A little inside scoop on our jury

A little more information on our jury process.  Each year, the board selects an artist, an art educator, and a gallerist distinguished in their fields to jury in the 106 artists who will participate in Portland Open Studios. In this way we are assured that we are giving opportunities to emerging artists while staying on the forefront of the Portland art scene.  

Our President, Kerri Hewett, feels strongly about the jury process.  “It is important to us that our jurors are actively participating in the Portland art scene. The jury process is deeply rooted in each juror’s interpretation of the local climate and helps us curate the large amount of talented work being submitted.”

The deadline for artists to apply for the event is March 3, and jury results will be announced  April 1.  Apply here

Artists will open their studios and demonstrate their work process to the public throughout all four days of the event, this year on Oct 14-15 and 21-22.

The event is free and open to the public – people can download a free phone app to locate the studios.  For those who want to support Portland Open Studios, a non-profit, we produce a full-color tour guide listing all participating artists and their studio addresses available for $15 at New Seasons grocery stores and most art stores.  Go to www.portlandopenstudios.com for more information.

Jill McVarish is a painter who has been living and working in Oregon for the past decade.  She became serious about her art at age 4, and dropped out of high school at age 15 to dedicate more time to her painting.  She received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1994, and then enrolled in the prestigious Garrett Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, where she was told that “painting is a dead art form.”  She bought a pass to the Rijksmuseum and let the Dutch Masters be her guide, an influence that you can see in her work today, which reflects both classical painting methods and composition, and very contemporary (sometimes absurdist) ideas.

Jiseon Lee Isbara is an artist and educator living and working in Portland, Oregon.  Since 2012, she has served as the Dean of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) where she has also served as faculty in Undergraduate and Graduate programs since 2003.  Prior to joining OCAC as Fibers Department Head, she taught in the Textiles Dept. at East Carolina University in North Carolina.  She earned two MFA degrees in Fibers from Colorado State University and Ewha Womans University in South Korea.

She was born and raised in South Korea, and her work reflects her experiences as an immigrant by creating anxiety with pristinely orderly and delicate forms. Lee Isbara’s current body of work tempers the chaos of communication through simple, essential techniques and fluid textile materials.  Her work has been exhibited and published in the United States and internationally. She gives back by serving as a committee member for a variety of non-profit arts-related organizations.
Caitlin Moore is an arts professional living and working in Portland. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2001. Since moving to Portland in 2005 she has worked with non and for-profit arts organizations curating, directing and mounting a variety of arts programming including the management and operation of art galleries both here in Portland and abroad in Berlin, Germany. She is the Gallery Manager at PDX Contemporary Art, has served on an advisory committee at the Art Gym at Marylhurst University, and is currently the Board President of the Northwest Art Council at the Portland Art Museum.


New series starting – interviews with working artists

We’re starting a new series of blog posts this month spotlighting some of our artists.  We’re hopeful that it will give the public and emerging artists a sense of what it’s like to work as an artist in the Portland area.  Kathleen Vidoloff has agreed to conduct the interviews with the artists and we hope to share them monthly.  Our first artist is long-time Portland Open Studios’ artist Diane Russell.

Written by Kathleen G. Vidoloff

I caught up with Diane Russell when she was demonstrating at Blick on Glisan in February.  She shared with me how she ended up working as a full time artist. 

In 2003, she found herself in the middle of a life transition as her employer made the decision to downsize the workforce of creatives.  Diane had to make a life altering decision. Would she continue down the path of illustration, learning yet another version of Photoshop, working in the same avenue of art that she had been doing for 27 years? Or would she venture into something else?

As she pondered her next steps, the longing to leave illustration and pursue painting and drawing full time began to emerge.  She was already doing portrait work while working as an illustrator, but now the decision was clear. She would do what she always wanted to do: pursue painting and drawing full time.  But she needed to develop a plan to make a sustainable income.

Diane admits it’s a financial challenge to be a full time artist. “I had been drawing and painting some musicians but I also added family portraits because I knew I couldn’t make a living with just painting musicians.”

She started out doing outdoor shows, handing out her card, and taking art marketing workshops. She also developed a newsletter to keep people updated on her work.  For her, the newsletter continues to be successful because it keeps people updated on her work. She recalls one instance when she included a picture of a work in progress and ended up selling the piece as a result.  She admits marketing is required to sell art, but is also mindful of the relationship between the art work and the purchaser.

 “Selling art is not like anything else. You don’t go out and try to sell it and you don’t try to close the deal. None of those things apply. It’s more personal than that. So I just let the work sell itself. I feel like if I create something I love that people fall in love with and can’t live without, that’s when they buy the work.”

 Diane also credits Portland Open Studios for her continued success as an artist. She loves participating in the art tour and has done so for the last six years. For her, being able to connect directly with people and show them work they have not yet seen is a huge benefit.

 During the 2015 Open Studios Tour, Diane was approached about showing her work at the Portland Airport, and that conversation resulted in a six month show at the airport’s Concourse E last year.  

 Portland Open Studios creates a unique educational opportunity for the public to witness art in the making, and learn about media, materials and the business of creative endeavor. Through this interaction, Portland Open Studios creates a platform for local artists to thrive, engage and foster a community that values the arts.

 Artists throughout the metro area invite you to their studios during the second and third weekends of October. Visitors experience studio tours, demonstrations of various techniques, and many hands-on opportunities.

 The deadline to apply to be a part of the 2017 Open Studios art tour closes March 3. Apply today!

We have a jury!!!

This is an exciting day for us.  We have a jury!  Every year we look for an artist, a gallerist, and an educator to form our three-person jury.  In this way we are assured that we are giving opportunities to emerging artists while staying on the forefront of the Portland art scene.  We are honored to announce the 2017 Portland Open Studios Jury

Caitlin Moore, the Gallery Manager at PDX Contemporary.

Jiseon Lee Isbara, a local fiber artist and professor at OCAC

Jill McVarish, oil painter with the Riversea Gallery in Astoria.

Thanks to all of you for agreeing to serve on the jury.

Our application deadline is March 3.  Apply here.