Inside the studios: artists reveal creative spaces

By Laura Daniali | Sep 17, 2015
Photo by: Laura Daniali Artist Sue Robertson adds some color to a painting of pears in her home studio in Edmonds. Robertson’s studio will be featured in the upcoming Edmonds Art Studio Tour on Sept. 19-20.

There’s an estimated 3,000 varieties of pears in the world, and Edmonds artist Sue Robertson has created a variety that’s all her own.

She pointed to one of her pear paintings hanging on the wall of her home studio, and said they’re not always realistic – but they’re hers.

“You don’t see this shape of pear [a Bosc pear], green,” she said, “but people don’t think about that when they see it.”

Robertson’s pears come from her imagination. She said she doesn’t stand a pear up in front of her while she paints. Hers are realistic, to a point, but they’re a bit whimsical, too – as she paints them as she remembers them.

After years and hundreds of paintings of pears, Robertson took a break to try figurative painting and encaustics – a wax-based paint technique. But, seated at a table with saw horse legs, a plywood top covered with a paint-splattered canvas cloth, and surrounded by bottles of acrylic paint, brushes and art books, she said, “The fruit is back.”

As she used quick, sweeping strokes to brush another layer of yellows onto a pear painting in progress, Robertson prepped for an upcoming public tour of her studio.

She will open her studio on Sept. 19 and 20 as part of the 10th annual Edmonds Art Studio Tour.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the public will have an opportunity to tour 25 private studios and view the work of over 40 local artists from painters, sculptors, potters and photographers to glass, fiber, jewelry and digital artists.

The self-guided tour is free, and offers tour goers a chance to see where local artists create, as well as an opportunity to purchase art, visit and ask questions.

Robertson collaborated with artist and ARTspot owner Tracy Felix to start the event after meeting at Artists Connect, where artists network, in Edmonds.

Felix will be showing her studio behind ARTspot at 408 Main St., too. Typically, she shows her acrylic or oil paintings, but this year she’s excited to include encaustic and resin as well.

She said Edmonds is “rich in artistic talent, and a studio tour is a great way for people to meet artists that are tucked in – not just in their town – but in their own neighborhoods.”

Robertson’s studio, Joyful Art Studio, is at 745 Fir St. in the Bowl, and she said there are several others close by. She expects to have about 200 people come through her studio over the weekend.

Both Robertson and Felix said they enjoy connecting with other artists through the tour and like to see children, and young or beginner artists.

“I especially like to see people taking their children on the tour,” Felix said. “Young people interested in art can benefit so much by seeing original art and talking to people who make their living as artists.”

The tour offers participants a glimpse into local artists’ creative worlds, and the artists have the benefit of being able to sell their work if they choose.

For Robertson, selling her work is important. While her objective isn’t to make money, she does gain satisfaction when a painting is purchased.

“I have more interest in creating when I know someone else wants them,” she said, “and wants to buy them.”

As Robertson continued to work on the pear painting, she said she just loves to paint, and creates about 150-200 paintings a year. Her pear paintings sell well, and the money she earns goes toward buying – what else – more paint and supplies, she said happily.

“I love painting something that people want,” Robertson said, and it allows her to keep painting, which gives her joy.

For more information and a studio map, visit www.edmondsartstudiotour.com.

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