This weekend’s Whidbey Working Artists Open Studio Summer Tour benefits both artists and admirers of art, says Kay Parsons, president of the Whidbey Island Arts Council
“You get to see and experience the inspirational process in the studio,” she said. “Some artists will be doing demonstrations, others talking about their process. It’s a great way to see the arts community on Whidbey, which is vibrant and large and becoming more and more widely known.”
This is the 15th year of the driving self-guided tour, this time around showcasing 76 artists at 51 locations.
Whidbey Working Artists was formed in 2004 to market and support artists in North and Central Whidbey and expanded its reach to South Whidbey in 2015.
Both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the two-day tour gives art lovers a chance to see inspiration in action and artists time to chat with potential customers.
“We’ve had good conversations with people on the tour,” said Buffy Cribbs, who paints, sculpts and makes furniture at the South Whidbey home she shares with husband Bruce Morrow, a painter and printmaker. “We get 50 to 100 a people each day stopping by.”
For some, getting to peek inside an artist studio is akin to pulling back the curtain on an artist’s brain.
“What artists do, how they do it and where they do it, I think people are curious about that,” said Morrow.
The couple, also construction partners in their business, Two Morrow’s Builders, built-by-side art studios, a wood shop, apartment/guest house and their own home about a dozen years ago. They also own Flicker Feather Print Studio across the road.
Morrow’s work includes monoprints, woodblocks and oil paintings on canvas.
Cribbs creates imaginative and whimsical 3-D pieces using recycled parts and she specializes in a technique called reverse painting.
Created on the reverse side of glass and flipped to view the image, the technique has been used for centuries in religious art and is often accented with gold paint. Reverse-style painting requires painting many layers on glass or plexiglass in the reverse order usually followed painting on canvas or other surfaces.
“It’s more detailed,” Cribbs said. “Everything is boosted by the process.”
Morrow and Cribbs are also hosting the winner of a weekend getaway package given away by Whidbey Working Artists and its many sponsors as a way to promote the tour. One lucky winner selected from entries to the group’s Facebook site wins three nights at the Cribbs-Morrow nightly rental “Artist’s Cottage.”
A pampered picnic served at an Island Shakespeare event and photography lessons from the Pacific Northwest Art School are also included.
Scattered throughout the annual tour covering some 35 miles from Cultus Bay to Oak Harbor, Baby Island Heights to Ebey’s Landing Historical National Reserve, are many shared studio spaces of couples and artististic colleagues.
Sculptor Jan Hoy and photographer Harry von Stark will be showing their art from their shared home in Ebey’s Reserve while Denis Hill, known for his panoramic photos of Whidbey, will be discussing his work as Katherine Madrone Moulton shows her love of putting together shadowboxes at their studios.
Freeland Art Studios, the site of a former timber mill, includes the working spaces of sculptors Sue Taves (Studio C) and Lloyd Whanell (Studio A). Fiber artists Lynn Sheffield and Janet King and painter Kim Stokely share Olympic Mist Farm studios, along with a herd of alpacas near Freeland.
Another stop with multiple artists includes jewelry maker Bev McQuarry, wood worker Jim Short, clay artist Clovy Tsuchiya and painter Sarah Brazeau, who all have studios in a barn three miles north of Coupeville.
Blueschool Arts in Clinton is the studio home of five artists on the tour: Karin Bolstad, acrylic mixed media painting; Sheila Mohn, landscape painter; Sara Saltee, who specializes in assembling mixed media art from recycled objects, painter Carrie Whitney and Tammi Sloan, a jewelry designer, print maker and mixed media arts.
A new tour stop at South Whidbey Community Center in Langley is the creative work space of painters James Tennison in room 401 and Laura Viola-Preciado in room 106.
• Whidbey Working Artists presents its Summer Open Studio Tour 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 25 and 26. Free, self-guided tour. Maps and information available at Pacific Northwest Art School, 15 NW Birch Street, Coupeville. www.whidbeyworkingartists.com/artists