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  Russ Dixon

Russ with one of his turned bowls.

Russ is a skilled craftsman and a talented artist. He discovers unique and beautiful pieces of hardwood then turns them into bowls, vases, platters, ornaments, pens, sculptures and more.

Multifaceted, Russ has been involved in boat building, serigraphy (silk screening), printing, acrylics and even film making where he won awards from the International Fish and Wildlife & Association and Alaska Broadcasters’ Association. However, woodturning has captured his heart.

“I love most of the flowing lines of nature, and find the warmth of wood as a medium to be especially satisfying. Some of the woods I use have beautiful, even amazing colors and grain patterns, but sometimes I intentionally choose a rather plain wood for my turnings, as it’s easy to get caught up in the beauty of a piece wood, and lose track of the basic form or shape, which must be able to stand on its own.”

“I’m fortunate to be part of Backstreet Gallery, and surrounded every time I’m in the Gallery by other artists’ inspiring and creative efforts!”



  Jennifer French

Jennifer French ‘burst out of her bubble’ in Waukesha, Wisconsin in the early ‘50s, and then lived in New York, Switzerland, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, and Colorado.  With a major in advertising, French’s passion for the arts and writing started early. She’s done package design, produced logos and also created several book covers and illustrations. Much of French’s professional life was spent working in college administration.

Many of French’s dreams came true, after moving from big-city Denver to Florence, six years ago. “It seems the simple and slower pace helped create the fertile soil I needed, to sprout and blossom in numerous directions.”  French has had two novels published since moving to Florence, “Hoot Owl Shares the Dawn” and “FIDGETS,” and she’s determined to finish her “All Under The Same Roof” manuscript, then finding a publisher for this eccentric mystery, happening at the Green Pastures Retirement Home.  French says, “I love playing with watercolors and painting unusual or humorous subjects. Painting on yupo (plastic) paper is challenging; watching the paints slip and slide across the paper.” French’s art is whimsical and reflects the simple joys in life – a feathered friend, silly animal, a colorful floral or landscape. “Many people have told me that my art makes them smile inside, which of course gives me fuzzies.”

“I’m in heaven when I’m creating my motivational and humorous greeting cards. Living in a river town, I get a kick out of watching sea gulls swooping about, and I have fun bringing these sassy and sociable creatures ashore – – giving a bird’s eye view of human’s nature, thus my “Gull’s First Impressions”©cards. I enjoy seeing the smiles and hearing people giggle, as they view my cards at Backstreet Gallery.”

Backstreet Gallery’s founder and current president, French says enthusiastically, “I’m thrilled with our new location on Bay Street. We’re going on our fifth year of being the only artist co-op in town, and our new setting has proven to be perfect in many ways. We’re a strong group of twenty-five local artists, having plenty of fun, running our business together. And I get to work my gallery shifts… scoping-out my silly gulls, scoping-out Old Town… creating all the more inspiration for my Gull’s card series.”



  Pancho Clark & Robert E King

Our featured artist for March are 2 guest artists who won best in show during our Little Dickens exhibit in December 2009. Pancho Clark, winning 3D and Robert E King, winning 2D.

While winning their awards for unique miniature pieces, their March show will surprise you with their versatility beyond the miniature.


Pancho Clark is an award winning metal artist who has completed many commissions for public and private collections. He studied art in Spain then became a master welder. He was a welder in the shipbuilding industry. Pancho became adept in the broad field of metal arts from jewelry and silver-smithing to kinetic and large sculpture. From burnished 2-D pieces to sculptural 3-D pieces, his  work is amazing. Watch for a touch of his humor and be surprised at the beautiful pieces he will show this month.

Robert E. King studied art at Pittsburg State University with his emphasis in etching, lithography, and serigraphy. He was employed by General Motors using his skills in tool design, industrial and vehicle engineering, always hoping to return to art, Robert came to Florence in 2005 to pursue that dream. His paintings capture the essence of place with minimal hints and with great use of color and light. “My philosophy is to create abstract and vibrant colors that reflect reality. Florence is a beautiful place to be inspired,” he says.

Meet these artists at the reception, March 13th and enjoy their work all month at Backstreet Gallery. Refreshments will be served.



