Working with fine silk and brilliantly colored dyes, Louise Noel Howes takes familiar subjects, Tahoe landscapes and Carson Valley pastures, and portrays them in her whimsical style. Howes' love for the eastern slope of the Sierra comes to life in vibrant colors that only her silk canvas could reflect for the viewer. Running horses, a profusion of wildflowers, hands outstretched to touch a dragonfly, all take on a dimensional appearance as the colorful dyes saturate the fiber of the silk.
"Working with silks and dyes has changed the way I view the world," Howes said. "It has given me the perfect vehicle to illustrate the way in which I do see it. The textures and colors of landscapes come to life on the smooth shiny silk, colors penetrate and move, serendipity is a huge force and absolute control has to be abandoned."
"The end painting is often unpredictable," she said. "Often better than you anticipated and the process is always ready to teach you something new."
"I don't have reproductions done of my work." she said." "The brilliant colors just can't be reproduced on paper so, even though I might repeat a certain theme or design, they are all original works."
Howes' life has always followed an artful path. In her teen years she produced pen-and-ink drawings. During her years in college she was producing mugs and bowls, hand thrown in a potter's studio, to finance her schooling. Before the death of her husband Jim in 2002, they traveled the western states selling their brightly painted children's furniture at major arts and crafts shows.
"After his death I met Addie Chernus, a generous and gifted silk artist," Howes said. "Through Addie's kind teaching, my life found a new direction and this expressive medium an absolute fit to my style."
Howes' work, both framed pieces and scarves, can be seen at the Artistic Viewpoints Gallery in Gardnerville, The Brewery Arts Artisian's Store in Carson City, The River Gallery in Reno and at various art shows in Northern Nevada and California.
March 11 and 18, Howes will be offering a silk painting workshop from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The cost of the two-day workshop is $190 and includes some of the supplies to create a finished painting. For more information or to sign-up for the workshop, call Artistic Viewpoints at 783-O633.