Get ready to hit the road for Open Studios 2011
Don't forget, the Open Studios Art Tour starts this weekend! A whopping 295 local artists—painters, collagists, ceramacists, sculptors, printmakers, photographers, jewelery-makers, fabric artists, you name it—will open the mystic portals to their work spaces to YOU, the art-loving public, over the next three weekends.
North County artists step up to the plate first this year. 139 studios will be open from north of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor through downtown and the Westside all the way to Davenport. While you're out there, don't miss Doug Ross (312 Poplar Ave, SC), one of my favorite OS artists. His clean, colorful silk screen prints often depict seals and other marine life, but don't you just love this fanciful little hummingbird?
Sure, there's a staggering number of artists to see, but remember, this is not an endurance test. Nobody is expected to visit EVERY studio; you just have to pace yourself. And the best way to do this is to visit one of the OS Preview Exhibits in advance, to get a feel for the actual art pieces, up close and personal.
As usual, the Art League is now hosting a show featuring one work by every single participating artist. New this year is a companion exhibit at the R. Blitzer Gallery, on the Westside, featuring work by North County artists from Davenport, Bonny Doon, San Lorenzo Valley, and Scotts Valley. Both exhibits will be up through the last day of OS, October 16. (A public reception will be held for the Blitzer show on Friday, October 7, 5-9 pm.)
Many local favorites are participating in OS again this year. That's ceramic sculptor Peggy Snider's Preview Exhibition piece at the Art League on the left. I'm pretty sure the title is "Being My Muse," but I might have gotten it wrong, what with 6.2 gazillion people crammed into the exhibit space at last Sunday's opening reception. Anyway, I just love that inquisitive little face! (Peggy shows this weekend at 680 Meder Street, SC.)
There are plenty of newcomers to the event this year, as well. I was very intrigued by the little woven piece by fabric artist Doug Masury at the Art League. It's a small, square, framed piece with tight rows of hand-dyed yarn in an abstract, archaeological/landscape design. (Doug is open this weekend at 128 Mason Strert, SC.) I forgot to take note of the title, but if you're headed down there, check it out.
And speaking of fabric art, Susan Else (126 Escalona Drive) is back this year with her beautifully crafted fabric sculptures of whimsical figures in unexpected landscapes. This piece is called "On the Rocks," and yes, it's ALL stuffed and quilted fabric—even that perfectly rendered abalone shell in the foreground!
Open Studios is a free event, but potential art tourists are strongly advised (by me!) to pick up the official OS Calendar and Artist Guide. ($20 online or at outlets countywide.) Not only does the Calendar provide addresses and maps to help you locate even the most remote studios, it also features thumbnail images of the work of every single participating artist, in a useful 16-month calendar format.
The OS Art Tour continues next weekend, October 8 & 9, with South County artists opening their studios from south of the Yacht Harbor through Live Oak, Soquel, Aptos, and down to Watsonville. The following weekend, October 15 & 16, is Encore Weekend, when both North and South County artists can opt for opening their studios. (Check the OS Calendar for information on which artists will be open Encore Weekend.) So plot your course, grab an art buddy and hit the road!