  Geraldine McMahan

Geraldine with her pottery & a paper box

“I touched my first piece of raw clay while working at the University of Washington Hospitals in Seattle, in the mid 1970’s. We were installing one of the first laboratory computer systems in the country and I had accrued way too much vacation time because of all the overtime. My boss and I compromised: I didn’t get to go away on vacation but I did get an afternoon off once a week to go to a pottery class. What a good deal that was!”

Geraldine continued to work with clay while working in the healthcare information systems industry in Los Angeles, Long Island, Minneapolis, and Orlando. Then, ten years in Tucson, ‘all work and no clay’.

Since moving to Florence in 2001, Geraldine has been attending the pottery class at LCC. “I love to share ideas and techniques, successes and failures with other potters. Creativity is contagious.”

Geraldine’s pots are hand built, in both red clay and white clay. “I like to find a basic form that I feel comfortable with and then make variations on that form and experiment with various decoration techniques. Mostly, I just like to get my hands in clay.”

In 2008, Geraldine started making small handmade paper boxes, covered with a variety of decorative papers and embellished with various items. The boxes are made of heavy binder board which is the material used to make hardback book covers. “I find making these boxes to be very left brain/right brain. Making the box is very mathematical; every measurement has to be precise, every corner exactly square. Then, covering it with a wonderful variety of paper and embellishing it…that’s the joy of design.”


Geraldine’s current pots are made with a minimum of glaze, using the natural color and texture of the clay as decoration. You’ll need to come in and see first-hand how Geraldine turns the above bisque into final glazed pieces… May 8th is her reception, from 3 to 5 pm.




  Tanny Cosko & Jill Hardin

Award winning artist, Tanny Cosko, stitches art quilts rich in color, unique in design and beautifully executed. At first, Tanny made traditional quilts. Now her quilts come in all sizes and shapes. Perhaps because she creates on a regular sewing machine without the benefit of the new fancy quilting machine, it was easier to make smaller pieces and so began her fabric art.

Cosko hand paints to add interest and has a signature alluring face that appears on some of her work. Working with a bit of whimsy and also sophistication, her eye-catching fabric art includes beautiful wall hangings and collages. Her one-of-a-kind handbags will steal your heart.

Born in Sweden, Tanny came to Florence via New York, California and Idaho. When her husband died and her daughter moved here, Tanny followed. She and her two dogs “…love it here and I’m happy to have met so many friends and artists. It’s wonderful to be included in a co-op for the arts.”

For a feeling of serenity, just read Jill Hardin‘s wonderful book of verse, “No More Need”. Behind the cover illustrated by Pattie Brooks-Anderson, another Backstreet artist, you’ll find poetry that reflects Jill’s love of life expressed in her unique lyrical way. There is a spiritual feeling and a soul in her work that lays like silver moonlight across calm waters.

Jill comes from a musical family; Mom a classical violinist, Dad a jazz bass player and brother, Tim Hardin, who wrote­ If I had a Hammer.

Hardin is from Eugene, was educated as a pianist at U of O and sang with the Eugene Opera Company for 11 years. She has been a music teacher, piano tuner and musician while supporting her family. From song writing, she developed the beautiful poetic style that reflects her joy of living.

Join these artists to find out more about their work on Saturday, June 12th, 3-5 PM at Backstreet Gallery with readings from Jill.



  Kris DeNoyer

Multi-talented potter, Kris DeNoyer, is Backstreet Gallery’s artist of the month for July.

Kris grew up on the northern California coast where she enjoyed surfing and other coastal activities.  She also spent time as a child drawing and sketching “mostly doodles and abstract designs,” Kris explains.

In junior high school, Kris was hooked.  She took her first art classes and began her relationship with art, continuing throughout high school and college with classes in drawing, painting, sculpting, and digital and graphic arts.  Kris enjoys “all kinds of art”, and has artists in her family background, including a great grandfather who created artwork, including ivory carvings, for Prussian royalty.  In 1987 Kris was living and working in Oceana and met her husband.  They moved to Sacramento, California and in the summer of 2000 Kris took her first two ceramics classes at Sierra College.  At that point, she changed her college plans from digital art to ceramics.

