Moses Coulee Inspires Artists

And you can share their joy at Wenatchee Art Walk

Moses Coulee is a geologic marvel, a stark visual story of the cataclysmic floods of the Ice Age, which sent more than 500 cubic miles of water crashing through the land from Montana out to the Pacific Ocean.

It’s also a repository of human history, ancestral territory of the Moses Columbia people (part of the Colville Confederated Tribes) and home to homesteaders, ranchers and farmers.

The Nature Conservancy owns more than 30,000 acres in the Moses Coulee, McCartney Creek and Beezley Hills Preserves, some of the last large stretches of shrub-steppe in Washington state.

Artist Jack Cook Mack paints in Moses Coulee as part of a workshop organized by Americorps Volunteer Coordinator Kmbris Bond, right

Artist Jack Cook Mack paints in Moses Coulee as part of a workshop organized by Americorps Volunteer Coordinator Kmbris Bond, right

Join us at the ART WALK!

Our Wenatchee office: 115 Orondo Ave.
First Friday Art Walk: Jan. 4, 5 to 7 p.m.
Be sure to make it for our special conversation for all ages at 6 p.m., to learn about the value of arid lands and their place in history.  

In November, our AmeriCorps Volunteer Coordinator Kmbris Bond hosted a dozen notable artists at our Moses Coulee field station to capture the beauty of this unique landscape of jetting columnar basalt and entrancing sunsets. Over 30 pieces were created, and each artist will be choosing one to three of their masterpieces to be featured at Wenatchee’s First Friday Art Walks in our Orondo Ave office in 2019.

Painter Jan Cook Mack and photographer Marc Dilley will show their work on January 4. They’ll be joined by our Moses Coulee Land Manager Corinna Hanson and Colville Confederated Tribes Archeologist Karen Capuder. This showcase honors the rich cultural story of our arid lands and the unique landscape that is the precious home to many species of plants and wildlife, including pygmy rabbit and sage grouse.

Painter Jan Cook Mack describes what it’s like to paint in Moses Coulee:

Many of my paintings in the Coulee have been painted on and around Billingsley’s farm.

I like the grandeur of the basalt walls that were carved out when the Columbia River used to run through there and I guess the soil is ancient river bottom. So I like painting contrast between modern farming juxtaposed with ancient geology. The farmland has geometry the way it is laid out with irrigation and hay bale patterns, and the cliffs are geometric in their design, but also so old, persistent, enduring.

Painting in Moses Coulee is quiet. You can hear the birds from a long way away, or an infrequent truck also a great distance away. Sometimes a jet breaks into the quiet with an enormous roar when it follows the river path deposited there. And shortly after passing, a howling from dozens of coyotes erupts all around me. I did not know they were there before the jet.

I have set up my easel with a canvas on it, opened my palette with the paint already squeezed out, including my favorite basalt color: caput mortum which serves as a good base to make lighter where the sun lays on the stone, or darker where the shade falls. I’ve set up my brushes and paint thinner.

I start with a thin sketch of my composition, then add more paint as I move along observing patiently what is in front of me.

Explore our Moses Coulee Preserve