"Stargazer Lily," pastel on paper by Janice Lawrence. This will be the 2007 Easter Seal and will be mailed to 15 million houses. Lawrence is represented by Schiesser Gallery and will have an opening Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m. Lawrence's work will remain on exhibit through Jan. 31.

Courtesy photo

"Stargazer Lily," pastel on paper by Janice Lawrence. This will be the 2007 Easter Seal and will be mailed to 15 million houses. Lawrence is represented by Schiesser Gallery and will have an opening Saturday from 4 to 9 p.m. Lawrence's work will remain on exhibit through Jan. 31.

3 artists, 3 mediums

Gallery features pastel, wood burning, metal sculpture exhibits

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The three featured artists at Schiesser Gallery have little in common other than where they live and that they're working with new mediums.

The most interesting medium belongs to Steamboat resident Brian Leach, who has been collecting twigs and branches harvested by beavers and then burning images onto them.

"The beaver does all the work of stripping the bark off of these fallen limbs that range from 5 to 6 inches in diameter and 5 feet to 220 feet long," Leach said. "And the ends always have obviously big teeth chew marks that tell you a beaver had taken it down."

Leach is a carpenter by trade who began experimenting with wood burning after he was asked to do it for a job.

The art form is analogous to tattoo art, which Leach admires.

"I like the fluid motion of black on skin," he said. "What I do is basically like tattooing the wood."

The designs he burns have a Polynesian aboriginal influence with leaf patterns that should not be considered tribal.

"Tribal is almost like a dirty word in my opinion - not because it's wrong," Leach said. "It's just generic."

Steamboat resident Christopher Oar's sculptures could never be described as generic. He travels the world for inspiration, and in the past two years he has visited New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and Cambodia, using art as an excuse to travel.

The sketchbook from his recent trip to Thailand and Cambodia will be displayed at Schiesser Gallery along with maquettes, which are models used to make full-scale sculptures.

Oar's 7-foot, 2-inch sculpture titled "Red Fern #2" stands in front of the gallery.

"It's made out of fabricated painted steel and based on the ferns growing in New Zealand," Oar said. "If you've ever seen a fern grow, you know you can't describe it."

Oar's sketchbook from Thailand and Cambodia will be used to produce seven or eight large sculptures for an upcoming show in Denver.

They are based on the simple idea of the handheld fans he saw people using in front of Buddhist temples.

"The next show, I will be using steel, stainless steel and powder-coated as well as zinc- and copper-plated steel and will use a lot of color," Oar said. "One thing I got in Thailand is that they love color and are full of life."

Part-time Steamboat resident Janice Lawrence uses a Buddhist quote to describe her recent pastel works.

"If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole lives would change,"

she said. "If you could see anything clearly, our lives change."

Lawrence, who typically paints with oils, started experimenting with pastels because they are easier to transport.

"I spent a lot of time in hospital rooms," she said. "My husband broke his neck, and my father died of cancer."

One of her new pieces, "Stargazer Lily," won the 2007 Easter Seal Award and will appear on a stamp that is mailed to more than 15 million homes.

"The seal will raise between $12 million and $14 million for the Easter Seals charity," Lawrence said. "Art is out there to enrich lives, and compelling images create empathy."

Lawrence worked as a professional writer for 25 years. Now retired, she has the time to paint portraits, landscapes and flowers.

"When I was writing for TV, I had seven minutes to tell a story," Lawrence said. "Now I can emotionally tell a story with one image."

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