Tour Whidbey Island’s artsy side

  • Thu Mar 4th, 2010 2:15pm
  • Life

By Theresa Goffredo Herald Writer

Artist Ann Wilson’s style is no style.

She plays with everything, watercolors, tortilla paper, metal. One year she created a 10-foot-tall sculpture out of mussels. She paints thrift shop shoes and sneakers in colorful acrylics and hangs them on a tree outside her studio.

Wilson is well known in the Coupeville area for her shoe tree, her whimsical watercolors and her New York sense of humor.

“I moved here in 1997, and I got this building in 2000. It’s an old dentist’s office so it’s hard to get people to come here,” Wilson joked.

There will be at least five reasons for people to visit Wilson’s Coupeville studio, Ann’s Coup D’Art, 902 NE Center St., because Wilson and four other artists will demonstrate their craft Saturday and Sunday during Whidbey Island’s seventh annual Spring Art Studio Tour.

Wilson said the economy shouldn’t affect the tour this year because Whidbey Island is a destination point for visitors, a spring rite of passage for art patrons.

“People look for entertainment,” Wilson said. “To break lose, to come into a working studio is always fun and it’s free.”

Most artists will do demonstrations during the tour, with open studios stretching from Greenbank to Oak Harbor, providing visitors a rare insight into the creative process and techniques.

The Whidbey Working Artists are presenting the tour, which includes a variety of artistic genres. Wilson’s studio represents a microcosm of this variety.

Jewelry maker Bev McQuary will set up her oxygen and propane torch, cranking it up to 2,600 degrees to demonstrate the bead-making process. McQuary has been creating lampworked glass beads for more than 18 years and produces original bookmarks, key holders, earrings, necklaces and pins.

“I think people are part crow — they are attracted to bright and shiny things,” McQuary said. “It’s fascinating for people to see, it’s like a magnet.”

Photographer and artist M. Denis Hill, who has made a name for himself with his panoramic pictures, will demonstrate the wax-based encaustic painting, a mixed media style in which he incorporates photographs into the pieces.

Mixed media artist Patty Picco will show her work in which she combines print making, collage and encaustic wax to create pieces with rich layers.

Watercolorist Kay Parsons plans to paint one of her signature nature scenes on a large-scale canvas about 4 feet by 6 feet.

For Parsons, the tour allows visitors a chance to be intimate with the artistic process.

“It inspires them,” she said. “There’s nothing like looking at a 5-foot dahlia or a 3-foot rose and have the center of it as big as your two hands. It’s quite wonderful.”

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424;

ation Hall, 4 NE Seventh St., Coupeville.