Radio Maine Episode 45: Willa Vennema

 

1/16/2022

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Hello. I'm Dr. Lisa Belisle and you are listening to, or watching, Radio Maine. Today I have with me in the studio artist Willa Vennema. Thank you for coming in today.


 

Willa Vennema:

Thank you, Lisa. I’m really glad to be here.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, I'm also really glad that you brought this beautiful painting with you. I've been kind of - I don't want to say salivating. That sounds weird. But,  I've been looking at it ever since you brought it in and it’s just gorgeous. Can you tell me about it?


 

Willa Vennema:

You've already had a couple artists on the show who work with encaustic, - Dietlind Vander Schaff and Helen Lewis. So they've talked a little bit about encaustics but I'll just do a reminder for people that might not have heard those shows,  Encaustic is a wax based medium. You can use very different waxes, but most artists tend to use beeswax because it's natural, and then a little bit of damar resin is melted into the wax to harden it a bit. If you've ever had a beeswax candle you can understand it can get kind of soft. And then, after that, you mix in pigments. Or, you can get your paint already made. Some people do that and I tend to do that. But you can also make it yourself. So the exciting thing about encaustic is you're working with a hot molten paint medium.


 

Willa Vennema:

So you have lots of little containers on a hot plate. You have to work quickly because the minute your brush leaves the paint container it starts to solidify. So, an encaustic artist works really quickly. You can pour it or you can brush it. What I like is there's just endless opportunity for experimentation. I'm a big experimenter. I mean, I think in my older life, I tend to think of myself as an experiment or maker versus necessarily an artist or a painter because I just love seeing what new things I can invent. So in this painting, this is a good example of my sort of semi-abstract style, where I want to communicate that it's a landscape or seascape, but I also want it not to be fully representational. It's really rather hard to do anything quite representational with wax because it's very finicky.


 

Willa Vennema:

It will do what it wants. You'll think you want the wax to go one way and it'll go the other. I don't know if they can see the upper part. There's interesting patterns in those remade from doilies that I embedded in the wax, then I pulled up, then I poured more wax on top and then I scraped it down until you can see the results. Down in the lower half, I used other techniques that I've experimented with where I sort of become Jackson Pollock, and I splatter a bunch of, you know, different colored drops of the paint on, and then I layer it. I use a fork to scrape through and sort of mimic  the idea of waves. And then you just keep layering and until it is right, and the thing I like is I don't plan things out. I'm very spontaneous and I work very intuitively so the beginning of the painting is always a little scary. I just say to myself, just put the paint down, just put the paint down, don't worry about it. I try to just build up layers and then I take them away if they're not working or paint them over. And I remember you asked, I think it was you that asked an artist, when do you know something's finished or maybe another artist brought that up and for me basically, nothing's finished. If it's still in my studio, it's only finished when it's purchased and in somebody else's home. So I will go back to a painting after 10 years. And if I feel like it, you know, it wasn't one of my best, I'll just rework it and redo it. That's what I like about the medium.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

So it sounds like since you're a Portland Art Gallery artist, the gallery has to pry things out of your hands to move them to the Portland Art Gallery in order to get them out.


 

Willa Vennema:

Yeah. Usually I have work that I consider finished. And that's the work that I bring to the gallery, but if it comes back and it then sits in my studio for five years or more, I might take it out and revisit it. And maybe, you know, I have, I work in series format. So one of my most popular series was the boat series where I used just the simple Dory boat, which I feel is just, it's symbolic to me. It's not acute, it's every man's boat, I feel like. And so if I had a boat painting and I thought, well, maybe that one, boat's a little lonely on another boat in there, or, you know, just change things up or rework the colors and just make it fresh again for me. I mean, it doesn't mean it's not a good painting. Somebody might've bought it if it had been shown more, but you know, if it's back in my realm, I wanna try doing something new with it. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I mean, that, that makes sense to me. I mean, if it's it's, it sounds like it's, as we evolve as people, maybe we come back at something with a fresh set of eyes and think, oh, okay, well, it seems like something else belongs here now, right? Yeah. What's the name of this piece?


