Creativity Reigns at Stormy Weather Arts Festival in Cannon Beach

October 12, 2016 (Updated October 13, 2016)

Renowned fine art landscape photographer Christopher Burkett discussing his work at Northwest By Northwest Gallery



It’s Saturday afternoon in November and it’s raining in Cannon Beach.

That may not be noteworthy, but despite the showers and the fact that this is generally the quiet season on the Oregon Coast, there’s the sound of music spilling onto the streets and the buzz of activity in the storefronts. It’s Stormy Weather Arts Festival weekend in Cannon Beach and a little rain or wind doesn’t slow down this town’s celebration of the arts.

Downtown Cannon Beach is barely more than two blocks, but musicians are performing at five squares and courtyards and at least 10 galleries have special events in full swing. I pop in to Northwest By Northwest Gallery and meet renowned landscape photographer Christopher Burkett who is discussing his work with a group of raincoat-wearing fans. Burkett is soft-spoken and humble, but he is recognized as one of the modern day masters of traditional color photographic printing and his work is represented at more than a dozen galleries across the country.

Later, Georgia Gerber will be in the gallery talking about her sculpture that is familiar to those around the Northwest with her works including Rachel the Pig at Seattle’s Pike Place Market entrance and 25 separate wildlife sculptures on and around Portland’s Pioneer Square.

Sculptor Rip Caswell working on a clay original at Primary Elements Gallery.

Next door at Primary Elements Gallery, three sculptors are working on their latest pieces and taking time to chat with visitors. Rip Caswell, known for his wildlife sculpture nationwide is working on the clay original of a salmon that will eventually be cast in bronze.

Sculptor Heather Soderberg works on the clay original of a shorebird that will be later cast in bronze.

Sculptor Heather Soderberg, one of the first women to own and operate a full service bronze foundry, works on the clay original of a shorebird that will be later cast in bronze.

Gallery reception at Archimedes Gallery

At Archimedes Gallery, artist, illustrator and printmaker Amy Ruppel is starting a painting of a bear, first by laying down an acrylic base color of orange. When I returned to the gallery later for their evening reception, I was delighted to see the finished piece on display, a representational, but modern interpretation.

Apple Pie Cocktail with Cannon Beach Distillery rum at Archimedes Gallery reception

While there, I couldn’t pass up on a liquid work of art the gallery was offering: an “Apple Pie” cocktail made with locally-made Cannon Beach Distillery’s artisan rum.

My next stop is Bronze Coast Gallery, where I meet two sculptors whose work I have admired for years: Carol Gold, a California sculptor whose simple contemporary figurative sculptures manage to flow with expressive spirit and Oregon’s own David Crawford whose intricate creatures often have surprising details, movable parts and rich textures on every surface.

Gallery reception at White Bird Gallery

At White Bird Gallery, painter Christopher Mathie is on hand for his solo show of paintings that teeter on the balance between landscapes and abstract expressionism.

Glass artist Ann Cavanaugh shares her fused glass technique at DragonFire Gallery.

At DragonFire Gallery, Ann Cavanaugh displays some of the steps that go into her translucently layered fused glass landscapes.

Cannon Beach watercolor artist Jeffrey Hull at a reception in his gallery

A Cannon Beach favorite after more than 40 years, local watercolor artist Jeffrey Hull shows me his latest original works capturing the beauty of this coastline.

Music by Djangophiles at Jeffrey Hull Gallery reception

At the Jeffrey Hull Gallery reception, the Djangophiles play music for guests.

Artist Christopher Mathie works on a painting at the Arts in Action event.

This art-filled weekend starts with Arts in Action, a Saturday night event that combines featured artists at work, a silent auction of travel and experiential packages, along with food, drink and entertainment.

Detail of Cannon Beach resident artist Jeffrey Hull working on a watercolor at the Arts in Action event.

Cannon Beach resident artist Jeffrey Hull working on a watercolor at the Arts in Action event.

On Saturday, the second day of the Stormy Weather Arts Festival, a “Dancing in the Rain” fashion show emphasizes winter collections of outerwear and showed off one-of-a-kind artist created umbrellas.

Meanwhile, music can be heard from every corner of downtown Cannon Beach. Local and regional musicians are invited to perform at five locations during Saturday’s day-long Music Around Town event, including Oregon Coast duo Two Crows Joy playing Americana tunes and Jay Speakman and Jon Broderick who perform songs about the fishing industry.

Two Crows Joy perform during Saturday's "Music Around Town"

Jay Speakman and Jon Broderick perform songs celebrating the fishing industry during Saturday's "Music Around Town"

One of the highlights of Stormy Weather Arts Festival is a spotlight concert, an opportunity to see a top-name performer in the intimate setting of Cannon Beach’s 200-seat Coaster Theatre Playhouse. This year, journeyman blues artist and Oregon Music Hall of Fame member Lloyd Jones took the sold out crowd on a journey through blues history and rocked the house with his full band including saxophone duo The Atlas Horns.

Journeyman blues artist and Oregon Music Hall of Fame member Lloyd Jones performs at the Spotlight Concert.

Cannon Beach galleries continue the festivities into Sunday and I wrap up my Stormy Weather weekend with a visit to Icefire Glassworks to watch glassblowing. Resident artists Jim Kingwell and Suzanne Kindland work year-round in their studio, but the heat of the kiln makes this a perfect stop when it’s stormy weather in Cannon Beach.

Glassblowing artist Suzanne Kindland, assisted by Jim Kingwell, works on a piece during Stormy Weather Arts Festival.

Glassblowing artist Jim Kingwell works shapes a piece during Stormy Weather Arts Festival.

Glassblowing artist Jim Kingwell works shapes a piece during Stormy Weather Arts Festival.

Cannon Beach has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Art Towns in America and the community hosts its annual Stormy Weather Arts Festival the first full weekend of each November. For more information, visit

About The

Gary Hayes
Gary Hayes is publisher of Coast Explorer Magazine and founder of Explorer Media Group, a travel media and marketing company based in Seaside. Gary is a native Oregonian whose earliest memories include working on his grandfather’s fishing boat on the Oregon Coast. Now living in Cannon Beach, Gary is an extensively published photographer and writer focusing on the Oregon Coast and the Northwest's food and wine culture. He also serves as Executive Director of the SavorNW Wine Awards.