This weekend, 50 local artists will open their doors to the public as part of a free, self-guided tour called Clark County Open Studios.
“This is a way to have a more intimate experience with an artist,” said Cynthia Mosser, one of the participating artists. “A traditional gallery isn’t for everybody.”
This is the seventh year the nonprofit Artstra (formerly known as Arts of Clark County) has organized the tour. Three independent jurors — two artist/educators and one gallery owner, all from Portland — selected 50 artists from those who applied to participate in the tour. Their art encompasses many forms: sculpture, ceramics, painting, print-making, photography, drawing, metalwork, glasswork, fiber art, mosaics, woodwork and leatherwork.
With 50 possible places to visit, it makes sense to plot a route. You can review the list of artists and their work online, but you can also check it out in person at a reception and preview exhibit from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 1 at Art at the Cave gallery.
Some artists have actual studios, but most work out of garages, attics or bedrooms. Mosser paints and creates mixed-media artwork in a spare room. This is her third year participating in the tour.
She enjoys sharing her process with visitors. The can see completed pieces, as well as those underway.
By giving people a chance to see artists at work, the tour demystifies what it means to be an artist. It’s not magic. It’s work.
Maybe hours, maybe months
Finishing one of her watercolor with gouache paintings takes Mosser between 10 and 30 hours. A large mixed-media piece in which she uses beeswax may take months.
“It’s one of those media that’s a little more niche or specialized, and takes more patience and practice,” she said.
Mosser has been working as a professional artist since 2000. When she was an instructor at the Art Institute of Portland, she had a lot of free time. But she said she has found she’s actually more productive since she switched to a part-time job at a construction company.
“It helps me have more structure in my day,” she said. “I get more painting done now than I ever did before.”
She fits 12 hours a week of studio time around her job.
“If you’re interested in being an artist, or seeing what it’s like to be an artist, and if you are questioning your path, come visit,” Mosser said. “It will help you unleash your own creativity.”