Over Labor Day weekend, Santa Barbarans had the rare opportunity to get an insiders look at 34 area artists workspaces and hear about their process during the 14th annual Santa Barbara Studio Artist Tour, which benefits the Breast Cancer Resource Center.

The two-day self-guided tour kicked off with an art reception hosted at the Corridan Gallery on North Milpas Street. The small gallery was brimming with attendees and the artists themselves, who were on hand to give participants a chance to meet them on a more personal level before visiting their workspaces.

One of the featured artists was Peggy Fletcher, whose talent is watercolors and her subjects range from the natural world to still lifes to architecture. “Tranquility is very important in my life and I hope that the tranquil nature of my watercolors will transport the viewer to a peaceful place,” Fletcher said in her websites artistic statement. Her recent work focuses on the evolution and beauty of the monarch butterfly. To further understand the lepidopterans, and to use as models for her paintings, Fletcher houses several of the grand butterflies.

Painting by Pamela Benham

Another of the gifted painters participating in the tour was Pamela Benham, who, after living and showing in New York City for 24 years, moved to Santa Barbara and converted her modest Goleta home into an art studio, which she calls Studio 93. Benham has been painting for more than 40 years and left the confines of realist oil paintings for the world of abstract. The front part of the studio is covered in white tapestried canvases with every color imaginable. Benham described her process, which involves no prior research, as just the flow of her emotions or thoughts from the day out of her hand and onto the canvas. Paintings line every wall of Behnam’s studio. The colors she uses are rich and vibrant and each piece evokes an emotional response, undoubtedly different for each viewer.

The Santa Barbara Studio Artist 14th Annual Open Studios Tour was a complete success. It displayed local talent, uncovered the artistic process and evoked a new appreciation for visual art in the Santa Barbara community.


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