 

Willa Vennema:

Well I believe the name of it is Sea and Sky Series, but it's very similar to another series I did called Ocean Mist. So it's sort of is both of those series. I, probably, I think it might say Sea and Sky Series on the back, but I think I might just change it to Ocean Mist. Because I have a number of pieces in that series and it belongs with those.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

And I think you had mentioned to me that this is a part of a diptych?


 

Willa Vennema:

Yeah, it is. So when Kevin, the owner of the gallery mentioned bringing something in over 40 inches, I looked to see what I had in my studio. And this is part of, you know, there's two panels that are both 48 inches wide. But they can stand alone very easily. So I brought one in, but if somebody needed a really long piece, this would be great.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Do you find that a lot of people will buy things in series, we'll buy a diptych versus a, a single piece.


 

Willa Vennema:

I've done a lot of diptychs and a lot of it is practical because I'm a small person and I don't really want to be dealing with canvases. I can't manage on my own. So this size 36 by 48 is probably, you know, the biggest. So if I want to make a larger piece, I will have to make it a diptych or a triptych. There's something just to me, very satisfying about having these separate panels. It adds another dimension to the painting. And it also gives the owner a chance to have a little input because I might think, well, I want to only space those an inch apart, but then the owner might be like, well, for my wall, I'm going to space it four inches apart. And that happened this summer with a painting that my family put in our family cottage. I normally tend to space them closely because I see them as a unit, but on the wall that we had them, we're like, oh, they should be like four or five inches apart. And it worked really well. So it gives you some options and it just adds another dimension to the work.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

This is a heavy painting. 


 

Willa Vennema:

Yes. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

And I think that the other encaustics that I've had the opportunity to kind of move about, they're also heavy paintings. So there's, there's a lot more to this than if you were to do, I don't know, say a pastel.


 

Willa Vennema:

Well, certainly. And one of the reasons is that when you're working with wax, it has to be on a hard substrate. It can't be on anything that can bend, because first I want to say that encaustic is one of the, if not the most durable, medium out there for art, because it's impervious to water and most art is damaged by water damage and floods. So if a painting was in a flood, it would be fine, but it's does have the flaw that if it gets knocked hard or you drop it or you bump it, it can get shipped. And that does happen, but I'm happy to say with the way I work, it's really easy for me to repair a chip. I mean, I basically go in there with a little similar color paint and you just put it on and melted in. And because my work is sort of fluid, it doesn't, it never shows. If anybody were to buy a painting and somehow wasn't wrapped properly or somehow got dinged, I'd fly to their house or go wherever and I'd repair it for them. But back to you, you asked why it's so heavy. So it's mostly because of the panel. I tend to work thinly with the wax Dietlind Vander Schaaf, on the other hand puts almost like a quarter inch of wax. So that adds another, you know, several pounds or more probably, but it's mostly the panel that's causing the weight.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

What was it that brought you to doing encaustic in the first place?


 

Willa Vennema:

Well, when I was in art school at the Cooper union in New York city I was taking all sorts of classes, but was honing in on painting and I liked oil paints, but I felt impatient with how long they took to dry. And a studio mate of mine was like, well, I've been putting this wax medium into my paints. You know, you should try that. And I tried it and I loved it. So the wax meeting, and the cold wax medium is like a buttery consistency and it has some additives to make it a little softer. So it doesn't harden. And I used that for years and years and I loved it. But then encaustic, as some people might be aware, is having a Renaissance and more and more people are finding out about it and taking workshops. And I kept hearing on social media or from other artists about this hot wax thing. And so I tried it probably 15 years or more ago, and I just fell in love because it was just even more versatile than the cold wax and I never turned back. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

You've had an interesting… this whole idea of experimentation for you. That seems to be a theme that's woven itself throughout your life. You started out playing the flute and going to the school that we all know is the school from Fame. For those of you who are old enough to remember what Fame was just. So tell me about that. How did you go from being a musician and a pretty high level musician to deciding that art was the next step on your journey?


 

Willa Vennema:

So to go back before high school even, I went to a small, progressive elementary school in the west village, in New York city. It was really very significant in my development as a human being. And probably the reason why I became a preschool teacher along with doing my art. But everybody there was exposed to music at a young age and art and I ended up: first, I played the recorder, then I played the cello, then I played the flute and I picked up on the flute pretty quickly. And I was good and got a lot of praise for it and kept playing it. And I'm in New York City, there's a lot of specialized high schools. So if you have a talent or you're smart, you definitely apply for those. And I got into the high school of performing arts, which is up by Rockefeller center at the time.


