PENINSULA — Planning a family Thanksgiving at the beach? Or thinking about where to find those special gifts this holiday season? Here are 12 great places to make your gifts local and one-of-a-kind and your shopping experience a Long Beach Peninsula adventure. You’ll meet some delightful artists in their homes and studios with beautiful original work to purchase. Some of these gifted locals will be demonstrating their craft. This year many of the studios have added Sunday to make your planning easier.
The 10th Peninsula Arts Association Studio Tour will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Nov. 24, Saturday, Nov. 25 and Sunday, Nov. 26. Maps are available at the Long Beach Visitors Bureau, The Picture Attic, Ocean Park Area Chamber, Bay Avenue Gallery, www.beachartist.org and the Peninsula Arts Association Facebook page. Once you’re on the trail, just follow the signs.
Don Perry, on the north end at number one on your map, is a full-time craftsman that works in metals with several interesting patinas. Rusty salmon and feisty raccoons can grace your gardens while stainless sturgeon, birds and more salmon will brighten your home. Don uses a plasma cutter to create a captivating variety of critters, signs and slogans.
Just down the road, Bette Lu Krause’s cozy home studio is tucked among the trees. Her bold distinctive style using acrylic paints and a palette knife expresses her passion for wild places. Along with original paintings, prints, tiles and cards, she will feature new hand silk-screened art T-shirts. (a collaboration with a local silk-screen artist)
Stop by Carol Couch’s home and watercolor studio on U Street and join Carol, Nancy Meyrick and Judy Cox as they hostess their festive annual party. Carol is a longtime painter of Pacific Northwest themes and an art instructor at Gray’s Harbor College at the Ilwaco campus. Judy’s delicate and intricate iris folding is fascinating and available in cards and prints — she will demo this technique and also offer cards made by paper casting. Nancy is a nature and life photographer that works to create evocative images. She hopes her thoughtful pictures will generate discussion and new ideas.
Bay Avenue Gallery and Studio is in downtown Ocean Park. Owner and artist Sue Raymond’s whimsical characters are designed to put a smile on your face and tug at your heart. Sue pushes pinches and pulls the clay into shapes that make her fanciful characters very human. You’ll find something for everyone on your list in the gallery as it represents more than 50 local artists.
Head east toward Willapa Bay and you’ll discover more amazing studios. Andrea Weir (and husband Sven) offer a boat barn filled with exciting new work. She has been busy making watercolor and graphite drawings, (and now offers prints) oil and acrylic paintings, and of course, lots of glass and jewelry. There are new earrings, pins and strung necklaces, and stunning delicately crafted bead-crochet necklaces.
Eric Weigardt’s studio and gallery is filled with beautiful paintings inspired by local scenes and travels abroad. Eric has had an exciting year — traveling and teaching in Europe and receiving national awards for his paintings. Most recently, he started using gold paint to create exquisite watercolors. His new book, “Painting without a net — thinking like an artist” has just been released and is available at Weigardt Studio Gallery and at www.ericweigardt.com. A perfect gift for the artist in your life.
Then on to Judy McFadden’s house, just south of Ocean Park. Like so many artists in this area, Judy is living her retirement dream, creating realistic oil paintings and photographing local scenes of nature’s splendor. She so enjoys having you come by to talk about art.
A little north of Long Beach wrapped in a piece of mature forest is The Hobbit Shop — Jim Unwin’s woodcarving workshop. Though some of you might think you’re meeting Bilbo Baggins, Jim is a talented carver who has worked out his own style of Northwest expression in wood through years of thoughtful woodwork. At The Hobbit Shop you’ll find wood pieces that are whimsical, functional and /or allegorical — all possessing a bit of the temperate rainforest story. He sees his art as universal and timeless, each piece representing energy visualized as form.
Turn east onto Cranberry Road and north on Birch Street and in a few minutes you’ll arrive at Marsh Pottery. Linda throws pots, handbuilds and offers classes in her beautiful new studio. Linda has thrown and sculpted some gorgeous larger pieces this year, but I was quite taken with her fanciful sparkly poinsettia ornaments. Whether you’re looking for utilitarian or decorative clay items, Linda has something to offer you.
The Picture Attic is the studio and gallery for Jean Nitzel watercolors. Jean has been creating in watercolors for about 10 years and is most popular for her baby bird art. She also paints iconic seascapes of clam digging and winter storms. The Picture Attic gallery also offers art from more than 20 local artists.
At the PAA Office in Long Beach, JoAnne Webster and Dierdre Duewel will enliven the space with fairies and colored glass. These two artists are new to the tour and offer unique and unusual handcrafted pieces. Dierdre makes one of a kind mosaic mirrors. She loves the range of expression that can be displayed with bits of glass or most any other small item — buttons, shells, broken pottery, etc. ‘There is something meditative about finding a place for each piece in a larger work.’ JoAnne’s imagination seems boundless. She builds exquisite fairy houses using locally sourced plants, branches, moss and lichen. The detail in each bit of furniture and fairy gown will transport you to another more carefree land. She also crafts jewelry from vintage lace and trim, buttons and photos.
Just a few houses north of the Sandridge Road and Highway 101 junction, Karen Brownlee’s spacious home studio anchors the south end of our tour. She invites you to make everyday special with her bright and functional handmade stoneware pottery, animal sculptures, mosaics and raku pieces. Treat yourself and your friends to cheerful items that bring happiness on the rainiest of days.
Come meet the artists, and shop small and local.