Fall brings brisk weather, changes leaves–and Open Studios time in Santa Cruz County, a chance to visit hundreds of artists’ studios throughout the county. You can choose to go full tilt all three weekends with samplings of every type of art…or you can simplify your focus to any of the distinctive areas of work. Follow Laura Sutherland, guest blogger on her trip to last year’s 2010 Open Studios Art Tour!
The first weekend of the tour featured artists who work from mid-Santa Cruz to Watsonville – first stop was painter Ursula O’Farrell’s in Aptos. Her career has been on a sharp upward trajectory over the last few years and her spacious painting studio showcases her large “figurative abstractions,” thick with spontaneous brushwork and smoky, expressionistic images. She has plenty of smaller pieces, too, which is the norm for Open Studio artists – most have a wide range of sizes and prices, allowing even those on tight budgets to walk home with a piece of original art.
The second weekend — mid county through the northern reaches of Santa Cruz – featured many artists in my own neighborhood. Fueled up on coffee, we headed out on bikes on a beautiful fall day with the monarch butterflies fluttering about. First order of business was Grant Miller’s studio. He specializes in moody black and white silver gelatin images of some of the most beautiful locations in our part of the world. Atmospheric shots of Scotts Creek, Big Sur, North Coast beaches and even local surf shops make him a popular and collectible artist.
Just around the corner from Miller, master wildlife artist Andrea Rich gives demonstrations of her wood cut and wood engraving techniques in her studio. Her woodcuts combine a painterly sensibility, a clear affection for the animals she portrays and a masterful technique – clearly justifying her international reputation.
Open Studio’s final Encore weekend gives artists the option of opening their studios for a final weekend, which most of them do.
Visit the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County for all information about this year’s Open Studios Art Tour!