ETCETERA - Artist's painting in the running for online juried contest

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Look up longtime Walla Walla resident Lila Witt Locati on fineartamerica.com and you're bound to see myriad paintings in impressionist and modern styles, some with subjects dressed in 1800s attire, some in earth tones, others with bright splashes of color.

She also produces cast bronze sculptures and paints wine barrels with such critters as a stylized zebra and an alligator with an Australian aboriginal look.

Her "Lila's Girl & Chickens," an oil on masonite, hangs in the Walla Walla home of daughter and son-in-law Terra and Don Lally.

This, Lila's most recent painting, has been entered in the Artists Wanted: Year in Review, an online international, all-medium-encompassing open call for art. The work is viewable at lilalee5.artistswanted.org/yr2011

Judges are reviewing entrants' portfolios to select the grand prize and category awards, which include a featured booth at SCOPE New York in March, $13,000 in cash grants and worldwide publicity, according to the artistswanted.org website.

Lila's entry is also eligible for the People's Choice Award, which offers a $2,500 cash grant and one month expenses-free in an artist's loft among kindred artists in New York City this summer.

Artists Wanted: Year In Review is a juried open call for painting, sculpture and installation, photography, design and illustration, motion and sound and more, awarding more than $25,000 in awards.

"Our mission is to present a range of technique, style and narrative that captures the best emerging artists of the year." See www.artistswanted.org/yearinreview/ for more details.

Lila graduated in 1959 from Walla Walla High School.

She discovered her love for putting brush to canvas in a happy accident. The W in her maiden name meant she had to wait until everyone else in the alphabet preceding her had signed up for classes at Central Washington State College in Ellensburg. When her turn came, the required courses were full and she almost left school, she said.

Acting on a suggestion to take such electives as poetry and art, "That is what I did. I had the most wonderful time that quarter studying with Mrs. Spurgeon in my oil painting class. I have painted ever since."

She has received several awards for her work, which has been displayed at the Walla Walla Fairgrounds, Carnegie Art Center and in Pendleton.

She's inspired by themes of yesteryear because she has pursued an interest in genealogy fueled by looking through her grandma's vintage photos.

"When (Walla Walla native artist and sculptor) David Manual and I were showing together, he used to receive ‘Peoples' Choice' and usually I would get an award," Lila recalled. She learned sculpting technique while helping David weld wax pieces together with a hot iron, putting the details back and repairing any damage to the piece. "He was an excellent teacher," she said.

When she paints, Lila works to have a complete idea in mind of content, composition and size with a goal to best express it in her own way.

"Composition and dark and light contrasts are wonderful to work with. Painting is very exciting."

She and husband Ray and live in a round house at 911 Wauna Vista. Her daughters live in the area too. Wendy Kimball and her sons, Chase, Braden and Juston live on Gray Lynn Drive. Terra and Don's place is on Home Street. Terra's son Tucker is the son of Bryan Gossett, and she also has four stepchildren, Emily, Katie, Tim and Danny Lally.

Lila's wild about good art and promoting it. She said Candice Assassi is working to open the FIREHOUSE30 gallery in the converted fire station at 30 N. Roosevelt St. Formerly of Santa Barbara, Calif., Candice's first opening will be May 4-5 during Spring Release weekend.

The gallery will feature contemporary works by Sean Anderson of Santa Barbara.

"I am very excited about this new prospect, as there is much for the community to benefit," Lila added.

•••

A yard sale fundraiser hosted by The Friends of Pioneer Park Aviary was so successful last fall that they're planning another one in May, said Joanna Lanning, Aviary caretaker.

Quality donations of any size are now being accepted.

"Whether you are spring cleaning, downsizing, renovating or just want to donate, think about how much the birds will appreciate your efforts," she said.

Pickup for larger items can be arranged in advance. Call 509-527-4403 for more information.

Currently the Friends have raised approximately $97,000 of the $110,000 needed for operations through 2012, Joanna said.

"They appreciate all the community has done for this unique facility that is home to over 200 birds. Another fundraiser is in the planning stages and will be announced in the near future."

The Friends adopted Mel, an Indian blue peacock in residence at the Aviary, as their signature, Joanna said. As caretaker, she wears several hats, noting she is "the birds' mother, worrier and babysitter."

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or 526-8313.

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