DAY CREEK, WASHINGTON - Come join us in celebrating 5 years in my Day Creek studio and the first public showing of my new Joy series. This has been an amazing time for Parisa and I thus far in Skagit County. The friends we have met through the arts have made it all the sweeter. My days in the early 90's spent cycling and running on the roads and trails of Skagit County left an impression that I still feel as I traverse the county today. It's as beautiful as it gets up here.
From within Joy is grown then emitted outward, attracting happiness in all its desired forms.
Joy is a visual and audible set of stories that many can relate to; shared aspirations, early influences, big picture thoughts, and moments of clarity. The Joy series has all these and much more. As I created each painting, there was an a capella song that formulated for it. Singing these musical ideas into a microphone and looping them, then adding lyrics, soon became a new addition to the painted pieces. Music is such a huge part of my practice, as I am sure it is for many artists out there. Developing my own music while painting became a spectacular extension of the idea of Joy to me.
Open Studio Schedule
Saturday Feb 3, 2024
1:00-6:00 pm Wesley Studios Open to Public: Featuring "Joy" the series.
6:00-7:00 pm Intermission.
7:00-8:00 pm Wes Ray performs the 9 song album "Joy" plus bonus track "This/That".
8:00-11:00 pm Music and Dancing.
WASHINGTON STATE - Beginning May 31, I will be visiting all 13 designated Creative Districts in Washington. This one-time Self-directed Art Practice grant (SAP grant) is provided by the Washington State Arts Commission which supports all forms of visual, literal, and performing arts. With this grant I will be learning about all the arts districts within our state, and what makes each of them unique. I will also be networking for future art opportunities and collaborations for not just my own work, but in support of other artists and groups as well.
The current list of Washington State Creative Districts (in the order I will be visiting them) includes Langley, Port Townsend, Bainbridge Island, Edmonds, Issaquah, Rainier Valley, Burien, Olympia, Tenino, South Columbia (Tri-Cities), Moses Lake, Chewelah, and Twisp. I will also be visiting Spokane for a couple days.
I will be gathering content and documenting the areas as I travel through them and will be compiling my work in a presentation for the state upon returning from the trip. This presentation will include artworks created while on the road or inspired by the trip.
Don Wesley's Creative District Tour
May 31-June 14, 2023
LA CONNER, WASHINGTON - Celebrating 30 years of activity in the arts, I will be sharing work from every period and style of my career. Known in recent times primarily for my work depicting birds, this show will showcase the full range of my abilities and mindsets over the first 30 years of my ever-expanding art career.
Supernova Opening Reception
Saturday May 6, 2023
Normal Gallery Hours (For May 2023) Thursday-Sunday 11:00am-6:00pm.
Directions: 101 N 1st Street, Suite 6, La Conner, WA 98257
Learn more at GalleryW.art
LA CONNER, WASHINGTON - It's time to have my first solo Starling Rush show. And I have many new approaches to expressing my bird works with with animations and generative art projects like Starling Rush. This unique show will emulate the swirling movement of a murmuration of starlings, in that the I will be rotating new work from my Day Creek, Washington studio throughout the duration of the exhibit.
This show was originally going to happen in 2020 in Seattle, and I am still sad to this day that was not able to happen. However, since then, my practice has developed immensely and I am proud to have new types of work and stories for you to enjoy.
101 1st Street, Unit 6
La Conner, WA 98257
July - October 2022
Thursday - Saturday
10 am - 2 pm & 3 pm - 7 pm
10 am - 2 pm
Saturday, August 13
5 pm - 10 pm
EDISON, WASHINGTON - I am very happy to announce that my animated painting titled Barn Owl will be in the Smith and Vallee Gallery's annual bird show.
Visit Smith and Vallee Gallery online for more information.
View Barn Owl on OpenSea.
OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON - This week I learned that I have been selected for the Washington State Arts Commission artist roster for the next four years. During this time I will have the opportunity to plan, propose and create artworks that visualize the beauty and diversity of our state and its people. I am honored to have this opportunity to reflect and impact people's experience in their institutions of learning, where minds are on high alert for positive reinforcement. I want to thank Parisa for all she has done to help me during the projects I submitted for my application. Many of the works I submitted were not typical studio work you would see of mine. They were results of me studying what was necessary and possible for each scenario, given the resources and people involved. I love this way of working as much if not more than I do my personal studio time, so this opportunity will be a forthcoming highlight for me!
From the Washington State Arts Commission...
Congratulations, you have been accepted onto our 2021 Public Artist Roster! We’re thrilled to have your work available to the schools, colleges, universities, and state agencies throughout Washington, and we’ll begin sharing your portfolio with local committees this fall. We’ll actively use the Public Artist Roster over the next four years, ending in the summer of 2025.
More information about the program can be found at www.arts.wa.gov/public-art/
EDISON, WASHINGTON - I am so excited to be included in Smith & Vallee's annual bird art group show again this year. For the show, I will be exhibiting my 2020 painting Infinite Flight. It depicts 274 starlings stylishly rendered in flight in the form of the sign for infinity, with an third loop added, as if infinity itself thinks about infinity.
SEDRO WOOLLEY, WASHINGTON - It has been a chaotic couple of months for us all due to the onset of Covid-19; especially for families with children cooped up at home. To help keep kids entertained and excited about learning something new, I have created a video series of art lessons as Professor Puffin. These video lessons teach kids how to draw birds, so they can begin to develop an appreciation for nature and art. I have created two initial lessons: "Draw a Bird", and "Draw a Flying Bird". The lessons are filmed here at Wesley Studios in Day Creek, and use props specially made for the classes to help keep the kids and parents entertained. You can tune in to Professor Puffin on his YouTube channel at Professor Puffin's Art Class. Please subscribe, share the link with friends and family, and share your Professor Puffin drawings with us all online. There will be more lessons to come. Stay safe and virtual hugs to you all.
CUSCO, PERU - In August Paris and I travelled to Peru for art and adventure. In addition to a five day trek on the Incan trails, we also visited Camino Nuevo to work with the kids of Manos Unidas. Our goal with the kids was to help them create art to raise funds for their school and the growing curriculum initiatives of the organization's founder Celeste Marion. The trip started with abrupt acclimatization from sea level to 9,000 feet in Pisac and up further to 11,000 feet in Cusco. After a few days of exploring the area, we began our five day trek over the high alpine Salkantay Pass; a thousand feet higher than Mt Rainier! After completing the trek, we spent a day in Aquas Caliente before heading up to see the famed Machu Picchu.
After the trek and some area sightseeing it was back to Cusco where we spent one day meeting with Celeste, the teachers, staff and children of Camino Nuevo's inclusion school. Situated to the south of Cusco, the school is comprised of three buildings and houses classrooms for ages 5 to 18. Children with a range of all different abilities and capacities are here, all happily learning and forming as normal a life as possible through training. For some of the older kids, they'll be given jobs facing the public at Manos Unidas Café in Cusco. We stopped in for a late lunch at the Café after visiting the kids, then turned our attention on finding supplies to work on our project idea with the kids the next day.
Our second day at the school was incredible and what I would consider the highlight of my art career thus far. Working with every child on the campus, we created a collaborative masterpiece that we titled Pachamama's Tree. The activity and dedicated moment per child, seemed to light up their personalities even further. After we finished the various steps of the work, we would take brief breaks for futbol, during which time one of the more endearing moments occurred with one of the younger kids. She was kicking the ball and had quite a strong foot, and launched one over a high fence. When I acted confused as to how I might retrieve it for us, she motioned for my head. I bent down and she promptly snatched my hat off my head and threw it over the fence with the ball, as if to say, "you'll figure it out now, won't you ; ) We all laughed so hard. It was a fittingly light finish to an emotionally exhilarating day.
Below you can see the piece we created together with the students, along with my own contribution to the auction; portraits of an alpaca (left), and a llama (right).
UPDATE (11/04/19): These pieces raised approximately 8,000 dollars total for Manos Unidas once corporate matches were factored in. Many precious thanks to the bidders who won these pieces.
