. During “March Madness,” new innovative martini-style beverages will be debuted. Those cocktails will be served in hand-painted souvenir glasses; the design will change each week.

In the 1980’s and ‘90’s, Pantley was chef and co-owner of Balsanos, a Puyallup institution which later moved to University Place. Several of Balsanos classics can be found on the menu at Toscanos. It’s a good marriage of old and new, and those who have dined at Balsanos will recognize some of their favorites–cioppino, veal marsala, and chicken saltimboca, to name a few.

As he points out, the eatery is anything guests want it to be—a special occasion restaurant or a casual trattoria, a place to unwind and enjoy a good meal.

And Tom values the relationship he has fostered with the community. Every September, Toscanos gives back by partnering with Good Samaritan Hospital to raise money for their Children’s Therapy Unit. “The Puyallup community has been so good to us at the restaurant,” business partner Susan Walker said. “We were looking for a partner that was kid related to raise money and help children’s lives.”

An individual who is passionate enough about what he does to say, “I’ve always loved to be creative with food, but being connected to the community makes it even more fulfilling,” is a lucky man.

Janae Colombini

Fujiyama

Fujiyama
2930 Capital Mall Drive, Olympia
360.352.9888
www.fujiyamaolympia.com

Origami, cloisonné, calligraphy, flower arranging and silk weaving—all are art forms associated with Japanese culture. From sushi making to the tea ceremony to hibachi cooking, Japanese food preparation is also an art. Originally known as teppanyaki, (teppan meaning “steel grill” and yaki meaning “broiled”), the art of hibachi cooking goes back over two hundred years.

Olympia’s Fujiyama Japanese Steak House specializes in hibachi style cooking and the tableside chefs are true artisans. They are proficient not only in food preparation, but in knife skills, showmanship and audience interaction.

Our dining experience began with a Plumtini and an Icetini, two Fujiyama house drinks. As the names suggest, the refreshing libations are flavored with smooth plum wine and sweet ice wine. Sake and Japanese beer are also available.

We shared two appetizers. The seaweed salad was composed of Japanese crunchy seaweed, tender agar-agar and tree mushrooms tossed in a sesame vinaigrette. Grilled mussels were served on the half shell in a spicy mayonnaise-based sauce. More conventional offerings include grilled beef or chicken skewers, gyoza and tempura.

Fujiyama’s hibachi dinners are made up of six courses. In addition to the entrée, meals include onion soup, house salad, a shrimp appetizer, hibachi vegetable and steamed or fried rice. The soup was a dark, richly flavored onion broth with bits of savory fried onions. An iceberg lettuce blend with a sweet, gingery dressing made a refreshing house salad. While grilling the shrimp appetizer, the chef deftly lopped off the tails and flicked them into his hat. The vegetable course was crisp-tender asparagus combined with button mushrooms and grilled onions. A thick onion slice separated into rings became a flaming, lava-spewing volcano; our chef quipped “don’t try this at home.” An egg was juggled and then cracked with a metal spatula before it was added to fried rice.

Fujiyama offers a tempting selection of entrées, including chicken, filet mignon, salmon, scallops and New York steak. Since I was unable to decide, I went with omakase, meaning “chef’s choice” or “I’ll leave it to you.” I was not disappointed with his recommendation of surf and turf—filet mignon and lobster. The delicate seafood was removed from the shell and chopped into bite-sized pieces; after it was grilled it was returned to the shell and served flaming. The beef was flavorful and tender.

My dining partner opted for the calamari. The steaks were quickly grilled and finished with lemon. They were firm yet tender, and the calamari was enhanced but not overwhelmed by the tart juice.

Fujiyama’s dining experience is a harmonious blend of tableside entertainment and exceptional food. The menu appeals to those who prefer traditional Japanese fare as well as those with more adventurous palates.

Janae Colombini

The History of Tea

High vs. Afternoon tea? English vs. Irish breakfast? Darjeeling vs. Assam?

