Spotlights Stories

Seeing the Overlooked: Botanical Illustrator Focuses on What We Miss

by Shawn Berit in Gardens, Spotlight, Visual Art

Macro-beauty is easy to see: Hiking a trail through Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, you can easily take in the sweeping vistas and epic landscapes. Yet it’s easy to miss the micro-beauty: The Nootka rose and nodding onions escape notice. Natural and invasive plants line the hiking trails and hillsides, but they’re rarely fully seen.

Not everyone overlooks the native flora, though. Botanical illustrator Deborah Montgomerie sees what others often miss. She goes beyond just looking at the world to really focus on the intricate details, down to the smallest seed. Through the use of graphite, ink, and watercolor paints, the plants of Whidbey come to life on her paper.

Making Leaders One Black Belt at a Time

by Leckey Harrison in Health & Fitness, Spotlight

Many people who live on Whidbey Island claim that the island is a calling, saying that they didn’t choose to come here; instead, the island called them home. Whidbey resident Robert G. Armstrong Jr. was called twice. The retired Marine gunnery sergeant, combat veteran, former firefighter, and martial arts instructor says, “I didn’t choose taekwondo, it chose me.”

When Armstrong became a United States Marine, he was told it would be the proudest day of his life, but it didn’t compare to the day he earned his black belt. He devoted twenty years to the Corps, and the pride he felt the day he retired finally did supersede his pride in having achieved a black belt. But in the end, Armstrong would experience pride even greater than that on the day he tied the first earned belt on to a student at his new school.