Face it; if you like art, you're a voyeur. You like to watch, not necessarily do. And if, like most of us, you decorate your home with art objects of one kind or another, you're comfortable with the essential otherness of art.
Collectors think that, by owning art, they literally own a piece of the artist. Listen to your friends -- if one of them owns a painting by, say, Michael Baum, he or she will ask you, "Have you seen my Michael Baum?" It's a strangely intimate relationship, particularly since most of us have never met the artists whose work may be part of our daily lives. But if you'd like to have a real sense of how and where artists create the work that we so happily display, this weekend offers an opportunity to do just that.
It's the second annual Artist's Studio Tour and Sale, featuring 17 regional artists. The artwork on display and available for purchase will include work in a variety of media, including paintings, drawings, prints, jewelry, metal sculpture, ceramics, clay sculpture, cast paper wall pieces, weaving, wood and (exhale -- now take another breath) mixed media.
Happily, since some of the artists share space, you don't have to go to 17 different studios -- just nine. And they're not all that dispersed geographically, either; one is in the North End, six are on the West Side and two are in Manitou Springs. And you'd better visit every one, since each studio will be holding a drawing for a free work of art.
Most of us, if we buy art at all, do so at galleries, just as most of us buy food at the supermarket. And that's fine, but just as food comes from farms, art is created in the artist's studio. And the studios that are participating in the tour are as wildly different and interesting as -- well, as the artists themselves.
Take the Kay Beaubien Studio, for example, at 106 Lovers Lane in Manitou Springs. How do you get there? It's "directly behind Commonwheel Art Gallery, across the red bridge." That gives you a clue that a studio tour is not exactly a visit to Tire World -- that you're going to spend your day going to obscurely delightful places that you never expected to find here in River City.
And at Beaubien's studio, you'll not only find her work, but that of R.E. Tolzman (self-characterized as the creator of "tasty ceramic work") as well as Jane Roberts' luscious "wearable sculpture" in silver and gold. And like many of the artists, Beaubien will be actually creating art during the tour, in her case demonstrating monotype printing.
Not far from her studio, Michael Baum's place of work at 317 Crystal Hills Blvd. should give visitors a fascinating look at how one of our best-known regional artists makes his luminous pieces. You can expect to see new pieces, older works and works in progress. Remember, these are workshops -- not showrooms.
But for me, the most interesting part of the tour, aside from peeking voyeuristically into the lives of these creative strangers, is the art itself -- and not necessarily the art on display, but the art that the artists themselves have collected, usually by trading with their fellow artists.
In sum, whether you like art, or interior design, or architecture, whether you're looking for holiday presents or hoping to win one of the drawings, or even if you're just bored and curious, this tour's a no-brainer!
-- John Hazlehurst capsule Artist's Studio Tour & Sale
Saturday, Nov. 13, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 15, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.