An Unexpected Journey 2

The Multifaceted Lives of Three Local Artists

The Language of the Soul

For Craig Wellbrock, art was never a choice. It was a way of life that seemed to run in his family. From a young age, he recognized it was much more than just a hobby; it was a calling he couldn’t ignore.

Five years ago, he began pursuing his art more seriously, all the while continuing his full-time job as a firefighter. He hung his artwork in a few local shows and found that more often than not, someone would inquire about purchasing the piece as soon as it was up.

“Art is the language of the soul.” This saying inspires Craig deeply. Painting is his way of communicating the things that are important and meaningful to him. It helps him find a sense of peace and tranquility.

When starting a painting, Craig begins with handmade birch panels from sustainable forests and uses acrylic paint to create texture and sculpture-like paintings. During the creative process, he takes notes as he begins to visualize the piece and then brings those notes to life as he paints.

Craig enjoys being able to take risks with his artwork, exploring different methods of creating, instead of taking cues from current trends. One example of taking a risk was his early inclination toward white, minimalist art before it became a trend.

Meeting the people through his artwork is another highlight for Craig. He loves to be able to donate to charity and get involved with the community through his art.

You can find his artwork at TREE Bellevue or on Instagram @wellbrock_art.

Shattered Beauty

Growing up, Molly Schwartz didn’t have a lot of exposure to art outside of basic childhood coloring books. Art History 101 in college introduced her to the massive world of art—one full of different styles and masters—a fun and magical world.

In 2015, she began working with shattered glass, both tempered and annealed, to create sculptural pieces. Something about glass enticed Molly; taking what people typically discarded and transforming it into something beautiful.

Nature is Molly’s greatest inspiration—the way water reflects, clouds move and the sun sets. Shattered glass reminds her a lot of the ocean, and it’s reflected in her work. Molly loves how shattered glass can add another level to a painting. It is the way that glass can be sharp, powerful, refracting light in all directions—all while adding texture—that she connects with.

Molly begins her process by creating a work sketching out her vision. She paints the glass, then attaches it to wood with resin, sometimes painting the wood itself. Afterward, she determines the breaking point and shatters the glass, then pulls up sections of glass and pours in more paint to create depth. Shattering the glass can be the most unpredictable part of the process; she puts a seatbelt cutter-type tool to the glass and hammers away. Sometimes it can take one hit—or 20!

“It’s a love/hate relationship because it’s such an exhausting process. Each piece takes six to eight weeks and hundreds of hours.”

Molly’s favorite creation is called “Pacifica.” It was her first time working with annealed glass instead of tempered glass. The hand-cut glass, coupled with the dark green and blue paint, created a lot of movement in the piece, reminding her of the Pacific Ocean.

Her pieces are featured at Schoener Home Furnishings in Bellevue and on Instagram @MollySchwartzStudio.

The Art of Science

Art has been a theme that has flowed through Jolinda Linden’s entire life. From a young age, she attended art camp, creating her very first tile at 5 years old. That tile hangs in her office today.

In college, she studied science, not art. She remembers being in class and seeing the diagrams and thinking, “I want to draw the diagrams…who draws the mitochondrion?” Her mother bought her a kiln as a graduation gift, which she brought with her everywhere she moved.

When she got married and moved to Vancouver with her husband, she wasn’t able to work for a year and decided to use that time to focus on her artwork. She began working with porcelain on panel in 2008, the medium of choice for her.

The medium itself, porcelain, and what it can yield inspires Jolinda in her creativity. After a decade of studying porcelain, her inspiration has expanded to using the medium to interpret infographics in an abstract way.

When creating pieces, she employs just a few tools, techniques and temperatures to reign in the raw porcelain. Her approach to art is similar to a Scientific Method: “a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement and experiment, and the formulation, testing and a modification of hypotheses.”

“I am motivated to see what results I can coax from a block of wet porcelain clay, using a minimal number of tools and then accurately recording my steps, kiln firming times and temperatures.”

These methods are the process of art creation for Jolinda. To date, she has 13 methods and creates all of her pieces using them. Jolinda assembles hundreds to thousands of intricate porcelain pieces to create “large yet metamorphic compositions” resembling a two-dimensional sculpture. These methods also allow her to use her studies of science to create her passion: art.

Jolinda’s work can be found on Instagram @JolindaLinden.