Worksof Birch Bay artist displayed at Bellingham venues

Published on Thu, Feb 8, 2007 by ara Nelson

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Works of Birch Bay artist displayed at Bellingham venues

By Tara Nelson

Roots, leaves, wildlife, women and abstractions are the subjects of just a few of Birch Bay artist Jim Agnello’s pieces on display in several Bellingham establishments.

Agnello, who recently quit his job of 17 years as a graphic artist and sign maker for a Bellingham sign company, is now working full-time to create his brand of earthly art out of his in-home studio.

“Now I’m starting to paint more than I ever have, whereas before I was just into woodcarvings and pottery,” he said.

Agnello is a native of Bemus Point in western New York state. In 1986, after attending the former Ivy School of Professional Art, he moved to the Blaine area to be closer to his family who, one by one, had migrated here.

He said he moved to the Point Whitehorn area of Birch Bay 15 years ago and has since developed a passion for painting trees – many of which are inspired from the woods surrounding his home.

“A lot of times I would just go out into the woods and draw,” he said. “I get inspiration from the beauty of nature and just come back to the studio and try to bring that out in my artwork.”

Since his transition from full-time graphics worker to full-time artist, Agnello said he has drifted away from representational work and has been working primarily on abstractions, most of which are still inspired by nature.

Using oil enamel, acrylics and watercolors, Agnello paints often playful abstractions and organic-themed art on unusual surfaces such as old signs or boards. His piece “Northern Harrier,” for example, uses oil enamel on salvaged boards and features a Northern Harrier hawk perched on a fence post in front of a bare tree.

Repeating themes include alchemic or fantasy depictions of roots, branches, leaves and the female form, which Agnello describes as “iconic” representations of femininity.

“I think everything I do has something to do with our place in nature,” he said. “There is also a certain femininity about it. I do try and capture a certain, flowing softness.”

Agnello’s works are currently on display at Fantasia Espresso and Tea, Boundary Bay Brewery, and the Little Cheerful Café in Bellingham, as well as Tradewinds Café in Birch Bay. He is available for custom work and can be reached by calling 371-2163 or by emailing jimagnello@gmail.com.