Such were the many questions that struck me as I went on a quest to learn more about “taking” afternoon tea. I usually get my daily dose of caffeine from drip coffee, but upon visiting a British tea shop with a friend one afternoon, I was struck by how complex the world of tea really is. I was baffled by what I saw on the menu… Indian teas, Chinese teas, Japanese teas, and tisanes. And the elaborate ritual involved! A little silver tower of all kinds of delicious goodies was presented, and then the tea was poured out for us. My curiosity was piqued, and I embarked on a journey to find out what the fuss was all about.

Tea actually began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. The first evidence of the use of tea was in tea containers found in Chinese burial chambers dated 5,000 years ago. Tea is simultaneously a mild stimulant and also relaxing. Strangely enough, it is also able to increase the nutritional properties of other foods. Tea leaves themselves are edible and are often still used as a key ingredient in everyday foods in the poorest parts of Asia. Beyond its healthy properties, tea took on literary, artistic and even religious overtones in Asia before circling the globe to become the refined British ritual of afternoon tea.

Tea journeyed to the west by way of the great trading empires of Portugal and Holland, eventually making its way to Britain, where the people embraced it with much of the fervor found in Asia. By 1700, tea began competing with ale as the everyday drink of preference, largely because of the industrial revolution. (It was not a good idea for most Brits to drink plain water, since diminishing water quality in cities led to an increase in disease.) This period of history was the perfect opportunity for tea-drinking to take hold.

Since tea requires the boiling of water before consumption, there was an improvement in the healthy hydration of the people. Even babies breastfed by mothers who drank tea were absorbing healthful tea chemicals (phenols) directly in the breast milk and then were weaned onto weak tea. The health implications for Britain’s urban populations were significant, as were the impact on the future of the British Empire. Imagine how much more both industrial workers and captains of industry were able to accomplish, with a nice high-octane cup o’ tea in the afternoon!

It seems natural that along with all of this tea drinking that some rituals would need to be established. The traditions of high and afternoon tea are thought to have been developed to create some “rules” around when, where, and how tea was taken. Due to many workers coming home later from the new factories, the dinner meal began later and later (around 7 pm) in the day, and folks started to need a snack to tide them over in the late afternoon. With the social opportunity that presented itself along with this new meal, a whole new ritual was born.

Working-class women would preside over the teapot at the end of the working day, serving a meal consisting of strong tea, and savory, hot food (called high tea). By the 1860’s upper class women threw elaborate tea parties earlier in the afternoon with rigid rules, and presented many of the classic finger foods we are familiar with today, such as crustless sandwiches and scones with clotted cream.

This upper crust invention is the ritual we now call afternoon tea. If you choose to host an afternoon tea at home, or visit a tea room to take afternoon tea, look for some important elements. Either a china or silver tea set for proper steeping and serving the tea, sugar cubes, cream, and sometimes lemon, depending on the types of tea presented, and a light meal of sweet and savory tidbits. Typical accompaniments should include thinly sliced meat and cheese/egg sandwiches, scones and cream, and slices of various cakes or cookies.

The preparation of the tea, however, is the centerpiece of the ritual, and attention must be paid! A proper tea service involves near-boiling water poured directly into one or more pots with high-quality, loose leaf tea added directly into the pot. Not confining the tea to tea bags or a ball lets the tea “blossom”, allowing it to fully express its character. It might surprise you to experience tea this way, as it did me. How different and wonderful the tea experience is when it is brewed the right way, and with appropriate flourishes! Apparently the ritual has inherent meaning even in this day and age—tea is just more delicious when it’s “afternoon tea”.

If you would like to experience afternoon tea, we encourage you to try these local tearooms:
Hawthorne Tea Room, Tacoma: www.thehawthorntearoom.com
Tea Lady, Olympia: www.tea-lady.com
The Secret Garden Tea Shop, Sumner: www.sgtea.com
Steeped in Comfort, Lakewood: www.steepedincomfort.com

Selden’s Home Furnishings

Selden’s Home Furnishings
1082 62nd Ave E, Tacoma
800.870.7880
www.seldens.com

Some of history’s most notable families have proved that a properly arranged union with another respected lineage can create a home rich with tradition and history which future generations will flourish in.

The match a well-established Pierce County family has made with a recognized name from New York will undoubtedly contribute to quite a few beautiful homes.

