June 18, 2002
Serving Western Deschutes County
Sisters, Oregon

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Sisters, Oregon
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Sisters gallery to celebrate at stroll
By Charlie Kanzig

Dan and Julia Rickards and family.

The 2002 Art Stroll will mark the grand opening of the Clearwater Gallery, Sisters' newest addition in a growing fine arts market.

Dan and Julia Rickards, proprietors of Clearwater, have operated out of their home for the past 11 years, where Dan's studio and the frame shop remain.

The couple, who have lived in the Sisters area for eight years, made the move to open a gallery in order to bring a more consistent work schedule to their family.

"For years we have done most of our business during three months of winter trade shows in the west, so this will allow us to do business and use our inventory throughout the year," said Dan.

Dan's main work includes wildlife scenes in acrylic on canvas, which have received regional attention and acclaim. He is the featured artist in the gallery, but the Rickards have included about a dozen other Northwest artists to create a mix of talent and artistic mediums focused on western, wildlife, and angling art.

The Rickards opened the gallery in early May and it is already becoming a landmark thanks to a majestic bronze sculpture of a life-sized Rocky Mountain bull elk set in front of the building on the corner of Cascade Avenue and Pine Street.

The sculpture is by Ron Leep of Redmond, who has other works featured inside.

Rickards himself has a tie to elk in that he has been a featured artist of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, an elk conservation group that uses artwork as a primary fund-raiser for the organization.

The gallery has a "comfortably rugged" interior that includes the original distressed wood floor featuring the scars of cork boots and even a bullet hole.

Sisters artist Jim Cheney's original hardwood and wrought iron tables are for sale, but they give the gallery a home-like appeal with the other artists' work displayed on and around it.

Franz Dutzler's hand-carved wooden fish are life-like in size and appearance.

Dutzler, of La Pine, catches a fish, puts it in a collapsible aquarium on site, photographs it, releases it, and returns to his studio to re-create the fish in wood.

Bend ceramicist Bob Sant's Blue Spruce Pottery gives an option, along with Cheney's tables and chairs, for the buyer searching for "usable" art.

Sisters' own Randy Redfield, whose work is described as "color fields" using mixed media of oil and acrylic, has a number of colorful landscapes.

Julia Rickards makes it clear that she is not artistic at all and sees her role as being a supporter of her husband. She helps with everything from the framing to bookkeeping, but mostly enjoys the opportunity to help visitors get to know more about the different artists whether they are interested in buying or not.

The grand opening festivities begin at 4 p.m., Friday, June 21, and will include live music, appetizers, and a flint-knapping demonstration.

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