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Portland painter chosen for 2022 Old Mill District Winter Art Series

Old Mill Winter Art piece created by Portland artist Katie Reim
Old Mill District
Old Mill Winter Art piece created by Portland artist Katie Reim

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Natural and manufactured wonders alike dot the sweeping Central Oregon landscape. The snow-capped peak of Mount Bachelor, the winding Deschutes River, the alpine lakes at the heart of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, and — of course — the soaring smokestacks of the Old Mill District.

All get their fair share of love in the featured painting selected for the Old Mill District’s 2022 Winter Art Series. Portland artist Katie Reim, who dreamed up and created the naturally inspired piece, is the sixth artist to be honored in the series, and her work pays tribute to the sites that bring so many to Central Oregon each year. It’s a painting rooted in a deep affection for the region, an affinity that stretches back a decade.

Reim will be displaying the commissioned Winter Art Series piece Friday during the First Friday Art Walk in the Old Mill District at the former Ticket Mill kiosk between Anthony’s and Va Piano Vineyards.

Cascades, Bend skyline captured over map of Central Oregon

For the 2022 Winter Art Series, the Old Mill District reached out to Portland artist Katie Reim, who has earned acclaim in recent years for creating paintings that blend the natural and manufactured worlds, often through works that prominently feature topographical maps in dreamy ways.

“We love the creativity Katie brought to her painting,” says Old Mill District Marketing Director Beau Eastes. “Her piece really captures the natural beauty of Bend and Mount Bachelor while paying tribute to the history of the Old Mill District.”

Reim says her work typically focuses on nature, a natural fit for a painting that would show off Bend’s dynamism. Since moving to Portland from the East Coast in 2014, Reim has visited Bend often, spending time in the mountains while also enjoying the city’s culinary scene and legendary craft beers. Over the years, it’s become what Reim calls “somewhat of a second home.”

Painting Reflects Love for Bend

The 2022 Winter Art Series piece reflects a clear affection for Bend, with Mount Bachelor and the Old Mill District’s smokestacks featuring prominently in a design that’s part of a topographic map covering the sweeping expanse of Central Oregon.

“I wanted to show the brilliance of Bend’s city life while still focusing on the beauty that surrounds it,” Reim says. “The historic stacks are such a recognizable symbol for the area, so I felt like they could represent a lot with their simplicity.

“I start each painting by letting the contours of a map lead me towards a composition,” Reim explains. “I alter the colors of the map to fit the mood of the place, then paint on top with acrylic and finish the details with meticulous pen and ink. The contour lines are like fingerprints for nature. … I aim to capture the connection people feel towards their favorite wild places.”

Winter Art Series Spotlights Local Artists

The Old Mill District’s Winter Art Series began in 2017, when officials sought to showcase a thriving regional arts scene in seasonal materials throughout the area. That year, they tabbed Bend artists Lisa and Lori Lubbesmeyer to create a custom painting exclusive to the Old Mill District. Other artists include Susan Luckey Higdon (2018), Shelli Walters (2019), Kathy Deggendorfer (2020), and Sheila Dunn (2021).

The chosen painting from each artist has featured prominently on the Old Mill District website, in its seasonal print guides, at local events, and as part of the area’s First Friday Art Walk.

“We’re always excited to celebrate Central Oregon’s thriving community of artists,” Eastes says. “It’s a great chance to bring a bit of local flavor to the Old Mill District and support artists who are doing wonderful work.”

About the Old Mill District
Celebrating 20 years as one of the Pacific Northwest’s most distinctive and dynamic mixed-use developments, the Old Mill District is located on 270 acres that formerly housed one of the largest sawmill operations in the world. The rich history of the land is coupled with spectacular mountain views, scenic river vistas and an extensive trail system to enjoy the outdoors. More than 55 local, regional, and national retailers and businesses call the Old Mill District home. Bend’s Old Mill District – the most unique shopping, dining, living, and entertainment experience in the region.

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