For award-winning artist Britt Greenland, the pandemic was a reminder of the importance of personal connection, travel and its relationship with her paintings.
The pandemic motivated her to open her first gallery this past July in North Bend, located at 301 W. North Bend Way, allowing residents to see her paintings up close. It also inspired her newest project, offering personalized paintings to her customers based on their own photos.
Greenland is perhaps best known to North Bend residents for her plein air work (painting outdoors), being nominated as this year’s Designated Snoqualmie Plein Air Paint Out artist. However, she said she has always used personal photos to recreate travel memories.
“Most artists do paint from reference photos and it’s a lot easier than worrying about changing light, or it getting cold, or mosquitoes or all these things you have to worry about in person, not to mention all the gear you have to carry,” she said.
So far, Greenland said she has been excited by all of the photos sent to her by customers. She is currently working on a painting of the Namibian desert for a customer out of Bozeman, Montana, who served in the Peace Corps there.
“I love hearing why [the photo] is important to them,” she said. “I typically have people tell me what they want in terms of color, what details are important and what emotion it conjures for them. It’s almost like I get to go on their vacation with them for a little bit while I’m painting.”
Greenland, who lives a half-hour away from North Bend, said she chose the space for her new gallery because of its natural beauty.
“It’s just so beautiful. Right from here you can almost see Mount Si,” she said. “I love the people here, the small town feel and I feel like it’s ready for more art and culture.”
In her short time in the gallery, Greenland has been collaborating with musicians to host live music the first Friday of each month. Most frequently she has collaborated with musician JD Cotton, who has played at three of her previous events.
“I met him completely by chance even before opening the gallery. He was playing guitar in the park in front it just looked so perfect because he had Mount Si behind him,” she said. “I said ‘I’m an artist, can I take your picture and potentially paint it.’ We got to talking about art and how COVID had changed things.”
On the first Friday in November, Greenland will be hosting a collaborative painting, where each guest will paint a stroke and have their names listed next to a painting to be hung in her gallery next month.
“I would love to have everyone come in and take a look,” she said. “You don’t have to feel any pressure. Art is here to be seen. You can think of it like your own space.”
To learn more about Greenland’s work, visit: brittgreenlandartist.com.