Visitors say there’s a moment of awe when you first peer into the North Coast Recreation District (NCRD) Gallery in Nehalem and see “Sierra Nevada Cloth,” a 12-foot-long watercolor painting by Audene Jay.
“I saw her art when I went to my Friday morning yoga class,” said local resident Lucy Brook. “It actually grabbed me and drew me into the room. She is indeed a fearless artist, and her art is stunning! And I get to look at it four times a week on my way to and from yoga.”
Jay’s solo show, titled ‘Fearless Watercolors,’ runs through the end of this month. Since the exhibit opened, the guest book has been filling up with exclamation points – “Stunning!” “Beautiful!” “Inspiring!”
The award-winning artist’s biography hangs on the gallery’s wall, telling of a career halted by illness for many years.
“After living in the pesticide-covered Central Valley of California, I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia,” Jay explained. “It was so bad for a while, that lifting my hand was an effort.”
She added she has been recently diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure, but is improving with new treatment.
“This is my re-emergence show,” Jay explained. “It’s therapeutic for me because it lifts my spirit to be able to share my work and see the work in a gallery space again. And, I am re-emerging while I have the energy to begin again.”
Jay said living on the coast influences much of her work. When she left an advertising career behind in California, Jay traveled for several years with her husband and their 100-pound White German Shepherd before settling in Nehalem.
In addition to painting, she’s also a performance artist, a published poet and teaches her ‘Fearless Drawing’ course at the Hoffman Center for the Arts.
Jay’s work has been shown in numerous invitational and juried shows. She also has work in private collections in San Francisco, Houston and Minneapolis.
The NCRD Gallery is located at 36155 9th St. For more information, call 503-368-7008.