Washougal Studio Artists tour returns this week

Spring Studio Tour set for Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5, will feature 23 local artists

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Washougal resident Makayla Blum holds one of her art pieces in April 2024. Blum is one of 23 local studio artists participating in the 2024 Washougal Studio Artists’ 2024 Spring Studio Tour. (Photo courtesy of Makayla Blum)

The Seventh annual Washougal Studio Artists Spring Studio Tour (WSAT) will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5.

The event will feature 23 local artists, seven studios and a variety of artwork, including fused glass, textiles, bronze sculpture, painting, jewelry and mixed media.

Seven of the artists — Linda Ballard (fiber arts), Marina Pearson (painting, drawing), Makayla Blum (woodworking, painting, drawing), Jennie Westfall (watercolor), Gabrielle Serriere (digital art, painting, drawing), Blythe Ayne (photography) and Keith Russell (oil painting) — are first-time participants in the open-studio tour.

“I think what people will be most excited about is the fact that there are seven new artists this year,” said WSAT organizer Shirley Bishop. “We usually have three or four, but this year we had a lot more (artists) apply. We scrutinize the artists who apply to assure our visitors of a certain level of professional ‘fine art.’ The new artists bring a whole new feel to the tour and are an exciting addition to the established artists who, on their own, are blooming in their own artistic adventures.”

Returning artists include Trish Johnston (watercolor), Sandy Moore (fabric collage), Sharon Buckmaster (fiber arts, jewelry), Cyndee Starr (mixed media), Tamara Dinius (mixed media), Toni McCarthy (beaded and metal jewelry), Liz Nye (mixed media, photography, textiles), Phyllis Carter (glass), Regina Westmoreland (mixed media), Debbie Nagano (mixed media), Ellen Nordgren (mixed media), Bishop (fused glass, home decor), Kathy Marty (handwoven rugs, home decor), LesleyAnne Ezelle (ceramics, alpaca fiber), David Van Zandt (bronze sculpture, oil painting), and Charlene Hale (glass).

“It’s just been so great,” Blum said about the WSAT. “Over the years, it’s really grown. There’ve been some really cool artists that have gained traction and made connections through there. I’m really blessed to be able to participate this year. It’s been really great getting to meet with all the people that are participating. Where we live is so unique. It just goes to show that the people that draw inspiration from it have a piece of it with them, so it’s just really cool.”

Blum, a lifelong Washougal resident, started her business, M. Blum Art and Design, in 2018, selling wood pieces, paintings, drawings, digital artwork and original T-shirt designs, many of which are custom made.

“(My art is) very unique,” she said. “It’s got a lot of shiny colors, and it takes nature and abstract and combines (them). When you think of nature, it’s neutral and beautiful and peaceful, and I like to make it more exciting. I’ve lived here my whole life, so I’ve grown up with this view in my backyard, and I love the idea of turning it into something new. I love to do metals, like metallic inks, give it that shine. I like to use bright colors. But I use wood and paint, multimedia, all sorts of things. It’s just kind of a fun way to re-look at my backyard.”
Blum uses a variety of tools, ranging from pencils and brushes to shirt-printers and laser-cutters, to produce her work.

“Makayla has an incredible machine that cuts wood based on computer designs. I haven’t seen it yet in person, but I’ve seen lots of her Instagram posts,” Bishop said. “She has a very creative way of applying her paint colors, including some metallics, to those wood pieces.”
Blum wrote on the WSAT website that she hopes that her art “fosters a deeper appreciation for the wonders of nature.”

“The way that I make these things, it’s not just flat colors,” she said. “There is joy. There’s pops of color, there’s a lot to look at, there’s a lot to experience. My takeaway is that people will see it and find themselves smiling. I want them to look at it and feel joy.”
Blum said that she became an artist “as soon as (she) could hold a pencil.”

“I used to get in trouble at school for drawing on all my papers,” she said, laughing. “It has just been a complete passion of mine my entire life. After high school, I started teaching, but I was still doing my artwork. At some point, someone (said to me), ‘You should try selling that.’ I was like, ‘Who’s going to buy it? My mom?’ I created my business in 2018, did my first show in 2019, and I loved it. It was a huge hit. After I did that show, I was like, ‘Wow, this is actually something I can do.’ I did a couple more, and I was able to actually leave my teaching position in 2020 and start doing this full time, so it’s just been an amazing (journey) — a blessing, really.”

The upcoming WSAT will mark the opening of Blum’s new studio, which her father has been building on her family’s property in rural Washougal since 2021.

“It’s a huge, stick-built shop, and inside, I have a pretty large space where I do all my work,” she said. “It’s got a couple of bay doors and windows, and it’s really nice inside. I get to utilize the whole space, and it’s been really cool to be able to do that. I’ve always dreamed of doing classes of some kind. I’ve not jumped into that yet, but it’s something that I aim for. End goal-wise, I want this to be a space that can be utilized by people. I don’t want it all just to be me. I want this to be a space that can let other people have a creative outlet.”

To view Blum’s work, visit or

For more information about the WSAT, visit