Wendy Armstrong grew up in Marin County, California, an eclectic and artistic coastal community north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Her father was an architect and her mother was an interior designer and artist.
Throughout Wendy’s childhood her parents purchased rundown houses and transformed them into things of beauty. They did all the work themselves with Wendy and her sister working alongside them. Wendy thoroughly enjoyed the construction process, working with wood and designing and building houses and furniture. It was an ideal environment for a budding young artist to learn and experience all the various methods used to create beautiful artistic pieces.
She moved to North Kitsap with her first husband in 1979. While raising their daughter, she worked with her husband in his cabinet shop and pursued glass, ceramic and wood working art. When her daughter went off to college, Wendy moved into the graphic design field, working with small businesses and nonprofits around the region. In 2018 she married Paul Bianchi, owner and vintner of Amelia Wynn Winery and moved to Bainbridge Island. Today, her focus is as varied as her artwork. In addition to spending as much time in her studio as possible, she works alongside Paul running the winery and the Amelia Wynn Winery Bistro.
For Wendy, the enjoyment of designing and building has led her to expand her talents to many different mediums, such as wood, stone, glass, metal, ceramics, painting and graphics. Working in three- dimensional formats, often creating functional artwork has been intriguing for her. If a final art piece isn’t actually used for its functional aspect, it only adds to the story and meaning of the piece. She’s spent decades creating original and custom artwork. Working in numerous mediums for a variety of applications for private commissions, art galleries and public art.
Wendy’s expertise has developed over time. She found that quite often a project she conceived required skills she didn’t yet possess. When this happened, she reached out to the artist community for assistance. The “Three Trees” sculpture at the entrance of Centennial Park in Poulsbo is one example. Wendy and another designer won a 1% for Art commission to create a sculpture for the park entrance. They designed a group of three steel 14’ tall trees growing out of concrete benches. This design required welding. Wendy’s project partner had a fortunate contact with some welder friends who offered training, space to construct the sculpture and assisted in the complex installation. This experience was not only fun for Wendy, it was educational. By the time the sculpture was completed, she’d become a pretty good welder in the process.
She enjoys telling stories with her varied art, and her work has historically favored bringing awareness and connection to the environment, to habitats and animals at risk. She finds beauty and whimsy in the simple but challenging elements in our lives.
When I asked Wendy how Covid-19 has impacted her life and her art, she said: “Early in 2020, with the impacts of Covid, my imagery became focused on the mundane and simple everyday things in our lives that became sacred and rare; toilet paper, cleaning supplies, soap. None of these would I have chosen to paint… except now they were central to a life endangered.”
Over the last year, she’s created a series of paintings depicting toilet paper in precarious forms, as well as Shadows of Clorox and cleaner bottles taking center stage on the canvases. She veered away from anything dark though, wanting to share awareness and imagery to help her viewers cope with the fear and sadness that permeates our current daily lives. “Humor when possible is certainly helpful!” she said.
She also began a new series in late 2020 titled “Aging Gracefully.” It began with decrepit and rusting trucks and autos, which she felt were somewhat a reflection of her own sense of exhaustion and aging brought on by elements out of our control. She created graphically bold and colorful paintings that for her were fun to look at and fun to paint. As she described it: “Each dent and patch of rust is a bit like looking in the mirror. I am not nearly done with this series… there is a lot of imagery to cover in this subject.”
Prior to the pandemic, Wendy hosted Bottle & Brush at the Amelia Wynn Winery Bistro. She enthusiastically guides her guests through the art of painting on canvas, as well as other mediums and creative endeavors. The events include all materials, a glass of wine and a small appetizer. In addition, a 10% discount is offered to her guests on Amelia Wynn bottles of wine. Check the winery website for updates on when the events will resume.
Wendy’s work has been exhibited in galleries in Seattle, San Francisco, Carmel, New York, London, Paris and Brussels. She’s received commissions for art glass through Asprey of London, Tiffany’s, Val St Lambert in Belgium, Eddie Bauer, and numerous private collections. One of her glass etchings was included by special invitation to display in the traveling Monet Exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco and won numerous top awards in juried exhibitions at the Bellevue Art Museum. In addition, Wendy’s work has won 18 top awards in juried shows nationally.
Wendy’s work can be found on display at the Amelia Wynn Winery Bistro as well as her website:Wendy Armstrong – Art & Design.
OTHER ISLAND WANDERINGS:
Island Wanderings: Fatima Young
Island Wanderings: Gigi Godfrey
Island Wanderings: Chris Demarest
Island Wanderings: Deborah Rhee
Island Wanderings: Andy Bergh
ABOUT MARGARET MILLMORE. Margaret Millmore is a supernatural fiction author and blogger, living on Bainbridge Island with her husband, Bryan. Her first published works were flash fiction, The Welcome Home and Untitled – Luke N. Goode, which were featured on Bay Area artist, Kenny Mencher’s blog. In 2011 she published her first full length novel, since then she’s published a three book series, another novel and her current series (via Next Chapter Publishing – formerly Creativia Publishing) What Haunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 1); The Edge of the Cemetery (Ghost Killer Book 2), which was awarded the August 2016 Book of the Month award by Long and Short Reviews; and What Hunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 3). The majority of her books are set in San Francisco where she lived—previous to island life—for over 26 years. Her preferred writing genre is supernatural fiction, with the exception of her time-travel novel, The Dragonfly Door. In addition to her novels, Margaret writes a blog, called The Island Wanderer – which focuses on people, events and businesses on Bainbridge Island: https://theislandwanderer.com/blog/. All her books can be found on her website and her Amazon Author page.