The interplay of color, material and artistry animate two new exhibits at the RiverSea Gallery Aug. 21 through Sept. 29 - recent watercolors by Noel Thomas and glass wall panels by Tim Chilina. Meet the artists at an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21.

Thomas likens painting a watercolor to driving a race car, with rewards of excitement, challenge, adrenaline and at least momentary mastery. He says he achieves his particularly vibrant colors by careful choices of paper, paint and technique, adding that "I don't let the rules of watercolor get in my way." The new paintings reveal his spontaneous, instinctive choices of subject matter, often an everyday sight transformed by something unusual that catches his eye. Long fascinated by the "age and utility" of old structures and ships, Thomas says he hears their stories when he paints them.

Thomas was accepted as a signature member of the American Watercolor Society in 2001. He works out of his Astoria studio and shows his work at the RiverSea Gallery and at the McGrath Dunham Gallery in Maine.

Encaustic glass wall panel by Tim Chilina.A commission for a glass wall panel inspired Portland's Tim Chilina to develop his richly layered "glass paintings" of this exhibit, "New Works in Encaustic." Expanding on a painting technique used in ancient Egypt, Chilina adds fine art pigments to beeswax and then paints, dribbles, pours, scrapes and remelts it to achieve different effects. Each layer of wax and glass is fused before he begins the next layer. Chilina's translucent flat panels are mounted four inches from the wall, allowing the light to play with his abstract geometric shapes and to illuminate the wall itself.

Known to RiverSea patrons for his robust blown glass vessels, Chilina has been exhibiting since 1998 in Richmond, Va.; Palm Springs, Calif., and the Pacific North-west. He was featured in September on Oregon Public Broadcasting's "Oregon Art Beat" television program.

RiverSea Gallery is open daily at 1160 Commercial St. The gallery features contemporary North Coast and Northwest artists, with original fine art and fine craft in all media and distinctive designer jewelry. For information, call (503) 325-1270.

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