Sunday, October 14, 2007


Today, I went on the first weekend of the Portland Open Studios Tour. It was a beautiful, sunny fall day that smelled like adventure and so, map in hand, I set out with a friend to tour some of the 55 artist studios open to the curious today.

This event started some 8 years ago, by Portland pastel artist, Kitty Wallis, has grown to include artists from the city to suburbs. The public is invited into artist studios to watch the artist at work, tour their studio, ask questions and even purchase art directly from the artist.

You purchase a calendar that includes color photos of all the artwork from participating artists and a map for both weekends of the tour. You decide if you want to tour by media...paintings, ceramics, glass, or sculpture...or by area, then get out the map and go!

Having done the tour many years ago, I loved the improved map and directions! It was much easier to find the studios this time around.

Once I found the studios, I have a mixed review. Some studio artists stayed behind their desks and ignored visitors. But the artists who took the risk of greeting and demonstrating and answering questions about their art, their process and product were delightful.

Arrianne Bright...kiln form glass artist...clearly showed me and others how she takes slivers of colored glass and stacks them into abstract and landscape forms. Amazing!

Robert Abbott...monoprint artist...explained the monoprint process and how he adds his own stencils and laser printed collage elements to create multidimensional art pieces. He invited us to tour his lush and extensive gardens as well. What an inspiration!

Julie Fulkerson...wildlife and nature artist...showed how she uses an exato knife to 'draw' her amazingly detailed black and white nature scenes in scratchboard and explained how her colored pencil drawings come to life on colored paper. Wonderful!

To the artists willing to show their process and inspiration as well as their product...THANK YOU!


Janet Grace Riehl said...

Susan, it must be open studio season, because it's open studio here as well in Illiois and Missouri. I think you are right. Most folks go to a studio hoping to mix with the artist as much as buy art. I've been on both sides and it is a tricky balance. As the artist I tried to figure out what the visitor wanted, and abide by that. Space? Visiting time? It's really a festival of creativity.

Susan GT said...

I agree it can be a tricky balance but the concept, as I understand it, is to open your studio, your process to interested people.

I love your thought, 'it's really a festival of creativity'. That's the wonderful part for me.