HS Grad creates portrait business
during quarantine

By Noah Nelson

Paige Gordon, nicknamed “Pedge” by her family, has a story many would be familiar with. She grew up in Bend with a family that lived the Pacific Northwest lifestyle to the fullest extent. She loves the outdoors, her dog, and competing in volleyball, basketball, and track and field with her teammates at Summit High School. In every sport mentioned, she was a varsity level athlete.

Outside of school and athletics, Paige is a commissioned artist at just 18 years old, focusing on semi-realistic watercolor portraits and landscapes. Recalling her origins in the world of art, Paige stated “I have been an artist since I can’t remember.”

Paige was an artist before she was even old enough to form long term memories. However, she does recall some early influences on her art. “Art Masters” day, which included parent volunteers coming in to teach art, were her favorite days in elementary school. From 7th grade on to her last year of high school, she always had an art class jammed somewhere in her busy schedule. 

“In all of these classes, I greatly expanded my art skills through new techniques and mediums. All of this exploration helped me narrow down the type of art that I like best,” Paige said.

This love for art, and specifically watercolor, provided Paige with a unique and rather unexpected opportunity late in her high school career when her neighbor asked her to paint a portrait of the family dog. 

“My neighbor and I had been talking about painting her dog for around a year and I finally sat down and did it in early January,” Paige said. “Then, my mom wanted one of our dog. Then, it was my friend’s mom and my other neighbor and family friends and it completely snowballed into what it is now.”

It seems like Pedge Art might be the new trend in town, because she is backed up about a month with commissions for her work.

The recent growth and success of Pedge Art came, in part, from the COVID-19 pandemic and the self quarantine rules that came with. When asked, Paige reflected on the conflicting nature of the pandemic, in that while it was used to her advantage, many other families still suffered. 

“I recognize that I have been so incredibly lucky throughout this whole process; my family has been healthy, one of my parents already worked from home, I had the resources to finish my classes, and art has become a positive outcome of this crisis,” Paige said. “In terms of art, quarantine allowed me to dedicate so much time that I wouldn’t have had before, to improve my skills and get my name out into the community.”

In school, Paige constantly had to balance her art with athletics, academics, and a social life. This quarantine allowed her to learn so much more about her art, due to other parts of her life, and all of our lives, being cut off. Everytime social distancing told us that we can’t see our friends, it did provide us with an opportunity to learn or improve a skill. Paige very intelligently took advantage of these times, and now she is able to use her art as a summer job.

In fact, the idea to sell custom watercolor and stamped cards came from Paige making cards for her grandma, who, due to social distancing protocols for high risk individuals, was unable to spend time with her family. Paige used her skills as an artist to connect with her grandma during a difficult time, and now, similar cards to that original one for her grandma are helping her fund her college education. 

Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty broker and long-time friend of the Gordon family, Melanie Maitre, has nothing but high praise for Pedge Art.

“Paige has always been a hard worker, a great athlete, and a great student,” Maitre said. “I just thought she was so incredibly talented that it would be great to promote such a positive, hardworking student! I have since commissioned her to do four Central Oregon landscapes to give to my clients.”

Paige says that Maitre has been an incredible resource and has been very supportive of her work. She says that she is beyond grateful for the opportunities that Maitre has helped her obtain.

The opportunity to create art for clients of Maitre and others is just another influence that eventually gave Paige what she calls a crash course on how to run a business and freelance. 

“Within the past few months, I have bettered my process of ideation to production. I have set up specific Facebook (@pedge_art) and Instagram (@PedgeArt) pages for my art, a website and online store that houses my card orders and soon, my art prints, and finally, I now have a comprehensive portfolio of my work,” Paige said.

After this summer, Paige plans on attending the University of Oregon in the fall to pursue a degree in Architecture. She plans on saving the money from her art sales to help pay for college. For more information on Pedge Art and her available work, visit her new website here.

Pictured above:
Josh Matrie, Paige Gordon, and Melanie Maitre