Sunday at Muse

The last of our four artists to appear at Muse this weekend is Faie McGuire, a mixed media artist. )

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Sunday at Muse

On Sunday, Muse is spotlighting Lynne Patton,  who will create in oil.

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Saturday at Muse

The second artist at Muse on Saturday is Jennifer Love, another ceramic artist. )

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This weekend at Muse

Muse is spotlighting four artists this weekend.  (see for more great events at Muse). These are not formal demonstrations, but a chance to meet artists, observe them at work, and ask questions about their techniques, materials, and inspiration. The first, on Saturday,  is Mandy Stigant, a ceramic artist,

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” I like when you can see things in process. You can see a painting at the beginning and something they’ve finished. The tour personalizes it.”

Here’s the second interview, a couple named Lauren and Evan,  young collectors and committed Portland Open Studios participants. They have just begun to purchase local work.

Tell me about the first pieces you purchased. Were those from your first year on the tour?

Evan: Those are from the first studio we went to.

And you bought something? Were you planning on that?

Lauren: No. We just picked her out of the calendar. She had some huge pieces, which were really beautiful, but a little outside of our price range. These made us think, we can get something! Let’s get something!

What drew you to them?

Lauren: They are pretty unique. They sort of glow with light. At the time we were living in a house that had lots and lots of blue walls, so when we brought them home they looked really perfect. Just the little slivers of blue picked up on all the colors in the house. I think the paintings just seem sort of magical and wonderful. We’re not too into realism, so I think that was appealing. And they were attainable.

How has your experience been interacting with the artists?

Lauren: For me, it’s interesting to see the different personalities. All these people and they open up their homes to Portland, which is amazing to me. All of them, whether they’re organized or not. I don’t know how on earth I would prepare for open studios if I were an artist.

Evan: It’s nice to get the artists who are personable and will reach out and explain the process. The process and their process. How they conceptualize it and go about doing what they do. Certainly there are items we would never be interested in buying—a gilded sword or a mace—but are just beautiful and amazing. To have people say: I do this and then I do this. Really, that they’re so passionate about it. It’s neat to see that.

Lauren: Because you don’t get that at museums and galleries. If you go to the gallery opening, maybe you can see the artist talking about their stuff. But I love that it’s so unique. There have been very few places where we haven’t had the opportunity for a one-on-one.

Has participating changed your perspective on art?

It makes me appreciate being able to see the open studios more. When we go to museums and things. Its just there’s a booth with a bunch of art in it and you don’t really know how it came to be there or why they’ve chosen these things. I like when you can see things in process. You can see a painting at the beginning and something they’ve finished. The tour personalizes it.

How will you decide what piece you will buy?

Lauren: Part of the great thing about the tour is getting a piece and being able to talk about it. There’s a potter or sculptor in north Portland who collected his mud from very specific places and they all had different looks. When you fired them, they looked totally different. Those stories are the kind of things that are important.

Evan: In the past, we’ve walked into a place, looked around, and starting looking at each other and then looking back at a couple of pieces. For something like fifty bucks, if we like it, let’s get it. For our largest piece, we thought about it for a year. It’s what plops in front of our eyes and grabs our attention.

But the story is important?

Lauren: Yeah. And having a good interaction with the artist. In a situation such as open studios, I can’t see us walking in somewhere, seeing something we thought was cool, and then without talking to anybody, checking the sticker and saying, we’ll just take that. Being able to talk about it is very important. Even if no one ever asks about it.

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A peek into what the tour is like for visitors

Awhile back there were several interviews done with people in the Portland art community and visitors to the tour.  In the next few days I’m going to share them with you so that you can get an idea of what you can expect when you participate in Portland Open Studios yourself.

The first interview I want to share was done with Donna Guardino, the owner and curator of the Guardino Gallery in Alberta. Gallery has been a staple of Portland’s art scene for over fifteen years.

 Q.  How do you think Portland Open Studios has affected the art scene in the city?

A.  I think it has opened the eyes of people. There was a time when Portland was not an art town. And Portland is an art town now. Everybody recognizes it. There are a tremendous amount of artists here.

