Next Weekend!

We are in the last week before the 12th Annual Oxford Studio TourForty artists all around Oxford County, Ontario, Canada, are busily framing and putting the finishing touches on their carefully created works.  Some will be packing them up soon to take to host studios and art centres, others will be madly cleaning their houses and especially their display areas to make sure everything is in shape to host at their own studios and galleries.  While many of us show at various exhibits all year long, the tour weekend gives us a real chance to meet the art lovers in our region and hopefully make a few sales.

There are 16 Locations on the tour this year.  You get to decide which ones you want to visit, whether it is based on what kind of art you want to see, where you want to go, how long you can sit in the car, or which ones you’ve already been to in previous years.  Admission is free, as always, and the website has a complete guide with links to maps.  You may have already picked up a brochure at one of the many locations they are available.  Many businesses have been very kind to us and we appreciate it so much!  They are also available at each studio.

If you can’t do the tour this year, or if you can, but you are not in the market for a piece of art, you may wish to consider other ways you can support your favourite local artists:  visit their websites, subscribe to their blogs, ‘like’ their posts, forward their art event emails to your friends, share their posts or their websites on social media or just simply tell your friends and relatives about them.  Every little bit you do means new eyes will see the art.  We will love you for it!

12th Annual Oxford Studio Tour May 4&5, 2019

The 12th Annual Oxford Studio Tour will feature 40 artists including seven newcomers in 16 locations Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Representing the group, are: (Ieft to right) Sue Goossens, Vonnie Snyder, Alex Smith, Lesley Penwill (front), Tabitha Verbuyst (rear) and Kate Innes. Information on the tour is available in glossy full-colour brochures available in area artistic and tourist sites, via the website oxfordstudiotour.ca, or by calling 519-842-6151.

A taste of the tour:

Artistically, Kate Innes is ‘bi-painter.’

She thoroughly enjoys structured floral brushwork, but also finds meaningful excitement in the passionate disorder of contemporary landscape.

“I call it commando painting,” the Woodstock-based artist and 2019 Oxford Studio Tour participant explained. “I mix up all my colours and apply them in a very distinctive way.

“Spontaneous is probably the best way of describing it, it’s a very spontaneous process and not so much painting, it’s more different applications of paint, experiencing or playing with paint.”

Innes is one of 40 Oxford-based artists sharing their passionate vision at 16 locations through the 12th annual tour Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oil, acrylic, graphite, watercolour, mixed media, photographic, digital and encaustic images will be on display along with pottery, artisanal jewelry, weaving and fibre arts, woodworking, garden metal work and gourd sculptures.

“Everything but the kitchen sink,” smiled Tillsonburg Stations Arts General Manager Deb Beard. “We have a great mix this year.”

Oxford’s ‘group of 40’ features seven newcomers says founding member Sue Goossens, an Otterville-area based watercolour professional displaying a series inspired during a recent Italian journey. From comparatively humble beginnings, the tour has become a spring fixture for the county’s artistic community, dynamically mirroring individual progression.

“It’s been an awesome growing experience.”

Oxford is geographically as well as artistically diverse, and Goossens encourages potential patrons to help plan their day or weekend by reviewing a map and descriptive list of individual artists and their locations in glossy full-colour brochures available in area galleries and tourist sites or the tour website oxfordstudiotour.ca). Interested persons can call 519-842-6151 for more information, and may also wish to consider lunch at sponsor JP’s Barbecue at Otterville’s Otter Creek Golf Club, an award-winning Gunn’s Hill Cheese selection or dining experience at Woodstock’s Six Thirty Nine or Ingersoll’s Elm Hurst Inn.

Those with time may choose to ‘do it all’ Goossens continued, encouraging others to research both route and personal preferences – still leaving time and space to explore outside their artistic comfort zone.

“Be prepared for some great discoveries.”

Innes’s own epiphany came during a course in New York with artist Robert Burridge, and has led to canvas reproductions of her work on offer with retailers in the U.S., Great Britain and Europe.

“It just exposed a whole new way of working with paint,” said Innes, who employs pallet knives, credit cards and blue shop towels as application implements. “It’s not literal, it’s more interpretive.

“For me, it’s light on the landscape.”

Although too young to recognize Eddie Rabbit’s musical musings, Tabitha Verbuyst does love investigating the darkness of rainy nights through oil, ink and water colour.

“I’m drawn to dancing of light across rainy surfaces,” said Verbuyst, whose work embraces motion, life and architecture, new looks at locations familiar to Tillsonburg and area residents. “It’s a pretty fun series.”

