Three Mesa artists from the Nearby News area will participate in Arizona’s largest studio tour and sale, Hidden in the Hills, November 17 to November 19, and November 24 to November 26.
Marjie Risk, Sandi Ciaramitaro and Carol Varley will show off their work in the Desert Foothills communities of Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale. A signature event of the nonprofit Sonoran Arts League, Hidden in the Hills features 174 artists in 44 studios.
Now in its 21st year, the free, self-guided studio tour offers seasoned collectors and art enthusiasts a rare chance to observe artists at work in private studios, which are open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the six-day tour. Each studio has one or more guest artists who also display and sell their work.
Risk is a metal artist whose whimsical pieces are inspired by nature’s beauty and diversity. She will be a guest artist at Marlene Sabatina’s Studio No. 24.
“I strive to create environmental and natural resource-based artwork using various types of metal and handcrafted, hand-fired ceramics,” Risk said. “My work varies from ceramic creations with supporting metal structures to stand-alone metal sculptures.”
Her whimsical steel creatures are made largely from salvaged metal.
“I really enjoy creating different visual effects with rusted steel and copper patinas on my metal work and exploring the varied possibilities of the unique blend of glazes I use on my ceramics,” she said.
Ciaramitaro expresses her love of the Southwest through oil and watercolor paintings and bronze sculpture. She will exhibit her work at Studio No. 19, hosted by Patricia Isaacson.
While Ciaramitaro travels throughout Arizona, New Mexico and California to discover new subject matter, she’s often inspired by Usery Mountain.
“To watch the sun rise on the desert and light the cacti like candelabras is truly inspirational,” she said. “Each location I work from needs to inspire me when I am there, or it is simply not painted. Without that feeling of intimacy, a drawing is merely a picture. I want my audience to feel that they are with me, and that they can experience the meaning of the place when they step into the piece.”
Varley is a photographic artist who is known for her innovative use of color and light. Using multiple digital programs for post editing, she often keeps a hidden black-and-white “layer” for a denser final image. In addition, she often uses paint techniques and color enhancements in post-production to evoke emotions that help tell a story.
“I am inspired by the beauty of nature, depths of humanity, and unfiltered environments,” Varley said. “I frequently create images that reflect the honesty, strength, and dreaminess of my subject matter. I swing back and forth between my love of light, shadow and color—honing in the impressionistic views like the artists of the early 20th century, and the bold vibrant graphics I grew up with. I am captivated by the beauty of the desert, and I try to capture and convey that breathless magic in all of my art.”
Varley is a guest artist at Nicolette Maguire Bonnstetter’s Studio No. 7.
For more information about the artist studio tour, call 480-575-6624, or visit hiddeninthehills.org.