Art lovers will have the opportunity to see where the magic happens during the 22nd annual Kanata Artists Studio Tour this May.
Ten artists – two of them new to the weekend event – will open their homes and studios to the public, putting their passions on display. Karl Kischel, Beulah McLellan, Susan Goold, Judi Miller, Margaret (Peggy) Hughes, Elizabeth Potvin, David Farrar, Violeta Borisonik, Rosemary Randell and Janis Miller Hall will all be showing off their works, which range from colourful watercolours to abstract mixed-media pieces.
And in a new twist this year, three guest artists – Amie Talbot, RicharD Murphy, and Susan Ukkola – will also be participating.
“There are lots of exciting new departures from the norm,” said Potvin, who has been involved with the tour since it began. “We decided it was time to spice it up a little bit.”
After 21 years of following a similar format, this year “is a chance to do something different,” she added. “It’s certainly punched up, revitalized.”
For McLellan, everything is new; it’s her first time participating in the tour as one of the feature artists.
“I’ve been on the tour before and there was an opening,” she said. “A couple of people suggested I join.”
The encaustic artist works primarily with hot wax to create pieces full of colour and texture.
“People are always surprised about the medium,” she said, adding one of the most frequent questions she gets is “Can I touch it?” to which the answer is usually a yes.
McLellan said she’s looking forward to inviting people into her Bridlewood home to talk shop.
“I'm excited about what people will think,” said McLellan. “It’s a very personal thing to expose what you do to the public.”
“We love Beulah’s work,” added Potvin. “It’s an exciting new element.”
Back for a second time is Farrar – a specialist in heraldic art, the illustrating of coats of arms – and a landscape artist.
Farrar, originally from Britain, designed the coat of arms on all Canadian dollar bills and enjoys capturing the scenery of rural Kanata and West Carleton on canvas with oils and watercolours.
He said his favourite aspect of the tour is meeting people in the community and having the chance to really get to know others he wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to talk to.
“I know my pharmacist now,” he said. “It makes a real sense of community.”
Farrar, who was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal earlier this year, will be sponsoring guest artist Talbot – who works primarily with coloured pencils – in his Morgan’s Grant home studio.
“It’s a little bit humbling when people connect (with your art),” he said. “It’s really nice.”
Kanata Lakes resident Potvin said the highlight of the event for many of the artists is interacting with the children who accompany their parents on the tour.
“Something we all enjoy is when families bring children around,” Potvin said, adding it’s an opportunity to introduce youth to the beauty and originality of artwork.
“It’s a chance to view original artwork in a home setting that’s not intimidating. It’s a great opportunity for people to enjoy art.”
Last year, Potvin said she had more than 500 people visit her studio over the course of the weekend and she is hoping even more will venture out this year.
“People enjoy being able to do a tour of this sort in one day,” said the watercolour artist. “We want to welcome them into our studios.
“When we’re working, we work in isolation,” she added. “It’s nice to be able to spread our wings and share what we do.”
With a market that’s saturated with mass-produced art and imitation pieces, the Kanata Artists Studio Tour gives the public the opportunity to view one-of-a-kind paintings, photographs and other mediums.
“Original artwork is just that, it’s original,” said Potvin. “We hope to be able to expose our work to lots and lots of people.”
The studio tour takes place the first weekend in May: on May 3 from 5 to 9 p.m., and May 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit kanataartists.com, email StudioTour@KanataArtists.com or call 613-592-0508.