The paintings of two artists working "Along the Columbia" illuminate distinctive facets of the alluring river. Acrylic paintings by Diane Beeston and drawings, acrylic paintings and mixed media works by John Haugse are featured in a new exhibit at RiverSea Gallery Oct. 2 through Nov. 10. An opening reception is 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2.

Beeston combines the exuberance of a self-taught painter with the discipline of a professional photographer. Her paintings reflect her enjoyment of the creative process, she said. "Painting is pure pleasure; some people go to movies - I paint." Pleased that viewers find her work fun, colorful, and uplifting, she works from photographs she takes of people and places. She often combines perspectives, brightens colors, and adds features to create vivid scenes. Paintings from her travels complement the Columbia River views.

'Commercial St.,' acrylic painting by Diane Beeston.Beeston is known for her marine photographs from a 30-year career in the San Francisco Bay area. She renewed her longtime interest in painting in 1972 and moved to Astoria in 1988.

Having come from Southern California, John Haugse was intrigued by "the drama and motion of the land, river and skies of the Columbia River Gorge." The Hood River artist prefers to work on site because he can draw and paint quickly and spontaneously. Feathery charcoal lines often highlight the vibrant blues and greens that predominate in his mixed media works. In other pieces, clear colors illuminate the strong design elements of his compositions.

Haugse delights in the narrative possibilities of pictures and has created a series of paintings recalling the explorations by Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery. Some of his work depicts the history of the Columbia River and the Gorge, with glimpses of the river's past juxtaposed onto contemporary images.

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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