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A Portrait of the Artist

Next month, we open the Ed House at Old St. Francis School, in which each room commemorates a teacher or educator from the former St. Francis School. And the month after that, we fling open the doors of the Art House, where each room is named for the title of a painting done by one of the artists who have lent their talents to McMenamins properties.

Each artist was asked to paint a mural that represents his or her experiences or inspirations from working with McMenamins. Below is just one example of the lovely pieces that will adorn the Art House - Brenna White's personal interpretation of longtime McMenamins artist Lyle Hehn's signature style and work, along with her description of the panel and biography.

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"Ruby in the Sky"

"I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."
- Sarah Williams, from her poem From The Old Astronomer (To His Pupil)

When I began coming to McMenamins as a patron, I was always in awe of all of the wonderful artwork that adorned the walls. My husband and I are frequent customers at a number of McMenamins restaurants, and he has become a fan of the fantastic artwork as well. We have always been drawn to the work of Lyle Hehn. Perhaps it is his clean lines and attention to detail that strikes me most, because of our shared experience in the graphic design field or maybe it's the eccentric yet wonderful characters and concepts that make his work so recognizable. From paintings to posters, from murals to coasters - Lyle's work is inspiring and I am one of his biggest fans.

I created a painting that showcases some of his most recognizable characters. Here Ruby is working to illuminate the sky with stars, which is a tall order to complete on your own. She has enlisted the assistance of Hammerhead, Black Rabbit and Lyle himself to help her light up the night sky before the sun comes up. As some of the stars fall below, Ruby's partners are all there to help get them back into the sky where they belong. This painting is full of color and whimsy and hopefully shows the sense of magic that Lyle intended for his characters.

About the Artist
Brenna White was born and raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Brenna knew she was going to be an artist from the time she was a small child and has been a working artist for the last 16 years. Painting in bright, vibrant color, there is always a whimsical story within her work.
Eight years ago, Brenna discovered her additional passion - teaching - while instructing after school art classes for kindergartners through fifth graders. Brenna discovered she had a connection with the kids and felt the calling to be in the classroom full time. She then went back to school and received her Master's Degree in Teaching. Brenna now spends her days teaching middle school language arts and social studies, but always finds the time to continue creating art.

When she's not creating, Brenna leads a very busy life but loves to be at home with her family, enjoys watching her kids play sports, is always up for a walk outside, and is always happy to meet up with friends. Brenna lives happily in Tualatin with her incredible husband Ryan, her awesome son Eli, and fantastic daughter Samantha. She also shares her home with her dogs Zeke, Joe and Hazel and her cat Sampson.

Add to Our Archives

Do you have a story to share about one of our properties? Or maybe you have a historic artifact, photo, videotape or document to show us? We’d love to talk with you about it.

We are continually adding to our historical archives – who knows, maybe the information you share will be used in an upcoming project, in a piece of artwork by the McMenamins artists, as the topic for one of our history events. We want to hear from you.

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What We Do

Our goal is to keep the past in the present, to celebrate and connect us all with the people and events that have helped define each McMenamins property. To that end, we research, interview and compile materials to identify and commemorate our properties and their surroundings.

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Our best historical finds often come from you! Email us, fill out the form below, or give a call at (971) 202-7614 if you have a question or suggestion, or if you have photos, film, documents or artifacts you’d like to share.

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