Open Studios, Open Hearts: 24 Barracks Artists in Santa Rosa

 Opening a studio is like cleaning  a window into the inner life of the artist.  Down the rabbit hole we go!

Saltworkstudio Nov. 2011

It’s more intimate than having people into your home, because you give your hospitality to everyone.  They can luxuriate in your colors, drink in images, and dine on your line.   The public sees the traces of your best effort and your worst nightmares,  the deep and superficial.  The artist tries to be fully with each question, from sublime to inane,  without falling into the pit of sales obsession. It’s quite the wine-and-cheese marathon.  Unless your heart is open, it can be nerve-wracking .  But when someone really sees your art– and really loves it– there is no greater high. 

 A few times people have burst into tears in front of one of my paintings.  James Elkin explores the phenomena in his Pictures and Tears:  People who have cried in front of paintings.   The book is a strange and fascinating  exploration  reactions to art when the eyes in our hearts have opened.  Museums used to have nursing stations where patrons overcome by art could recover… I think the Louvre still does.  Have you laughed or cried over a piece of art?

 Turquoise Window World is a sort of threshold or sill where the everyday table starts to tip over into the extraordinary, like the tables that the spirits move.  Strange fruit converse.  Flowers march and sprout angels, and a grove of spirits wavers in the background.  The painting expands domestic motifs as an un- still life , animated.   The turquoise paint, that bright opaque, came from my time living in India, where houses are unabashedly brilliant blue as a Kodachrome sea.   

Saltworkstudio and my friends the Barracks Artists are open  November 5-6 at 3840 Finley Ave, Santa Rosa, California.  Drop by to visit 24 artists in one location.  I’ll be painting.

In a Mythic News today, I introduce  Jeremy Joan Hewes, Caren Catterall , Mardi Storm, Paula and Cliff Strother, Kathryn Kelsey, Maris Peach, Claudia Rhymes, Monica Lee-Boutz, and Chuni Anello. We will be having a party on Saturday between 4 and 6. All our studios will be open.  Join us!

Jeremy Joan Hewes

 Jeremy Joan Hewes is a dynamic, subtle printmaker, photographer and my friend.  In her words: Sometimes you walk into a room and a discover an alluring mystery. That’s how I think of this image of subtle colors, dynamic pattern, and silhouettes, which I made at a recent workshop in Coupeville, Washington. I kept returning to that room as the day wore on and the light changed, each time taking more photographs. Color and light, with a little bit of “what is this?” thrown in.  Come see this photograph and some new mixed media pieces in studio 250 at the Barracks Artists open studio on November 5 and 6 – this weekend!

Caren Catterall ,  master printmaker, is a guiding star at the studio.  She produces a wonderful moon calendar  for gardening , as well as her  mythic prints.   Visit the beautiful print studio  for goddesses, coyotes, ravens and giants.  For a treat, relax with a cup of tea and her delightful video, The People with Spirits Strong as Stone.

Mardi Storm’s art is colorful and ethereal, with delightful Animal Angels.  She just started a new Etsy store.  Her partner’s group, Outlaw Dervish, will be playing at the reception at 4 on Saturday. See her new studio next to Caren and Jeremy! Visit Mardi Storm Artworks for a preview.

Don’t be fooled by Claudia Rhymes’ pixie glasses or shy demeanor.  Her new series of urban landscape grids over bright backgrounds rocks, and she’s a gifted, secret graffiti artist. She also has one of the new, larger downstairs studios.  Claudia is our hidden wonderchild in this Open Studio.

Paula and Cliff Strother share the studio with the most beautiful outlook on the hills.  Paula paints in acrylics and Cliff in oils. Visit this newly established studio to enjoy lush landscapes in a room with a view.

Kathryn Kelsey’s fascinating mixed media work changes every year.  Dedicated to wild animals, the environment, and indigenous peoples, her textures and materials are a delight.  I love her mixed media with dried radishes.  She is the Editor of the Barracks Bulletin and writes a blog.  Her downstairs studio is filled with the calm green light of nature, one of my favorite places to sit and relax.  

Maris Peach is our very own Joseph Cornell. I own a piece she made, the Alchemist’s Arcade.  In her words:  I tell stories using the flotsam and jetsam of life’s leftovers. Sometimes I begin with an object, sometimes I build from a concept, sometimes I fiddle and nuture a dream memory until it becomes an elaborate narrative. Othertimes the story is sparsly simple or even hidden, revealing itself through the beholder’s eye. Don’t miss her intricate, fascinating workshop and studio.

Monica Lee-Boutz is an energizing force of nature!  She paints in watercolor, is an accomplished collage artist, and has had several recent exhibitions.  Visit her studio upstairs across from Paula and Cliff.

Chuni is from Madrid, has a new studio downstairs, and absolutely unique mixed pieces using fabric, fiber, and wool.

11 comments

  1. I cried in front of a Frida Kahlo painting at S.F. MoMa. I don’t remember which one, but it was one with Frida and Diego — she may have been holding him like a baby or it might have been one with blood drops.

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  2. I ordered the book Pictures and Tears, thanks! I’ve had the same experience, and there’s nothing better than watching someone have that reaction to a painting you’ve done. . .or of course having it yourself! I’m just a bit too pooped to make it over for your open studio this weekend, but looking forward to some sketching with you soon, and wishing you all the best!

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    1. Sketching, yes. I got my version of your watercolors…. not as elegant, but I did find another company that has a set with a thumb loop! And I got a Moleskine watercolor sketchbook. First open studio day went well for me and others. The author, James Elkins, has written other interesting books as well, but that one is a really interesting, quirky read.

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