September 19, 2019

Studio Tour Brings Surprises, Praise, Exhaustion for Artists


It’s over. After months of preparation, the June 7-9 Topanga Canyon Gallery (TCG) Studio Tour is history. And none too soon for many tired artists, though most have memories to treasure as repayment for their hard work. From comments made throughout the event, art lovers who took the Tour had experiences they, too, will treasure.


Studio Tour Brings Surprises, Praise, Exhaustion for Artists

Roland Van Loon stands inside the stone grotto that he designed and decorated with swirling patterns of stones and sea glass.

Typical comments from Studio Tour-ists ran from “quality art at reasonable prices,” “friendly hosts at every site,” and “it was educational, meeting the artists and learning about their work,” to “I’ll definitely be back next year!”

As expected, attendance was down from 2007, due to gas prices, general economic conditions and competing shows in Santa Monica and Conejo Valley. Sales totals have not been compiled yet, but seem to be up at some venues, down at others. At least one high-end piece, a $2800 sculpture, sold, as did most of the eight-by-eight-inch art, during the frenzied Silent Auction on Saturday.

Studio Tour Brings Surprises, Praise, Exhaustion for Artists

Christo Brock’s art is a made through a special process called giclée which prints a digital image onto canvas.

As always, Topangans turned out to explore art in their backyards, and were often amazed to find a studio hidden just a short distance away from their homes. This is a true community event, supported by many Topanga businesses and individuals. “We thank them all!” said Debbi Green, TCG president.

A surprise star at Robyn Feeley’s Bungalow Art location (Site 5) was Sir Francis Bacon, aka Frankie, a potbelly pig. ”He was a hit with kids—and many adults!” Feeley reports. Other Tour-ists, not so surprisingly, were struck by the locations, architecture and views at many of the venues.

The clusters of artists at many sites (from two to five) drew plaudits from most visitors.

“I like the variety,” said one visitor to Susan Nissman’s Site 3 studio, which she shared with me, my wife Liz and Laurent Diemer. “Here I see unusual wood sculptures, traditional oil and pastel paintings, intriguing hand-built ceramics, plus very contemporary digital art and photography. At the previous site, there was a mix of whimsical animal painting, lovely jewelry, collages, very abstract paintings and hand-colored photography. This is wonderful; ordinarily, I would have to travel miles to see work of this quality and variety in several museums and galleries. I love it!”

Studio Tour Brings Surprises, Praise, Exhaustion for Artists

Roya Adjory demonstrates her technique with pastels in her home studio.

The effort for artists was exhausting—preparing work, packing, setting up, greeting visitors (a joy, but demanding), taking down displays, and storing them again requires a succession of 10-to-12-hour days. Was it worth it? Will most of us be back next year? Count on it. And we will bust our backs to make the 2009 Studio Tour even bigger, better and more entertaining than ever before.