“In My Studio, I Am…” By Mari O’Brien

With my first Open Studios Art Tour fast approaching, I am trying to finish up some pieces that need just a few small touches to be ready for matting, framing, or hanging during OSAT—so the name of the game in my studio right now is “Get Your Act Together, Mari!”

I describe myself as an experimental artist, and I just can’t get enough of trying new materials, processes, and techniques—of inventing new combinations and syntheses of approaches and methods that I have learned thus far on my amazing journey in art.  All this experimentation makes art truly joyful and satisfying for me.

What frequently happens, however, is that as I am attempting to finish one piece, I experience a sort of epiphany about some new experiment I could begin; about some new combination of colors or materials that might be interesting to explore; or about some new series that would be fun to embark on.  While I always write notes about such things, sometimes I am just so anxious to try something new that the painting I’m working on—almost finished—gets set aside (only for a short while, I always promise myself!).   It seems that my very active imagination sometimes gets ahead of my ability to conclude a current piece.

Sigh…

So here are a few pieces that are nearing completion for exhibit in October:

MariOBrien1This one will be called “Trelawney’s Red Necklace” (acrylic on paper).  There is a bit of her face that needs to be finished—as well as, of course, the “red necklace” (I promised myself that I wouldn’t paint the red necklace until everything else was finished)!   In this piece, I was experimenting with patterns, textures, and shapes.  When I paint figures, I often depict them in a sort of caricatured way or with exaggerated body parts.  Here, I wanted to suggest a sort of shy, ungainly, awkward girl so pleased with and proud of her jewelry that she seems oblivious to—and unembarrassed by—her perhaps less-than-comely demeanor.

MariOBrien2This painting doesn’t yet have a title.  I still have some areas to “clean up,” and the focal element is not completely defined—plus a few other refinements will happen.  My experimentation with this acrylic work on 300 lb. watercolor paper was to paint the entire thing with sponges!!  I hope to mount this on cradled birch panel, then varnish, so that the lovely deckled edges remain visible.

MariOBrien3When finished, this acrylic and collage piece on cradled birch panel will be part of my wabi sabi series.  (To read more about wabi sabi  click here.)  One way that I experiment is to create a complex, multi-layered underpainting, after which I spend some time considering what is happening on the surface; the painting eventually “speaks to me” and tells me where it wants/needs to go.  This painting is in the process of telling me, even as I write this. The white lines you see here (plus a couple more that I will add) are my attempt to work out a structure for this piece.  These white lines are temporary and will disappear once I have negatively painted around them to make the shapes emerge.

Mari O’Brien’s working studio is located in San Luis Obispo, listed as number 143 in the Open Studios Art Tour’s catalog, and will be open both weekends. To view more of her work, visit her website. She specializes in experimental watermedia, jewelry, scarves, and cards.

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“Keep an Eye Out for…” Jim Tyler

Jim plus five other artists! 

Jim Tyler has teamed up with these other artists to make visiting even easier.

From left to right, are Jackie Bradley (silk, studio #117), Kari Appleton (jewelry, studio #112), Jim Tyler (paintings, studio #176), Leigh Ramirez (jewelry, studio #163), Heidi Petersen (ceramics, studio #159), Sheri Klein (fused glass, studio #147).  And, of course, mascots Stella and Finnegan.

Visit all of these artists between 10:00am & 5:00pm, October 20th & October 21st at 104 Twin Ridge Dr., San Luis Obispo.

More information about the Tour can be found on ARTS Obispo’s website.

“Keep an Eye Out for…” Ron Roundy

Ron has decided to keep his studio open the second weekend of  ARTS Obispo’s Open Studios Art Tour!

Visit Ron’s studio October 20th and October 21st in Los Osos (studio #108, page 23 in the Open Studios Art Tour catalog).

Above & Beyond: Dr. C. Hite

There are ongoing activities in the Goku RAKU Sculpture Garden at Studio #99 in Los Osos during Open Studios Art Tour.  Guests may become participants by contributing their favorite “yes!” moment to an artist-produced scroll of colorful tissue paper and China Town newspapers.

The “yes” moment that inspired this interactive book, was looking all over China Town for all things red in San Francisco.  On my scavenger hunt list were paper lanterns, a fan-shaped sumi brush set, and a red satin runner for the books jacket.  Woodblock printing of Samaria eyes to decorate Japanese scarecrow sculptures is available beginning at noon the 13, 14, 20 & 21st.  Guests are invited to add feathers to an interactive artwork, “Broken Wing,” to commemorate the avian loss due to coastal infrastructure projects, like “Dig Los Osos” and seismic testing.

Burning colorful, flammable, recycled “BTU’s” in an experimental ceramic kiln starts at noon on Saturday, October 20th.

Dr. C. Hite and her Goku RAKU Sculpture Garden will be open both weekends of the Open Studios Art Tour.

“Keep an Eye Out for…” Cindy Dubbers & Holly Louen

…Crimson Heart Studios and Tuscan Road Designs!

Best friends and fellow artists, Cindy Dubbers and Holly Louen have combined their resources and art into one location, Cindy’s working studio in Arroyo Grande for both weekends of Open Studios Art Tour.

Cindy at Crimson Heart Studios is a creative mixed media artist specializing in home decor, custom sari silk lampshades, succulent gardens and embellished vintage furniture.

Holly at Tuscan Road Designs specializes in handcrafted gemstone jewelry utilizing components gathered from numerous world travels. In addition, you will find unique home decor items such as wine bottle stoppers and decorated vintage bottles.

Check out their ad in the Open Studios Art Tour catalog on page 53.

Catalogs can be downloaded on ARTS Obispo’s website or printed copies are available throughout the county (locations are also listed on the website).

Origins: Lindsay Wilcox

Where it all Started

It all started with the funny head pictured above – Self Portrait as Sphinx – the result of a Ceramic Sculpture class I took from Barry Frantz at Cuesta College in 1983.  I was twenty years old.

Oh, I had been immersed in art from the time I was a child.  My mother was a painter, and a career public school art teacher.  And, as a child, I was always as much of a “museum junkie” as my parents would allow.  I just could never tear myself away from looking at beautiful art.  But, the practice of it had always remained a bit remote for me.   Perhaps having seen some of the world’s best art intimidated me?

But then I got my hands in clay, not on a spinning wheel, but to build sculptures.  I suppose I’ll never know quite why– it just clicked.  That “click”  led to a passion for figure sculpture and three years study at the Art Students League of New York in the early 1990’s.   There I soaked up all I could about the practice of figure sculpture, studying with more master teachers than that first one here in SLO.

And twenty years later, I’m still exploring my passion.  Come by and see the results in person both weekends of ARTS Obispo’s Open Studios Art Tour.  Look for studio #179 in the OSAT catalog.

You can also see more of Lindsay’s work on her website.