Art by the people, for the people |

Art by the people, for the people

Caramie Schnell

For Avon resident Dean Wolz and his wife, Linda, the annual Red Cliff Studio Tour is more than just a place to see, and possibly buy, great art.

“We love the tour,” Dean said. “It’s great fun, and we know most of the artists, so it’s a social occasion, as well.”

The 12th annual studio tour returns to Red Cliff today and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Over the years, Red Cliff has become a haven for valley artists. The first art event in the small town took place around 16 or 17 years ago. Called Art on the Fence, the event was “more like an outdoor art show,” said one of the studio tour founders and a participating artist, Barb Bomier.

“We hung paintings on several different fences in the main part of town,” Bomier said.

A few years later, Bomier and two other Red Cliff artists, Sydney Summers and Joan Norris, both of whom are participating in the tour this year, teamed up to start the Red Cliff Studio Tour. The goal was to give local artists a chance to show their work.

“I believe in the art of the people,” Norris said. “I have paintings for $35. The people can have real art and not have to buy posters and other kinds of replications. They can have something real that was done with love.”

Bomier, who lives and paints in a remodeled 1889 Victorian home at 159 Monument St., said she’ll be selling “bin work” – often smaller, cheaper unframed paintings – along with framed oil paintings and giclee prints of local scenes.

Bomier will offer pieces that start at $25, she said, and to the delight of bargain hunters, in the past many of the other participating artists on the tour have offered their own versions of “bin work,” as well.

“There’ll be some recession-buster pricing for sure,” Norris said.

Over the years, the tour has become a tradition for the Wolz couple as well as others.

“I heard of a family who came up for the first time a couple of years ago,” Bomier said. “They brought their bikes along, and the entire family biked from one location to the next. They hope to do this every year for the tour.”

Jim Lamont will exhibit landscape photographs taken in the area as well as photos taken during his travels in Berlin and China and a recent trip to Egypt. He’s the only photographer on the tour. Lamont’s wife, Joan Norris, is a plein-air artist whose brightly colored oil paintings depict local gardens, aspen trees and fall foliage. Norris and Lamont’s studio is located at 654 Spruce St.

Contemporary sculptor Bob Will combines exotic hardwoods, such as zebra wood, with metals such as brass, copper and stainless steel. His wife, Lin Janson-Will, uses thin layers of resin mixed with oil paint to create her mostly Colorado landscape paintings. Their work will be displayed at 524 Water St.

Barb Bomier often paints old, rusty trucks and has been trying to “nail down” painting mountains the past two years. Her work will be on display at 159 Monument St.

Three artists will show their work at the old schoolhouse located at 400 Pine St. – Steve Donahue, Sydney Summers and Ann Loper.

Donahue, a faux painter and woodworker, will be showing his abstract paintings at his studio, called the Fishbowl Project.

Summers, a founder of the tour and now a Denver resident, will exhibit her watercolor paintings, many of which depict snow scenes.

Loper, a Vail resident, is this year’s guest artist and a potter. She makes Raku pottery. Raku is an ancient firing technique dating back to the 16th century. Loper is well-known for her “signature” horsehair pots, which are made of white porcelain clay.

Ceramic artist Marjorie Westermann focuses on functional pots – “For me, everything tastes better when the cup, bowl or plate is homemade,” she said.

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