POSTED ON APRIL 7, 2010:
Behind the Scenes
Audiences get a look at artists' creative spaces and art during the annual Art Studio Tour
Down-Home Art. Bob Sober and his wife Sandy Sober are enjoying their retirement by doing what they want to do, which is to create art in their own home.
Since I began writing about art, I've been intrigued by artists' studios. To me, they're places of brilliance and inspiration, where the magnificent process of creation takes place.
Most artists, though, will tell you they're nothing more than work spaces. Although they lend themselves to the creative process, they're largely functional. Within them are the tools artists need to do their jobs.
Knowing this, I'm still inspired by visits to these studios. I work in a small downtown office (and, frequently, on the couch in my living room). My tools are pens and paper, periodicals and a computer. While they serve the purpose of aiding me in the accomplishment of my work, and while I frequently find inspiration while at work, I wouldn't consider my work space particularly inspiring.
For those like me, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition hosts an annual Art Studio Tour, a two-day, self-guided tour of local artists' studios.
On the map this year are the studios of mixed media artist Milissa Burkart, ceramicists Frank Campbell and Barbara Buell, photographer Gaylord Herron, painter and mixed media artist Mark Lewis, painter and mixed media artist Chris Mantle, silkscreen artist Denny Schmickle, sculptor Chris Wollard and photographers and painters Bob and Sandy Sober.
I know the Sobers and have visited their studio before, and I dropped in on them again last week in order to give y'all a little preview of this weekend's Art Studio Tour.
Bob Sober is a retired architect and Sandy Sober a retired commercial interior designer, and although art has long been practiced in their home, neither produced his or her own art until after their children, both men and both artists, left home.
Their studio is the first room to welcome you upon entering the couple's midtown home. What used to be their living room is now a bright, colorful workspace, divided by a very clear pencil line on the wall (because, Sandy Sober said, her husband tends to creep into her side of the studio).
At opposite ends of the room are easels holding halfway finished paintings, rolling cork boards onto which each artist tacks his or her inspiration, photographs and other artwork. The two work side-by-side, albeit about six feet away from each other.
On the other side of the fireplace is another family room-turned-work space -- an office, with two large desks situated next to each other.
"This is pretty much where we live," Bob Sober said.
Sandy Sober jokes that her sons are jealous of their parents' studio -- when they were kids, the dining room table was their art studio, and their supplies were stored in a kitchen drawer.
Perhaps it's because they were so busy helping their children reach their creative potential that the Sobers didn't create their own work until they retired. They began with photography and then started taking painting lessons from Ross Myer.
Sandy Sober said she nearly majored in art at Oklahoma State University, but an adviser told her she should choose something that would make her money. She did, and now she's doing what she wants.
The two have different styles, but each influences the other's work, and both have made bright, vibrant colors their trademark.
Bob Sober's work can be described as photo-realism with pop art tendencies. His most notable body of work, recently displayed at Circle Cinema, 12 S. Lewis, is a collection of pieces inspired by The Beatles' Yellow Submarine characters.
Sandy Sober's work is also realistic and almost always explores long shadows and high contrast. She said she likes shadows because they lend themselves to perspective.
"Shooting something in midday is not very interesting to me," she said.
Sandy Sober said some of the tools she and her husband can't live without are good lighting (the studio boasts multiple professional lamps in addition to two large windows), bed risers, which she places underneath furniture so she can stand and work comfortably and the cork boards for displaying inspiration.
Both artists said they also enjoy visiting others' studios, learning about their technique and inspiration.
The Tulsa Art Studio Tour is Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11 from 12-5pm. Passports to the tour are $5 in advance at www.tulsaartstudiotour.org and $10 day of at any of the studios and include a map.
Art in the Corncob
Ten local artists will display their work this weekend at the University Club Tower, perhaps one of Tulsa's most recognizable structures, at 1722 S. Carson Ave.
The "Ten Towering Artists Show & Sale" begins Friday, April 9 with a reception from 5-8pm and continues Saturday, April 10, from 10am-3pm.
Participating artists include: woodworker Michael Benton; jewelry maker Bill Derrevere; painters Harriet Derrevere, Vonda Evans, Micheal Jones, Jo Lynch, Don Pearson and Joey Frisillo; photographer Al Frisillo; sculptor Virginia Harrison; and ceramicist Craig Wood.
Service dog trainers will provide demonstrations and University Club Tower representatives will give tours of the apartment building.
The event is free and open to the public, and more information is available at tentoweringartists.com.
East Coast Meets Midwest
On Wednesday, April 14, Aberson Exhibits, 3524B S. Peoria, presents the work of New York artist Jen Bradford with a reception from 6-8pm.
In 2004, a New York Times art critic called Bradford's oil and wax paintings "elegant and earthy, possessing surface textures that are rich and sensual."
Bradford presents a collection of 13 new paintings at the exhibit, which runs through May 8.
The event is in collaboration with Center 1 neighbor SR Hughes, which will display at Aberson hand-knotted carpets by Stephanie Odegard.
The exhibit is free and open to the public, and gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am-5pm, or by appointment. More information at abersonexhibits.com.
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