Jerry Baker

April 18th, 2016

Jerry Baker final med
Jerry Baker, oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches, 2016.

As you may know, I am a landscape painter, not a portraitist.  My passion is the natural world, how we affect it, and how it affects us.

My other passion is bicycle racing.

Jerry Baker was the father, godfather, and enthusiastic kid brother, all rolled into one, of bicycling and bike racing in this region.  He started or had a hand in starting nearly every significant cycling organization in Seattle.  Including the Marymoor Velodrome, a 400-meter banked concrete oval where I learned to race and have spent nearly every summer for the past 20 years.

velodrome race
Photo credit: Terry Olmsted

After his unexpected death last year, the velodrome he founded and nurtured in King County’s Marymoor Park was renamed the Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome in his honor.  I knew I also wanted to commemorate Jerry, to thank him for his leadership, enthusiasm, and doggedness in building a wider cycling community with opportunities and joy for all.

My commemoration is this portrait, donated to the velodrome association for their annual fundraiser auction.  I didn’t know if I could pull off a portrait again after so long painting trees and running water, but Jerry’s no-excuses voice in my head said, “You won’t know if you don’t try!”

The auction was a terrific success, and after spirited bidding the generous winner of the portrait gave it to the Baker family: truly a beautiful example of the community Jerry Baker built.  A win/win situation – but I feel like the biggest winner.

I thought I was creating the painting for the sake of the velodrome and its fundraising.  But really, I created it for myself.  For a week, I spent each day in the studio, alone with the radio and Jerry Baker, seeing him more carefully than I ever had in life, thinking about his energy, his lessons, and above all, his example.  I can’t help but be a better person for it.

More about Jerry Baker and his velodrome.

Solo Show: “Transect” at Axis Gallery, Seattle

November 30th, 2015

Show flyer: Transect

My newest work investigates construction in Seattle’s arboretum during SR520 bridge replacement and removal of the giant, never-used “Bridges to Nowhere.”

Visually, few places show more disconcerting contrasts between the humming hush of dense green growth, and massive infrastructure development.

Conceptually, these images juxtapose a wetland only 16 feet above sea level against highways and all that they imply: carbon emissions, climate change, habitat erosion, and eventual ocean rise.

Come see this series and related paintings at Axis Gallery in Seattle’s Pioneer Square through the month of December.

“Wall Flowers” at Wallflower Gallery

October 8th, 2015

Painting: "Deconstruction"
Deconstruction, oil on canvas, 2015.

Based loosely on nature, this exhibit includes new work in my Arboretum series.  Also featured are incredible local artists Suze Woolf, Elana Winsberg, Aron Hart, Patty Haller, and Christine Gedye.

Image: show postcard
October 8 – November 8, 2015
The Shooting Gallery at 
Wallflower Custom Framing
4735 42nd Ave SW, Seattle 98116
West Seattle Artwalk
More information about the artists

And now for something completely different…

April 10th, 2015

Capitol Hill Art Invasion.

On April 9, artists took over a Capitol Hill house scheduled for demolition and filled it with site specific installations and works of art on all available wall space, as part of the conversation about changing neighborhoods in Seattle.  The old house seemed to appreciate the send-off of this one-night art show.   It was activated by the art and full of people.

The vibrancy and thoughtfulness engendered by the event was a positive demonstration that as we grow and prosper – dare I say in order to grow and prosper – we must make space for beauty, joy, artists, and creativity.

CHS Capitol Hill Blog had excellent coverage of the event.

Installation: Skyline with Cranes

Skyline with Cranes, my 8×14 ft installation as part of Capitol Hill Art Invasion

Poem fragment

Poem fragment on a land use sign

Problem solving

November 9th, 2014

Painting: Crowned Rainier
Crowned (Mt. Rainier in Autumn), oil on canvas, 2014.

Maybe it’s my background in math and science, but I sometimes think art is as much a matter of engineering as creativity.

Just ask Leonardo.

DaVinci Study_of_the_Graduations_of_Shadows_on_Spheres PDwikimedia

After the initial flood of imagination and intuition have brought life to a canvas, I often find the process of clarifying and finishing the work benefits from an analytic problem-solving approach. It may sound unromantic, but removing distractions while figuring out how to make a painting sing is a profoundly satisfying, almost magical process.

Sometimes, however, the problem-solving needs are more material. I worked down to the line on several pieces for the show now on display at Burien Arts Gallery. With the recent cool turn in our weather, the oil paint is hardening more slowly in the studio.

Oil paint “dries” through oxidation, a chemical reaction which occurs more quickly at warmer temperatures. In a hot summer, it can dry to the touch in mere hours, depending on the pigment and paint thickness. In winter, when the building is 20℉ cooler, it may take up to a week.

So, what to do when the painting needs to be delivered to the gallery in two days and the paint is still wet?

heat 9516 small

36 hours propped in front of a heat lamp at home. The painting made it into the show, and the opening was a great success.

The Burien exhibit will be up through November 30, 2014.

Burien Arts Gallery
826 SW 152nd St.
Burien, WA 98166
Wed-Sat 12-7, Sun 12-5.

Exhibition at University Unitarian Church

August 11th, 2014


Paintings by Tamara Stephas

September 7 – October 17, 2014

Opening reception Sunday, September 7, 1-3pm

University Unitarian Church
6556 35th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115

CutCover 7704 detail II 450x408
Detail from Cut and Cover, oil on canvas, 2014.

Pentimenti are traces of changes in design or composition made by the artist during the process of painting.

The Northwest landscape has been significantly recomposed as each generation pursues its current vision of progress.  This series explores the changing relationship between humans and our environment, our evolving definitions of progress, and the stories we tell ourselves about it.

