An Artist’s Environment
Tahoe ARTour 2010
I find it fascinating to see an artist in his own environment. What colors and forms surround him? What view does he soak in, over his morning coffee?
How does the place an artist calls home, influence his work?
Come on along and hit the road with me, as we drop in on a few of Lake Tahoe’s gifted artists. I was lucky enough to visit with them at their homes and studios, during the current Tahoe ARTour, organized each year by North Tahoe Arts.
Landscape painter Andy Skaff’s and his wife’s log cabin is tucked in a wooded neighborhood, amidst tall firs, pines and cedars. From this home base, Andy treks out to paint nearby spots in the forest, and on the lake. In the plein air tradition, he captures the dance of color and light amidst the trees.
Originally an art major, Andy instead practiced law for 34 years. Now retired, his oil paints and this tranquil, beautiful setting have inspired a successful second career as an artist. Such a gracious couple – I so enjoyed our visit.
Next I popped in on Wood Carver Frank Steward. For many years driving by, I’ve noticed the towering totem outside his home and studio, and wondered where he found such an unusual piece. Come to find out, he created this and countless other meaningful
Frank learned about Northwest Coast Native Woodcarving when he lived in the Pacific Northwest 35 years ago, and it became his passion. He is fascinated by the symbolism that various native groups portray in their carvings, and often creates custom works that symbolize the lives of his customers. Frank is particularly fond of the Kwakiutl group that embraced color in its work.
Frank is inspired by the trees that surround his Tahoe home and studio, and most enjoys seeing his carvings installed outdoors, where they become part of the landscape, and the life of the forest.
I also enjoyed a chat with Frank’s good friend, artist Michael Phillips, who shared with me his love of art, and of wood turning. Here are some of Mike’s vessels displayed beneath the trees. Mike talks with passion about working with wood, including the native woods from his second home of Hawaii.
Our last stop is a jaw-dropper, as we head to the lakeshore. It’s an enviable slice of Lake Tahoe that artist Pamela Hunt Lee’s home occupies. I just kept thinking what amazing creations I could make (or what days I could happily splash away) in such a setting. Pamela has chosen much of the former, as she paints expressively stylized, large-format works inspired by her surroundings here at the Lake and elsewhere.
Pamela often kayaks out onto Tahoe, in search of new rock formations that inspire her “Tahoe Rocks” series of paintings, some of which were on display during the tour.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday
July 16, 17 & 18
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Download a brochure, including maps here, and be sure to visit the
ARTour Gallery Exhibit
North Tahoe Art Center
380 North Lake Blvd.
Tahoe City, CA
11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tell us about the open studios, and art-tour events near you. Have you been inspired to create art or design, by the part of the planet you call home?