Beyond fun, art has been restorative for Vonnie Snyder, who will be showcasing acrylic florals and landscapes at a location shared with Linda Yeoman, Sue Simpson and Heather McIntosh. Snyder’s return to art three-and-a-half years ago has proven therapeutic response to personal loss and physical challenge, her 2018 tour debut the direct result of encouragement resulting in enjoyment and expanded learning.

“Friends kind of provided the push I needed to get things moving in my life, creatively.” A fan of nature and playing with colour, Snyder hides a heart in all of her paintings, representing emotional commitment to each piece.

Alex Smith is a newcomer to the tour, but certainly not to woodworking. A childhood affinity for working with wood and building things was sustained through a career as a professional engineer and accredited photographer. Beyond doing his own home renovations and building furniture, Smith has close to 40 years of experience on a lathe.

“Real wood has a feel and look that makes you want to touch it, rub it and hold it in your hands.”

His creations in spalted (discolouration caused by fungi) and exotic woods range from bowls and cutting boards to beer can holders and drink coasters.

“These things are just fun to make.”

Exposing tour participants to a wide variety of items in equally-diverse price ranges is certainly part of the exercise. But echoing Smith’s words, artisanal jewelry creator Lesley Penwill says it’s also about fun, for all involved.

“It really is still an exciting experience,” she said, looking forward to reconnecting with familiar faces in her sixth year. “And we get so many new people too.”

Penwill’s jewelry has evolved over those years, and she finds welcome reaffirmation of her own creative journey through personal feedback tour participants provide, illustrating artistic interpretation is not limited to artists.

“Good or bad,” Penwill smiled in conclusion. “People’s ideas are wonderful – I love their thoughts and opinions.”

Creative visions – Oxford Studio Tour 2018

Lesley Penwill can be relentless in bending a subject’s will to her vision.
“I have a variety of hammers and a torch and a kiln,” smiled the Beachville-based artist, who forms, shapes and etches silver, copper, brass and stone into one-of-a-kind jewellery. “It happens, I just keep at it until it happens.”
“The piece makes promises to you and you have to hold it to them,” interjected Otterville painter Lianne Todd.
The transformative process is one Penwill’s husband Mike is familiar with, if not subject to.
“It doesn’t work that well with people,” Lesley laughed. “Fortunately, I think – I really like individuality.”

Original art resulting from unique creative vision through diverse media lies at the heart of the 11th Annual Oxford Studio Tour, Saturday May 5 and Sunday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., both days. Supported by event sponsor Bossy Nagy Group and a list of featured advertisers, a total of 37 artists in 19 locations are participating, showcasing unique oil, acrylic, watercolour and encaustic paintings, pen and ink and graphite drawings, mixed, digital media and photography, jewellery, weaving and fibre arts, gourds and pottery.

A full list of artists and studios by location, detailed tour Google maps and related information down to parking tips may be found at oxfordstudiotour.ca. Glossy full-colour brochures also featuring maps are available from the Station Arts Centre, Tourism Oxford, Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre, libraries throughout Oxford County and at southwestern Ontario tourism offices. During the two-day tour, each of 19 sites will feature distinctive red signs.

Those seeking more information are invited to call the Station Arts Centre at 519-842-6151, email office@stationarts.ca or access the ‘contact us’ option on the tour webpage.

“The quality of the art is amazing,” said Deb Beard, General Manager of Tillsonburg’s Station Arts Centre which acts as umbrella coordinating organization and host for several exhibitors. “It’s a perfect tour to begin or expand your collection.”
Oxford’s geographical diversity and the unique nature of its communities are definitely part of the experience says Beard, but due to its size, some tour participants may choose to focus on different areas of the county in alternate years. She also suggests advance research, allowing concentration on specific areas of interest.
“Having said that, don’t be afraid to try new things,” Beard encouraged. “And you will learn Oxford’s artistic community is vibrant.”

One does not have to be an artist to appreciate the latter, but it certainly has been the experience of painter Paul Walker, who has been working with acrylics for 15 years. A two-year resident of Tillsonburg via Restoule (exhibiting on the Country Roads studio tour) and a working career as an engineer in Hamilton, he is one of four new exhibitors to embrace ‘an exciting opportunity’ within a community of Oxford artists whose number and diversity surprised and impressed him.
“The quality of the work is excellent and the variety is amazing too,” says Walker, who as a painter, has particular interest in that form of expression. “But it’s nice to see the others as well.”

Otterville’s Todd both ‘bends’ and is bent by artistic inspiration, creating fractal art, capturing and printing snapshots on brushed aluminum of a striking moment during her exploration of the geometrical patterns in nature within a digitally-generated realm; and conversely, more traditional watercolour interpretations, not so much a precise rendering, but conveyance of their artistic essence.
“I try and remember what it was about the scene which originally inspired me.”

