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Opening doors to art

"Fourth annual Whidbey Island Artists Studio TourLabor Day weekend, Sept. 2 and 3, from 10-5 on Saturday and 10-4 Sunday Begins at Bayview Gallery, 5603 S. Bayview Rd,, near Langley. Cost, $10; accompanied children under 12 free. Tickets at the gallery during the tour weekend or in advance at the Art Store in Bayview, Joe's Music in Langley, Puget Sound Business Systems in Freeland, The Island Framery, behind Lumberman's in Clinton, and at the Cybercafe in Clinton. Call 360-221-5460 for more information.Photo: Fries and Lies is a painting by Bruce Morrow who, together with Buffy Cribbs, will be part of the studio tour. Cribbs' painting is on the cover of the tour brochure.Art patrons again have the rare opportunity to meet some of the Island's most prestigious and well-known artists, as the Island Arts Council presents the fourth annual Whidbey Island Studio Tour. Twenty-five artists in many art forms will open their doors to the public at 19 sites for two days this weekend. The tour has been expanded geographically for 2000, with studios reaching from north of Greenbank to Scatchet Head in Clinton. Also new for 2000 is a full-color booklet that serves as the tour ticket and map: Examples of the artists' works, brief biographies and driving directions are included.The tour starts at Bayview Gallery, where there is an exhibit of one piece of each artist's work to help visitors plan their tour. It is designed to give you an opportunity to see many studios, visit with the artists and ask all the questions you may have about their work, said Ed Severinghaus of the IAC. The tour is self-guiding, by car, and can be done in any sequence. If you are able to carpool, it will help with parking at the studios, Severinghaus said. The driveways will be marked with brightly colored banners, and the centerfold map shows studio locations. Many of the artists will have work available for sale at their studios, he added.A broad range of media is represented on this year's studio tour: The artists will show painting, drawing, photography, weaving, glassblowing, fine furniture, metalwork, woodcarving, videography, sculpture, hand-built ceramics, printmaking and pottery.Coupeville artist Gail Gwinnwill feature her work in printmaking, a medium she discovered during etching workshops on Guemes Island and which, she says, gives her work the look she'd been trying to paint for 25 years. Last year Gwinn acquired her own printing press and redesigned her entire studio to explore the art of intaglio. Francy Blumhagen is another artist from Coupeville, who works in many media: oil, watercolor, acrylic, woodcut, collage and wax resist. Her images are expressions of the natural world and may include birds, fish, insects and plants. Blumhagen focuses on texture, line and color and does not depict her subjects realistically, but instead strives for a more abstract quality.Coming south to Freeland, the tour visits Anne Davenport, noted for her color handweavings from looms set up in a studio that faces a view of Deer Lagoon and the Strait.Jane Winslow has been shooting and editing both documentary and creative video for 13 years, combining creative writing poetry (some her own), music and performance arts. In Langley, Pete Jordan and Anne Belov will share Jordan's studio. Jordan is well-known in the Northwest for his evocative painting of Whidbey scenes. Belov has been painting for more than 30 years. Both artists are widely collected.Arcane Metal Arts is the name of the ironwork studio of Jeff Holtby, a blacksmith using traditional forging methods to produce handcrafted gates, fences, beds and tables, arbors, hinges and latches and more.David Gray of Langley is new to the tour this year. In his impressive shop Gray creates furniture emphasizing clean, simple lines, the beauty of the wood, balance of form and function and a synthesis of traditional design and modern uses of materials.In her home overlooking Saratoga Passage, painter and printmaker Diane Divelbess has a spacious studio and also a gallery space for her large collection of works, which tour visitors are welcome to browse. Langley's Deon Matzen, a 30-year Whidbey resident, is a watercolor painter and instructor. Her work reflects a passion for color and light and features florals, still life and landscapes. Ivan Neaigus is a noted sculptor working in both stone and wood, with abstract images influenced by the natural shape of the material. He and Sarah Dhirjo Wallace share studio space at their home in a wooded Langley landscape. Wallace works with colored pencil, watercolor, mosaics and photography, drawing inspiration from floral life and the ocean.Also sharing a studio, which they have built next to their home in Clinton, are Bruce Morrow and Buffy Cribbs. Morrow is known for his droll, often laconic images of cowboys and others. Cribbs produces dramatic paintings as well as imaginative and whimsical 3-D pieces. The Clinton glassblowing shop of David Levi, Ibex studio, is in a rustic chicken barn, currently under renovation. Levi's work is widely collected in private and public collections.Pat McVay, Dexter Lewis and Steve Backus will be at a public site in Clinton demonstrating their various styles and interests in woodcarving.Painters Lee Wexler and Fara Wexler will show their works in their Clinton studio. Lee Wexler says he paints to tell and to satisfy his need to respond to society's angst through painting. Fara Wexler fuses abstract rational form with expressive intuitive content. In order to be valid, she says, the work should be an expression of one's inner being/state.Hand-built ceramics will be shown at the studio of Diane Baxter, who doesn't use a potter's wheel in her sculpture. A lot of my work is autobiographical, in an abstract way, she says. Louise Holloway Stanley is a new artist to the tour, painting in media that includes watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, such as monoprints done in inks and watercolors.Prominent painter and sculptor Ken Hassrick has created works in abstract metal sculpture, wax, clay and plaster, most recently with a focus on evocative semi-abstract paintings of the female form.Julie Hougom works in many media, including paint, drawing, sandblasted glass and sheetmetal sculpture and bronze casting.Peter Wolf is widely known on Whidbey for the volume and diversity of his pottery, which is inspired by Eastern, French, folk and South American influences. He also uses his studio spaces to teach aspiring potters. "

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