Artists Drawing and Photographing Other Artists

By Bonnie Meltzer

Several Portland Open Studios artists visited some of the other studios on the tour to document what artists do. Lisa Parsons, a painter and photographer took pictures of the art process. Allen Schmertzler and Deborah Marble drew the artists at work. Here is a small sampling of all the drawings and photos.

Allen Schmertzler is a master craftsman. Whether he uses chalk and conte crayon for quick drawings or acrylic paint for his people filled paintings, he is able to make the people come alive. They aren’t frozen in stop motion, they are still dancing across the page.

Deborah Marble is one of those artists who makes drawing seem easy. With just a few lines she gets everything just right, from body language to the motion of a scene.

Gene Phillips builds sculptural vessels out of flat slabs of clay that are joined together. The result is a happy marriage between rectangular and curvy shapes that are inspired by the human form and plants. He carves the clay before it is fired to create highly textured repeating patterns.

Wendy Dunder creates lighted sculptures that are made with a process akin to paper mache. The shapes have their roots in nature, resembling giant blooms or pods.

Lisa Parsons, who photographed Allen and Gene is a painter who uses bold sharp shapes as a metaphor for the conflicts in the Middle East.

Each of the individual artists has a unique way of working. The beauty of Portland Open Studios is that you can see a pantheon of art diversity in just two weekends.

Below, Allen Schmertzler drawing Gene Phillips at work (photographed by Lisa Parsons):

And the result:

Below, Lisa Parsons’s photograph of Gene at work:

Below, Debbie Marble’s drawing of Wendy Dunder at work:

To find out how to visit 98 artists’ studios over the weekends of Oct 11, 12, 18, and 19, visit

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