For artist Kathy Deggendorfer, relationships fuel her art. Her illustrative style captures moments, but each vibrantly painted scene is the culmination of connections. Currently, she is working on a commissioned piece destined for the grand entryway of St. Charles Cancer Center in Bend, slated to open June 15. The panoramic landscape will span the Cascade Range with Mt. Bachelor and Mt. Jefferson standing as monumental markers. Deggendorfer’s art is her bridge between exploration and community. She prepared for the St. Charles piece by scouting the space in the cancer center and then began knocking on doors of people who owned homes with mountain views, hoping she could sketch from there.

photo by Tambi Lane

Deggendorfer is also collaborating with Kibak Tile glazer Anita Maze to translate her watercolor paintings of the Central Oregon skyline into tile, forming a 24-foot triptych. The project will tax both artists’ abilities. “When you switch media, it’s a little bit like changing your base language,” she says. “You’re trying to essentially say the same thing but in a different format.” She has also worked with glass artists, quilters and clothing manufacturers.

For the Sisters-based artist, relationships are more than a perk of the artistic process. They provide a purpose at times. Nothing could better illustrate this point than her upcoming solo show at the High Desert Museum in Bend, August 30 through November 30. This event will showcase work inspired by the relationships she formed with Oregon farmers and their farms over the past ten years. The impetus for the project was a grant that brought artists and agriculture together in Illinois, the “bread basket” of the United States. There, Deggendorfer envisioned a bleak future for farming if Oregon consumers didn’t support local growers.

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