The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Carolyn Henderson
the Times 

Talk about Art

 

January 16, 2020

Courtesy photo

Mary Soper in her studio with her pup.

Some people are observant, and others . . . not so much. For an artist, it helps to NOT be in the "not so much" category.

"I have always loved detail," says Walla Walla acrylic painter Mary Soper.

"My husband told me once that he really didn't notice things until he married me. I was constantly pointing out unusual or beautiful things to him that attracted my attention."

Not only does Soper notice the world around her, she wonders about what she sees. On passing an old pickup truck, abandoned along the side of the road, she asks herself,

"What was it used for? Did children or pets ride in the bed of the truck?"

A visit to the Salisbury Garden in England prompted the thoughts,

"Who is the caretaker of this place? What amount of work is involved in keeping up this state of perfection?"

Back in her studio, painting the truck or the gardens, an abandoned cabin or leaning barn, Soper infuses the paintings with her musings, with the resultant artwork not merely capturing a space or a place, but telling a tale as well.

"My work makes a statement to me," Soper, who taught art for 23 years in the Walla Walla and Prescott school systems, says.

Courtesy photo

"I think that viewers look at it and it tells a story to them based on their experiences."

Fascinated by history, Soper describes herself as drawn to old building and landscapes. Working out of a studio in her insulated garage, Soper finds herself frequently commissioned to create images that are significant or memorable to her clients' lives. Her work resides in homes throughout the Pacific Northwest, as well as California, Arizona, New Zealand, and Canada.

Through February 8, Wenaha Gallery (219 E. Main, Dayton) is showcasing the acrylic paintings of Mary Soper, many of which celebrate a sense of history and nostalgia of the region. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

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