Selden’s Home Furnishings has added L. & J.G. Stickley—yes, of the Stickley family—to the list of furniture collections available from its Fife-based design center and showroom.

The uniquely American success stories of these family empires bridge the age difference in this long-distance relationship.

Ranked by some to be second only to the creations of the older brother they worked with before founding their company, the furniture crafted by Leopold and John George Stickley in the 20th century is respected by collectors of fine Arts & Crafts and Mission furniture styles.

Gustav Stickley, oldest of five brothers who collaborated in various enterprises, is credited with creating the Mission style of furniture that was wildly successful around the early 1900’s. A noted architect, designer and founder of Craftsman Workshops, Gustav apparently was more of an artisan than a businessman and filed for bankruptcy in 1915. His brothers, however, continued making furniture.

Leopold Stickley’s American Colonial-inspired Cherry Valley Collection helped the L. & J.G. Stickley company through shifts in American tastes in the early 1900’s. As the New York company’s Cherry Valley line thrived in the 1920’s, young Syd Selden was working his way up from stock boy to assistant manager of the carpet department at a Tacoma furniture store. After managing another Tacoma store in the 1930’s, Selden opened his own in 1940, selling linoleum, window shades and carpet.

Just as timely creativity helped the Stickleys through changing times, Selden’s company survived World War II by adapting. From making blackoutblinds for American homes and providing floor tiles for government buildings to installing linoleum in battleships, the company endured through entrepreneurial agility. After the war, the business evolved into a furnishings company with stores in various locations.

In 1974, Selden’s consolidated to a central location to focus on growth as a full-service design center. That same year, Leopold Stickley’s widow sold the manufacturing company to long-time friends, the Audis, whose Manhattan furniture store had been the company’s largest distributor.

The businesses have since thrived—with the Audis reissuing the original Mission Collection and maintaining Stickley tradition of fine craftsmanship and the Seldens gaining status as a recognized provider of interior design coordination and quality furnishings.

As an authorized Stickley dealer, the Seldens now share in the history of the words Gustav Stickley marked on his creations: “Als Ik Kan,” a Flemish craftsman’s phrase that means “to the best of my ability.”

Krista Olson

The Commencement Condominiums

The Commencement Condominiums
5219 N. Shirley St, Ruston
800.681.VIEW
www.thecommencement.com

You left the city eleven days ago. A few last-minute calls caught you at the airport, before a 16-hour flight delivered you to a village that soothed the office from your mind.

It was worth the extra cost to stay in one of the two royal suites at the resort tucked into this seaside town. Your rooms are in part of the hotel few guests ever see—where the art and furnishings are real and the view is truly amazing.

As the sun sets, you linger on the balcony, thirstily soaking up every detail of the ocean bay.

You resign yourself to packing, but muse that there must be a way to live like this without abandoning the benefits of city life.

There is.

Set to open in Ruston in March, The Commencement promises a standard that starts at luxurious and builds from there, with quality in the details and appreciation for the Puget Sound’s unique combination of cultural and natural riches.

Within minutes of the nearly 700 acres of expansive forest, beach, gardens, zoo, trails and pathways at majestic Point Defiance Park, the community boasts 60 condominiums with breathtaking unobstructed views of Commencement Bay.

A leisurely waterfront bicycle ride or stroll along nearby Ruston Way charms with antiques, coffee, artisans, restaurants and immersion in the small-town atmosphere enjoyed by Ruston’s population of about 800. Private boat slips are available nearby, for travel to nearby Vashon Island, Gig Harbor or other scenic spots on the Sound.

When they are not out enjoying their Ruston neighborhood, residents can take in the arts, museums, theater and urban attractions in nearby Tacoma and Seattle.

Commencement has an unparalleled commitment to engaging in and supporting the Arts in their surrounding communities. The organizations that they support include the Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma Philharmonic and Broadway Center to name a few. The ownership of the Commencement believes that “giving back” to the arts naturally sets the stage for a community rich in diversity and culture.

Staying home will have its perks, too.

With units ranging from 1,700 to 2,334 square feet, The Commencement has a gym, rooftop gardens, a library, conference space, a theater and a game room. An on-staff concierge will arrange personal training, organic meal and grocery delivery, pet service, dry cleaning or other services.

