Once a year a select group of artists invite 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 be participating at 18 different studios in Payson and Pine.
The event, a self-guided through a specially produced brochure, takes participants throughout Payson and Pine. So, the tour also provides an opportunity to see some of the area’s less visible attractions – the pretty neighborhoods sprinkled among the hills of the Rim Country.
The works of the 30 artists juried into the show 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 the artists will team with one or two others to share their work in a single studio display. That gives participants a chance to view multiple artists without multiple miles of travel time.
Each year one artist from the group is selected to be the showcase member of the tour. Ruth Overton is the 2013’ Neath the Rim Open Studio Tour featured artist.
Overton has been part of the artistic scene in the Rim Country since 1988.
She makes her home on Fort McDonald Hill, overlooking the Payson Golf Course and will have her studio open for the tour.
Ruth 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 taking 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.”
“I had started in the middle,” Overton said. The class taught her how to mix color, brighten colors, and make them stand out.
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.
The brochures for the tour were included in the Tuesday, April 30 edition of the Payson Roundup, the Rim Review’s parent publication.