Have you ever wanted to see inside an artist’s process — their studio, tools and techniques?
Each September, Edmonds hosts a studio tour that focuses on the artists in the city. It showcases how art is created, the motivation behind it and gives you the chance to find new art to grace your home. Now in its ninth year, the media represented are vast. There are 23 studios and 42 artists featured in this year’s Edmonds Art Studio Tour.
The Edmonds Art Studio Tour was brought forth by active local artists Sue Robertson and Tracer Felix Fraker. Sue’s art had shown in Kirkland, and she knew of their studio tour, which
at that point only involved artists from Kirkland. The next year they allowed any artist that had
work shown in the city to take part. Additionally, Sue wanted a tour in her home city of Edmonds, a city that has always been supportive of its art community. Edmonds accepted the tour quickly, and it was backed by the Edmonds Arts Festival. To this day, it is still funded in part by the Edmonds Arts Commission Tourism Promotion Fund. The first year included 16 studios and 29 artists.
The tour is unique — it’s a two-day, self-guided experience that will take you through much of the city. Rain or shine, it is a great way to spend the weekend exploring art and Edmonds. While the scope of people and their work is grand, two prominent local artists who have been involved since early on are Sue Robertson and Mike O’Day. Their work is different, but both are tied together by a common thread — a passion to continue exploring and expanding their work.
People often characterize Sue as joyful and prolific. She claims that prolific simply means she works fast. The name — Joyful Art by Sue Robertson — fits well, both when it comes to her art and the artist herself. Sue came into the art world after a long career in office and facilitation management in corporate world. She and her husband were able to retire early, and they have taken the time to enjoy their lives after time-consuming careers. Both embrace life and live it fully with travel and creativity. Sue’s foray into art began with fruit, and her first paintings
still have a following today. However, one of the things that makes her stand out is her fearless exploration, and although fruit was doing well, she felt the need to experiment and try new
things. She worked with encaustics, training under well-known encaustic artist Patricia Seggebruch. She wandered away from encaustics for awhile and into figurative paintings, but has now returned full force to the challenge the encaustic work poses. Sue pushes boundaries, and continues to add more techniques to her already admirable arsenal. Her reason for doing art — she loves it. For her, the excitement comes from trying new things.
The world of Mike O’Day is a fascinating place to spend some time. It’s magical, whimsical, comic and downright amazing. Mike, a former graphic artist in advertisement, turned caricature
artist, turned sculptor, brings oneof- a-kind pieces into the Edmonds art community. His venture into sculpture was happenstance — a helping-out-afriend- and-getting-interested type of thing. His art is deceptively simple at times, but when you really look, the skill and care it takes to make it shines through. As a person, he’s approachable and interesting. He has worn the
hats of stay-at-home dad, coach and Cub Scout leader, and he connected with several other local artists while their children attended the Maplewood Co-op together. He loves music (and listening to KEXP), lyrics, and teaching children — you can find his classes at ARTspot and the Kirkland Arts Center. He teaches adults too, but believes that teaching kids helps you grow as an artist. Mike has many facets, and is truly a gem. A visit to see his creatures, garden art and sculpture makes any day just a little bit brighter.
Both Sue and Mike are artists that take time to support the Edmonds art scene, they
stay busy and connected. While they are two excellent reasons to take the tour, there
are many other artists worth the trip. The 2014 Edmonds Art Studio tour promises
to be an eclectic journey into the minds, lives and studios of local artists.