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Colfax painter welcomes visitors to studio

Autumn Art Studios Tour this weekend
By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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The Autumn Art Studios Tour taking place this weekend is an opportunity to get a peak into the art, and studios, of some of Placer County’s best artists. Oil painter Sandra Delong, whose studio in her rural Colfax home overlooks Rollins Lake, is one of those artists. Delong has participated in most Autumn Art Tours for the last 10 years. “People enjoy coming here for the ambiance,” she said. As an en plein air – or open air – painter, Delong takes advantage of her home’s mountain setting for inspiration. “I like the outdoors – that’s my passion,” Delong said. A contemporary impressionist, Delong uses light to explore color as she paints landscapes and outdoor still lifes. Delong also travels a great deal, having recently returned from a 10-day painting trip to Santorini, Greece with a group of artists led by Loomis artist Victoria Brooks. “The island is just beautiful. (It has an) extinct volcano,” Delong said. “The Greeks who live on the island love tourists and they’re really friendly. They have lots of restaurants and gift shops … It’s a beautiful area.” In 2010 Delong visited New Zealand with her mentor, Kevin MacPherson, and another group of artists. “He’s a master artist, from Taos, N.M. I’ve been traveling with him and his company since 2002. We’ve been all over the world as a group,” she said. Delong said she first took a workshop from MacPherson on a friend’s recommendation that MacPherson “was an excellent teacher and lots of fun. I did and went to Iceland and Norway with him,” she said. Thirteen years ago, Delong joined the Chroma Gallery in Fair Oaks, which closed last December, and became a professional artists. She still takes master classes from MacPherson, but no longer to learn someone else’s style. “I have my own style now. I just really need to be with artists of like minds. The critiques are very valuable, particularly with Kevin,” she said. Because plein air painters must carry their canvases wherever they go, most of Delong’s paintings are smaller, either 9-by-12 inches and 12-by-16 inches. Paintings done in the studio, from photographs taken at outdoor sites, can be larger. For the art tour, she will be showing about 20 paintings. Brooks said Delong’s work is completely unique because she has merged different styles. “Sandy … is a good palette-knife artist, but she has also introduced the brush. She comes from a background of the school of color and light … warm and cool. She’s taken the best from a lot of different styles and made it her own,” Brooks said. Delong is not only a professional artist, she’s also a professional tax preparer, an enrolled agent, licensed by the IRS. “I was painting first,” Delong said. “I’d do maybe one workshop a year, raising children … I’ve been painting kind of steady about 25 years.” During tax season, she maintains regular officer hours in her downtown Colfax office, but only works there once a week the rest of the year. “When tax season ends on May 1, I’ll get a call from Victoria Brooks,” Delong said, asking her if she’s ready to paint. “Can you play now?” Brooks asks her. Almost 70 artists are participating in PlacerArts’ 18th annual Autumn Art Studios Tour. In addition to Delong, local area artists include Applegate’s Charlie Iveson, a painter, and sculptor Jay Stargaard, of Weimar. Angela Tahti, executive director for PlacerArts, said the art tour is also an excellent opportunity to explore the area. “If you’re newish to Placer County or if you haven’t been on the tour, it’s a great way to get to know various communities,” Tahti said. “Our artists are some of the nicest people you’re ever meet. They’re great ambassadors.” Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Nov. 11 to 13. Tickets for adults are $10 each and can be used all three days. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are admitted free of charge. For a directory of participating artists and a list of ticket sales locations, visit PlacerArts.org/aast. ------------------------ AUTUMN ART STUDIOS TOUR What: Self-guided tour of artists’ private studios and group shows at galleries and public spaces When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday - Sunday, Nov. 11-13 Where: Throughout Placer County, from Colfax to Roseville Cost: Three-day ticket is $10 for adults; students K-12 admitted free Information: Visit placerarts.org/aast for directory of participating artists and list of ticket sales locations