Q.  You show a lot of emerging artists.

 A.  I like emerging artists. I want someone to come in with a nice portfolio, a CD and a resume and all of that kind of stuff. But if they come in, and they don’t have it, and their work is dynamite—that’s all that matters. I have to keep my mind open because I’ll miss it if I don’t.

I was on a panel for emerging artists about getting started and somebody else was saying the portfolio has to be this way or that way, it has to be slides, etc. I thought, you know you could be missing that gem there. Over the years, I have given people their first shows. Shows where I’ve watched them develop. It’s pretty exciting.

The tour helps me keep abreast of the scene. I always look at the calendar to find out who’s who. I think it’s good for Portland because it does expose the fact that there are a lot of artists and a lot of studios in Portland. A lot of people are working here.

Q.  How do you choose what will show in the gallery?

A.  I really like to look at the artwork personally. Touch it. Hold it. And talk to the artist. It’s important to me to know the direction of an artist.

Q.  How does that affect your experience of the work?

A.  I can give you a little example. Somebody came in and showed me six paintings. Three I liked a lot and for three, the direction was strange. So I asked the person, what do you think? What’s your direction? And they said, oh, those three there, those are the past. I don’t want to do those anymore. And the three that I was less interested in were the direction they wanted to go in. So, when you get to talk to an artist one-on-one, you get to find out where they’re going, what their ideas are, and what kind of a show they would give you.

A  lot of what I do in the gallery, even though the artist is not present, I really want to know about the process. If you ask me about solar plated intaglio, I can tell you about solar plated intaglio. I grill each artist to find out about their process. My belief is that when you come and buy a piece of art you want some identity with it, you respond to it somehow, and sometimes when you get that extra bit of information about well, this is done this way or this person has this kind of history. You know, she used to be a potter and now she’s a glass blower or whatever. Those things factor in to how you buy or how you look at a piece of art.

I don’t believe in telling people this means this or this means that. I think a viewer should look at it and respond to it in their own way. The open studio does the same thing. A person goes in, sees a piece of art, and they connect with the artist or they connect with the process. There’s some history there. I know that in my house I have lots and lots and lots of art from over the years. And when I look back on it, it is all from people I have connected with in some way.

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This week at Muse!!

Stan Peterson will be at Muse Saturday  working in wood! (see for more great events at Muse)

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Continuing with Open Studios at Muse on Sunday

Be sure to stop by the ongoing weekend artist in residence program Muse is hosting for many of the artists participating in Portland Open Studios this October. They will create art, live at Muse. These are not formal demonstrations, but a chance to meet artists, observe them at work, and ask questions about their techniques, materials, and inspiration. This Sunday, you can see Christopher Wagner(Artist #88) , working in reclaimed wood and paint (

and Karl Ramentol (Artist #74), working in oil.



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Portland Open Studios artists at Muse tomorrow!

Samyak Yamauchi will be at Muse tomorrow (see for more great events at Muse) working in mixed media on wood!

Also, Christopher Kelleher will be at Muse tomorrow working in Acrylic!


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Visit Stan Peterson’s studio this year and adopt a rescue dog!!

Stan Peterson,  Artist #73, creates his art in wood.  You can visit his gallery on line by going to his website,  Today he shares with us some of his technique, and what he does with the “leftover” wood.
By Stan Peterson

The bandsaw is the only power tool I use in my wood studio. I prefer working with hand tools and the slow process of carving. I use basswood from the lumberyard which comes in long, clear boards. I draw the outlines of a proposed sculpture and then saw out the carving blank with both Japanese pull saws and a small bandsaw.

There are a lot of left over cut off pieces from this roughing out process.
I’ve always kept a box of these cut offs under the bandsaw and am constantly intrigued by their irregular shapes. Recently I have started a new series in the studio called RESCUE DOGS.

I piece the selected scraps together using gorilla glue until a dog like form appears. It is a process of rescuing the potential of what is left behind or discarded.
Everybody likes a friendly dog but only a few will actually give one a home. For Portland Open Studios this year, I’m carving a bunch of wood dogs which have been rescued from the bandsaw and looking for new owners and companions.


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