The ArtJones Open Studio Tour, one of Gulfport’s most anticipated art events, happens this weekend, December 5 and 6, featuring 12 artists in seven unique locations.
What makes ArtJones different from other shows is that art lovers get to watch the artists at work in a wide variety of media including paint, glass, ceramics, photography, fiber and jewelry. All work is available for purchase.
This year, ArtJones organizers made adjustments that promise to enhance the experience.
“For the first time since its inception in 2016, we are bringing our open studio tour outside in an effort to address social distancing and health and safety concerns,” Brenda McMahon, of Brenda McMahon Gallery, one of the tour’s sponsors says. “The studio tour will still be at artists’ locations, but any demos will be brought outside.”
Each year, a private artist collective hand selects artists who are proficient in their craft for the event. While some are new and rising stars, most have been working artists for more than 20 years, McMahon says.
“We have two new artists joining us, as well as 10 returning artists. We are proud to welcome jewelers Doug D’souza and Berkeley Grimball. Many folks know Doug from his years of working here in Gulfport, and Berkeley is getting recognition for his sophisticated, remarkable designs.”
This year’s studio tour features spectacular art by a mix of favorite artists and new faces – we’ve highlighted a few here.
Find a tour map at artjonesstudiotour.com.
Painter Anna Ayres’ childhood in rural Vermont gave her an early appreciation for the outdoors. This reverence for the natural landscape continues to inspire her work today. A love of travel, and a new-found appreciation for art while in college, led her to discover acrylic painting and then the rich, expressive qualities of oil on canvas several years later.
Predominantly self-taught, Ayres received a Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist Grant in 2019 and participated in her first ArtJones Open Studio Tour that year. Her work is at the Brenda McMahon Gallery, where she recently finished her first mural work on the columns outside the gallery.
“As a painter, I create compositions of plants, birds, trees, water, fields, mountains and flowers. Nature, in its exquisite balance, demonstrates harmony. It tells us stories of simplicity, present-moment awareness and survival. Each of my paintings is an interpretation of what I feel from the natural world.”
For more than 20 years Doug D’souza has created jewelry in a variety of metals, with an array of patterns, textures and colors. Born in Mumbai, India, he says the rich colors and textures he experienced there greatly influenced his work. After a life-changing accident, he learned metalsmithing from books and video tutorials. D’souza says he’s drawn to the meditative aspect of spending hours at his workbench, creating his pieces.
“In the past two decades I have mostly sold my work online and through galleries and specialty shops,” D’souza says. “This year I’m honored to be a new member of ArtJones, and look forward to sharing my work with the community.”
Monika Watson was born in Austria and moved to Paris to work and study art in her 20s. Her unique works usually start with a small sketch or the scribbles of an idea before she begins working with the clay. She makes shapes and images with the clay, dries and fires the designs in a kiln, then glazes and fires them again. She paints the background on the canvas and lays out the shiny clay pieces, conjuring in her head a detailed image of the painting to come. Watson adheres the ceramics to the canvas with acrylic gel, then paints in the detail that connects the work into one integral piece.
“My paintings are a mixture of acrylic paint and my handmade fired ceramic pieces on canvas,” she says. “The look is a colorful 3-D texture and, depending on the light, the ceramic glazes shine with deep color. I have to say, I really like to work.”