Paulette Robertson exhibits her own version of artistic diversity, a whimsical combination of primitive rug hooking reflecting her Maritime background, and hand-built pottery evolving from years of teaching children’s pottery.
“I like folky, funky things,” she smiled. “And the pieces I do are very folksy and funky.”

Like Robertson, Woodstock’s Keri Axon has experienced a journey, hers from sewing and weaving to decorative functional and non-functional wheel and hand-built pottery as retirement allows her to more fully explore her creative side.
“You do grow, you change as you work through the artistic process.”

Otterville-area artist Sue Goossens’s traditional, yet innovative watercolour style will also be on display, including a series on Scotland and an exploration of Vancouver Island.
“And playing around a bit with new colours,” said Goossens, who as one of the tour’s founders, remains pleased not only with its longevity, but continued evolution and growth while remaining true to its core principles.
“It’s original art for everyone,” she concluded.

~by Jeff Tribe

The 11th Annual Oxford Studio Tour is scheduled for Saturday May 5 and Sunday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, featuring 37 artists at 19 locations throughout the country, including (left to right) Sue Goossens, Paulette Robertson, Lianne Todd, Paul Walker, Lesley Penwill and Keri Axon. A full list of artists and studios by location, detailed tour Google maps and related information down to parking tips may be found at oxfordstudiotour.ca. Those seeking more information are invited to call the Station Arts Centre at 519-842-6151, email office@stationarts.ca or access the ‘contact us’ option on the tour webpage.

Photo credit: Jeff Tribe

Please feel free to share this press release and help us spread the word about our studio tour.  The artists appreciate your help!

Digital Artists and Photographers on the Oxford Studio Tour

Good morning and welcome to the day before the tour!  It is a rainy Friday, with not much promise of sunshine for the weekend.  Let’s face it, your best option for brightening up your weekend is a fun trip with a few of your favourite people to see all kinds of art!

Our last featured media are probably the least messy and the youngest of the lot.  Photography has been with us for over a century and a half, but digital art is as new as it gets, blossoming with the computer age.  Digital art can be created with software from scratch (much like painting with a brush), it can be mathematically based, or it can be photography based, which is why these media have been put together.  Sometimes people even create digital art and then use that as their reference for painting!

Check these artists out:

Bruce Hartley   Hartley B 1sm

at Location #17

Fine art photography reflecting a passion for travel.  “See the world through my lens”.

519-469-3781

brucehartleyphotography.weebly.com

 

 

Ocean

Edser Thomas

at Location #16

Photographic art with a unique perspective.

519-421-7335

edserthomas.ca

 

 

Butterflire, digital, fractal, Lianne ToddLianne Todd

at Location #3

Vivid watercolours and digital art reflecting nature’s patterns with depth and unique vision.

519-879-9903

liannetodd.wordpress.com & fractaliart.com

 

This concludes our series of guides to studio tour artists according to the media they use.  If this is your first encounter with these guides, be sure to have a look at the others in the blog.  Along with each artist listing, their Location numbers are each linked to an individual map.  A summary of all artists by location is also available.  You may wish to find them on the entire map of the tour, and plan accordingly.  If you are familiar with the tour, maybe try visiting some locations you’ve never been to before.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

See you tomorrow and Sunday, 10 to 5 pm.  Admission is FREE!  Look for the red signs and sometimes red flags.

Three-Dimensional Sculpture and Pottery on the Oxford Studio Tour

With less than a week to go before the tour starts, here is our third installment about media featured on it.  We’ve covered watercolour artists and acrylic artists so far, and now we are going to look at those who create art that is three-dimensional rather than two.  These include ceramic artists, potters, sculptors, and those who find something with a beautiful natural shape and make it into an art piece by painting it or finishing it decoratively in some way.  Jewellery is of course, also three-dimensional, but we will group them together in a different post.

So, especially if you have some space on a shelf or a table that needs to be beautifully filled, check out these artists at their locations:

beecraft1

Ashley Beecraft

at Location #4

Ashley uses the ceramic process to create her menagerie of misfit beasts.

226-228-6111

beecraft.ca

 

 

At Location #5 there is both

Deb Beard dbeard

Sculpted and thrown ceramic works.

519-842-2228

beards4@rogers.com

 

and

Jan Duncanjduncan

An avid creationist who hopes to expose people to the beauty of wood.

519-485-5880

jantheduncan@gmail.com

 

Next we have

romboutsIneke Rombouts

at Location #6

Decorative and functional pottery in vibrant colours – handbuilding and wheel.  Every piece original and unique.

