A project of Plumas Arts and the Plumas National Forest, the Artist in the Lookout Residency 2018 was awarded to painting pair Lenora Herndon and Wendy Wayman and science illustrator Megan Gnekow . The Artist in Residence program provides a unique opportunity for an artist to spend four nights at the Black Mountain Lookout to draw upon the breathtaking landscapes of the Plumas National Forest for inspiration.
Megan Gnekow (pronounced knee-cow) earned an undergraduate degree in Art from Portland State University and completed the Science illustration graduate program at UC Santa Cruz. She has exhibited throughout the US and regularly offers workshops to inspire people to connect to Nature through artistic practices.
“I believe that it is my responsibility to honor the beauty, wildness and value of every species on this planet. My mission is to celebrate these connections and honor the role each plays in sustaining the ecosystems where we live.”
Meagan currently lives in Paicines CA (near Hollister), but has local ties. “My grandmother lived in Portola in the 1980s and 1990s and is buried there. We visited her a lot in the summer time and I remember driving up along the Feather River, admiring the power of water to shape rocks. I loved swimming in the rivers and lakes! My mom, brother, sister-in-law, and niece all currently live in Chester, right on the edge of the Lassen National Forest.”
She spends parts of June and July conducting butterfly surveys at Mt. Lassen, in Quincy's Butterfly Valley, and on Mt. Hough - along with many other locations in the mountains of northeast California.
Gnekow’s project for the residency will be to produce a book of drawings that illustrate the ecosystems surrounding the Black Mountain Lookout and within the Plumas National Forest. Her public presentations will bring her into Plumas County elementary schools.
Lenora Herndon (r) & Wendy Wayman (l) are life-long artists pursuing artistic interests and refining their skills as painters through private lessons and in artist workshops and classes at Feather River College. Both have been teachers. Wayman taught English at several colleges. Herndon served for nine years as the art instructor at Plumas Christian School and is currently an Artist in the School with Plumas Arts.
The approach to their residency is entitled “Plein Air par Deux.” With it they challenge the notion that aesthetic engagement with Nature need be a solitary activity. To describe it they use an oft-quoted saying in Plein Air circles “it takes two artists to paint: one to paint and the other to tell her when to stop.”
“We have found this to be true. In both inspiration and execution, working together helps us meet the demands of chasing the light, working quickly, and battling the hostile elements: like turpentine-seeking horntail wasps or late afternoon winds.”
Work produced by this artistic duet will be the featured Plumas Arts Gallery show in November of 2018.