Museum to present paintings, drawings from artist in residence

Michelle Lassaline’s Watershed works go on exhibit June 26

Artist Michelle Lassaline’s experience in residence at Auburn’s historic Mary Olson Farm is reflected in a new exhibit, Watershed, opening June 26, at the White River Valley Museum.

Lassaline worked in residence at the farm from June to July 2018 with the company of the three barn cats, two donkeys, one cow and her dog. She spent her time painting, drawing and exploring the historic farm and, as the season changed from spring to summer, Lassaline watched the animals shed their thick dark coats and the maples along the stream spread out their broad shady leaves.

Each morning began with a walk through the pastures and woods, sketching and taking photographs; she spent the afternoons painting in the barn. The residency extended briefly into October so Lassaline could watch the salmon return to the Olson stream to spawn.

Each of the paintings featured show how water filters through landscapes. Lassaline painted these detailed images in her studio using reference photos she takes while walking, hiking, and canoeing. Locations include the salmon-filled stream at the farm, the wild inlets of Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, a serene river in mid-coast Maine, Kalaloch Beach on the Olympic Peninsula, the churning dam at the Ballard Locks and the Elwha River below the dam removal site and at its sandy delta, among others.

Lassaline’s drawings of the farm’s buildings and animals were made on-site during her residency as a part of her daily routine.

During her residency she taught a free community workshop on watercolor painting and presented her work for the Auburn Studio Tour.

The new exhibit runs until Sept. 29.

Special museum events

• May 19 at 2 p.m. – The Good Game-On the Moral Value of Sports Lecture, free

• June 7-8 – Kid’s Overnight at the Museum, $35 per child

• July 10, 17, 24, and 31 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. – Hooked on History, free

• Aug. 4 at 2 p.m. – Artist-led exploration of the Watershed exhibit with Michelle Lassaline

• Sept. 14 – 10th Anniversary Hops & Crops at the Mary Olson Farm

About Michelle Lassaline

Michelle Lassaline is an interdisciplinary artist based on Vashon Island. Her artistic practice ranges from drawing and painting to mask-making and performance, and her work is founded in fine craftsmanship and a reverence for nature.

Lassaline received her bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2014. In 2017, Lassaline became a national parks artist in residence at Isle Royale, where she encountered a red fox for the first time. She has created performance art pieces for the Tacoma Art Museum, Seattle Mayor’s Arts Awards, and the Nevada Museum of Art, among others, and has received funding from the city of Seattle, the Artist Trust GAP award, and most recently the Auburn Arts Commission to help fund this exhibition.

About the White River Valley Museum

The White River Valley Museum creates an exciting and educational experience for visitors through a series of award-winning exhibits and programs on regional cultures, arts and history. The museum’s artifact collections focus on Puget Sound history, Northwest Native culture, Japanese immigration and the Northern Pacific Railway.

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. On the first Thursday of each month the hours are extended from 6 to 8 p.m. It is at 918 H St. SE, Auburn. Regular admission is $5 adults, $2 seniors and children, children 2 years of age or younger are always free. Admission is free for everyone all day on the first Thursday and the third Sunday of every month. Call 253-288-7433 or visit for event information.