© Donna Beverly. Pungent, acrylic on canvas
Donna Beverly is an acrylic painter from Philomath, Oregon and has art workshops throughout the year.
1975 Masters Degree, Fine Arts & Art Education, California Lutheran College, Thousand Oaks, California
1971-1975 Teaching Credentials for Elementary, Secondary and Community College Levels
1970 Bachelors Degree, Visual Art, UCLA
I grew up in a rented house in the middle of a large, commercially-picked walnut orchard. Afternoons were filled with dust-covered rides on the harrow with my siblings – all of us being dragged by a dented yellow tractor driven by Tractor Bob. I never knew his complete name. I remember the purple stains from the walnut hulls on the Latino children’s hands when attending school. I earned my first twenty-five cents for a partial gunny sack of shelled walnuts at age five and spent it on a ride at the local county fair. The trees, the fragrance of the newly plowed earth, the farmlands, camping vacations at lakes and in the forests – all hold a special place for me. In them I find respite, comfort, connection. That connection is what serves me when I paint, whether the subject is landscape, still life or the human figure. I feel more at home in the farmlands and forests than any city. My few urbanscapes often convey my sense of city-claustrophobia. I am at home on the land.
Except for an occasional illicit ball-point pen tracing of the floral designs on my parents’ new sofa in my youth, I had no formal training nor encouragement in the arts until age 18. I am grateful to have had a hot-headed, probably bipolar teacher whose passion was the arts and travel. Her teaching of the history of art & ancient comparative cultures introduced me to a new and exotic world. I pursued training in visual arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles (UCLA). I completed my bachelors degree and pursued my masters in art at Cal Lutheran College, Thousand Oaks, California. I was lucky enough to have a few decidedly influential mentors along the way. Bill McEnroe taught me the figure with great discipline. Richard Diebenkorn taught me the importance of shape in painting and Jan Stussy the diversity of line; both were instructors at UCLA. Gayle LaGuire shared her knowledge of design and love of color, and Signe Davis demonstrated the richness of layering and glazing in acrylic as well as a sense of richness of shape edges.
I began exploring watercolor while completing my master’s degree. My master’s project was a presentation of the elements and principles of design. After 10 years of painting in watercolor, I shifted to pastel, mostly soft pastel with some oil pastel. I then became a glassblower and co-owner of Gazelle Glass, Inc. with my husband and artist, Norman “Zolton” Horton. We currently co-own Gazelle Glass, Inc. My shift to acrylic occurred in about 2004 under the influence of Signe Davis.
Destroyed Paintings: In June, 1990, an arson-set fire was started on our one-lane road into the Santa Barbara community named San Marcos Trout Club. We and all our neighbors living there were immediately evacuated within 10 minutes. The fire quickly spread into the heavily populated city below, jumping a six-lane freeway, nearly reaching the Pacific Ocean. The evening winds turned and pushed the flames back up the steep terrain toward the Trout Club again. It was at this second visiting of the fire, that our home and business were consumed and all except our cat “Soot”, our car and seven unframed pastel paintings were destroyed. Of the 40 homes in that community, about 15 were burned. We were allowed to return after two days and found our three-story “converted-barn” reduced to about five inches of ash. One young woman was killed in the fire and several farm animals and pets also met their death. In all, 500 homes and 100 businesses were burned to the ground. All my paintings, excepting those sold to collectors and friends, were lost – approximately 20 years of artwork in all. We received great and generous assistance from the people in the Santa Barbara community. After briefly living in a generous friend’s home, we decided to relocate to Oregon and not rebuild in Santa Barbara. Our destroyed home site remains as a garden area for a previous next-door-neighbor in Santa Barbara. The Chinese symbol for “crisis” also means “opportunity” and now living in Oregon feels very much like a opportunity.