Artists from across Brantford and County of Brant opened the gates to their creative domains over the weekend.
The 12th annual Brant Studio Tour featured a showing of 17 studios belonging to local painters, sculptors, printmakers and mixed media artists with numerous works on display on Saturday and Sunday.
“I just lose myself in here,” carver and sculptor Jim Lashbrook said in his Chatham Street studio. “I lose track of time and space. I get so involved.”
A solid butternut wood carving-in-progress of an “old pirate” figure was on display on Lashbrook’s workbench.
“I like to try to build expression in,” Lashbrook said. “(Carvings of) older people have more character. I like them to have wrinkles and hats.”
Lashbrook said he became interested in carving and sculpting while attending Brantford Collegiate Institute in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
“I owe a lot of people for the help they’ve given me,” Lashbrook said. “It didn’t come to me naturally. It is about personal satisfaction and standing back and looking at them.”
Some carvings take between 50 and 60 hours of work, while others take more than 100 hours to complete, Lashbrook said.
“It depends on the detail and size,” he said.
Lenny Everson of Kitchener said he was blown away by Lashbrook’s carvings and sculptures.
“This is definitely some of the most impressive wood carving I have seen,” Everson said.
Acrylic-on-canvas painter Holly Ounapuu of Paris, who professionally goes by “Holly.O.,” said she enjoys her work being on display during the studio tour.
“I have been on the tour for years,” she said. “It is a treat to open up our places of work so people can get a peek at the artistic process.”
Acrylic painting is spontaneous by nature, Ounapuu said.
“It is playful, colorful and immediate,” she said. “It is a way for me to show my passion for life. I enjoy expressing myself through art.”
Floral painting is her specialty, she said.
“The color selection is so bountiful and they lend themselves well to my heavy-textured technique,” Ounapuu said.
For more information about the event, which continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visit www.brantstudiotour.ca.