The natural world is at the heart of VALA Eastside artist Jacqueline Calladine’s work.
The Kirkland artist moved to the area around six years ago and has set up shop at the Redmond gallery to find a place for herself.
“Like a lot of people that move here, you have to find your place or make your place,” she said.
Calladine focuses on the environment with her work and uses local materials to create her art.
This encompasses everything from making her own tools from bits of driftwood and plastic she finds on beaches to flowers she grinds to make paint.
Other tricks she uses include squeezing a lemon into the natural paint to increase the acidity and brighten the tone.
She spent last year making a series of paintings outside, sitting in parks and along bodies of water, drawing inspiration from the natural color palates.
For example, some pieces she created in winter have gray and brown colors, while summer and spring works are much brighter.
And no matter what the weather, she said she stuck it out, with some pieces incorporating the splatter from rain.
“I just worked with the elements, so if it was raining, it was raining,” she said.
While she does a lot of paintings, Calladine said she’s not restricted by the medium, and will use whatever she thinks will be most effective.
This range can include sculptures or crafts.
The goal of her art, Calladine said, is to get people to take a moment and think about how the environment is changing locally.
“I hope that it makes people think about stuff they would just walk past every day,” she said.
Calladine said she often walks the same trails and pays attention to subtle differences like which plants are blooming this year that weren’t last year, which types of plants are native or invasive, and why these changes might be happening.
“Number one for me is asking people to look around them,” she said.
She’s also starting to work with micro-plastics, which are increasingly polluting the world’s water systems.
“It’s a really great way to open discussion around difficult topics without it feeling too threatening,” she said.
An interest in nature and art has been with Calladine since she was a child, she said. She often went on hikes with her parents and enjoyed other outdoors activities.
Her art was inspired by these experiences, she said.
“It’s always been nature-based,” Calladine said.
She’s been a professional artist for around 16 years and shows no sign of slowing down.
She’s recently had her work on display at VALA and is planning on turning her art she made over the last year into a book.
VALA also hosts workshops every first Saturday where the community can come check out the work and try their hand at various techniques used. VALA is located at Redmond Town Center at 7525 166th Ave. N.E.; visit valaeastside.org.
Calladine hopes to show people that expressing themselves through art can be rewarding and accessible.