Once a year a select group of artists invites the world into their lives. These artists are the juried members of the annual Payson Art League ’Neath the Rim Open Studio Tour, presented this year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 3, 4 and 5.
More than 30 Rim Country artists will participate at 18 studios in Payson and Pine.
The self-guided tour with a specially produced brochure takes participants throughout Payson and Pine, which means participants also get to tour some pretty neighborhoods sprinkled among the hills of the Rim Country.
The works of the 30 artists encompass a galaxy of media, from oil, watercolor and acrylic paintings to photography, charcoals and sculpture to jewelry, fiber art, clay and ceramic, wood, scratchboard art and mixed media.
In most cases, several artists team up to share their work in a single studio display.
The tour also provides demonstrations and refreshments, plus raffle tickets for 33 original works to be awarded Sunday afternoon. The proceeds will benefit PAL’s art education project for children.
This year’s featured artist is Ruth Overton, part of the artistic scene in the Rim Country since 1988. She makes her home on Fort McDonald Hill, overlooking Payson Golf Course and will have her studio open for the tour.
Overton and her friend, Bettie Wilson, were living in Kansas City, Mo., when Wilson asked Overton along to a drawing class.
Overton thought, “I can’t draw a straight line.”
Wilson, a preacher’s wife, said, “Balderdash. Just come along.”
And who can argue with a preacher’s wife?
“So we went,” Overton recalled.
Overton took drawing classes for a year, then moved into watercolor for several years before moving into oil.
After 13 years of classes, Overton took several workshops from a well-known artist. “It was like starting all over,” Overton recalled.
Classes started at hello — “this is a brush.”
Today, Overton takes pictures and files them away in one of her four or five file cabinets that she uses to organize her pictures.
“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” Overton said about picking elements from photos she wants to combine in a painting. “Very rarely do I just take one photo and that will be it.”
When taking photographs, Overton emphasizes capturing the areas of light and dark more than she does color. Colors are more easily altered than shades, she says.
“I’m more of a colorist than anything else,” she says.
Overton will share her studio space with John Finkey of Apache Junction, who works in jewelry and welded sculpture.
Get the brochures for the tour in today’s edition of the Payson Roundup or at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, at the corner of Highway 87 (the Beeline) and Historic West Main Street; the Payson Public Library, 328 N. McLane Rd.; Artists of the Rim Gallery, 618 N. Highway 87 in the Swiss Village shops; and Down the Street Art Gallery, 703 W. Main St.