 

Willa Vennema:

And it was actually a small school for New York city's high school. There were 400 kids. And, you know, I got a great music education, but I never felt that comfortable about performing it. Wasn't like my joy to perform but I ended up going to Oberlin college, which has a conservatory. I wasn't in the conservatory, but I kept up my flute playing. Then I started taking art history and I was blown away. I just loved looking at all the art. And that led me to taking my first art class, which was a printmaking class and I really felt like I'd come home, and I started making stuff again. I always felt like I loved playing the flute, but it wasn't that creative, you know, you weren't making something new that nobody had seen before. I mean, maybe if I had gotten into composing, I would have stuck with music, but just playing the music was wonderful, but the performing wasn't great. I just didn't feel like it was that creative for me. So once I took the printmaking class and I started taking other classes and I eventually became a combined art history studio, art major, and I never looked back after that.


 

Speaker #3:

I’m interested by this idea of printmaking, because I've heard other artists say that this is how they started. They don't do it anymore, but that is how they started. Is this a foundational class for art because it comes up alot.


 

Willa Vennema:

Well, there's so many printmaking forms. There's etching, there's lithograph, there's a silk screen. And so, you know, if you're in an art department, there'll be a lot of, usually there'll be several offerings. And I was actually intrigued by the printmaking cause in the small elementary school I went to, we had letterpress. So I kind of was familiar with that idea. I do think a lot of artists, you know, if you go to art school, you're certainly going to be required to take some sort of printmaking. And it's, it's very exciting. But again, with the printmaking, I was more interested in doing monoprints where each one is different. Most printmaking, you make an image and then you print off multiple copies, which is fine. But for me, it was, you know, once you've made the original, like it gets a little boring. So you can, with many different types of printmaking, do monoprints where each one is different. You might with the lithography, you'd have an image, but then I start putting in lots of different collages. So I did quite a bit of that. But then I started painting and I just felt like I had the most room to experiment and try new things and be in control of what I was doing.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Tell me about how this interest in education manifested itself in your, in your own professional career.


 

Willa Vennema:

Well, when I got out of art school, I had no plans for how to make any money and I didn't really see myself working in a gallery or going into that kind of field in any way and I didn't see myself in academia. And I looked in the newspaper in New York City and there were a lot of ads for preschool teachers. And at the time, you know, they weren't requiring an education degree, but they loved the fact that I had an arts background and I had my pick of a bunch of different offers. And I ended up working at Brooklyn Fenn school in Brooklyn, and I loved it. I just immediately knew I'd come home. I loved being with the young kids and just how spontaneous they are, how in the moment they are. And they forced you to be totally in the moment.


 

Willa Vennema:

And so I kept doing that. I kept teaching in the mornings and then I'd have the afternoons to paint. And that continued when I got to San Francisco. And then when I came to Maine, I had a full-time job for a few years and it was completely exhausting and I realized I couldn't do that. And when I became pregnant with my son, I had heard people talk about home family programs where you can have your own preschool at home and I thought that might be the right thing for me. So I started one and it was really wonderful because of the intimacy with the kids and the family. I only ever had six kids at the most and you just get to know the whole family more. And that I found really wonderful and I kept painting in the afternoons and slowly as I got older, I hired people to help me. And, you know, I cut down on my days and now I'm in my third year of retirement from the preschool and just painting.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Yeah. It's fascinating to me always when I hear how young people are, when they're first impacted by creative instruction. Let's just say, so this idea that your love of doing things say playing the flute or being artistic goes all the way back. And we hear this over and over and over again, and we still haven't, I think as a culture, gotten to a place where we recognize how important this really is for all children to have access to. 


 

Willa Vennema:

Yeah, it's really sad because it's often one of the first things that's cut when the school budget needs to be cut. But there is progress being made and there, you know, here in Maine, there've been some great programs that have started up. But you know, as I mentioned before, I was very fortunate that I went to this small little, you know, elementary school. They were very arts focused and a lot of the families were artists or actors, and it was only till I was an adult, and I've kept up with most of my classmates, that I found out that not only our family, but many other families couldn't really afford the tuition there. And they kept going and they almost went broke at a certain point because they were letting so many people go for very little money.


