The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Tsuga to feature art from 4 generations


October 18, 2018

Painting by Helma Rohloff

Local jewelry designer Joan Wren and her family members will be featured October 27-November 18 in a Tsuga Gallery show in Cathlamet.

According to information from family member Debbie Thoma, the matriarch of the family and key to the family's artistic heritage was Helma Rohloff, an energetic, effervescent woman who grew up on a farm in Iowa. She milked cows, owned a beauty shop and operated a restaurant in Arizona before retiring and taking up oil painting. She took lessons from a local artist, developed her own style, especially enjoying landscape painting, and continued to paint until arthritis made it too difficult to hold a brush. The "Generations of Art" show will be the first time her work will be exhibited for the public.

Helma's daughter, Joan, enjoys creating jewelry withy a variety of stones and beads. She became interested in making jewelry after he granddaughter asked for help to make a bracelet and earrings. Joan is an active member of the Tsuga Gallery team, supporting events and curating the window displays. She also creates jewelry for local fundraising events and for family and friends.

Joan's daughter, Debbie, and her grandson, Brian Thoma, are carrying on the family's legacy though their own endeavors.

"I watched my grandma start painting in her 60's and my mom start creating jewelry in her 50's," she reported. "Having them as role models creating art encouraged me to start my own business of teaching art three years ago so I could share my love of art with students and encourage their creativity."

She has been a seamstress since age nine, and her love of fabric and design evolved into textile art, mixed media art and ink painting.

She has also studied sumi ink painting, studying three years with well-known artist Lois Yoshida.

"Sumi painting takes practice," she said. "The techniques of making the brush strokes are very meditative and calming to me. With ink painting, you have to believe in your ability to create your stroke and see the movement of the brush before you touch ink to the paper. And if it doesn't go like you'd hope, you try again, remembering that it's just ink and paper and that practice makes you a better artist."

She will have sumi ink paintings and combined ink and textile designs on display at the gallery show.

Debbie's son, Brian, is self taught and enjoys creating abstract paintings using acrylic flow techniques and his own graffiti style. Currently he likes experimenting with paint and seeing where the colors and designs flow.

"I start a painting and see where it goes," he said. Every painting is a new experience."

All artists will have works for sale at the gallery during the show.

An artists' reception will be held October 27, 4-7 p.m.


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