- Water that stops moving becomes stagnant, and the same thing can happen to artists. That's why it's vital they keep their creative juices flowing by continuing to experiment and explore.

A visit to galleries last week revealed artists who are doing just that.- People will be amazed when they stop by the Gayle Weyher Gallery, see the realistic cats that grace the walls, and find out that they were drawn and painted by abstract artist Lee Deffebach.

Weyher explained that Deffebach uses the monotype technique to create her one-of-a-kind prints. She draws with graphite on vellum and then prints the image on paper.

It's apparent that the artist feels comfortable with the medium. The works are forceful and alive. And there is no retouching.

Those who are familiar with Deffebach's early style realize that she is no stranger to representational art. In fact, at one time she reportedly said that she would do nothing but classical, representational images.

But times have changed, and so has Deffebach.

"It's really obvious that she works in the period of what is happening," Weyher said.

Deffebach's works will remain at the gallery (534-1630) through March 24. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

- The Pierpont Gallery is also filled with work by artists who are definitely not in a stylistic rut.

Months ago, Ron Clayton was invited to develop a body of work for the show. But he almost postponed the invitation, since it was followed by "a period of chaos, uncertainty and anxiety in my life."

"As it turns out," he said, "I could not be more pleased and satisfied to place before the public a body of work which is as direct, genuine and uncontrived a statement as I am capable of making."

He doesn't consider this work a startling new direction, but "a reaffirmation of ideas which have been fundamental to my work for a long time."

Some of his drawings remind me of aerial views of the earth, with fields, trees and other imagery. Certain passages are detailed, while others are nebulous. Arrows, slashes, squiggles and "Xs" provide the "powerful emotional contexts."

Sharing exhibition space at the Pierpont Gallery is Robert Granger. And his large, charcoal images add considerably to the impact of the overall exhibit.

Granger enjoys abstracting and simplifying nature.

A close look at his works reveals a new approach - incorporating areas of torn paper. Sometimes they areoverlapped; other times a jagged edge separates strong contrasts and helps the visual transition.

The artist uses poetry and not titles to identify each work. One poem that accompanies a two-piece artwork reads, "And there were a few things she neglected to tell me about life on the Continental Divide - important things, I felt; warnings I might have heeded."

Three women - Gail Farris-Larson, Kristie Krumbach and Anne Krohn Graham - add the highly innovative, three-dimensional jewelry and sculpture to the show.

- Downstairs in the Courtyard Gallery, gallery regulars who are painters have explored a technique that was somewhat foreign to many of them - printmaking. And many of the results are rather remarkable.

Although Susan Fleming has worked with monoprinting before, it has generally been in black and white. However, in "The Dream" she tries color. This print is just enough to whet the appetite. Hopefully the artist will continue to explore this approach.

Allen Bishop's style adapts well to the printmaking medium. And, in some cases, the results are even more exciting than his paintings. I enjoyed "Zinjobia" because of the way he overlapped monochromatic colors to create textures and the way he thinned paint to make some areas more transparent.

One of the most pleasant surprises in the show, however, is Bart Morse's red abstract print "Red Cliffs/Shadow River."

- Three outstanding photographers at Busath Photography continue to excel in the world of photography because they don't remain dormant. Don Busath, Drake Busath and Linda Boyd are currently exhibiting a sampling of their recent photography in unoccupied business space at Eagle Gate Plaza.

These portrait photographers are eager to satisfy the needs of their customers. However, they appreciate it when customers allow them to explore and develop new artistic directions.

As I studied these portraits, I identified some of the things that make their photography a fine art.

Get to know the customer personally. Create a comfortable atmosphere. Find out his interests and talents. Place him in a natural setting.

Don't photograph a broad smile, unless it's part of a person's personality. A slight smile or a more contemplative look might be more appropriate.

Stay away from bright-colored clothing. Instead, use neutral shades or dark colors. However, accents of warm color are permissible.

Incorporate principles of design. Repetition, balance, emphasis, subordination, center of interest, etc. are all essential.

Use a variety of lighting - from the back, from a side window, etc.

Rely on intuition and inspiration.

The "Best of Busath" exhibit for 1989 will remain at the Eagle Gate Plaza through March 30. Those who stop by to see it - and the other previously mentioned exhibits - will not be disappointed.