 

Willa Vennema:

But that really had an influence. And of course my parents, my mother really loved the arts and loved music. And I still remember vividly being in our little downstairs bathroom with my sister and her, and I don't know what we were doing washing hands, but she's like, well, you know, I've always loved the flute. Would you want to play the flute? And actually my older sister was the original artist in the family. And I know you talked to Dietlind about imposter syndrome and all of that. Well, I'm telling you it's real because since I started out as the flutist and she started out as the artist, you know, I still have a little bit of that, maybe I was really the flutist or the musician and I wasn't really meant to be the artist.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

It's interesting. So decades and decades later, that when you've been engaging in your art for this whole amount of time, and there's still in the back of your mind, this sort of nailing thought.


 

Willa Vennema:

We can't get rid of it. I figure, I mean, I'm almost 60 and it's still there. So I think I just need to embrace it and figure that it's just part of my makeup, but it's good to know other artists experience that too. So


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Yeah, I think that's probably true. I mean, I always think about this idea of becoming an adult. Like there's some magical day where somebody comes down with a wand and says, ding, you're an adult. And then your whole mind just shifts over and you're magically in a different place. And how really most of us are only ever just kind of evolving iterations of the self that we were when we were very small, which also, mustn't be interesting for you having worked with children all of these years. Do you connect back with them as they've gotten older to see what has kind of transpired in the intervening years?


 

Willa Vennema:

Well, with some families I do because when I was having my own kids, the families in my program that had similar aged kids, several of them became very good friends of mine. So those children I do connect back with and I do occasionally see families in the neighborhoods where I live but I don't purposely reach out to them because I've got enough kids in my life and families and my life. But it is nice to hear about them and know what's happened with some of them. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

How about your Swan's island connection? Tell me about that. I think many of us have this very romantic view of what it's like to actually spend the summer or any period of time on an island that is not connected to the mainland by a bridge or a Causeway.


 

Willa Vennema:

So Swan's island is my muse and I have been going up there my whole entire life. My family found out about it through friends and we'd make the long, you know, 12 hour drive or 10 hour drive from New York, with four kids in a station wagon and often many pets, three cats, a dog, geribles, and an iguana; it was crazy. I mean, it was back in the day when you didn't need to wear seat belts so we were all crowded in the back, throwing up because we never went on car rides. Because we lived in New York, we didn't even own a car. We had to rent a car. So it was quite a journey, but it was magical for all of us. I mean, it was really, probably pretty much the only time we left the city. So it was a dramatic contrast and it's a rather large island.


 

Willa Vennema:

It has a year round population of about 300, mostly fishermen and women. And then it also has a pretty big summer community and we would rent a boat and we'd go out and visit islands and the nature was just stunning and I can't get enough of it to this day. We did have to miss a couple years of my childhood because money was tight. Then when I was in college, I waitressed and was earning money all summer so I maybe went for a week. And when I became, you know, somewhat of an adult, I realized that I needed that in my life, just for my well being and my happiness. And so, you know, having a career as a teacher and my husband also became a teacher, made it possible for us to take our kids up, not just for one month, but two months, every summer. And I just love it up there. It's really very special.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

It's, it's kind of a protected space and in many ways, kind of emotionally, psychologically and physically, really where you kind of come back to maybe a version of yourself that it's harder to live when you're in the middle of a city or even when you live in the middle of a small city like Portland.


 

Willa Vennema:

I agree. It's all about being in nature up there and Swan's island, you know, when you're just driving down the roads, it might look a little scruffy with the trailer here, broken down house there. But then when you go a road that, you know, is there that leads to a spectacular cobblestone beach that maybe nobody's on, maybe one or two other people. There's some preserved land there through Maine coast, heritage trust and you know, very few private signs. Most people are really welcoming to hikers and bikers. So it's just so nourishing. I think there's a new term now called forest bathing. And I'm telling you, I'm all about forest bathing. It's just, you walk into the woods and the moss is so incredible and it's really quiet. I also was listening to another podcast that was talking about when you're in the woods, you only talk woods talk. So I've been trying to get my friends and family to understand this. We're not going to just be talking about everyday stuff. We're going to be really noticing what we're looking at. We're going to be noticing all the mushrooms for instance, this year, everybody in Maine knows it rained a lot and we've had incredible mushrooms. So even though it might be rainy, look at these gorgeous mushrooms. And so I do think of it as one big meditation and it's, it is very healing.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Is that something that you feel like we are needing now more than ever given what we've been through as a society and in a global society really over the last almost two years now?