I am influenced by the technical virtuosity and transcendent luminosity of romantics such as the Hudson River School painters, whose amazing depictions of natural wonders became the face of manifest destiny and America’s expansion to the Pacific.  But my landscapes necessarily reflect contemporary interventions in the natural world, as seen by a contemporary eye.

University Unitarian Church has a distinguished history of art exhibits and support of art and ideas.  I am honored by this exhibition of new and recent work in their Chapel space.  Please join me for an opening reception Sunday, September 7th from 1 to 3 pm.

This work was made possible in part by a grant from Artist Trust.



Artist Trust GAP award

November 4th, 2013

I am thrilled to receive a 2013 Artist Trust Grant for Artist Projects (GAP) award.  Artist Trust’s support will provide tools and materials to develop a series of paintings related to my work Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast. I look forward to expanding on its themes of wilderness and urbanization, the notion of “progress” in different eras, and the history (and future) of our region and our society.

PARTY for City Arts Spring Artwalk Awards!

May 20th, 2013

Please join me Wednesday night to see City Arts Magazine‘s best of Artwalk picks for spring of 2013, and vote for the winner!

YOU get to choose the prize winners if you come to the awards party!  (RSVP here)

My piece shown at Phinney Center Gallery in March is one of the ten finalists. I can’t believe I’m in this fantastic company – come out and see what you like best!

Astoria at the Mouth of the Columbia, or, Gifts from China for Cleveland Rockwell.  Oil on canvas, 20 x 34 in, 2013.

It will be a great evening and I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 22
7-10 pm
1927 Events, 1927 3rd Avenue, Seattle

Over 21 only. Attendees must RSVP by noon May 22.

April group exhibition in Port Townsend

April 2nd, 2013
Edge, Gage & More

April 4th through 29th

at Simon Mace Gallery

Tamara Stephas's "Spire/Respire"
Tamara Stephas, Spire/Respire

Terrell Lozada's "The Wrong Question"
Terrell Lozada, The Wrong Question

Julie Devine's "Bloom I"
Julie Devine, Bloom I

Barbara Noonan's "Near The Top"
Barbara Noonan, Near The Top (awarded Honorable Mention in the Abstract and Non-Objective Category for the 14th Annual Pastel 100 Competition)

Chandler Woodfin's "The Snake Grass Yawned"
Chandler Woodfin, The Snake Grass Yawned

Flynn Bickley's "Miss Farmboy"
Flynn Bickley, Miss Farmboy
Elizabeth Copland's "Conversation Bust" and Jody Joldersma's "All Around The Mulberry Bush"
Left, Elizabeth Copland, Conversation Bust ; right, Jody Joldersma, All Around The Mulberry Bush

April’s show, Edge, Gage & More, highlights eight Seattle artists who are expanding their talents and careers with help from the 2012 Artist Trust’s Edge Professional Development Program, Gage Academy of Art and more. We are pleased to present Flynn Bickley, Elizabeth Copland, Julie Devine, Jody Joldersma, Terrell Lozada, Barbara Noonan, Tamara Stephas and Chandler Woodfin.

Flynn Bickley’s dolls tell stories we may not know, but want to understand. They explore complex human conditions: gender identity, fantasy and emotion.

Whimsical ceramicist, Elizabeth Copland, finds her process a meditative conversation between her hands and the clay. Elizabeth received her BFA in Ceramics at the University of Washington and is currently a UW Academic Adviser.

Julie Devine’s oil paintings are expressive responses to light and form. She plays with abstraction and representation, finding where the two converge. Devine won first and second place in the Best of Gage juried competitions.

Terrell Lozada uses architecture as metaphor, wandering between the physical and metaphysical. Terrell will celebrate her 50th birthday in Paris this April.

Jody Joldersma’s provocative fables address social issues through allegorical narratives in paintings, scratchboard and sculpture.

Barbara Noonan breathes quiet simplicity into her pastels. She was featured in February’sPastel Journal and her painting “Near the Top” was just awarded Honorable Mention in the 14th Annual Pastel 100 Competition. Come see the painting!

Tamara Stephas’ work is fueled by issues of sustainability and the expanding human footprint. She juxtaposes landscape with trompe l’oeil and text, questioning the interface between humans and the environment.

Watercolorist, Chandler Woodfin, splashes spontaneity and color into her work. Chandler received her BFA from Columbia College, completed the Gage Academy of Art painting apprenticeship, and now teaches drawing and painting at Pratt Fine Arts Center.

Gallery Walk: Saturday, April 6th, 5:30 to 8pm.  Show runs Thursday, April 4th through Monday, April 29th.

Simon Mace Gallery

Exhibits in March

March 5th, 2013

I have work at Phinney Center Gallery and ArtsWest Gallery in March. Both shows explore the relationship between humans and our environment.


Kristen Scott, Dusty Alley (left); Tamara Stephas, detail from Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast (right).

This two-person show with and artist and architect Kristen Scott looks at the boundary between nature and the built environment.

My newest landscape paintings at Phinney Center Gallery pay homage to the power and beauty of the Pacific Coast, with a nod to the romantic imagination of the era of manifest destiny.

Phinney Center Gallery, 6532 Phinney Avenue North, Seattle
February 27 – March 29

Please join us for an opening reception Friday, March 8 from 7-9 pm.

Supplemental Geology

Right of Way

Landscapes by Tamara Stephas, Patty Haller, and Stacey Neumiller. Work in Supplemental Geology proposes nostalgia, loss, and utopia in the places it investigates.

ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery, 4711 California Avenue SW, Seattle
February 26 – April 20

Reception and artist talk during the West Seattle ArtWalk Thursday, March 14 from 6-7:30 pm

Astoria at the Mouth of the Columbia, Or, Gifts from China for Cleveland Rockwell – at Phinney Center Gallery