News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters Library exhibits celebrate ‘bravery of art’

Every month, Sisters Library displays work by local artists, with exhibits coordinated by the Art Committee of the Friends of Sisters Library. This month, Linda Hanson’s large paintings hanging in the computer room, and the community room display of holiday art by Rachel Moore deliver great contrasts, both in the work displayed and the vision of these two artists — one seasoned and one youthful.

Large paintings by Linda Breese Hanson are part of her early and mid-career collection.

“Art takes a long time,” says Hanson, whose career spans more than 50 years. “It takes time and intention. The energy of your life is going into that painting, during the time you are painting it.”

Most striking is Hanson’s self-portrait, about six by four feet, done in the 1980s, when she lived in the Bay Area. She tells its story:

“I was driving up to the snow, going skiing. I looked in the rear-view mirror and I saw half my face. I thought ‘what if you did a self-portrait where you couldn’t see the whole person?’ and that’s what I did. That red coat was my signature coat for so long, but I no longer have it. I still have the big glasses, though.”

The newest piece in this collection is a portrait of Hanson’s granddaughter, Summer, at age 6. Summer, who was born on the Winter Solstice, is now a teenaged soccer player.

A native Oregonian, Hanson packed up her worldly possessions and young son, Aaron, and headed south to a new home in Berkeley, California in 1965.

“I wanted to do art, so I went to Berkeley College of Arts and Crafts,” as it was known then, she said. “I worked in graphic design jobs, and raised my son. I took art classes when I could afford them, and spent a lot of time drawing.”

At one point, she decided she really needed to go to school and earn a degree, as she’d gone as far as she felt she could on her own.

“So I went to San Francisco State, and studied with Bob Bechtle, an amazing California oil painter, and Richard MacLean, who painted horses. Both taught, and both were master painters,” she said. “I got my undergraduate degree, and decided to go to graduate school. I was accepted at San Francisco Art Institute, but the week before I was supposed to start, I came across an ad, looking for someone who wanted to travel and talk about art.”

She took that job, which was a combined public relations, art ambassador and recruiter for the San Francisco Art Institute. She deferred the graduate degree studies for a few years, and in return got to travel around the country talking about the art school and the wonders of doing art. She left her son, Aaron, back home in Berkeley, where he launched a career as a member of the thrash metal band Laaz Rockit (“Fire In The Hole”).

Eventually, she returned to SF State, got her masters, and has since created many large (and small) paintings that have been shown and sold in galleries around the country. She continues to travel around the world, from Europe to South America, from the Palouse to Yellowstone, to her favorite hiking grounds along the Metolius in Camp Sherman.

Hanson is an equally gifted photographer. Since acquiring her first camera at age 13, Hanson has traveled widely as a photographic artist, and earned awards for her photographic images. “I use my camera as my sketchbook, too,” she explained.

Hanson returned to Oregon seven years ago, settling in Sisters. She continues to explore new avenues of art, most recently completing a workshop in the process called encaustic. You can see more of her work and read her story online at

In the library’s community room, you’ll find Rachel Moore’s playful display of traditional holiday drawings done with black ink and marker on white paper. Moore is a young artist whose whole young life has been about art.

Along with the black-and-white illustrations hangs a “blank” canvas, stretched, and ready for artists (young and old) to create a work using their own impressions. There are 11 pieces, each for sale at $55, and the huge canvas that – with the help of the Sisters Community – will be filled by the end of December.

“The grouping is inspired by Christmas and the holiday season,” Moore said. “The optics depict Christmas in a way that is both traditional and playful.”

Moore is from south-central Idaho, the foothills of the Rockies near Twin Falls and the Snake River Valley. She is one of six children, and has grown up learning art from her father, Robert Moore, the impressionistic oil painter whose work dominates the art scene in galleries of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Park City, Utah.

Moore works at Clearwater Gallery in Sisters. She was the gallery attendant for more than a year, but is now exploring the art of food as she works in the restaurant of The Open Door.

She attended Utah State University, but says she really learned how to see, how to design, and how to do art from her dad.

“I’ve taken to it on my own, but the foundations of art are always the same,” she said.

In a YouTube video interview, Moore’s father, Robert, reveals that he is both ambidextrous and colorblind. He paints en plein air, and relies on an assistant, often Rachel, to aid with color layout and selection. Robert Moore’s landscapes are both large and rich in color, which is a story in its own.

Moore’s work is this month’s featured artist at Clearwater Gallery.


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