 

Willa Vennema:

I do. I mean, I feel very lucky that I've been able to access it so easily and I, anybody that has the opportunity to be out in nature and it's a safe place to be now to be outside. I think more people have taken advantage of it. Obviously if you live in a big city, like New York, it's going to be a lot harder and it's too bad. But there are places you can still find if you have the wherewithal, the Botanic gardens and central park, but here in Maine, it's why I wanted to live in Maine because even when I come back to Portland, it's not the same, but it's still easy to find nature wherever you go. And in Portland, there's all these amazing trails through Portland trails. So that's one of the ways I stayed connected with my friends during COVID, as we'd just go on lots of walks together. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

When I look at this piece, that's behind us, there's something about it that just kind of sparkles. I mean, for me, it evokes the sense of being on the sea on a sunny day and just that interplay between the sun and the sea. And, you know, you're talking about the very grounded nature of forest bathing and being in the trees. There's something very effervescent. I think about the piece that you have brought here today and, and about being on the ocean.


 

Willa Vennema:

Yes. Well, it's interesting because this year I was really loving the forest, but the is the main thing is the attraction of being on an island. Everywhere you look, it's there. And the sun sparkles are my favorite thing. I can say most people need to wear sunglasses. I never wear them. I love looking directly at the sun sparkles on the water. I just find it to be so healing again, I keep using that word, but it just makes me feel good. It fills me with joy. And so I do have a number of paintings that actually have the sun sparkles in them. This one's more indirect in terms of, you know, you have these little splotches of white here, and they're like the little bits of diamonds that sparkle on the sea. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

It's also interesting to hear you describe the way that encaustic is created and that it's kind of very, there's a lot of motion involved. So you're using motion to work on a subject that is itself motion. So to kind of bring those things together, that's an, that's an interesting dynamic.


 

Willa Vennema:

Yeah, that's a good observation. It is a very physical medium. A lot of people don't work this big and in encaustic, because it's really hard. You're constantly getting up, getting the wax from your pallet and pouring it. Or a lot of times I use a palette knife to do a lot of scraping. So I will literally, I don't heat my studio, it gets very cold in the winter, but when I turn on my pallet that starts to warm it up and then all my activity of getting up and down and scraping and scraping and using the heat torch it is, it's incredibly physical if I spend more than if I spent four or five hours in the studio, I'm on the couch for the rest of the night.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Yeah. In all of this, it's interesting, you know, the theme that I've seen throughout this year of talking to various artists, this idea of layering and then bring pulling back, you know, there's pushing things out into the world and then kind of scraping things back to some sense of simplicity, I guess it’s interesting, because as you've said, then you're always wondering that that end point, you know, there's, there's so much that you put put out there, but then how much to take away.


 

Willa Vennema:

Yeah. I think that artists kind of are on a spectrum between starting simple and then building up or throwing everything but the kitchen sink at it and then simplifying it.  I'm of the second category. I tend to start out with a lot and then slowly pull it back until it feels right. And most of it is really just intuitive. Decision making what your setbacks are, you know, it was interesting listening to Helen talk about adding something and feeling like it wasn't quite right. I could relate to a lot of what she says. You just have to follow your intuition and hope that eventually you'll figure it out. Like right now, since I just came back to my studio, I have about eight or 10 pieces I've started and I know they have to get finished at some point and I'm trying to be gentle with myself and slowly keep inching towards that finish point. But it does take quite a bit of time to know when it's right. Some pieces get finished and you're like, that's it and you know right away. But others take a lot longer.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Isn't that kind of life in general? You never know how much to kind of engage and how much to pull back, how much to kind of get in the middle of things, how much to do and how much to just be. And that's always the interesting,


 

Willa Vennema:

It really is. It's finding the balance that works for you


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

As someone. Now, you said you're three years out of doing the teaching phase of your life. What do you want the next, say, 30 years of your life to look like as an artist?


