Washougal kicks off first Holiday Art Market this weekend

Artists will open studios from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 13-14

The Washougal Studio Artists Tour is so popular organizers decided they just can no longer limit it to once a year.

The first Washougal Studio Artists Tour Holiday Art Market will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, and Sunday, Nov. 14, at various locations in Washougal.

“Customers at our Mother’s Day tour asked if we held anything like this near the holidays,” event organizer Shirley Bishop stated in a news release. “Customers were impressed with what they saw, impressed with the quality and uniqueness of the art and wanted access to our local artists for their holiday shopping.”

The event, sponsored in part by a city of Washogal lodging tax fund grant, will feature the works of 10 artists at five Washougal locations.

“I think it’s perfect timing for the studio tour (to expand),” participating artist Tamara Dinius told the Post-Record. “We were blown away by how the public supported us in that first year (2018), and it’s been kind of gaining momentum every year. I think the artists are kind of like, ‘Yeah, this is going to become two events per year, and we’re going to continue to open up our studios to the public and share what we do, what we love.’ And it gives us six months to build our inventory back up.”

If successful, the tour will likely become a new Washougal holiday tradition, according to Bishop.

“The tour provides an opportunity to invite customers into artists’ studios to better understand the process they go through to create these works of art,” she said. “People love to buy directly from the artist, see their workspace and learn more about them. The pieces in the tour are exceptional and unique. These artists are not ‘crafters.’ They are truly artists making a living selling their art.”

Dinius believes the market will be a “win-win” for artists and customers.

“I travel for art shows, and when I’m at an event, people love to connect with the artists and hear their stories (about) how they make their art and how they got started,” she said. “A lot of customers love being in the studios, talking to the artists, and getting to know the artists’ stories. Seeing people connect to my art is huge, but also being able to inform a customer why the value is there (is important as well).”

The event will be similar to the annual Mother’s Day events, but also feature seasonal items, according to Dinius.

“I think a lot of us are trying to bring in some holiday (spirit),” she said. “I have a lot of gift-giving items, like journals and greeting cards and prints, but I did want to bring in something that people could use to decorate their tree with, so right now I’m painting little ornaments. The event is a little bit of both — we’re trying to theme it, but (we also want to provide items) for gift-giving or to decorate your home with.”

In addition to Bishop (fused glass) and Dinius (mixed media), Trish Johnston (watercolor), Dana Bergdahl (acrylic), Suzanne Grover (original and framed watercolor and pastels), Charlene Hale (fused and enameled glass), Stu Ager (mixed media, metalwork design), Toni McCarthy (jewelry featuring handmade beads and metals), Kathy Marty (hand woven eco-friendly rugs and home d?cor) and Samuel Shrout (casted metal) are scheduled to participate.

Dinius has been creating various types of art for most of her life but now focuses most of her time and energy on abstract paintings. She also creates greeting cards, journals, calendars, magnets and other items, available for sale on her website, womenwineandwords.com.

“When I’m stressed or troubled, or even when I’m joyful, it’s just what I need to do. I need to paint or color or draw,” she said. “I know it’s very dramatic to say, but it’s like how I breathe. It’s just what I do. For me, it’s always been that way. I’ve always had to be creative somehow. I never was a knitter or crocheter, but I think I’ve done just about anything out there, in any kind of creative format. But with painting in particular, I love to see the colors mix with one another. I’ll start a lot of my layers with watercolor, then I’ll go into acrylics and gels and inks. The way they collide and mix is just beautiful.”

All artists will follow COVID-19 safety protocols. For more details and a map of the locations, visit wash ougalstudioartists.org.

“Not as many studios will be open, but we’ll have more people at each studio,” Dinius said. “With the weather, it’s nice to not be going in and out of the car as much, so we’ll offer more of a one-stop-shop, in a way.”