Krista Olson

In Living Color

One recent afternoon, I found myself clutching my paintbrush in two paint-spattered hands, looking up at my perfect (Cottage White) ceiling, and telling my cats, “This kitchen… is the color of… happiness!” The walls are actually Aspen Aura at a 50-percent tint, to be exact, and standing there amidst rollers, paint cans, and drop cloths, I was simply enraptured with the promise of this room. It flashed before my eyes, as they say: I could “see” myself simmering sauces, baking pies, washing dishes, creating momentous meals, and sneaking green olives out of the jar by the light of the refrigerator door right here, far into the future. This color was the perfect setting for the life I was building.

My life, these days, is awash in color. I mean that literally and figuratively: My husband and I have moved from the city to the country in search of land on which to build a farm, I am engineering a significant career change, and we are renovating a nearly 100-year-old home, all at once. I’ve most recently been painting the inside of this old house—a task, you may know, that is actually 90 percent tedious wall preparation and 10 percent painting.

This is my first-ever project of such scale and I’ve been determined to get it right, starting with choosing the right colors. I checked out books on painting and color theory, spent hours gaping at the wall of paint chips at Home Depot, and enlisted the help of a friend of mine who’s guided others through these treacherous waters.

I wanted this house to be the incubator for this new life my husband and I are building. I wanted light and color and warmth, comfort, inspiration… and happiness… to radiate from the walls. I didn’t want to end up like one of my friends who said the colors she chose for the downstairs of her new Capitol Hill bungalow—perfectly lovely as paint chips held up to the wall—made you want to wrap yourself in a blanket, sulk, and read Russian novels when you came inside.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about color lately. We feel color. We don’t just see it. As any aromatherapist will tell you, our surroundings matter in terms of our emotional and mental well-being. With this house renovation, I didn’t just want to parrot a pretty room from one of my many reference books; I wanted to be able to soak in the colors I chose and to actually use them to get me through a time in my life that is exhilarating and fun and also stressful and scary at times!

My husband, bless his heart, is color blind. I can’t imagine. So he defaulted to my judgment in choosing the colors. His only requirement: that the rooms make the most of the light. And judging from the recent reactions of two very different people, he’s gotten his wish.

One woman, a 60-year-old Japanese guest of some friends of mine took time in halting English to tell me how much she admired the color in my dining room (Lemon Souffle) and how the colors of the two adjacent rooms made “everything light.” She added that it was “very American.”

Another comment on my colors came from what I would have thought to be the most unlikely of sources: A scruffy man with a tattoo of his girlfriend’s name on his neck that looked to have been done in the mirror in his own handwriting was re-glazing some of my windows one day. He poked his head into the dining room as he worked and we were talking. He said, “I have to tell you that I really love the color of this room, the way it’s so light and looks so pretty with the color of the living room (Turtle Dove and Mountain Haze).” I thought I’d hug him right there.

He and the Japanese woman had put their fingers on something I’d been thinking but hadn’t named: The light these colors are shedding, reflecting, and pouring into our new home is a metaphor. At this bracingly uncertain time in our lives (and here, I’m talking not only about my family’s life, but the lives of all Americans these days), we need all the light we can get to see where we’re going. There are enough blind hallways and dark corners involved with starting a business, changing careers, and renovating houses that we don’t need to visibly LIVE with them as well. Let the light in!

So how is this working for me? Do I find it easier to get up in the morning, to be creative, courageous, positive, because of these miraculous colors? I do, actually. The thought and care that I’m putting into creating the palette with which my husband and I will live is inspiring me in other areas of my life. In my marriage, creating this colorful cocoon of sorts for us is an expression of love. I like building a spot in which my husband also feels safe and happy and comforted. In my efforts at training to be a health coach after years in communications, the endless opportunities to pair these colors with textures, patterns, accessories, and accent colors spark my creativity and keep me excited about moving forward. And on any plain old day, I have to say that waking up to the color of happiness – despite the rain, the news, the work of the day—does, in fact, make me happy.