 

Willa Vennema:

Well, I hope I continue to have my health so I can do it. And I think I'm at the age and all my friends are where we're getting aches and pains. So I'm really trying to keep my health at the forefront and stay active and physical. So that's key. And then, then I will have the energy to keep making the art. I have found, I used to every summer when the kids were little, I would paint quite a bit on Swan's Island, plein air painting, as several other Portland Art Gallery artists do as well. I used acrylic and my husband was great, he would watch the kids. I don't do that as much anymore because I really just want to be out in nature. I don't want to be sitting in one space looking at one view. I want to be doing the hike.


 

Willa Vennema:

I want to be climbing up that hill. I want to be walking down that cobblestone beach. So that's a way that I've changed in my grown-up life, where it's like I've given myself the permission to not always have to paint. And now that Swan’s Island time is more about just soaking up as much as I can of the nature there. And then during the cold winter months, I can just sit in my studio and remember where I was and what really caught my attention that summer. And then it comes out in various ways and the paintings in the studio.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I remember I once had a conversation with the author Linda Greenlaw, she described these kinds of seasons of the year or so for her in the summer. She was out on the boat and she was doing fishing and she was actively engaged. And then she would do her writing in the, in the winter time. And what you're describing as a similar kind of cyclical nature of, of the art that you create. Yeah,


 

Willa Vennema:

That's true. I mean, I do try to keep my fingers in it a little bit in the summer. And I did do a few acrylic paintings, which felt really good. And one of them is now the basis for a couple encaustic works. But I don't push myself as hard as I used to, to always have to be painting every day. Like if I don't paint every day, I still am an artist and it's okay. You know, like I will take it up again when I get back to Portland. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Are your children involved in any way in art?


 

Willa Vennema:

They appreciate art and I think they both feel like they can make something if they want to. My son's actually a computer scientist living out in Seattle. But recently we needed a logo for a Swan’s Island organization and I asked him if he would make a few. He really does like being creative and actually writing code is a pretty creative experience if you're doing it. You know, he talks about doing it to make a beautiful code or, you know, easy to read code. And my daughter is still in college and she's dabbled in art here and there and done various things, but I don't think that'll be where she ends up.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

What's your husband up to these days?


 

Willa Vennema:

So my husband, we met at the Cooper Union and he was a painter too. But he is one of those people that always is, has different interests. And he's still teaching. He teaches automotive technology at Westbrook Regional High School, and that's incredibly challenging. It keeps him on his toes. So in his downtime, he just pursues different interests. His interest right now is gardening because we just moved to a new house in the Historic neighborhood of Stroudwater in Portland and it's on a big lot. And there was only grass there and he's learning about permaculture and we're planting lots of trees. We're not mowing the grass, I think our neighbors understand, so he's all about learning about that right now. But I, I think when he retires, he might end up doing some painting again. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

We always come back to that person that we once were, I think yeah, or many of us do well, I've really much I'm going to start again cause I just smacked the thing. Well, I've very much enjoyed our conversation today. And as I think I've already said to you a few times, I might need to just keep this painting forever to convince my husband, the owner of the Portland Art Gallery, that we need another piece of art to buy for our house to say. But I encourage people to really go into the Portland Art Gallery and experience your art. Obviously looking online is a good thing because you can get some sense, but when you're in the presence of particularly thinking encaustics, I think it makes a big difference to be kind of live and on the scene.


 

Willa Vennema:

I agree. They're very central works of art and then you need to be there and you can even touch them if you want to. I give you permission. If you come to the gallery, you can touch my work.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Okay. You heard it from Willa, not from me. I don't know how the people at the Portland Art Gallery are going to feel about this! I've really enjoyed having this conversation with Willa Vennema, an artist who is represented by the Portland Art Gallery. I encourage you to spend some time getting to know her online but also come to one of our openings at the Portland Art Gallery to meet her in person.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Willa, thanks so much for coming in and talking to me today. 


 

Willa Vennema:

Thank you so much for having me, Lisa. It was wonderful.