COOS BAY — Graham Wickham will be the featured speaker at the Bay Area Artists Association meeting, Thursday, Oct. 17. The group will meet at 6 p.m. in the upstairs classroom of Coos Art Museum located at 235 Anderson St. in downtown Coos Bay. Refreshments will be provided and all guests are welcome. His presentation will bring to life the last great paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, whose work he has long admired.
When asked what it was that drew him to the work of Van Gogh, Wickham stated, “'Wheatfields With Crows' is one of my favorites. That was the first painting of his I ever saw. It had so much force, as did most all of Van Gogh’s work, in my opinion. The artist had a unique style which no one has really imitated, because there was only one Van Gogh! In other words, ‘why bother?”
Wickham continued, “My last direct contact with Van Gogh’s work was at the L A County Museum in 1999. Seventy original pieces were borrowed from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The show went to only two places, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. And only by coincidence, I was in LA at that time. I will never forget that show.”
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Wickham, born in Los Angeles, attended public schools there, chose teaching as his career and upon graduation from Cal State Northridge, moved to Oregon in 1969. He taught English at Central Point High School in Central Point, Ore. He and his wife had four children. I ask why he had chosen to live in Coos Bay upon retirement and he told me, “Because when I visited in 2013 I was amazed by the Coos Art Museum. And when I went out to visit SWOCC, the setting on the lakes was so beautiful I decided this was the place.” He moved from Chico that year and still finds much beauty here.
While Wickham has done a lot of writing, and still writes, he was also deeply involved in music for years. Now he chooses to paint and draw. He shared that he was taught early in his life by the best of teachers, his older brother, who was a fine artist. Wickham's favorite mediums of expression are charcoal, and acrylic and the subject matter is mostly limited to the wonderment of nature. He sees beauty in all of it.
The artist has shown his work in the local venues such as Evergreen Court, Southwestern Oregon Community College's Eden Hall Show, Black Market Gourmet, Coos Art Museum, High Tide Cafe, Banner Bank, Coos Bay and North Bend public libraries and several others.