Last November, Trish Harding, the founder of Studio UFO in Bay Street Village, at Holly and Bay streets, presented an exhibit entitled "Granary Love-In," in which local artists showed their interpretations of the building on the former G-P mill site on the Bellingham waterfront.
Then, early this spring, Trish asked local artists to submit art for an exhibit called "Coal Train." She said she asked the artists "to really step outside the box and use their visual language to express their thoughts about the proposed coal trains running through Bellingham."
Trish says the exhibit is in partnership with the upcoming "Vanishing Ice" exhibit opening in November at Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher. That exhibit examines the topic of our planet's changing climate.
The "Coal Train" exhibit opens with a public reception at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at Studio UFO, and will be featured during the Downtown Art Walk on June 7. Refreshments will be served at the opening. Details are at Studio UFO on Facebook.
We talked to Bellingham's Pat Burman, one of the artists in the "Coal Train" show.
Question: What's been the story of your life?
Answer: I was born in Long Beach, California, on March 17, 1933. I was to be named Helena for my German grandmother, but was saved by St. Patrick. I grew up in San Francisco, graduating from high school; then my only job was with California Packing Corp., (Del Monte Foods).
I met my late husband, Ron Burman, a year later and we were married for 56 years before he died four years ago. We moved to Bellingham in 2000.
Q: What jobs have you had along the way?
A: As to a career path, it was like so many of my generation, raising our three children, and partnering with my husband in several different businesses.
I consider that my life has been very joyful. I have a wonderful family, which includes two great-grandsons and another great grandchild on its way.
Q: You've been to many places around the world, haven't you?
A: We had traveled to many domestic and foreign places, and enjoyed sailing during our 25 years living on Orcas Island. I was the second female commodore for the Orcas Island Yacht Club, over 20 years ago. Sailing was a passion for the family, and Canada was a wonderful destination.
Q: What drew you to visual arts?
A: I have always been interested in art. My mother was an artist, and when she was a young woman she watched Diego Rivera painting his murals in Mexico City in the early 1930s.I would watch her painting during my young life.
Art and music were very important in our family. I had started painting about 45 years ago with a break as a weaver for about 15 years. Then painting beckoned to me again.
Q: How did you get started painting recently?
A: I have been painting weekly with Trish Harding in her Studio UFO for the past six years. I have discovered that with the constant effort in these classes, my painting has taken on new dimensions in style and content.
Trish has all her students pushing themselves in the best direction that suits them individually. Trish has us paint a body of work that can be shown at several different venues in Bellingham, giving us the confidence to put ourselves out there for public viewing.
Q: What's the story about this current exhibit?
A: Our latest assignment in class is to depict how we feel about the coal train crisis. This was a terrific challenge for everyone. And they have met it. My classmates have painted wonderful, imaginative and to-the-point works of art.
One day, as I sat in my car, waiting for a coal train to go by, it seemed to take forever. This gave me the inspiration for my own work. It is titled "Dinner is served, Courtesy of the Coal Train." I guess you could say it is rather ironic, but I must admit, it was a fun project.
Trish will have a gallery show of all our paintings and we expect a very good reception on May 30, with many friends and family attending.