Local artists open their doors in the seventh annual Open Door Studios Tour

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By Sara Miller

Artists are often drawn to the solitude and beauty of the mountains, and Evergreen is no exception — it boasts hundreds of visual artists who live and work in the area. Our galleries are packed with the creations of these inspired individuals. Did you ever wonder where the creativity begins? The seventh annual Open Door Studios Tour will offer visitors a glimpse into the studios, and often the psyches, of local artists.

The Open Door Studios Tour began in 2002. Over the years, it has grown to be a well-orchestrated tour featuring 24 artists working in more than a dozen different media, and showcasing studios scattered throughout Evergreen, Kittredge and Bergen Park.

The Studios Tour offers visitors insight into the creative process, work life and work environment of area artists and provides an opportunity for people to purchase original works directly from their makers.

Carol Newsom and her husband, Tom, are both illustrators and painters. Last year was their first year on the Studios Tour. During the two-day event, Newsom estimates that more than 200 people passed through the doors of their studio.

The Newsoms share a large room in their home, with their easels and paintbrushes at opposite ends of the studio space. Both Newsoms have worked as full-time artists for more than 35 years. That’s almost 9,000 days of sharing workspace and artistic ideas.

“We do have separate clients and separate agents, and we never work on the same project at the same time. Although we might share art supplies, we each have our own creative space,” says Carol Newsom.

This year marks Jane Christie’s first year on the tour. Christie will be the first artist on the tour route. She will not appear in her studio but will be painting and showing her work at the Fuller Towne & Country Properties West office at Parkway Place Center across from the fire station on Bergen Parkway.

“I’ll have an easel set up and be working on a new landscape that day,” says Christie.

Christie’s landscapes are often inspired by her home’s mountain surroundings, as well as her travels to other scenic places. With a nine-day fishing trip in Alaska and a trip through Yellowstone National Park under her belt this summer, Christie has plenty of new ideas for her colorful pastel paintings.

“I take a huge amount of photographs that I use back in my studio to inform my painting,” says Christie.

One of her newest paintings, inspired by her trip to Yellowstone, will be on display at Evergreen National Bank in the days prior to the Studios Tour. “Walk in Fields of Gold” depicts a stream meandering through a field of yellow flowers.

The work of the 23 other artists on the tour will join Christie’s at the pre-tour display at Evergreen National Bank. An opening reception will take place there on Friday, Sept. 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. All of the artists will be on site that night to discuss their work.

Even more interesting, though, is the peek into the artists’ private studios that takes place over the course of the two-day event. Tour attendees can pick up tour books with maps of the route at various places throughout Evergreen, including the Fuller Towne and Country office.

Using the tour book and following roadside signs, visitors will easily find their way to each studio. All of the studios will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20 and 21. Children are welcome, and some of the artists have even been known to have activities to get the kids involved.

For more information, call 303-674-2598 or visit www.evergreenopendoorstudios.com.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.