What a lot of work it is to participate in the Oracle Artist Studio Tour and what a lot of fun, too. This was Jim’s and my third year in the tour. It probably doesn’t occur to visitors  to imagine the amount of planning that goes into an event like this. There’s the print publicity, the signage, the flyers, the tour organization, the Welcome Center and a gillion other details to be coordinated amongst a group of artists. If the event is well organized, then the visitors should be unaware of all the time and energy put into making the studio tour run smoothly. They should be able to easily find their way from studio to studio, admire the artwork and have a good time. Incidentally, purchases of artwork are a welcome part of the process, and really, that’s the point of the whole exercise (at least from the artists’ point of view.)

Oracle Artist Studio Tour 2012 Welcome Center

The Welcome Center is designed to showcase art from each participant. Visitors are able view the work, pick up a map, and plan a route to the studios they want to visit. The painting on the far right is one of mine, called A Still Point.

In addition to group planning, each individual has lots to accomplish, too. There’s the art to create. This can take months of hard work. Then there’s the cleaning of the studio to make it presentable to visitors. In my case, this meant filling the one-car garage adjacent to my studio with, well, lots and lots of stuff. Then there’s the organizing of the studio space in order to turn it into a gallery. The hanging, arranging and labeling of the artwork. The preparation of goodies for visitors to nibble on. A deep breath and two days of having delightful conversations with lots of friends and strangers who may or may not eventually decide to buy artwork.

Last year, we got up on the Saturday morning of the tour (also in April) and were aghast to see snow on the ground and a blizzard of snow coming down. The running joke this year was about the terrible weather last year. It seemed wildly improbable that it would happen again. It was like a recurring nightmare to get up on Saturday morning, this time in 2012, to see snow on the ground and more falling from the sky. Mind you, there had been no precipitation of any kind for what seems like months. And yes, we do need the moisture. But why on the first day of the Oracle Studio Tour? Two years in a row. What are the odds of that?

Luckily the snow didn’t stop visitors either year. While paper artist and friend, Val Bembenek and I manned my studio, Jim was able to slip away a few times to  photograph of some of the other studios. All photographs in this blog post are by James Cowlin.

Oracle Artist Studio Tour 2012, Barbara Cowlin studio, Val Bembenek showing work
Val Bembenek, workshop partner and friend, showed her beautiful handmade paper books and cards as well as her sculptural papier mache bowls. Her work was a great addition to Jim’s photographs and my paintings. Plus, it’s always fun to spend time with Val!


Oracle Artist Studio Tour 2012 Jerry Parra, Sue & Jerry's Ranch Store Center

Jerry Parra at Sue & Jerry's Ranch Store Center, with some of his metal sculptures. Much of Jerry's work is created from recycled materials.


Oracle Artist Studio Tour 2012, Christopher Lucic

Christopher Lucic showing paintings, figurative drawings and sculptural flowers in the Bath House at the Oracle Historical Society/Acadia Ranch Museum.


Oracle Artist Studio Tour 2012, Risa Waldt at the Acadia Ranch

On the right, Risa Waldt, showing her watercolors at the Oracle Historical Society/Acadia Ranch Museum


Oracle Artist Studio Tour 2012, Diana Creighton studio with visitors

Traveling on to Diana Creighton's studio, where the works of four artists, Diana, Judith Walsh, Ned Creighton and Sharon Brady were being shown


Diana Creighton (red sweater) talking about the art to former Arizona Governor and Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbit and his wife, Hattie


Oracle Artist Studio Tour 2012, Lew Schnellmann and Elizabeth Manfredi studio

A visitor admiring Elizabeth Manfredi and Lew Schnellmann's paintings and sculptures in their studio, along with work by visiting painter, Linda Valder


Oracle Artist Studio Tour 2012, Wilson Barn

Visitors admiring the watercolor exhibit by WEGO, the Watercolor Exploration Group of Oracle at the Wilson Barn.


Oracle Artist Studio Tour 2012, Carol Ann Small at Currier Art Studio

Carol Ann Small, showing her contemporary quilts in Deborah Currier's art studio.

There were a total of twenty-one studios on the tour this year with most showing several artists. Jim got away to photograph some of the studios. He knows that I freak out if he’s gone for very long during the Studio Tour, so he selected just a few to photograph this year. And why do I freak out? Well, this year it’s because we were hooked up to the newfangled Square, a little gizmo that attaches to an IPad or IPhone and allows buyers to charge their purchases. I’m a bit iffy about the procedure, as with all things technological.

Thank you Jim for the photographs. And thanks to the many visitors. Thanks also to the artists and residents who worked so hard to make this event happen. And no thanks at all to the weather on Saturday!