Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Napa Valley Open Studios 2011 – II

My thanks to everyone who came by for a visit during this year's Napa Valley Open Studios! You made it a wonderful success.

Standing surrounded by my paintings • photo by LeeAnn Ho
After all our preparations, the two weekends of Napa Valley Open Studios flew by like a whirlwind! My actual studio is waaay out in the country, where not too many folks would be likely to venture, so I was more than pleased when glass artist Ed Breed invited me to join him at his glass studio in St. Helena.

The main "gallery," as I finally got it arranged by the last weekend
Ed worked hard to create a beautiful, as well as workable, space. I was able to set up just outside, in front of his studio, and to show work all along the driveway to it.

The main "gallery," with visitors!
We had somewhere between 100 to 200 visitors a day. Ed gave glassblowing demonstrations throughout each day, except for a bit on the first Sunday, when the temperature neared 100° outside (and reached 115° in his studio).

Looking back from the main "gallery" area, down the driveway

I was too busy talking with people to give a demonstration, but I did bring an easel (on the left of the photo above) with a work in progress, so I could explain my painting process to anyone who had questions about it.

Drawings, and drawings with acrylic wash, at the entrance to our Open Studio
I particularly appreciated a couple of opportunities to slip in and watch Ed's demonstrations (glassblowing is a fascinating process, and he is particularly good at explaining it).

In the front rack, my original pen-and-ink sketches and block prints. To the left,  greeting cards from  my relief-print-and-stencil paintings.
Since it's an open studio, not a regular show, I love getting to bring lots of different kinds of my work to share. This time, I brought pen-and-ink sketches and block prints, as well as cards I'd made (on the second weekend) of relief-print-and-stencil paintings. I brought graphite drawings with acrylic wash, and graphite drawings, of still lifes, too. I know people come expecting very colorful landscapes, but I like to surprise them with some of the rest of what I do.... (This year I left the collage paintings and the costumed model paintings back in my barn studio.)

A table with matted reproductions of my dragonfly paintings, original drawings with acrylic wash, and a portfolio
It's amazing how much there is to share! Figuring out how to fit things into the space is always interesting. I kept refining and changing it a little as I put things out each new day.

The literature table
What makes it all worthwhile is getting to share my work with my guests. Maybe they're friends, or acquaintances, or students, or collectors, or people who've been following my work, or fellow artists. But at least as often they just stopped by because they've seen the signs, or they found me in the catalog for the first time, or they're really here for the glassblowing and to see Ed, and I get to introduce my work to them for the first time. Chatting, sharing the wonder and passion of artmaking, of creativity, of the creative process and all the stuff we make, is the fun of holding an open studio.

Guests looking at my work
And sometimes people come back to follow my progress, each year or every other year, and we can talk about where I'm going with my work (or what is it with all the old work!). I like seeing what people respond to.

A guest looking at some of my matted reproductions (I print them myself)
County Supervisor Diane Dillon even stopped by between meetings, and graciously talked shop with a friend of mine about a local issue in between looking at paintings and watching Ed blow glass.

With County Supervisor Diane Dillon
My special thanks to all the people who took home a piece of my artwork with them, and to the good folks who helped me hang paintings on the last Sunday (after the rain finally stopped fifteen minutes before we were supposed to open). I appreciate you!

Holding "Hillside Vineyard (Tilted Heart)," my catalog image for this year's open studio  •  photo by Gunter