Kris Ekstrand, May 2023
For the past few years, my studios have been situated next to tidal sloughs. First, in Edison (WA) where the diked slough loops through the village from the bay and then spreads across the Samish River flats toward the Cascade foothills. Today, my studio sits beside another tidal slough â€“ the Petaluma River (CA). Its ancient headwaters having long disappeared, it now flows through our busy town center then reaches across a vast estuary in a network of loops, marshes and oxbows until it reaches San Pablo Bay.
The Skagit and Samish deltas of Washington and the estuary encompassing the Petaluma River provide rich habitat for a diverse biosystem and reveal evidence of the effect of rising sea levels as well. I am captivated by the interplay of contrasting elements â€“ old and new, manmade and natural, the intricate scritch-scratch of surface texture and the beautiful blur of distance. My painting is about a search for understanding estuarine landscapes that mean a great deal to me, their ancient pasts as well as their conflicted futures.
About the artist
Kris Ekstrand is a West Coast painter and printmaker who addresses the estuarine landscapes of the Skagit Valley in northwest Washington in her work as well as those near her home in Petaluma, California. Her work has been featured in one-person shows at Skagit Valley College, Moses Lake Museum, Smith & Vallee Gallery (Edison), MUSEO (Langley) and juried shows at Shack Art Center (Everett), Cascadia College, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Museum of Northwest Art, Anacortes Arts Festival, Petaluma Art Center and other venues. She lives with her writer husband, Carl Molesworth, and two Norwich terriers.