Presented by Guemes Island Community Center Association (GICCA)
“Enriching and Connecting our Island Community”

Artist of the Month!

Randy Rinehart

Guemes Island’s Randy Rinehart has had quite the life so far…he’s kept our skies safe, our horses and bodies in top form, our ears entertained, and our eyes dazzled! Read on to learn more about Randy and his fascinating life.

Air traffic controllers are known to possess the ability to make decisions, apply information rapidly and continually, see in three- and four-dimensions in their head, and adjust plans and decisions continually as the “picture” changes. March’s Artist of the Month is Randy Rinehart and these attributes have served him well during his career as an air traffic controller as well as in his artistic endeavors. 


Randy retired from the high stress air traffic profession in 2002, after which he switched focus to the art of massage. Graduating from the Brian Utting School of massage in 2004 he began a private practice in Seattle. In 2006 after studying with The Northwest School of Animal Massage he became a licensed large animal massage practitioner. This led to a deep dive into the world of horse fancy. Fancy for a horse is usually referring to things like their mind set, build/conformation, the movement of their gaits, work ethic, etc. This pursuit was aided greatly by an apprenticeship with Don Douglas at the Douglas Ranch in Panoche CA beginning in 2007. Ultimately Randy became an “equestrian” (as opposed to a “cowboy”) and spent the next ten or so years exploring new country throughout the west aboard a beautiful Tennessee walker mare named Daisy. 


Randy says “Artistically speaking, I have always felt quite intimidated by the concept of actually making art myself. I was always impressed by people capable of making beautiful artwork.” In 2016, he was inspired by a friend to try woodturning again, which had been very exciting for him in junior high. “That quickly turned into a burning passion, involving countless hours of studying videos and acquiring tools($$$).” He was lucky to, again, find a mentor by the name George Way from Anacortes. “George helped me learn how to make big bowls, which was my calling.” Remember those air traffic controller attributes? Woodturning is the perfect application of those traits. As the wood is spinning, Randy has to make decisions, apply information rapidly, see in 3 & 4 dimensions, and adjust plans continually as the picture (or wood) changes. The bowls also get airborne from time to time.

In addition to woodturning, Randy shared that “Music and especially dance have been my earliest connection to creativity.” Randy is currently making some great music with the Clark Point Rounders, a group from Guemes Island where Randy has lived full time since 2018. They have played at the Guemes Island Store, the Community Stage during the 2023 Summer Music Series, and on occasion at the Brown Lantern Tavern in Anacortes.


Randy first came to Guemes Island to attend the marriage of Rob and Carol Girdis at Ferdi’s place on Solstice Lane. It was “so Guemesy” according to Randy. “I knew this was the place for me.” He got his first place here back in 1992 and has nestled in and become a Guemesy kind of guy, embracing the island and all its little quirks. Randy is very inspired by the concept that ART is illusion. Like many artists who are drawn to Guemes, he is “certainly inspired by nature and the work of great artists. Particularly with Woodworking I like to find the natural wonder inside a log. It’s amazing what an abstract piece you can make with a spinning machine.” Not every attempt results in an objet d’art, however. According to Randy, “I mostly make firewood when I’m not making art. And sometimes the art winds up in the fireplace too.”


Not all of Randy’s work is three dimensional. In 2018, he developed an interest in painting and was, once again, lucky to find a mentor. This one was Guemes Island’s own Cathy Schoenberg. “She opened the door for me to be creative in two dimensions. This was a time of great emotional upheaval for me, and I really smeared a lot of paint for a couple of years.” Most recently, after returning from a visit to the Rio Negro in Brazil he has been seduced by the subtleties of watercolor art, with a new mentor on the horizon.


Wood turnings by Randy are currently available by commission, with a new body of work on the way this summer. I know that I, for one, am hoping this includes all sides of his artistic talents!


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