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?

Tahoe Road Trip

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.

Arriving at Andy Skaff's Home

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.

Andy Skaff Landscapes and Totem

An Artist's Home in the Forest

Small Landscapes by Andy Skaff

Artist Andy Skaff at Work

Andy Skaff Art in the Woods

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
carvings himself.

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.

Entrance to Wood Carver Frank Steward's Studio

Frank Steward Totem in his Studio

Salmon Moon Totem by Wood Carver Frank Steward

Woman in the Sun Wood Carving by Frank Steward

Frank Steward Magic Sea Turtle and smaller study

Our Next Meeting

Wood Carving Artist Frank Steward and his dog, Bodie

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.

Turned Wood Vessels by Artist Michael Phillips

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.

Arriving at Artist Pamela Hunt Lee's Home

A Tahoe Artist's View

Tahoe Rocks Paintings by Pamela Hunt Lee

Pamela Hunt Lee Small Tahoe Rocks and Tahoe Water Paintings

Painting by Pamela Hunt Lee

More Works by Pamela Hunt Lee

A Dream Tahoe View

This shows you only a few of the wonderful artists of North Tahoe Arts. Check out these and many more as the Tahoe ARTour 2010 continues this weekend:

Friday, Saturday and Sunday
July 16, 17 & 18

10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Free Admittance

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?

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

4 Comments for “An Artist’s Environment”

Thanks for stopping by during ARTour. We have open studios again this Friday, Saturday, Sunday…

Thanks for sharing all that info and great photos. We love original art and seeing it in a beautiful setting is just an added bonus!


I so enjoyed the visit. Wish I could have taken the time to visit all the artists. It was lovely to see your work!!


My pleasure, Nancy!

One of my favorite ways to spend a day too. And the artists I met were so welcoming. I loved learning about their inspirations, and seeing the beautiful places where they create.

Have a wonderful week,

Leave a Comment

Tags: , , , , ,

Subscribe to Email News

Keep up with the latest Challenges news, and creative design & decorating inspiration when you Subscribe to Homeworkshop's Design Junkies Journal.

Automatically Receive Content
Follow HomeWorkshop on Twitter Follow HomeWorkshop on Pinterest Follow HomeWorkshop RSS feed
Let's Go Shopping
Make your own thrifted shabby chic pieces in a weekend

Put our button on your site!
Copy the code below:

Fab Web Sites