The artist and the studio
Artist studios have always fascinated me. Those iconic black and white images of Picasso, Matisse, Dali, et al., working and playing in their studios divulge yet another layer about the artists and their work.
Several years ago the late, great Mary Sims invited me to her studio. All pristine white with sketches, graphs and color swatches pinned to its walls, her brushes, paints and palette, so orderly and within reach; controlled and precise like her paintings.
Contrast that with John Willer’s, where canvasses are stacked floor to ceiling, paint cans sprawled, fresh paint and thinners attacking the nostrils, and where you watch your step for fear of spilling something or putting foot-through-canvas.
In 2005 I had the good fortune to photograph 75 local artists for a series of portraits that was shown at Eleanor Lux’s Studio. The majority of photos were shot in, or in close proximity to the artists’ studios. Often the studio dictated the portrait, disclosing something about the artist rather than serving as mere backdrop.
Starting today and running through Sunday, the public is invited to explore some of Eureka Springs’ artists’ studios. It’s an opportunity to meet the artists in their creative environment, to chat with, look at and even buy work directly from them.
Thursday one can experience a “pit firing” with ceramic artist Terry Russell; a drum building with Lorna Trigg; a jewelry making session with Chon Stanley; and get an inside look at Paula Jones’ painting techniques.
According to the website, www.eurekaspringsstudiotour.com/, 18 artists and 12 studios are involved. The self-guided tours run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thur., Fri., and Sat. and 10 to 4 on Sunday – admission FREE.
I’m a big fan of Fran Carlin and her Venetian-glass-inspired mosaics (we share a love and affinity for Venice). Fran returns to the Studio Tour with the opening of her new studio/showroom on North Main.
It’s also a rare chance to see Jim Nelson’s notable studio and gain a better understanding of Jim’s large, wooden, cutout, carved and painted forms reminiscent of Frank Stella, circa 1960.
Also impressive is the studio and natural setting at Fire Om Earth on Mill Hollow. Craig and Lorna continue expanding on their unique and magical vision.
Space limitations allow me to mention only a few participating artists but I encourage everyone to pick up a Studio Tour Map at the Chamber of Commerce or in galleries all over town, or click on the above mentioned website for a lot more details.
I applaud the artists for their willingness to open their creative spaces to the art-loving public. Maybe one day I can put my studio on the tour – if I start organizing it today it could be ready by 2015.