519-425-0206

rombouts.ca

 

Then

Linda Yeoman  yeoman

at Location #7

Unique gourd sculptures retaining organic integrity and mixed media washi & vintage collages.

519-424-3612

facebook.com/LindaYeomanFineArt

and at the next stop

Paulette Robertson  robertson-2-jpg

Location #8

Clay artist and primitive rug hooker.  A love of folk art and whimsy is evident in her work.

519-485-3504

i_robertson9@sympatico.ca

From there, it’s a whole bunch of location numbers but a rather short drive to Woodstock where you’ll find

Ruth Hartley   hartley-r1

at Location #17

Functional stoneware and decorative pieces – uniquely styled mugs, bowls, platters, vases,  ovenware and wearable art.

519-469-3781

ruthhartleypottery@hotmail.com

 

And coming to the end of the stop numbers, there is

Keri Axon  keriaxon

at Location #18

Decorative pottery  –  wheel–thrown or hand built.  “I love the way porcelain responds to glazes.”

519-421-0806

keriaxon@gmail.com

 

Remember, many of our tour locations feature more than one artist, or more than one medium worked in.  So even if you plan your tour based on one of the lists mentioned in these blog posts, you’ll find a number of other kinds of art along your way!  Be sure to have a look at our other posts if this is your first encounter, and stay tuned or subscribe to see more coming up all this week!

Insights on what inspires some Oxford Studio Tour artists

Every year we have a little help from a good friend to the tour in promoting it.  The article that follows is his writing, and the photo credit goes to him as well.

The balletic beauty of dance captured in crystalline pendant.

Contrasting dark and light windows into the yin and yang of an artist’s soul.

Creativity fired by imagination and a 1,650-degree oven.

And playful technique generating abstract vision from a natural scene.

The 10th Annual Oxford Studio Tour Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. features 38 individual artists, including nine new exhibitors at 18 locations throughout the county. Glossy brochures available at art galleries and tourist sites both in the country and beyond, and the website http://www.oxfordstudiotour.ca contain a complete listing of artists, descriptions of their work, locations and detailed maps. Those seeking further information may call 519-842-6151.

The collective works in double digits worth of distinct media ranging through various painting styles and photography to pottery, jewellery and fibre arts, journeying disparate artistic routes along a linked quest for creative expression.

“She looks like she’s on point,” explained Judy Feskun of a rose quartz heart crystal pendant combination topped by a tourmaline (“flower in her hair”) she refers to as ‘The Ballerina.’

“I see something (in her mind) and I make it,” continued Feskun, who began creating sterling silver and copper wire and semi-precious stone jewellery 15 years ago after reading an article on wire wrapping. “All I was thinking was ballerina, because she dances on point.”

Each component is meticulously selected to fit her original vision and composed using pliers and wire-cutters, a simple, elemental process bringing Feskun close enough to her work to personify each piece, be it the ballerina, or a related compilation using doubled, darker hearts.

“I call her the belly dancer.”

‘Darker’ vision may not have been Tabitha Verbuyst’s goal. But exploration of broken, abandoned and forgotten things took her down that road in an oil painting of a derelict white house surrounded by starkly dead trees and foreboding storm clouds, ‘yin’ to a contrasting ‘yang’ featuring a bright, yellow residence set off by a field of sunflowers.

“My daughter thinks the one has ghosts in it,” Verbuyst laughed, admitting the paintings illustrate elements of her own psyche.

“I’m drawn into that,” she admitted of an approach, both subject and colour, contrasting light and dark to create dramatically-emotional work intended to help the viewer bring a restored narrative to abandoned shells.

“You kind of draw your own conclusions to them.”

Janet Whittington’s process concludes with two hours at 1,650 F. It begins with precious metal particles, a binding agent and water formed into artisanal jewellery using hand-built pottery techniques.

“I liken it to pottery in miniature,” said Whittington.

The firing process leaves hollow pure silver or other precious metal forms with individually-patterned exteriors.

“I love all the textures I can create,” said Whittington, whose recent work is informed by a South-East Asian journey. This summer, Africa is on the horizon, physical experience she anticipates will translate into tangible results.

“It will be interesting to see what comes of that.”

It is interesting to see what has come of Gary Payne’s 30-year exploration of thinking and creating outside of the artistic box. A 1982 painting of a windmill reproduced in detail from a postcard contrasts sharply with a more recent ‘playful, colourful, non-objective’ view of the same. Placed side by side, the inspirational elements are clearly visible in an interpretation accomplished through contemporary techniques including a paintbrush with the bristles removed and stub honed via a pencil sharpener, knife blade, sponge, or a random piece of paper retrieved from the floor.

