'Open Studios' returns to Inner Southeast Portland
One of the notable local events cancelled in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic was the city-wide studio-to-studio art tour known as "Portland Open Studios".
But, during the second and third weekends of October, Portland artists â€“ including several in the Sellwood-Westmoreland area â€“ found a way to "open up" their studios to in-person visits once again this year.
THE BEE visited four of the local Portland Open Studios participants this year.
On S.E. Tacoma Street
Medium: Stone casting, glass casting, drawing
"Most of my work is three-dimensional versus two-dimensional art," explained Lonnie Feather, having just poured a stone cast in her studio.
"I grew up in a very 'crafty' family," she said. "My father was artistic, but he also was a biologist and a teacher, so in the summers we'd spend time outdoors. This is likely why most of my work takes on a 'nature' theme."
Over the past four decades, Feather said, she's developed a number of different techniques. "I did many public art projects back in the 1980s and 90s, and really enjoyed that; now I'm mostly selling [my work] through my studio space.
"This is been pretty much my career: My 'day job', and my life; I'm dedicated to it on a daily basis," Flower remarked, as she got back to work in her studio.
SE Malden Street, near Reverend's BBQ
Medium: Mixed Media: collage and acrylic paint
"I like doing this, because I enjoy painting and holding the brush!" grinned Gia WhitlockÂ in her home studio. "My mom was always suggesting that I paint; but I was thinking that one can't get paid to do this â€“ so in college, I studied computer art and graphic design."
She started a family, and â€“ now that her kids are older â€“ Whitlock says she has finally realized she should get back to creating art. "Doing this makes me happy. And it's a good excuse to have a new flower arrangement â€“ they come from Sellwood Flower Company â€“ to be delivered to my house every couple of weeks, for inspiration."
Being a full-time mom, Whitlock commented that â€“ other than doing a few "booth shows", like Art in the Pearl â€“ she only sells her work by way of her website. Take a look!
SE Knapp Street in Westmoreland
Medium: Chalk Pastels on sanded paper
Under a canopy in her driveway, Laura Pritchard was outside to welcome guests.
"I did watercolor for years, and enjoyed that. But I took a pastels class about 20 years ago, and I just loved it, because of the vibrant colors," Pritchard shared. "With pastels, there is an 'immediacy' about it, when painting with these pastel sticks.
"It just feels great, because you can feel the friction of the media being applied to the paper â€“ unlike painting with a brush, which keeps one some distance from the paper," Pritchard observed.
Although she enjoys creating fine art, Pritchard said she still works as a freelance graphic designer with companies such as OHSU, AARP Oregon, Reed College, and CH2M Hill. "I [do graphic] work quite a bit, so it's a little difficult find time for my pastel art," she acknowledged.
What she enjoys most about creating fine art, Pritchard said, "is the 'surprise' that happens almost every time I start â€“ when what appears on the paper makes me really happy, because it's better than I expected."
Because of her 'day job', Pritchard says, she hasn't focused on selling her work widely; but she encourages people to view her art on her website.
SE 22nd Avenue, near Westmoreland's Union Manor
Medium: Mixed Media
A steady stream of visitors arrived at the Westmoreland home studio of Ketzia Schoneberg during our visit.
"I use acrylic, charcoal, pastel, graphite, and wax crayon â€“ some call that a 'china marker'â€“ on canvas or paper," Schoneberg described. "I thought I was a painter; then mixed media came to me by accident when I was teaching art in school, when I grabbed some pastel chalk and started putting it into an acrylic painting. It loosened me up artistically, and it just felt great!"
Schoneberg has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and now she's working on a Masters, at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, here in Portland.
She's worked as a teacher, and an art director, and as a commercial graphic designer in the past. "I'm a fulltime artist now; this is the first time in my life that I've been able to be a fulltime artist and able to express myself every day â€“ it's heaven!" Schoneberg smiled.
If you missed this annual opportunity to visit local artists where they live and work, watch for the "Open Studios Tour", about the same time next year.
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