Claire Edna Hurrey’s Artist Statement – 2009

Like the river, life is ever changing and we must move with the flexibility of water to keep up with it.  The substance of water itself fascinates me:

“Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.
The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.”

#78 Tao Te Ching

Boundaries contain the river in its many faces from serene ponds to wild rapids over rocks worn smooth into river stones, tumbled into river beds and mud banks, shaded by cottonwoods and tangles thickets of filtered sunlight and moonlight onto sparkling ripples below.

The smell of cottonwood.  Sticky seed pods and cotton gauze in spring.  The explosion of escaped yellow in autumn from all encompassing greens, the scent of river mud and moss covered rocks.  Salmon, trout, robins, chickadees, gribe, blue heron, eagles, pelicans, sparrows, deer, muskrat, beaver, dogs, humans; all come to the river.  The rivers and streams are veins of our mother’s body carrying what is essential and elemental to Life: fluid flexible motion in time worn rhythms that unify.

Part I is experience and feeling.  Part II is seen through the filter of spatial illusion.

I’ve been painting the Yakima River for over ten years.  This exhibition of twenty works, The Yakima River Paintings: Part II, is the product of using the theory and practice tricks of spatial illusion.  Most helpful in this endeavor have been Margo Selski, workshops with Susan Diehl on color theory, and plein air workshops with John Buddicin, Jim Lamb, Ned Mueller and Dianna Shynne.

In 2006, The Yakima River Paintings: Part I exhibit was the culmination of eight years of work in thick paint on large canvases carried to the river’s edge, using the training I received from my MA (1989) and MFA (1991) from Central Washington University.

The difference in the body of work is noticeable not only in size, but also in the paint application with color mixing and brush strokes.