The woman looks to be mid-stride, holding a lantern.
She’s wearing a light dress or nightgown, and she’s barefoot.
The colors are rich and deep — the blues, greens and purples of the night sky, the mountains, the trees.
It’s a stunning piece. It makes you think. It makes you wonder, where’s the woman going? What’s her story?
Jessica Vorheis knows. She created the painting, a 24- by 36-inch acrylic on canvas.
But to her, what the artist has in mind isn’t necessarily the point.
“I’m not too concerned that people know what (a painting) is about, exactly,” she said. “I’m always interested to know what (those who view it) are thinking, what they see in it.”
Starting this weekend, there will be plenty to see. Vorheis’ first solo show opens July 9 at DrewBoy Creative gallery in Richland.
It’s called Experience the Light, and it features 10 acrylic paintings all tied to the theme of “the Light.”
Vorheis fills her work with rich color. “I’m also really inspired by nature and the way things look in the natural world. I like to play with that,” she said, adding that her pieces tend to have surreal elements, while not veering totally into the abstract.
Davin Diaz, founder of DrewBoy Creative, said he’s honored to show Vorheis’ paintings.
“(She) is able to capture a spirit in her work that separates her as an artist. Her artwork is unique as it bends perspective while highlighting the beauty in nature,” he said.
Vorheis, 26, has been painting for years. She still has an acrylic piece she made in grade school of her grandparents’ dog.
She built up her artistic muscle at Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, taking art classes. After graduating in 2008, she went on to study fine art at Columbia Basin College.
In 2011, Vorheis moved to Portland, and that’s when her dedication to painting deepened.
She got involved with a young adults ministry, and the leader challenged her to make a painting each week to go along with his message.
She made something like 26 paintings in 24 weeks.
“It was a really amazing time trusting the process, making whatever I was inspired to make,” she said. “When that group ended, I realized I needed to be my own boss as an artist. I had to make myself go into the studio. Not just waiting for it to happen — I had to go make it happen.”
Vorheis moved back to the Tri-Cities last summer. She lives in Kennewick with her husband, Matt.
Earlier this year, she took part in The RED Show, which was DrewBoy Creative’s debut exhibition.
The opportunity for the solo show eventually followed. Vorheis said she’s nervous but excited to share her paintings.
For her, watching people connect with her work is meaningful.
She showed a painting in Portland last year, and, “The conversations with people who came to the show, about what it made them think or feel — that was more satisfying than anything,” she said. “It makes me feel like there’s a reason I’m supposed to do this.”
An opening reception is at 6 p.m. July 9 at the DrewBoy gallery, 285 Williams Blvd. Admission is free.
For more information on Vorheis, go to jessicavorheis1989.wix.com/artist, find her on Facebook under Jessica Vorheis Art or check out her Instagram at @jessicavorheis.
IF YOU GO
What: Opening reception for Experience the Light, a new show featuring work by artist Jessica Vorheis.
When: 6 p.m. July 9.
Where: DrewBoy Creative Gallery at Confluent Space Tri-Cities, 285 Williams Blvd., Richland.
Cost: Admission is free.