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Mermaids on Display at Florence as Central Oregon Coast Gallery Features Encased Mixed Media

Published 03/26/23 at 1:20 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Mermaids on Display at Florence as Central Oregon Coast Gallery Features Encased Mixed Media

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(Florence, Oregon) – For a little while longer, having started in March, one Florence gallery gives you a glimpse into the mermaids of the Oregon coast. (Above: a detail from Beaudreau's work)

The Florence Visitors Center has an art gallery, and there local artist Jo Beaudreau takes the spotlight with her takes on the whimsical, fanciful world of mermaids in an Oregon coast context, as well as other familiar sights. Beaudreau, also a city councilor, will be showcasing her mixed media works at the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce Gallery, 290 Highway 101.

Beaudreau’s exhibit is available to view Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m.to 4:00 p.m. through March 31.

Wandering new visual territory is a yearly thing for Beaudreau, creating a new set of works that get into the gallery under the banner of her expLORE series, each year's batch looking a different aspect of this coastline. The them this time around is “Mermaids View,” which features images of a professional mermaid named Mermaid Shannon. Shannon, it seems, it quite active in that imaginary world.

“[She] was visiting Florence last summer and fall to help celebrate the 52nd anniversary of Florence’s world-famous Exploding Whale on November 12, 2022,” Beaudreau said.


Beaudreau's take on Heceta Head Lighthouse

Beaudreau said Mermaid Shannon tries to make her way to the Florence area when she isn’t out playing with whales or helping other mermaids learn mermaid ways.

“This year's works featured a challenge since we have been living in challenging times, so why not embrace it and take it head on?” said Beaudreau.

Beaudreau chose to set some guidelines for herself which incorporated round shapes in various sizes and neon colors. With these parameters she was able to create unique works of abstract landscapes, often the Oregon coast. These are colorful and surreal images of forest, lake, beach, sunrise, sunset, and more - while using her popular encaustic techniques.

Encaustic is a painting technique that has been used for centuries using pigments mixed with hot wax and resin.

“Neon colors are, appropriate to our times, a challenge - hard to work with - because they are so vibrant. Not many artists use neon colors in their works, but I was inspired by seeing a Monet painting at the Portland Art Museum, a huge 10-by-10-foot work of his lilies, and lo and behold, he had used dayglo pink in his flowers and other vibrant colors,” she explained. “Neon colors don't translate well photographically, they are best experienced in person, just like this amazing area in which we live.”

“We are thrilled to have Jo’s work on display again. She’s so multitalented. Her last exhibit was her magnificent photography. This time it’s her artistry with a paintbrush. Visitors are going to love this exhibit,” said Bettina Hannigan, president/CEO of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce. “Her Mermaid View theme is wonderfully fanciful, and pairs well with Florence as Oregon’s Coastal Playground.”

Beaudreau’s work has been displayed in shows and galleries across America. She currently serves on the City of Florence’s Public Arts Committee, serves on the Florence Events Center’s Gallery Committee, and is a member of Florence Regional Arts Alliance. Beaudreau earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (cum laude) at San Jose State University. She uses art as a ways and means of exploring the plethora of emotions, objects, wonder and scenery of the Coast. Her works has been displayed at numerous shows and locations across America. She also does commission, commercial and portrait work as well.

“The arts have always been my interest, specifically, the visual arts. I've always been involved with creating my own art or helping others create theirs. I love all types of expression. Every day I am thrilled I can help people create through my shop’s materials, my materials knowledge, and other resources,” said Beaudreau.

For more information about the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, and how to join or volunteer, visit FlorenceChamber.com or call 541-997-3128.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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