Artists waiting just Around the Corners


INNISFIL -- Cookstown's Around the Corners Studio Tour features nine new artists and one new stop this year. The self-directed tour starts tonight, in conjunction with the town's annual Light up Night event.

The Worthy Art Studio is the newest stop to join the tour, southwest of Cookstown on the 11th Line. It features artist Helen Marioncu's figurative, animal and landscape paintings.

The new Cookstown Library is also on the tour. Ten artists will be showing a wide range of work, from paintings to photography, jewelry, polymer clay relief sculpture and more.

Innisfil artist Jeannette Luchese joins the tour for the first time at this location. Art has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember.

A preoccupation with drawing as a youth led to Sheridan College and career in design arts and graphic design. More than 30 years later, she returned to school, this time to the School of Visual Arts and Design, Georgian College, Barrie campus.

"I never wanted to be categorized as a starving artists," said Luchese, who wanted to return to doing her own art and went back to school when her son left home for university. "I've always known -- it's been destined from the beginning."

Still, it was a winding road. The talent was there when she started out. Luchese was accepted into second year of Ontario College of Art directly from high school but got sidetracked by life. Going back to Georgian College, she started off part-time and lost a year to a car accident.

Since graduating in 2008, Luchese has been showing her work around Ontario. Her work ranges from contemporary paintings, to printmaking, drawing and sculpture.

"I think of my work as an experiment -- I love to create experiments," Luchese said. "I like to play in fused glass -- I make glass pendants that are different. I really like the molten aspect of glass."

She expects to have some glass pieces in the tour. There are 21 artists in the Around the Corners Studio Tour, at seven stops. All three founders -- portrait artist Cindy Roddick-Smith, Christina Luck (paintings, sculptures and picture books), and Ruth Draper (paintings) -- return this year, each with their own stop.

Regular tour-goers will see that Maria Gray has completed renovations her studio, which is located on the lower level of a barn.

The upstairs is now complete and much of the original building has been retained. The stop, called The Red Barn Studio, is located on King Street, and includes one guest artist, Denis Bolohan. He will be showing hand-engraved stone relief and sculpture with companion rubbings and embossings.

By contrast, Gray's work consists of abstract, realism, colourful reflections of life on canvas.

"I like the freedom of movement that comes from abstract painting," Gray said. "Nothing is ever wrong when you're painting in abstract."

She said Parkinson's, which she has had for the past six years, may have impacted her ability to do a straight line, but it hasn't stopped her painting. She has been on the Cookstown tour from its inception four years ago.

Selected work by tour artists will also be on display at the Cookstown Antique Market. Brochures with maps are available from all tour stops, local stores and libraries.

The fourth annual Around the Corners Studio Tour runs 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight and continues Saturday, Nov. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free and all of the stops have been consolidated this year so that they are within walking distance or a short drive from each other.

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