SEATTLE - Hiba Jameel and I will be co-curating the 2018 ANT Gallery Show at Bumbershoot. This show will feature juried works from the gallery artists focusing on the theme of Rhythm in Music and Life. The jury that Hiba and I have assembled will include Jason Matias, Mireya Lewin, Marty Griswold, and Sabah Al-Dhaher. We want to thank each of them for their time and support of this show.
Show runs during Bumbershoot from Friday August 31 through Sunday September 2.
Arts at Bumbershoot: bumbershoot.com
ANT Gallery: antgallery.org
SEATTLE - This year's Folklife Festival will include multiple art exhibitions that address cultural and personal identity. Specifically for the Art/Not Terminal Gallery I painted the Viceroy and Chough. The alpine chough is a bird you'll find in the mountain villages of the European alps. The Viceroy's inclusion aims to connect the zeitgeist of contemporary America with the eerily similar conditions of disparity from pre-war Edwardian Great Britain. The bubble represents itself as a metaphor in the work.
Show runs May 25-28, Open 11am-7pm.
Folklife Festival information: nwfolklife.org
Gallery show information: antgallery.org
SEATTLE - March of 2018 will mark 15 years since US and Allied forces entered into IRAQ for what would later become known as Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since then, the United States has lost 4,531 brave souls to the conflict within the borders of Iraq. During the first nine years of the operation, Army veteran Don Wesley kept a visual count of the US soldiers lost in Iraq by using his skills as a painter to express both his grief and honor for the fallen.
Each one of the nine paintings represents that year's losses in total. Each bird represents one of the soldiers who died during that year. However, the story that is not told in these paintings, is the losses of Iraqi people to the conflict. It pains one to imagine that possibly 200,000 or more civilians and guard soldiers were killed in the conflict as well. To put that in perspective, we'd need 43 more exhibits similar to this one to pay proper homage to that nation's losses during this time period.
Wesley's show is in coordination with Iraqi artist Hiba Jameel's "Atari Pains" which draws from her personal experience during the preceding Gulf War.
Opening reception Saturday March 3, 6:00-9:00pm. Runs through March 24. Open Tue-Sun 11-6pm.
Gallery show information and directions at antgallery.org
SEATTLE - Please join me in February as I share another facet of my art; portraiture. This month I have chosen to share a glimpse into my portrait work via The Letter, a 36x36 inch acrylic painting that depicts my wife Parisa writing a letter. This portrait was meant to capture a moment in time where we saw life tossed upside down for us both. This moment was the calm before the storm during that period in our lives and captures an innocence that would soon be disrupted.
Opening reception Saturday February 3, 6:00-9:00pm. Runs through February 23. Open Tue-Sun 11-6pm.
More information and directions at antgallery.org
SEATTLE - This winter I joined Art/Not Terminal Gallery with hopes to meet new people, and have an opportunity to showcase my artwork to the public in a more prominent location. The gallery is located on the grounds of the Seattle Center and highlights the work of member artists who are responsible for the galleries success. The gallery also provides me with the opportunity to show more than one facet of my artwork, so I look forward to many exciting shows in the future with this talented group of artists.
More information and directions at antgallery.org
Visual and performing arts enhance the cultural diversity and awareness of a community. The arts increase a communities chances that they'll be inclusive and healthier. Children who have participated in art during their developing years, have a better chance at succeeding as contributing citizens. By default, art develops the mental capacities for curiosity and problem solving. So, in addition to making the world a more beautiful place through paintings, plays, songs, and movies, art also makes us better people.
As a nation, we are now faced with funding the arts ourselves. Funding organizations that include the community in their mission is what we are all about at ArtsFund. Last year I joined ArtsFund as an associate with the simple goal to help raise funds for the arts in our community. To help do that, and to spread my own love for the arts along the way, I created this series of gold paintings as gifts to donors during our giving campaign. I painted them gold to symbolize that giving to the community and supporting the arts is a treasure. It's like gold.
More information More information about the campaign or how to join the effort: artsfund.org