Arts & Culture

Step into their studios

Ruth Armitage of Oregon City, Ore., took first place with ‘Fire and Water.’
Ruth Armitage of Oregon City, Ore., took first place with ‘Fire and Water.’ COURTESY PHOTOS

This weekly space could be devoted solely to Studios on the Park in Paso Robles. That’s how much goes on at this downtown art spot each week, from rotating exhibits to shoe painting classes to artists in residence creating while you browse.

The big draw at the moment is “Aquarius 2012,” the Central Coast Watercolor Society’s Pacific Regional Exhibition juried by Christopher Schink. About 40 paintings will hang through the end of the month in The Atrium Gallery at Studios on the Park.

While most of the artists are from the Central Coast, a couple of the top three winners snuck in from out of the area. Ruth Armitage of Oregon City, Ore., took first place with “Fire and Water.” San Jose’s Claire Schroeven Verbiest earned the second place award with “Treasure.” Third place went to Laurie Carlisle of Paso Robles for “Fractal Gears.”

The No. 1 and No. 3 picks are among a teensy number of abstracts in the show. Additional subject matter includes landscapes, florals and dancers. Linda McCord of Longview, Wash., went above and beyond in her depiction of an older woman with her miniature schnauzer. Her “Friends to the End” perfectly captures the look in the eye of a schnauzer that does not particularly like sitting in laps. (I know I had a naughty but lovable one.) McCord took the Central Coast Watercolor Society Member Award.

An additional 13 awards were handed out including the Editha Hayes Spencer Memorial Award to Diann Johnston of Morro Bay for one of my favorite entries, “Belted Kingfisher.” Another fave was Sally Tippman’s Milonga. The Atascadero resident picked up the Nigel Lock Award for her Argentinian dance partners.

Studios on the Park’s second gallery, The Showroom Gallery, regularly features work by members of the Paso Robles Art Association. The next show starts Sept. 20 and runs through the end of the month. “Art For Life” will feature area artists 75 and older.

“These artists design, create, and assemble works that inspire the artist themselves and those around them,” according to entry materials. Phyllis Frank of the Paso Robles Art Association says she is pleased with the fine artists who have already expressed a willingness to step forward and show off their ages. They’ll be bringing in their entries today and tomorrow for consideration. All art will have been created within the last five years and not previously seen in a PRAA show.

Another excuse to visit Paso? I’ll take it. Between the wine, the art and the fine dining, the pull is as strong as the beach some days.

Contact freelance writer Monica Fiscalini at