By Ashley Lodato
The wild places of the Methow call us all in different ways — to head for the hills, to forage for food, to paint a landscape, to listen to whispering pines or the rush of a raven’s wings. For Spanish artists Carlos España and Liliana Montoya, the Methow wildness appealed to two of their desires: to spend time with their dear friends Steve Hirsch and Rebecca Shoup, and to make nature-based art with children.
Steve and Rebecca know Carlos and Liliana from the semester the Hirsch-Shoups spent in Ronda, Spain, and they persuaded the artists and their two daughters to come spend several weeks at their home in the Methow Valley this summer. While Carlos and Liliana are in the valley, they are teaching art camps for Confluence Gallery & Art Center as well as holding a two-week exhibition called “A Moment in Time” at the gallery, which is available through Saturday (Aug. 4).
Liliana is a visual artist who works largely in sculpture and sculptural light installations, and she’s also an art therapist. Carlos is a painter and a sculptor. Both are arts educators, and spend a great deal of their professional time teaching art residencies at schools in England, Spain and the United States.
Carlos and Liliana are teaching the art component at two of Confluence’s kids’ camps: “The Rivers Run Wild in the Methow Valley” and “Foraging for Wild Food in the Methow Valley.” They’re leading the kids through the process of collecting objects found in the wild and creating a 3D art installation that will be ready for public viewing next week, and will remain available for several weeks.
Says Confluence Executive Director Sarah Jo Lightner, “It is just amazing for these kids to have the opportunity to work with these artists and get a sense of the art community at large.” Sarah Jo also notes that because the camp is subsidized through a grant, local kids ages 7-12 can attend the camp on a sliding scale starting at $1 a day, and kids 13-17 are participating as volunteer helpers.
I tried to locate Carlos and Liliana during the last week’s camp, but I kept missing them. They were out with the young campers, collecting sticks and rocks, observing butterflies and watching the light ripple across the river, finding art in nature, and helping kids see this beauty through a different lens.
You can learn more about Carlos and Liliana at their website, www.AlunaCeramics.com.