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Put on your walking shoes for the Studio Waltz

Published September 18, 2004

They've been choreographing this event for years and haven't stumbled once.

It's the 13th annual Studio Waltz, an up-close, self-guided tour of artists' studios that winds throughout Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Safety Harbor and Oldsmar.

Today, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., dozens of artists in north Pinellas will swing open their doors for a personal glimpse into their lives, their work and their artistic techniques. There are 12 stops on the waltz, many of them in the artists' own homes.

"It's a chance to chat with the artists. It's very informal. We want people to come, bring whomever they wish and make a day out of it," said Carol Sackman, an artist on the waltz.

The tour is free. Visitors may start wherever they want and visit as many studios as they wish. Works will be for sale.

Sackman said she and her husband, Blake White, live in a bright green house with purple and turquoise trim in Dunedin.

"We love color. We live in color, it is all around us," she said. Her works include bright, whimsical, hand-painted furniture and soft, stuffed art dolls with famous sayings by women including her favorite, "Age doesn't matter unless it's a cheese."

She won't divulge her own age, but says she has been an artist all of her life. She has a master's degree in fine arts from Maryland Institute College of Art.

Another artist, Lois Rector, 92, proves age doesn't matter. She shows and sells her silk paintings from the Coral Oaks Retirement Center where she lives. For 30 years, she owned the Fiber Art Institute in Palm Harbor, where she taught hundreds of students fiber art and garment design.

"I retired five years ago but I'm still as active as ever," Rector said.

Maps are available at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, 1143 Michigan Blvd.; the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce, 301 Main St.; and the Imago Art Group at Trailside, 464 Douglas Ave. in Dunedin.

The venues are:

Ira and Barbara Burhans, 110 Peterson Lane, Indian Bluff Island, Palm Harbor. (727) 772-9570. They were among the original founders of the Studio Waltz. "Our work is influenced by all the colors of Florida," Ira said. "We love the water, windsurfing and being outside." Barbara creates paper-cast seashells, sea creatures and butterflies. Ira's pottery is wheel-thrown or hand built and he often uses fish in his themes.

Dunedin Fine Arts Center, 1143 Michigan Blvd., Dunedin (727) 298-3322. Multiple artists will talk about their works, which include linoleum block print, etching and engraving, drawing, painting, colored pencil, clay sculpture and pottery.

Carol Sackman and Blake White, 1524 Alamo Lane, Dunedin. (727) 736-4036. Whimsical painting on objects and furniture, art dolls and vibrant mosaics.

Marie Cummings, 1472 Gladys Circle, Dunedin, (727) 735-0231. Cummings said she draws from her emotions, not objects, when she creates. She is a junkhound who collects fabrics, lace, bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard to use on her experimental water-based media paintings. "I like a lot of texture, a lot of color and a lot of layers," she said.

June Harben, 527 Main St., Dunedin. (727) 734-9425. Harben will share her techniques of painting tropical flowers and foliage in bright intense colors. "I am fascinated with combining colors and design, and so appreciative of the colors we have in Florida," she said.

Susan Rollins Gehring, 217 Aberdeen St., Dunedin, (727) 736-2466. Gehring will discuss techniques used in making her multicolored linoleum block prints and etchings. She has a water view in her studio and is inspired by Florida landscapes. "Through the use of light and imaging, I try to project an edgy feeling that Florida is beautiful and peaceful. But don't be fooled, nature can be raw and violent," she said.

Imago Art Group at Trailside, 464 Douglas Ave., Dunedin, (727) 733-5607. About 10 artists will discuss techniques for paint, watercolor, drawing and Asian brush painting.

J. Harrison Smith Fine Art Gallery and Studios, 1356 S Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater, (727) 443-6646. Multiple artists featuring works in bronze and clay sculpture, silk, fiber, Sumi-e (Japanese brush painting), mixed media, pastels, mosaics, oil and acrylics.

Roger Bansemer, 2352 Alligator Creek Road, Clearwater, (727) 797-4658. This well-known artist has published eight lavishly illustrated coffee-table books. He will talk about his illustrations, paintings and prints. "I am inspired by all the natural beauty around us," he said.

Dino Kotopoulis, 319 Bailey St., Safety Harbor, (727) 726-4610. A former art director and animator, Kotopoulis worked on the Charlie Tuna character years ago. Now he designs funny metal sculptures like long-legged sheep in high heels. He also creates amusing mailboxes. "We need humor in our lives, especially now," he said.

Lee, Loyd, and Diane Jones, 3839 Shore Blvd., Oldsmar, (813) 855-5558. This family of artists includes a mother, father and son. They design metal sculptures including mangrove tables, birds, crabs and fish. Diane will give handmade paper demonstrations and visitors may take their creations home with them.

Lois Rector & Maryellen Tully, Coral Oaks Retirement Community, 900 Westlake Road, Palm Harbor, (727) 784-0107. Active senior artists with silk paintings and multimedia on paper.

[Last modified September 18, 2004, 01:25:45]

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