“This is the same thing,” smiled Payne, indicating the distantly-related pieces. “I love to play, I love to play.”

Those are but four of the creative visions on display throughout the two-day tour. Participants range from enthusiastic amateurs to seasoned 30-year professionals like Ontario Society of Artists member Cathy Groulx, whose work is featured in Ontario government collections. Regardless of experience level, or whether artists approach their work as livelihood or part-time outlet, there is a shared passion for the creative process.

“It’s a part of me that I can’t turn off,” said Groulx. “Every painting is a new challenge I look forward to.”

Every tour is a challenge looked forward to by organizers including Sue Goossens, a distinctive and well-known Otterville-area watercolour artist. The tour truly does offer something for everyone, says Goossens, a cliché, but accurate nonetheless.

The collected works represent a broad body of work both creatively and geographically that Goossens says is beyond the scope of two days. Rather than making the tour a race, she suggests previewing the brochure or website, narrowing down some preferences, including a new medium or two for variety, and spending some time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the art.

“Talk to the artists,” she concluded. “Spend some time.”

 

The 10th Annual Oxford Studio Tour Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. features 38 individual artists, including nine new exhibitors at 18 locations throughout the county. Pictured here, are: (front row, left to right) Janet Whittington, Cathy Groulx and Judy Feskun. In the back, are: Tabitha Verbuyst, Gary Payne and Sue Goossens. Glossy brochures available at art galleries and tourist sites both in the country and beyond, and the website http://www.oxfordstudiotour.ca contain a complete listing of artists, descriptions of their work, locations and detailed maps. Those seeking further information may call 519-842-6151.

Location #16 on the Oxford Studio Tour

It’s 8 pm the night before…. and it’s been a busy day for all of us artists.  Look how many of them are at location #16!  This place is full of experienced talent.  You should really have a piece of work from each of them at your house.  We would say so much more, except it’s 8 pm the night before and we still need to post one more location!!

 

LOCATION #16

MAP

868 Nellis St., Woodstock

Cathy Groulx O.S.A.  Groulx1

Realistic oil paintings on canvas. Studio in home open all year, with commissions welcome.

519-539-1182

cathygroulx.com

 

 

 

Bruce Hartley   Hartley B 1sm

Fine art photography reflecting a passion for travel.  “See the world through my lens”.

519-469-3781

brucehartleyphotography.weebly.com

 

 

 

Ruth Hartley   Hartley R 2sm

Functional stoneware and decorative pieces – uniquely styled mugs, bowls, platters, vases, and ovenware.

519-469-3781

ruthhartleypottery@hotmail.com

 

 

 

Rita Milton  rita milton1sm

Acrylics on canvas featuring a kaleidoscope of colour.

519-290-4744

ritamilton.com

Location #15 on the Oxford Studio Tour

Only a couple of days left!  We are excited to have your eyes on our art this weekend.  We hope you’ve managed to pick up a brochure somewhere so you have a handy reference and map while you are driving around, but if you haven’t, simply start at one of our studio locations, and pick up a brochure there.  For your convenience, each location on our website has a google map associated with it for you, and if you go to the home page, there is also a link to a google map of the whole tour.

You really should take in Kelly’s beautiful watercolours while you are out on the tour.  This artist has some serious skills.

LOCATION #15

MAPkelly bradley1sm

63 Vansittart Ave.  Woodstock

Kelly Bradley

Bright and bold watercolours depicting nature.

519-421-2171

kellybradley-art.com

Location #14 on the Oxford Studio Tour

And now the tour brings you around to Woodstock!  You can, of course, do the tour in any order you like, and visit as many or as few locations as you like.  Who are we to dictate how you enjoy it?

Julie has a very strong and educated sense of design and colour, which shows in her wonderful abstracts.  You won’t be disappointed!

LOCATION #14

MAPJulie Hawkins - Thunder in the Heavens-1sm

1033 Pattullo Ave. Unit 10,   Woodstock

Julie Hawkins

Original art made with passion and paint.

519-539-3796

juliehawkins.ca

Location #13 on the Oxford Studio Tour

You don’t need an appointment this weekend to see Michael’s art, nor anyone else’s on the tour!

Michael is an accomplished watercolour artist who does very nice representational pieces.  A few years back he branched out with his art and began experimenting with these large acrylic abstracts.  It’s up to you to decide which are your favourites!

LOCATION #13

MAP

26 King Crescent, Hicksonmichael de bellevalsm

Michael de Belleval

Large acrylic abstracts, along with realistic watercolours.  Studio open by appointment.

519-462-2902

mdebelleval@hotmail.com