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See art behind the scenes on studios tour

By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal features editor
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Artists throughout Placer County have issued an invitation to the public to see where and how they create their works of art. The 18th annual Autumn Art Studios Tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 11-13, and this year 67 artists will participate, according to Angela Tahti, executive director of PlacerArts, which organizes the tour. “You get to meet the artists, see them in their working space, see their tools and ask them questions about their material, about their process,” Tahti said. Many artists will open their private studios to the public, while clusters will participate in group shows in Auburn, Roseville, Loomis and Newcastle. Attendees are encouraged to get their tickets early at www.placerarts.org and see the artist directory to plan their weekend. Work can also be seen at High Hand, 3750 Taylor Road, Loomis, where participating artists have contributed pieces to a preview show, open through Nov. 30. Metal sculptor Jennifer Riley has been on the tour for 16 years, and said that not only is this year her 20th anniversary of working with metal, it’s also a time to celebrate her recent marriage and name change. Previously Jennifer Johnson, Riley said that although her name is well established in the arts community, she wanted to change her surname to that of her husband, Garry Riley. “The man I married is so incredible that I want to take his name, and I think the art will follow.” Riley crafts contemporary sculptures out of steel and other metals, and said her recent honeymoon to the Mediterranean has inspired her to create an array of new pieces. One, “Here Comes the Bride,” will be given away as part of the studios tour. Each visitor will get a raffle ticket, Riley said, and an additional ticket per piece if they purchase something. The winner will be drawn Sunday for the bride sculpture, estimated at $500. Riley said she looks forward to the tour every year, and enjoys seeing people tour the sculpture garden at her Bell Road studio. One of the biggest reasons artists create work is so people can enjoy it, she said, and the studios tour gives people opportunities to experience many forms of art. Painter Janet Joslin agrees. She’ll be showing her polymer clay, oil paintings, watercolor and pastels in The Arts Building for the tour. She’ll also display some of her encaustic work, an art form using beeswax and resin that dates back 5,000 years. The mixture is applied to a hard surface and Joslin uses a heat gun to manipulate the wax, resulting in a textured piece that some have said resembles the inside of a cave. Fused-glass artist Joy Butler will show at her Auburn studio, explaining to visitors how she melds glass together at temperatures up to 1,400 degrees. She’s been on the tour since 2004, and said she always has a good turnout and enjoys showing her art to people who drop by, curious about how di-chroic glasswork is done. “A lot of times, when you look at the glass, you’re not quite sure what it’s going to turn out like,” Butler said, “because looking at the glass straight on doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the color that it’s going to turn out to be.” Artworks to be seen on the tour include painting, ceramics, woodwork, blown glass, textiles, photography and jewelry. The tour spans a wide breadth of Placer County, from Roseville and Granite Bay to Foresthill and Colfax. “The arts up here are amazing, for being kind of a conservative area,” said Joslin, who is participating in the studios tour for her third year. “There are a lot of artists – a lot of supportive artists. We really support each other, so I’ve really blossomed since I moved here.” Tahti said the idea for the studios tour was born when Loomis batik artist Helen Phillips attended a similar event in the Bay Area and pitched the idea to Tahti, the director of the Lincoln Arts and Culture Foundation, and Larry Ortiz, Tahti’s predecessor at PlacerArts. They felt it was something that could be successful in Placer County, and the first tour was held featuring 35 artists. Since then it’s grown, with one year seeing 102 artists participate. “You relate to the work differently when you are in the artist’s studio,” Tahti said, adding that there are some people who might not feel they know enough about art to visit a gallery, “but the reality is that are is here for everyone to respond to.” Visiting a studio, she said, allows people to form a relationship with an artist, meaning they will more fully understand – and appreciate – the time, talent and materials that go into creating a piece. “The artists are such good ambassadors for the quality of life in Placer County,” Tahti said. “And their work is wonderful.” Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at krissik@goldcountrymedia.com. ---------- See for yourself What: 18th annual Autumn Art Studios tour When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 11-13 Where: Private studios in Placer County, The Arts Building, Old Library Arts Studios, Finnish Temperance Hall, High Hand and Newcastle Packing Shed Art Studios Cost: $10 for all three days for adults; students kindergarten through 12th-grade admitted free. Purchase tickets: Online at www.placerarts.org, tour days at Roseville Arts’ Blue Line Gallery (405 Vernon St., Roseville), Lincoln Arts (580 6th St., Lincoln), Finn Hall (4090 Rocklin Road, Rocklin) and The Arts Building (808 Lincoln Way, Auburn) More information: Visit www.placerarts.org/aast for a directory of artists ---------- Loomis gallery hosts preview show The Autumn Art Studios Tour Preview Show opens today at High Hand, 3750 Taylor Road, Loomis, where most artists have one piece of work on display. The exhibit runs through Nov. 30 during normal gallery hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sunday. An artist reception will be held from 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at the gallery, where visitors will be able to meet some of the artists and start to prioritize which studios they want to visit on the tour.