Artists Studio Tours — a weekend when art lovers can tour the studios of Calaveras artists — has long been a signature event for local artists in the fall. But this year, due to COVID-19 risks to artists and collectors, the Calaveras County Arts Council (www.calaverasarts.org) has pivoted to an online event.
According to Executive Direct Kathy Mazzaferro, the Arts Council has recast the event.
“We understand that this is a difficult year for all,” she said. “We propose a different way to support our Calaveras County artists. Instead of two days in September for people to visit studios, we’ve created an online event, which lasts until the end of October to advertise our participating artists to the public.”
“You can go to our website and explore the work of 25 local artists,” said Maggie Sloan, marketing director and creator of the event. “It’s fun to click through, read their statements, and find out what they’re doing. And of course there is a sales page!”
You can arrange with individual artists to see more of their work, or arrange a private viewing of work that’s in the Arts Council’s San Andreas Gallery Store.
“We’re very pleased with the selection of artists we have this year for our online tour,” said Sloan. “The art is beautiful, fun. Charming. It’s created with so much heart.”
Heart And Home
In fact, the first artwork in the online gallery is a watercolor heart painted by Linda Abbott Trapp, an artist who explores the boundary between art and psychology. In the gallery, Trapp’s work is followed by the work of Judy Cain, a long-time resident known for her soft, romantic oil paintings of flowers and landscapes that lean on a traditional aesthetic that continues the heartwarming theme.
Home is highlighted in painter Lonna Coleman’s brightly colored acrylic paintings, especially her interior scenes, where she creates interlocking flat shapes of bright primary colors that evoke a childlike sense of wonder. Oil and acrylic painter Barbara Hall builds her aesthetic from nature, where she’s inspired by the peace and calm she finds in settings like snow covered mountains or leafy tree-lined trails.
Mokelumne Hill artist Anne Cook, who considers herself a bricoleur — someone who transforms diverse objects into something new — creates sculptures from found objects, bits of glass and broken mirror. The ensuing sparkle creates a kaleidoscope of light and color to brighten homes and gardens.
Break Stress With Art
If stress is getting to you, lose yourself in the whimsy of painter Victoria Fout. She blurs the line between painting and sculpture with fanciful creatures in heavily textured bas-relief built up with acrylic gels. Likewise, Moana Hendrix Baily works in fantasy. She digitally composites photographs and artwork to create quiet dreamscapes of Sierra treasures. Also, Arvid Morrow’s oil pastel scenes of the countryside will transport you to a gentler time.
With a more realistic point-of-view, oil painter Sonya Ziegler’s work is restful as she explores the beauty of natural subjects ranging from landscapes to animals to simple homey items like asparagus in a copper bowl or Tempranillo grapes on the vine.
Watercolor is well represented by the online gallery. Portrait artist Margaret Sloan prefers to paint children and pets, saying, “the ability of watercolor to be both transparent and opaque makes it a perfect medium and metaphor for painting portraits.” Mokelumne Hill artist Deborah Marlene’s watercolors and alcohol inks glow like jewels, and Sue King’s soft watercolors breathe warm, relaxing tones into flowers and mountainscapes. Lynne Sutton finds her ideas from her travels, and creates elegant watercolors with strong shapes and subdued colors. Venerable watercolorist Ruth Morrow uses the fluid nature of the medium to document Calaveras County with loose, gestural studies.
It’s hard to corral an artist into a box; many of the artists on the tour work in several mediums. Multi-skilled artist Maura Purcell honors the natural world in media as diverse as watercolor, oil painting, mixed media, and clay sculpture. Painter Tabitha Kremesec alternates between oil painting and watercolor to create ocean and lake scenes. “Painting the ocean is my favorite thing,” she says, although she does figurative work as well.
Ann Nancy Macomber works in fabric and paint, often in the same piece. She enriches her images, whether abstract or representational, with color, texture and linear designs.