Wednesday, October 19, 2011

White Rock Lake Artist's Studio Tour 2011

The White Rock Lake Artist's Studio Tour is the oldest and largest self-guided studio tour in Dallas.  There were 45 official marked stops on this year's tour which includes 5 art centers and schools, with the Bath House Cultural Center and the Creative Arts Center being two of those.  A fold out map with names, short media description, and addresses can be found at each stop.

Some years I try to make it to all or almost all of the stops. This tour is always scheduled for the middle weekend of October,  and there is always lots to do in Dallas when the weather finally turns cooler so I don't always make it out. There have been a few years that I have been in London for Frieze Art Fair during this time period. This year I only had a few hours to use on Sunday afternoon, so I choose 10 studios to visit and I've included pics from 6 of the studios in this post.

My first stop was at the home and studio of Kathy Boortz.  Kathy makes figurative objects, usually birds, using parts of garden tools, chunks of wood, molding material, and paint.  Her studio is a small room on the back of her house.  She displays her work each year around her back yard patio area.  I enjoy seeing all of the tools and books and clay sculptures in her small studio.

Kathy usually has a figure or two that represent a politician or a political ideal.  I overheard her talking to some other visitors about the Occupy Wall Street events that were going on in Dallas this same day.  I imagine that was some of the thought behind the "Revolutionary" figure.

Next up is the clay studio of Marty Ray.  Marty throws clay on a wheel and forms traditional vase forms.  She then inscribes figures, objects and scenes around the surface of the vessel.  She finishes with glazes and finishes her process in a high fire kiln.  I had three of Marty's vases in my collection; unfortunately one broke.  I hope to find one I can't live without again soon!

The little signs on the front of the shelves say, "The Pots say: Pick us up and turn us around to see the whole picture."  Marty isn't just a potter, she's a story teller as well.

Matt Bagley opened his fine art print making studio, Iron Frog Press, for the event.  It was interesting hearing Matt talking about his wood cuts and multi-ink press processes.

Matt's wife, Sharon, is a photographer.  I recognized several of the works that she had up inside their house.

Sharon's photograph on the left was from a recent themed group exhibition at the Bath House Cultural Center.  The three "smoke" photos on the right are examples of work Sharon recently had accepted into a new hospitality project in a hotel in Plano, a northern suburb of Dallas.

Glo Coalson had the most interesting and informative self-guided studio tour.  She covered counter tops with brown butcher paper and wrote short descriptions at each station.  Out in the yard, Glo exhibited her paintings and bronze sculptures.  But it's her clay pigeons that she is probably best known for locally.  I've seen Glo's pigeons in people's homes who are not art collectors.  So it is little wonder that her self-guided studio tour describes how she makes pigeons utilizing a slip cast mold process.

Glo's was certainly one of the most interesting stops.  Some people would probably rather talk to the artist.  But I saw how many people were talking to her as I was there!  This was a nice way to talk about her work and her process without having to talk to each and every individual that came through her studio during those two days.

Another studio that I enjoy visiting is that of Chris Lyons. Chris creates abstract sculptures out of stone or wood, but he also had a plaster model ready to be cast in fiberglass when I visited.

There's just something about all that heavy stone and wood and the many carving tools that appeal to me.  Some of the artists work in spare rooms inside their homes or in converted garages.  It's exciting for me to see an artist that takes the plunge to build a separate studio, get to work, and then watch as the studio progresses along with the work year after year.

My last stop of the day was at the studio of Nancy Ferro.  Nancy told me just as I arrived that she had made some very good sales during the tour. So she was very happy and full of energy. Just after I arrived a woman came in who said this was the first time she had ever explored the White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour.  She was hesitant to enter the studio at first.  Nancy explained that she paints using encaustic.  The visitor had never heard of encaustic, so another art tutorial began.  I really enjoy watching and listening as artists talk about their work and process.

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