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Art trek takes shape

Local artists get ready for next weekend’s studio tours
By: Eileen Wilson Special to the Press-Tribune
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The birth of spring heralds the emergence of spectacular new works of art as artists in Granite Bay, Roseville, Rocklin and Loomis participate in the second annual Art Studio Trek, which will be held next weekend. Granite Bay artist Judi Stickney said she is up to the challenge. Surrounded by stone in her home studio, she lovingly waters down each craggy piece to allow brilliant colors to emerge. Stickney works with mica, tourmaline, granite, marble – all a geologist’s delight. Rocks from all over the world await chisel, file, or rotary grinder, which will turn the misshapen into the magnificent. Stickney, who is now known for her sculpture and bronze work, wasn’t always an artist. She has a master’s degree in nursing, and simply dabbled in art during her free time for many years. She professes she’s always loved art, three-dimensional pieces in particular. “In grade school I was always drawing, making things for someone, clay masks, etc.,” she explains. She’s currently working on a half-sized clay replica of a sculpture that has been commissioned for the Sutter Roseville Medical Center in memory of a patient. “My artist friends see everything has a spiritual element to it,” she says of her work, but admits she often simply sees a form she likes, and with it in mind, starts to play with clay just to see what emerges. “That’s how a lot of art is, in the end,” she said. “It just happens.” Stickney isn’t the only Granite Bay artist who will display her wares on the art tour. Chris Foster, who works with calligraphy and paint, and Barbara Killeen, who is a watercolorist, will be on the tour as well. Killeen, who paints what she admires in nature, says the tour will be great fun. “I consider this a house tour as much as anything,” she said. “It’s so much fun seeing someone in their studio, rather than seeing art in a gallery.” There are 18 artists who will open their working studios to the public April 26-27. The tour is unique in that the artists organize and promote it themselves, with each artist playing an important role in running the show succedssfully. Pat Abraham, a Roseville watercolorist, art instructor and tour founder, decided in 2005 that she wanted to begin a small tour with a local feel. “I had participated in other, larger art tours. I really wanted a tour in spring when the weather was nice, featuring a small group with high-quality art,” she said. Her own home studio bristles with energy and splashes of color, from smoky grays to flashy fuchsia. Her delicate and bold displays, paintings and drawings, she explains, are mostly inspired by nature. According to Abraham, last year’s tour was quite successful, but since entry to the Art Studio Trek is free, it’s impossible to say how many people came out to enjoy the event. “We really want to keep it free to the public – that makes the art available to more people and for families,” she said. “We were hoping if we kept it small, families would be able to come both days. “We’re trying to encourage and educate people to learn about what makes good art. Last year tons of people came, and whether they buy something or not, they’re asking questions, signing up for classes, learning,” Abraham said. Abraham hopes to appeal to everyone by ensuring a wide variety of media is represented, and also by promoting the tour’s theme – “Art and Chocolate.” “I had my killer brownies last year, and also fudgy crunch squares. Everyone will be offering some sort of chocolate,” she said, remembering guests enjoyed the chocolate almost as much as the art itself last year. Many featured artists are well known in the area, and have shown their work in local galleries, Sacramento venues and other art tours. “Art is growing all the time,” explains Abraham. “I’m seeing huge interest in art of all kinds. A lot of people really want to do it. It’s such a creative outlet and a peaceful process.” Whether you’re an art enthusiast, or if you’re just interested in learning, there’s something for everyone on the tour. Art exhibited will range from traditional to abstract, and pieces vary in price, so there will be affordable works for every budget. In addition, many artists plan to have a silent auction item, which will be sold to the highest bidder at the end of the two-day show.