For the love of trees at Cascadia Art Museum | Arts & Appetite
Last updated 4/18/2019 at Noon
Cascadia Art Museum’s current exhibition, “Woodland Reverie: The Art of Helen Loggie,” surrounds you with trees, just like many of our favorite spots in Washington.
Helen Loggie was born and raised in Bellingham, but traveled extensively first to study art in New York City and then to pursue inspiration from the architecture and culture of Europe.
She became well-known and regarded for her etchings and drawings of trees and mountain scenes across the Washington state. She exhibited across the country and the world from the late 1930s through the 1960s, including at the Seattle Art Museum, the Smithsonian, and the Paris Exhibition.
Although the exhibit does include some of Loggie’s works from her travels to Europe and a few portraits, the vast majority depict the majestic beauty of Washington, and primarily Orcas Island.
Loggie’s depictions of Mount Rainier and Mount Baker have no need for color, as she somehow created so many shades of darkness and light that you find yourself staring into each tree or flower or icy slope to understand how she was able to capture the detail and emotion through lines of ink or graphite.
Her meadows of flowers are as stunning as the forests and trees, with the details of each flower becoming a part of a greater hillside, and she drew the beams of sunlight breaking through thick clouds with a true-to-life magic that only someone who lives in the Northwest would understand.
Loggie’s early instructor, Elizabeth Colborne, and her mentor, John Taylor Arms (who she collaborated with for most of her life), are also featured in this show, as well as another contemporary, Z. Vanessa Helder, whose work we have seen before at Cascadia Art Museum.
In addition, a contemporary Edmonds artist, Donna Leavitt, known for her drawings of trees (many of which you may recognize), is also featured in the show, and her unique perspective is enthralling.
Loggie, Colborne, and Helder painted or drew the beautiful trees of the Northwest with the same attention and care as they did the logging vessels and sights from the lumber industry.
Art imitates life, of course, so through today’s lens, the artistic appreciation was jarred slightly by the sheer volume of wood being loaded on each boat in various pieces. Several of Colborne’s colored pencil images of the mills, like “Lumber Two by Fours,” showed stacks and stacks of the wood beams in a pale yellow contrasted by the backdrop of a blue and cloudy sky.
All three of these artists were able to capture in their art their appreciation and respect for the hard work that built the communities and towns across the northwest.
Logging was and is a significant part of the Washington economy, and the working forests across the state created countless thriving businesses, including that of Loggie’s father, who was a wealthy logging magnate.
Her scenes of the mills and the boats show the movement (and danger) of the industry, as well as a clear affection for the scenes, as if reflective of familial pride and love.
It is important to note that during her life, Loggie spoke passionately about the magnificence of nature and the importance of caring for and preserving it in our region.
“I’m a Northwest artist,” she said, “and the cathedrals of the Northwest are the trees.”
“Woodland Reverie: The Art of Helen Loggie” is concurrently on display with “Portraits and Self-Portraits,” by Northwest artists. “Woodland Reverie” ends June 30. Cascadia Art Museum at Salish Crossing, 190 Sunset Ave. S, Edmonds, and is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. More information about this and upcoming exhibits at www.cascadiaartmuseum.org.