“I was very fortunate to have a mentor who had his master’s degree in ceramics, with a minor in art,” Kris proclaims.  “For the next five years I learned about wheel throwing, hand building, sculpting, and firing techniques from my ceramics professor, Larry Ortiz.”  She took 15 ceramics classes from Professor Ortiz in 2000-2005.  In the summer of 2005, Kris and her husband moved to Florence, where the following summer a contractor helped Kris transform her backyard tool shed into a well-equipped ceramic studio. Kris enjoys her hours spent in that studio hours creating works of art.  Her clay creations include tiny vases less than two inches tall, free form sculptures, bowls, large vases, plates, and hanging mosaics.

Kris numbers all her wheel thrown pieces; number 1 is a raku fired bowl created in 2000.  She is currently working on number 1330.  Her works often feature bright colors, certain to warm the heart and soul in all kinds of weather.

Help us celebrate Kris’s pottery on July 10th from 3-5 pm at Backstreet Gallery with refreshments and fun.



  Jan Landrum

Talented watercolorist, Jan Landrum is August’s Featured Artist at Backstreet with a reception will be held in her honor, Saturday August 14th, 3-5 PM on during the G.A.L.A. Art Walk. Enjoy her gallery wall filled with watercolors that zing with fresh appeal.

Once a farm girl, she’s as at home on a mower as she is with a paintbrush. She loves gardening. Perhaps that’s why she finds painting flowers easier than the lighthouses and other colorful scenes she paints.

Jan also loves the ease with which she creates her beautiful seascapes. “That,” she says, ‘”I just let happen.” Jan “lets it all happen” in her studio tucked away in the forest – a truly inspirational locale.

As a child she loved to draw people and just recently returned to that love as she paints with the Figure 8’s. “Figures are much more challenging.” She exhibited her portraits, eight watercolor and charcoal/pencil pieces, in the Figure 8 show at Siuslaw Library this July.

With her love of art, Landrum worked in oils and then moved into watercolor. She was an original artist in the Gallery of Local Arts in the 70’s. After a 15-year hiatus, she returned to art when she moved to Florence.

Bob Kutch offered classes and Jan has been hooked ever since. When Susan Weathers began teaching watercolor, Jan joined and has continued through the years. “Taking classes,” she says, “inspires me. I learn so much being with other artists and the energy they create.”

As president of the Florence Area Alzheimer Hospitality Program, a day facility manned by volunteers, she shows her compassionate side. Helping in this program is very rewarding and the organization could certainly use more volunteers. If interested call 541 997-3998.

Come out to meet the artist and find out about her work, August 14th, 3-5PM. Enjoy refreshments and a beautiful exhibition of her watercolor



  Denise Sanders

Become enchanted with unique jewelry by Denise Sanders,  as September’s Featured Artist at Backstreet Gallery.orence four years ago, she brought years of experience in metallurgy and glass artistry perfecting the technique for her one-of-a-kind lampwork beads.

To the question of when she became interested in jewelry making, she responded, “I remember at 3 years of age going through my grandma’s jewelry box, collecting beautiful rocks, also creating strings of macaroni in elementary school.”  Her glass-obsession began at Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. Rather than rides, she’d spend hours, nose against the window, watching molten glass magically become ships and ballerinas.  Forty years later, Denise exhibited her work in a show where she met the very same artist she had watched at Disneyland. She’s traveled to major jewelry shows around the country, sometimes carrying 90-pound suitcases of her original pieces.

Her husband learned metallurgy so he could accompany her to shows. Denise collaborates with him on some of her pieces. She markets beads separately or combined, nestled in silver or strung in original pieces. These objets d’art have been shown in dozens of jewelry/lapidary magazines.  Denise makes beads using duel-fuse torches with a flame over 2,000 degrees. “It is a dance with the flame and molten glass.” Sometimes the glass takes the lead. “…You can’t totally control the glass.” Hours of cooling later, she hammer-textures them to become part of a finished piece.

Besides jewelry making, Denise is an accomplished photographer having experience back to the inception of Photoshop. She excels in computer skills and is a self-confessed ‘Computer Geek’ after years as a computer engineer/security guru.   If you listen to KCST you have heard Denise’s voice.  She’s a DJ there, filling in for show hosts. Listen to ads, animated films, or even as you wait for your options on the telephone. It may be Denise Sanders.   She’s a voiceover artist/actor with a home studio, producing work used throughout the digital world.  Her internet-based interviews with artists will soon be available as a podcast called ‘BeadCast’.

