Dodi Fredericks | Christian Carlson at Perry Carlson in Mount Vernon, Washington

Wednesday, November 02, 2022 11:12 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

Perry and Carlson in Mount Vernon, Washington has quickly established itself as a must-do in the city’s downtown. Owners Trina Perry and Christian Carlson had long dreamed of a space to foster creativity and explore their own artistic endeavors, and they found the perfect location for their storefront in the historic 1924 Brunet Building. Christian, an artist and architect, and Trina, an artist and retail designer, were the perfect people to renovate the treasured historic location and bring it new life. The resulting storefront is not only a carefully curated shop with goods from around the world but is also beloved for its thoughtful art exhibitions which feature artists from all geographic regions. Exhibitions range from installations to sculpture to printmaking, but the next two exhibitions highlight a beloved genre in the Pacific Northwest: landscape paintings by Dodi Fredericks and Christian Carlson. 

In November, Perry and Carlson Gallery shows landscape and abstract watercolors by Dodi Fredericks in an exhibit titled, “Mind’s Eye.” Her interest in art started early; she was an art major in school and worked in a pottery studio in Virginia for nearly a decade before moving to the Pacific Northwest. While attending the University of Washington, Fredericks attended a landscape architecture class which launched her 30-year career as a landscape architect. It may come as no surprise that this interest in the landscape carries through in her watercolors today. 

Interestingly, Fredericks connects her early career as a potter to the paintings she creates today. When asked about the connection, the artist said watercolors and glazing have similar characteristics and that she felt drawn to watercolor because of her previous experience. Both materials are fluid and allow for creative accidents, a process attractive to her. This balance of control and freedom is key to her paintings, just as it was to her pottery. The artist recalls the complexities of pottery; the glaze, fire, temperature, material components, and more. Watercolor is almost like a dance with a push and pull between the control of the artist and the ability to allow the materials to flow freely.

Both the November and December exhibits at Perry and Carlson Gallery feature landscape painting and both artists reiterate the importance of connecting with the natural environment to truly understand the atmosphere around them. The light in the Pacific Northwest is transformed as it filters through the mist and air, creating a quality of light that continues to draw artists and creatives to the region. For Fredericks, a connection to the landscape is crucial to her work as she seeks to create a serene atmosphere. Trips to Eastern Washington with its expansive qualities and to Norway with the water-filled fjords encouraged the artist to think about space, time, and how it feels to be in these locations. Christian Carlson, an artist, architect, and co-owner of Perry and Carlson, is also showing his paintings at the gallery in December. Entitled “At Sea Level,” his paintings are reflections of his experience observing the land while out at sea in his kayak. Originally painting in the style of abstract expressionists, Carlson turned his attention more to the natural world after moving to the Skagit Valley. Now his work is influenced by the impression of the landscape, rather than his exact observations of the world. While the images made by Carlson are not exact locations, all his works capture the essence of his subjects with incredible perception and feeling. The works have multiple layers of paint all working together to create gradations of color and incredible depth in a 2-dimensional surface. All of the paintings consistently have a strong horizon line, perhaps to give the viewer a sense of their place in the work, but subtle vertical lines emerge at close viewing. These lines, cracks, or scratches give the impression that maybe something is amiss in the painted world before us. In the end, each visitor will determine their own feeling or impression during the viewing experience. 

During the colder months of November and December the shows at Perry and Carlson Gallery provides a welcome escape from the dark winter views. When the fields turn brown, and the trees lose their leaves, Fredericks and Carlson’s blues and greens appear even brighter. Only the filtered light through the mist connects the frozen landscape to the painted ones. From fluid and expansive vistas by Fredericks to Carlson’s imagined landscape impressions, visitors to downtown Mount Vernon will experience landscape painting in a new and personal way.

Chloé Dye Sherpe

Chloé Dye Sherpe is a curator and art professional based in Washington State.

Perry and Carlson, located at 504 South 1st Street in Mount Vernon, Washington, is open Wednesday through Monday from 11 A.M. to 6 P.M. They are closed on Tuesdays. For more information, visit

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