Artists to open studios, galleries for annual tour Nov. 23-24

Annual event to open doors of 12 spaces Nov. 23-24
Laura Hickman calls the chalk pastels of the coastal area she's called home all her life and of foreign lands lightscapes. SOURCE SUBMITTED
November 22, 2012

Twelve area artists will open their working studios and galleries Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23 and 24, offering their latest creations, holiday cheer and refreshments for the 18th annual Southeastern Delaware Artists Studio Tour, sharing their creativity, skills and stories with the public.

The free, self-guided SEDAST tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23 and 24. Brochures with maps to the studios are available at each artist's location and online at

An Art in the Hat raffle also gives tour visitors the opportunity to support local school art programs while buying chances on works donated by the tour artists. To date, SEDAST has raised and donated more than $30,000 to local public schools for art education.

Studios and galleries showcased this year include locally, nationally and internationally collected artists, all of whom create in southeastern Delaware year-round.

New to the juried tour this year is Sonja Frey, a graphic artist turned acrylic and collage painter, who will be showing her wares in her father Tom Frey's home. Frey describes her creative process as "grabbing some color that resonates that day, adding water and slinging paint! I rarely have a goal in mind other than ending up with a canvas that pleases me, because anything can happen during the creation process."

Internationally collected wood turner Tom Frey has opened his studio for the tour since the tour's inception, and it is one of the most popular stops on the tour. He is known for specializing in thin-walled, natural edge turnings using mostly local woods that are stressed by nature. A soft matte finish has become a second hallmark of his work. In 2009, he was designated Master in Delaware by Delaware Made by Hand. The Juried Member in the Field of Wood title was conferred on him by the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen in 2011.

Tara Funk Grim also enjoys a free approach to her painted and collage creations. She describes herself as a colorist with no apologies, explaining, "I continue to listen to the voices in my heart. Nothing is predictable. I am on the path of discovery and creation by applying my materials and guided by intuition. It is exciting!"

Ellen Rice, celebrating her 50th year painting the Delaware shore, its people and wildlife, describes her creative process as one of listening. Collected internationally for her luminous oil and print landscapes, seascapes and inspirational "Strength of Woman Series,"  Rice will premiere Vol. 5 in the series, "Paths"; a two-year oil project called "The Fisherman," a scene at Indian River Inlet; and other new works of the shore and beyond.

Painter Laura Hickman, an internationally collected, lifelong resident of Bethany Beach, says she likes to think of her colorful pastels as lightscapes. Says Hickman, "They are about real places during a certain time and season of light. They are all places that I have experience and documented with a photograph. I then recreate them in their lighted conditions. I wish the viewer to inhabit the space as I did while creating it."

Multiple award-winning professional watercolorist Anne Hanna's formal training was at the Central School of Art and Design in London, at Indiana University and in the workshops of some of America's leading watercolorists. She specializes in wildlife and dominant flower painting, but also enjoys painting the shore and such diverse subjects as horses, dogs, foxes and goldfish.

Glass artist Justin Cavagnaro has been making sculptural pieces that are intended to be wall mounted, taking his work off the shelf, he says. These pieces show continuity with his previous work, maintaining a focus on the forms themselves and on the interplay of light, transparency/opacity and the layering of colors and textures.

Kim Doughty-Cavagnaro, known for her clean-lined porcelain vessels and soft color palette, has been experimenting with jewelry as a new medium. Working with silver, 14K gold, copper, brass and semiprecious stones and sea glass, she has begun to create a line of jewelry with the same characteristics she employs with her ceramics.

Jeffrey Todd Moore uses photography, photo-manipulation, digital art and watercolor to create images of the region that include old churches, falling barns, watchtowers and boardwalk scenes. He prefers watercolor for such scenes as local creeks, ponds, flora and fauna. For this year's tour, Moore says, "I hope to explore pure color and design through stained glass and mosaics, paper weaving, paper cutting and origami."

Most of Cheryl Wisbrock’s paintings are done in translucent watercolor or acrylics. She says she enjoys the process of painting at least as much as the finished product and that her goal is to produce paintings that glow with luminosity without the use of opaque pigments, moving the viewer to appreciate the subject as well as the artist's technique. She describes her subject matter as an eclectic array representing regional landscapes, seascapes, nature studies, still lifes and figure work.

Oil, mixed media and watercolor artist Jeanne Mueller says she is inspired by color and light.  She says she enjoys the challenge of ideas that work their way into her mind and take shape through her brushes. "Through my artwork, I express the emotion I feel when a subject asks to be set to canvas,"  she says.

Watercolor, oil and mural painter and photographer Jennifer Carter says, "Life throws you use them!" No matter the media, she says her goal is to lead viewers of her art to "joyously see things you may have missed." Her subjects range from watercolor beach and garden paintings and shore scenes in oils to intense photographic explorations.