Fall studio tour this weekend

The 20th anniversary edition of the Fall Beach Studio Tour is set for the coming weekend, when art lovers will be able to spend a glorious autumn weekend strolling through the heart of the Beach, making stops at a baker’s dozen of home studios.

For two decades, local artists have teamed up to organize the intimate tour of their creative output. This year there are 22 artists signed up to show their work in 13 locations.

The home studios are mostly between Woodbine and Victoria Park Avenues, south of Gerrard Street East, with one location a bit to the east. The art on the tour covers a wide gamut, everything from fabric art to pottery, from oil painting to jewelry, from printmaking to sculpture.

Painter Dianne Shelton has been a practising artist in the Beach for four decades. Born and raised in the East End, like many artists, she found her passion for visual creativity as a child. She has pursued arts education in a number of institutions, and worked as a commercial artist before changing careers to a job that allowed more free time for her own art.

Dianne Shelton
Dianne Shelton

She has exhibited around the city, showing acrylics and oils, creating both abstract and figurative work. Her paintings hang on walls around the world, and generally prefers large canvases. See more of her work at dianneshelton.ca.

Sharing Shelton’s Fernwood Park Avenue home for the tour is ceramic artist Karen Franzen, whose home studio near Gerrard Street East and Coxwell Avenue would be a bit of a trek for those who choose to cycle or walk the tour.

Franzen has shown on the tour for more than 10 years, moving around to different locations, but is looking forward to this weekend’s show.

“Dianne and I have known each other for a long time, so it’s a real comfortable fit,” she said.

Karen Franzen
Karen Franzen

Franzen creates bright, lively pieces, ranging from bowls and plates to custom-painted tiles for kitchen backsplashes. Her inspiration comes from textiles and from the work of painters whose work features strong use of colour, such as Paul Cézanne, Paul Klee, Georgia O’Keeffe, and her father Fred Franzen.

Recurring motifs in her work include sunflowers and birds, as well as whimsical use of text, partially inspired by the art of children’s books. Franzen said her work lately has been becoming simpler, though she continues to produce fan favourites and custom pieces to match past work.

The chance to interact not only with art lovers, but with other artists, is a large part of what keeps her returning to take part in the tour each year.

“What I really love is the camaraderie between the artists,” she said. “You have customers who come year after year, and so they become friends too.”

For more of Franzen’s work, including information on her annual Christmas show and classes, see karenfranzen.com.

The Fall Beach Studio tour runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 26. Admission is free, and tour guides are available at a number of Kingston Road and Queen Street East retailers, as well as from the yellow bicycles locked up along both roads. For more information, visit beachstudiotour.ca.

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