The countryside will be flush with art as the Kissing Bridge Trail Studio Tour is back again, celebrating its 15th outing later this month.
This year’s tour will showcase 11 art studios in St. Jacobs, Elmira and the surrounding countryside, including some fresh faces on the scene such as Elmira painter Jennifer Horst.
A self-taught artist, Horst took up painting just about five years ago.
Realizing she had a knack for the art form, she began exploring painting more deeply and enjoyed being able to express herself through the medium, developing a passion.
“For me I think it is more a chance to express yourself in a different way,” she said. “Art often tells a story.”
Looking around Horst’s backyard art studio, it is hard to say exactly what her style is, although each work expresses a meticulousness unique to her paint brush. On the furthest wall from the door she has detailed drawings of feathers, on an easel to the right her abstract expression of the devastation from the BC forest fires and displayed on her table, a passion she found around the same time as that of her painting – Haida art.
“I think that I have multiple personalities going on,” she said.
“About five years ago I was intrigued by native art,” she said, noting her ancestral connection. “I was on a trip out west and I just started to really like the Haida art, so I started to play around with that. It can run from abstract to inspired from Haida art – with the aboriginal artwork they all tell a story, so the feathers mean different things, there are different native birth animals. All have a meaning and tell a story of generations gone by, so there is that element, and then more currently often artists are trying to tell a story through their painting or something they have witnessed or seen.”
Although she is new to the scene, she is happy to see the arts on display in her town.
“I am excited for the tour mainly because I like the idea that we are promoting something else other than athletics,” she said. “I think that the arts culture has always been crying for a little bit of attention, a little bit of exposure.”
“So I like the idea that there is something else being promoted and being part of that is kind of neat,” she added.
Painting is a theme throughout studios on the tour, however, there are many artists who focus their creativity on alternative outlets, such as pottery, jewelry, bookbinding, fabric works, blown and cast glass and, in the case of first-time participant Vicky Abrams-Ogg, encaustic collage.
Encaustic painting is the art of using heated beeswax, combined with colored pigments to create art on a surface of the craftsmen’s choosing.
“I just felt like I knew instantly that I could incorporate everything that I liked creatively in to this medium,” she explained.
As a photographer for more than a decade, Abrams-Ogg became intrigued in marrying her work with other mediums to create collages, leading her to the craft.
“I use that in combination with images I have taken and various amounts of found objects that tickle my fancy at the time, and then I just kind of pull it all together,” she said.
After seeing the tour last year, she felt it would be a great way to showcase her encaustic work.
“I have been creating encaustic art pieces for about five years and I got to the point where I felt like I wanted to show somebody,” she said. “When we moved out here last fall before the tour happened I happened to see brochure and thought that it looked so well done, beautiful artists, beautiful area and I thought you know this would be a really great way to start.”
Abrams-Ogg and Horst will be joined by nine other art studios for the 15th Annual Kissing Bridge Trail Studio Tour running 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on October 21 and 22. More information can be found online at www.kbtstudiotour.ca.