Kristy Gledhill

Artist Spotlight: Melanie Kirk-Stauffer

Artistic Director—Dance Theatre Northwest

Even as a child Melanie Kirk-Stauffer loved dance, music, the theatre, musicals and movies. Encouragement came from every direction. Her teachers commented on her creative, artistic and scholarly abilities from an early age.

It was no surprise when Melanie created and founded Dance Theatre Northwest, a regional performing dance company. Now an award winning choreographer, Melanie has been teaching dance and organizing performance groups in the Puget Sound area for 14 years. As she has since the inception, Melanie stages, produces and directs new ballets to original scores.

Melanie has also produced a pre-performance lecture, given in the theatre prior to performances that provides dance education while inspiring audiences to the significance of art in our communities. She represents a vital voice for performing arts and has increased public support and appreciation of dance as an art form.

What inspires you?

My first love in dance will always be ballet. I am committed to helping preserve the legacy of classical ballet and to leading a life of service through the development of a highly skilled dance performance company that can build a diverse repertoire of dance choreography to be performed and is accessible to all members of our community.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

As an artist, I am probably most proud of being the kind of director that inspires passion and the love of dance in others. My inspiration comes from deep inner places that respond to beauty, color, nature, music, line and grace. I love teaching and the choreographic and creative opportunities that directing a ballet based company affords.

What has been your greatest challenge?

Most people who see our performances do not realize that I have had a hand in the creation or design of most of the costumes, sets, promotional and printed materials—all part of the vision for each show. My greatest challenge is time management because I love doing so may things. Every day seems like a series of choices that have to be made.

Who do you think most deserves the spotlight?

I think everyone deserves the spotlight and is special. If they want to show up and do the work it takes to be in it then so be it.

Leah Grout

Galleries Tour

So many galleries, so little time. Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, and places in between. With too many to choose from, I narrowed my options by avoiding the obvious and seeking out the obscure. I was not disappointed; I discovered unique finds, captivating treasures, and absorbing collections.

In the heart of downtown Enumclaw I came across a hidden gem. Arts Alive! displays a wide variety of art representing a kaleidoscope of mediums. Offerings include glass, photography, jewelry, textiles, and stone sculpture.

I was fascinated by bowls composed of fragile fall foliage—a brown maple leaf here, a twig there, a twisted pod, splashes of crimson. The artist is identified only as “Gypsey.”

Equally intriguing are sculptures constructed of old farm implements. Rusty shovels and nails, deteriorating tractor seats, contorted pipes and odds and ends of scrap metal are joined, resulting in whimsical creations. Many are bells. Striking them with rustic hammers produces a surprisingly clear, resonant sound. Artist Randy Brown, an Enumclaw resident, aptly calls his studio “The Scavenger’s Workshop”.

In sharp contrast are Acie Worthey’s clocks. The cottage-style mantel pieces are lavish with intricately scrolled gingerbread. Light contrasts against dark; gold-rimmed clock faces glimmer softly against the wood, elaborate with detailed cut-outs. Some have arches or even hinged doors through which the pendulum can be viewed.

An anthology, Raining Words, showcases a collection of poetry written by participants of Enumclaw Poetry Jam, a group of area poets. The Poetry Jam meets monthly for readings. Begun in 2006, it grew, and from it the first annual anthology was born.

The cover of Raining Words is a reproduction of an oil composition by the same name. Painted by local artist Lori Twiggs, it portrays a woman with an umbrella walking alone in driving rain. An impressionistic style, employment of rich, bold color and use of light create a drama that took my breath away. Though Raining Words was auctioned off for a charity event, several of Twiggs’ works remain on display in the gallery.

South of Puyallup in the small town of Graham, Lucas Art and Frame, also known as the “Gallery on the Hill”, features artists who have an unmistakable passion for what they do and it shows in the art they create. Everyone associated with the gallery shares the same appreciation and dedication for art.

I was drawn to Tim Wistrom’s surrealistic style. His paintings reflect an alternate reality where nature has reclaimed the cities of the world. Seattle landmarks meet an aquatic demise. Orcas glide by a submerged Kingdome; a monorail is suspended over Puget Sound while horses frolic on the beach below. Humpback whales swim near a submerged and dilapidated Safeco Field. In one of his newer works, “Road Trip”, Seattle’s Pink Elephant Car Wash sign watches a herd of elephants wander down the street. Times have changed and the Space Needle towers over the city.

