Best Way to Watch Artists at Work

| May 6, 2011 | 0 Comments
Artist Matt Dodge

Matt Dodge of Blue Pixie Studio & Gallery in Incline Village.

A picture may be worth a thousand words but meeting its maker merits even more. Consider the difference, for example, between simply browsing South Lake Tahoe painter Dave Russo’s work and listening to the artist talk about how he honed his craft studying with Pablo Picasso in Paris. Or the difference between simply gazing at a portrait and hearing Incline Village–based husbandand- wife team William Cooper and JoAnn Lippert describe their adventures living with the ancient tribespeople of Irian Jaya, Indonesia.

These artists are just a few around The Lake who open their studios—and lives—to the public free of charge each summer.


The longest-running open studio tour around The Lake, ARTour, which is run by North Tahoe Arts in Tahoe City, attracts some 2,000 visitors annually to between 25 and 30 studios. “A lot of people come back every year to see what new things artists are doing,” says director Karen Ellis. She notes that one benefit is the tour allows buyers an opportunity to work directly with artists on prices. “When an artist is showing in a gallery, the price goes up because of gallery fees,” says Ellis. “So when you go to the artist’s studio and are dealing directly with him or her, there’s a chance to negotiate.”

Ellis recommends studying the map (available online or around the North Shore) and trying to do one or two areas per day. “People get together in groups, go on a tour, stop to have lunch, then continue on,” she says. “You can organize your tour based on area or around favorite artists.”

This year, visitors can expect to see, among the studios, plein air painter Randall Stauss, photographer Charlotte Patterson and pastel artist Heidi Reeves.

ARTour runs two weekends: July 8 to 10 and 15 to 17. An opening reception will be held at North Tahoe Arts on July 7. (530) 581-2787 or

Artists’ Studio Tour

Some 30 artists gather at about a dozen studios to share their works, methods, inspirations and stories during this South Lake Tahoe tour, which is run by the Tahoe Art League and averaged about 200 visitors per studio last year. “Some studios will probably have people demonstrating,” says committee chairperson Nina Major, “though it’s hard to have too much going when people are coming in and out.”

Major’s own work spans from her series of Tahoe trees to the colorful, whimsical sea turtles that she began painting after snorkeling in Hawaii. She recommends that visitors attend the artist reception preceding the tours. Held at Picchetti Winery, all of the artists will be in attendance and will bring one piece that is representative of their work. “It’s a fine time to preview,” says Major. “You can take a look at the type of work people do.”

Artists on the tour will include painter Dave Russo, silk painter Dee Miller- Meyer, photographer Donna Reid and oil painter Kit Night. Maps will be available at businesses around town, including the Tahoe Art League Gallery and the Lake Tahoe Visitors’ Association office.

The Artists’ Studio Tour runs two weekends: July 29 to 31 and August 5 to 7, with the opening reception at Picchetti Winery on July 28. (530) 545-1352 or

Incline Village Artists’ Studio Tour

More than a dozen artists representing a variety of mediums participate in this second annual studio tour based in Incline Village. “It’s great to be able to meet the artists, talk to them, find out about their inspiration and backgrounds, and see the environment where they create,” says tour co-founder Karen Colbert of Incline Arts. “We’ve got some really great offerings.”

Colbert herself is a quilt-maker; many of her pieces are based on Lake Tahoe scenery. “They start with water on the bottom, a meadow, then a mountain, and go up to the sky,” she says. Other pieces use Sand Harbor as a reference, beginning with bold turquoise fabric. “I educate people on how I come up with my ideas and how things evolve.”

Colbert encourages visitors to talk with the artists. “Two of our photographers—William Cooper and JoAnn Lippert—get permits to go to countries in Africa where other people just can’t get in,” she says, noting that they’ll spend several weeks with indigenous tribes. “They’ve got some really great stories to tell about their different adventures.” Visitors can also expect to see works by painter Joyce Major, watercolorist Jan Foss, printmaker Liz Paganelli and maskmaker Kris Prater.

The Artists’ Studio Tour will run August 5 to 7. An opening reception will be held August 4. (775) 833-0637 or www.  By Alison Bender. TQ

Category: Arts & Culture, Gallery

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