CLOSE TO THE CANVASES: If you've ever watched a documentary about painting or sculpture or textiles or the fiber arts, you've likely found yourself quite engaged with what the artist is saying regarding their technique or style or routine or philosophy. During the pauses, though, and quieter moments of the interview, you, the viewer, have likely spent a few seconds looking around and beyond the subject, into their studio, the better to see if they place the easel near the window and where the potter's wheel might be. It can go beyond curiosity, for the art fan, to see the very place where creation happens, but getting inside a busy painter's private work space is a pretty rare thing. Save, of course, during a studio tour, and there are few around the Golden State as venerable and as artistful as the Ojai Studio Artists Tour. It has, after all, been around for over three decades -- plus a couple of years -- and it happens in an area that has long been rich with a deep and creative vibe, a vibe that thrums through several disciplines. Perhaps loveliest of all is the fact that this three-day tour is self-guided, so if one studio in particular sticks in your heart, and you need some extra time to step outside and ponder that artist's process, well, by gum, the "self-guided" part gives you a little extra air.
FRIDAY, OCT. 9 THROUGH SUNDAY, OCT. 11 are the dates, and the artists number in the dozens upon dozens. There will be fifty in all -- can you see that many studios, truly and really see and soak in? -- and collectors, admirers, first-timers, and lookie-loos will be out and around the valley. There's also a live music happening on Saturday, and a separately ticketed dessert reception, so if you want to fill out your time in the rustic-artastic region, there will be ways to do so. But be sure to study up on the sculptors and photographers and painters and illustrators dotting the lengthy rosters before setting out to see where they make the pictures and beautiful objects that bewitch and confound, sometimes both at the very same time. Is it any wonder that we, the curious public, crane our necks a bit to see what's inside the studio? How rare when we really do get to glide right through the door.