Wistrom’s work reflects his love for the sea and nature, making it widely popular. During the mid-1980’s he developed his surrealistic style, depicting some of our current ecological concerns. The Pacific Northwest has been Tim’s home for about twenty years.

The level of intricacy in Richard Mazza’s wood carvings is awe-inspiring. Whimsical houses, churches, and lighthouses are among the pieces he crafts. Log cabins with stone chimneys, paned windows, and trim are a testimony to his attention to detail. The rustic shelter on display at Lucas Art and Frame was carved entirely from a single piece of wood. In many of his carvings, some of the outer bark is left intact creating contrast between rough and smooth, light and dark.

What’s unusual about Julie Thompson’s art is not the subject matter but the medium. Using acrylics, she creates paintings on naturally-molted peacock feathers. Originally from Alaska and now a resident of the Pacific Northwest, it’s only natural that she would paint wildlife—avian, aquatic, and North American mammals. Mallard ducklings paddle through reeds after their mother; a majestic mule deer elk pauses in the afternoon sun; a group of female sockeye salmon make their way upstream. The exposed quills are often meticulously painted—bright geometric designs, pinhead dots, Native American motifs, and sometimes Julie’s signature adorn the hollow shaft. Her feathers were recently used in a video with Gordon Lightfoot’s “Cherokee Bend”.

I discovered The White Dove Gallery on a quiet street in Lakewood. Though it looks small from the outside, the building contains three floors of gallery space. The eight rooms, including a converted closet, display pottery, blown glass, country crafts, paintings and designer jewelry.

I was enchanted by clay figures formed by Mexican-American artist Maria Rojas. Collectively known as La Mona Gorda (“Big Mama”) or simply Maria, the stout female figures range in height from five to twenty-four inches. Each one is handmade as a tribute to the Indian women in Oaxaca and portrays everyday responsibilities of child rearing, food preparation and flower gathering.

La Mona Gorda delivers her simple message in an accompanying brochure: “Hi. My name is Maria… every morning, I go out to collect a few flowers, fruits and vegetables, to sell them sitting on the sidewalk of the street markets. I represent the hard working woman dedicated to my family with love and pride.”

Each sculpture is different. Some are painted, some are not. Some wear their dark hair braided; others have angel wings and are accented in gold. Babies rest in the arms of some, bouquets of lilies in others. Some play instruments; others carry baskets of produce or a delicious meal.

In Olympia, Debra Van Tuinen’s Fine Art Gallery is open only by appointment. Of her most recent paintings, I was drawn in by “Beach Meditation,” a series of oil encaustic abstracts. The same isthmus of shoreline juts out in each piece; what changes are the hues and the lighting. The smoky blue tones in the first imply a misty morning; in another, mauve and violet strokes aside saffron gold are reminiscent of sunset. Several works in her “Paintings from the Garden” collection depict snowy white calla lilies against a deep indigo background. The contrast is startling and the simplicity remarkable.

By staying off the beaten path, I was richly rewarded. Fine art galleries abound, not only in the larger cities, but in less obvious locales as well. As Robert Frost wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

For more information:
Arts Alive! | Enumclaw www.plateauartsalive.org
Lucas Art & Frame | Graham www.lucasart.net
White Dove Gallery | Lakewood www.whitedovegallery.com
Van Tuinen Art | Olympia www.vantuinenart.com

Janae Colombini

Community Events: Capitol Land Trust Gala

In early August, 210 people converged on Karen and Ralph Munro’s farm on Eld Inlet for Capitol Land Trust’s fifth annual Summer Gala. Attendees dined on delicious fresh sockeye salmon donated by Squaxin Island Tribe and Fine Wines selected by Surrogate Cellars.

This yearly event draws supporters from throughout the Puget Sound region to celebrate and affirm our community’s commitment to conserving our unique natural heritage in the southern Puget Sound region. This year’s Gala raised $23,908 for the Trust’s conservation work.