Show and Tell: NW Art Beat Open Studio Tour

Skagit Artists

1500 E. College Way, Suite A PMB 550

Mount Vernon

According to fusion artist Gary Giovane, sometimes it’s easier to show than to tell.

For example, if he were to attempt to explain to a patron new to his work that he paints with acrylics on cedar wood panels using a foundation derived from Native Northwest Coast traditions—while also incorporating elements from Celtic and Japanese art, as well as using tenets from the British Arts & Crafts movement—he might be met with a confused shrug.

“If I can actually show the visitor what all of that means, then I have more success,” Giovane says.

These one-on-one interactions are a key reason Giovane and more than 30 of his fellow Skagit Artists members will open their basements, garages, dedicated work spaces and assorted nooks and crannies July 21-22 for the collective’s 15th annual NW Art Beat Open Studio Tour taking place at more than 20 locales throughout the Skagit Valley.

“In your very personal space, your studio, you have face-to face conversations and interactions which inform you, as the artist, as to how the viewer is receiving your art,” mixed-media master Sarah Dalton adds. “I always learn so much in this type of environment.”

While Giovane does his work best while lying on the living room floor, Dalton’s La Conner-based studio can be found in a separate building on her property boasting stellar views of Similk Bay and Skagit Island. The sight has inspired many of her layered collages, which blend photography, painting and materials such as wood, the inside of aluminum cans, metal leaf and more to make singular works of art. (At 2pm on both days of the tour, she’ll clue visitors in on her process by demonstrating how she transfers digital images to unique surfaces.)

In Mount Vernon, Linde Husk’s painting studio is a fairly small corner of the rec room above her family’s garage that also houses her office space, a television viewing area, her mat board cutting station, and even a spot where she plays the mandolin. You can see it upon request while stopping at Husk’s gallery viewing area in the garage, but she says it’s not all that accessible for large groups of people at one time.

Like Giovane and Dalton, Husk has participated in the studio tour before, and enjoys sharing with others her acrylic interpretations of nature, animals and humans.

“I paint the things I find beautiful, and love the idea that maybe I can bring a sliver of that beauty into the lives of others,” she says.

Similar to that of her fellow artists, Husk says her finished products can defy simple categorization. She paints from her original photography and works in acrylic on canvas, but her style is not always consistent from one series or subject matter to another, ranging from naturalistic to figurative. Lately, experimentation has led to her capturing Pacific Northwest skies, weather and landscapes in a way she hasn’t really seen before.

“The biggest disadvantage of painting several different subject matters, in different styles, is that it makes describing one’s work nigh impossible,” Husk says. “I think my most recent work, however, is moody, colorful, emotional and sodden.”

Find out why the technique has become popular with Husk’s patrons and collectors later this month, when she shows visitors her work. Like the other ceramicists, printmakers, woodworkers, weavers, jewelers, sculptors, painters and glassworkers opening their studios to the masses, she’ll probably also be happy to tell you about it, too.

WHAT: NW Art Beat Open Studio Tour
WHEN: 10am-6pm, July 21-22
WHERE: Throughout Skagit County
COST: The self-guided tour is free

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