Come meet Denise at her reception September 11th. Find out about her unique processes. Enjoy the work of over 20 other outstanding artists. Refreshments will be served from 3 to 5pm.



   Kathryn Damon-Dawson

Kathryn Damon-Dawson is Backstreet Gallery’s featured artist for October.  Her new show, “Bird Dialogues” reflects her lifelong passions of observing birds in their territories and following her own creative muse through watercolor. The paintings portray birds in communication with one another, with their innate natures, and with the press of weather and seasons.  “Who Do You Love?” “Tales of Green Pastures” and “Time to Migrate” are a few titles.  “Shapeshifter,” will appear as a Giclee print of Kathryn’s painting of Raven.  The original “Shapeshifter” is hanging in Salem at Elsinore Framing and Fine Art Gallery during Watercolor Society of Oregon’s 45th Transparent Show.  Juror Karen Vernon chose “Shapeshifter” as one of 80 paintings out of 286 submitted images.  She will choose 20 award winners during the conference.  

Kathryn is a conceptual artist utilizing techniques allowing concepts and stories to emerge during the intuitive process of painting.  She observes and digitally gathers forms/shapes in Oregon and Alaska where she and her husband Rand enjoy encounters with wildlife.   She typically paints a series.  She utilizes professional quality paint on 140 lb. archival, Arches watercolor paper and frames with archival products in her studio at Siltcoos Sanctuary. She is a founding member/owner of Backstreet Gallery and member of Watercolor Society of Oregon.  She was chair of Fall, 2008 WSO Show in Florence.

Kathryn’s reception is 3:00 to 5:00 pm, Saturday, October 9, here at Backstreet Gallery, 1421 Bay St.  October 4 through 31.  “After Hours” with music at Backstreet, October 27, 5:00 – 7:00, is another opportunity to meet the artist. 


Kathryn Damon-Dawson’s painting “ShapeShifter” won an Achievement Award at the 45th Annual Transparent Watercolor Exhibition during the 2010 Fall Conference of the Watercolor Society of Oregon in Salem, October 1-3.   Juror Karen Vernon pre-selected 80 paintings from 284 images submitted, then selected 20 award winners from the 80 original paintings.  “ShapeShifter,” sometimes a Raven, sometimes a landscape, was one of the award winners and will travel with the others for 5 months. The Siuslaw Public Library gallery will host the 20 painting show in December.  The entire show of 80 paintings hangs through October 30, at Elsinore Framing and Fine Art Gallery, 444 Ferry St. SE Salem.

“ShapeShifter,” in the form of a Giclee, printed by Charles Draper, can be seen with 11 other impressionistic bird paintings from her on-going series “Bird Dialogues.”



  Tracy Webster

Tracy loves using a wide range of materials and techniques to create her unique jewelry, wall hangings and 3D art. Photography, printing processes, paint, metal, fabric, pearls, glass, and clay are but a few of these.  When asked her favorite media, she said, “Acrylic painting. I can just relax and paint. We play nicely together. The materials don’t fight me.”

Color, shape and texture dominate her dynamic wall hangings, which often involve painting and/or photo transfers on canvas. Silver is a unifying feature of her jewelry where she encapsulates small paintings, objects or pearls within silver soldered designs. She also creates 3-D assemblages from found objects.

Originally from British, Columbia, Canada, Tracy married and moved to LA in 1997. In 1999, she and her husband, Patrick came to Florence where she finds the coast a great source of inspiration. They spend much time at the beach, enjoying activities like crabbing and beachcombing. 

Her work has been shown in galleries along the coast. She has owned Collective Artwerx, and you might have seen as a bank teller at Oregon Pacific Bank a few years back. Her ceramic work was featured in FeMail Creations catalog. “To enjoy the flavors of life, take big bites,” was scrolled across her pottery bowl. Her current website is Though finding a home for her art at Backstreet, Tracy also works at Rosie’s Art Carnival.

Tracy is honored and excited to be a part of the Backstreet Gallery.  “It’s really rewarding to be working among such talented artists and it’s such a wonderful experience to blend our talents and interests bringing our art to the community. We all have something different to offer and learn from each other.”

Meet Tracy and find out more about her art on Saturday. November 13th, 3-5PM. At Backstreet Gallery. This will be part of the G.A.L.A. Art Walk.



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