Rob Schouten Gallery presents “Friends in Life and Art: New works by Francy Blumhagen and Sharon Spencer” through July

Posted in Community, Community News, Member News, Visual Art

Friday Night Reception is 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 3 

Madonna has nothing on these Material Girls. Rob Schouten Gallery is pleased to present “Friends in Life and Art — Francy Blumhagen and Sharon Spencer,” which opens July 3 and runs through Aug. 3 at Greenbank Farm.

"Taking a Moment," bronze by Sharon Spencer. All photos on this page are by Michael Stadler.

“Taking a Moment,” bronze by Sharon Spencer. All photos on this page are by Michael Stadler.

Paper, pulp, ink, paint, bamboo, fiber and bronze and are some of the materials that inspire these artists, along with Japanese art, nature and friendship. Spencer will show both bronze pieces and mixed-media sculptures, while Blumhagen will show mixed-media collages.

These friends, who have each been making art for 40 years, have formed a strong bond through long walks with their dogs at Greenbank Farm while talking about art, process and sometimes uncooperative materials.

"Red Moon," mixed-media collage by Francy Blumhagen.  /All photos by Michael Stadler

“Red Moon,” mixed-media collage by Francy Blumhagen.

Spencer, who is well-known and admired for her bronzes, began exploring mixed-media about five years ago.

“It’s interesting when you find someone you can trust and can share something about ideas,” Spencer said. “I’ve learned a lot from Francy.”

“We are both interested in materials,” Blumhagen said. “I’m interested in seeing what happens with the paper, the ink, the paint and how it leads me to the next experiment. The images become less important as I watch what the materials will do.”

“It’s the experimenting with these new materials that brought a lot of joy and energy back into my work-life,” Spencer said. “It’s important to stay alive and not keep doing the same thing over and over again. It kills the spirit of the work and if that happens, you can see it in the work.”

Both artists reveal a Japanese sensibility with this show. Not surprising since Spencer studied at a school of Japanese arts in a Kyoto shrine run by women and devoted to the study of nature. Blumhagen’s father had been stationed in Japan, so she grew up in a house full of asian art.

"Shinto," bamboo, fibers, handmade paper, cording.

“Shinto,” bamboo, fibers, handmade paper, cording.

“It instilled something in me,” Blumhagen said, “and I love going to Sharon’s house because it is filled with asian art.”

“Yes, I’ve always loved Japanese things,” Spencer added.

“Listening to Sharon talk about wanting to always branch out is something I’ve been wanting to do, too. I want to forge ahead; indulge myself and see what happens,” Blumhagen said.

Come over to Rob Schouten Gallery in July and see what these ultimate “Material Girls” made happen.

"Crows," mixed-media collage by Francy Blumhagen.

“Crows,” mixed-media collage by Francy Blumhagen.

Meet the artists from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 3 during Greenbank Farm’s “First Friday at the Farm.” The Pies Café will be open for dinner, while the galleries and shops welcome visitors to enjoy a little wine and cheese, meet the artists, see some beautiful art, all while roaming around beautiful Greenbank Farm. We’d love to see you!

Rob Schouten Gallery, a premier showcase for Whidbey Island and Northwest artists, is located at 765 Wonn Road, #C-103 at the historic Greenbank Farm. Gallery Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  For further information, call 360.222.3070 or email

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