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From Inside the Studio

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Ready to Paint: Rita Scafidi contemplating the process.

Art is so often a quiet activity. It starts as an internal imagining that comes into the world in colors, lines, and forms. These may take on the shape of an image, but sometimes are just amorphous meanderings, like those thoughts that fleet by like drifting clouds, so real one moment but gone the next. Regardless how private the internal process may be, once it appears on canvas, paper, or sculpture, it is no longer a monologue. It has escaped the womb of privacy to become visual, and as a visual entity, it can speak to those who see it, thus creating a conversation. Conversations are meant to be heard. Those in a conversation rightfully demand to be heard. For those of us who create visual arts, our cry is to be seen. For it is in the seeing of the visual expression that the other conversations begin, the ones that give the artists voice.

While Colorado Springs has some wonderful galleries, alternative venues for displays, and burgeoning art destination areas, individual artists are always looking for ways to be seen. Art All Around Artists Home Studio Tours is another way to show the public our work. Artist Shannon Mello (see ) works in a variety of media, including encaustic, for which she gives classes, and has taken the lead in organizing this event which this year, May 20th & 21st, included some 60 artists. There is an autumn version planned as well for October 7th & 8th (for more see

When the announcement of the spring tour came out, Miriam Brock approached Rita Scafidi and me about showing together and graciously offered her

lovely Shadowdog Studio for us to use. Like the three muskateers, with her husband Art as D'Artagnan, we set out on this adventure. Once the date approached, things began to take shape. Rita did our graphics, Miriam and Art rearranged her studio, and I planned a little social media campaign. The Friday before the tour we got everything in place. Refreshments were figured out, payment methods ascertained, and most importantly, we loved how our work looked in what was clearly a gorgeous studio setting.

Shadow Dog Studio and a table of my watercolor on canvas paintings

It was a chilly, foggy day on the 20th which slowed the flow of visitors, but which also allowed the three of us to appreciate each other's art, as we all have quite distinct voices. That reflective mood seems to have been echoed in the reactions of the visitors, most of whom were artists. As Rita Scafidi said when thinking of that day, "Seemed like most of our visitors were artists. They also liked to talk about their experiences with their particular medium. It seemed as though it was a common language."

Paintings by Miriam Brock

What I noticed was how each of us talked in a sort of mini-lecture series on our approach to art. Miriam Brock works in oils and had many of them beautifully framed on one wall. She would give the visitor a tour of her North American landscapes. I say North American as she is Canadian by birth, and her work often depicts various places there. With her taboret and easel in place, she talked of techique with visitors, many of whom had a wide range of experience themselves. Brock had designed her space to hold a table of oil paintings on canvas board, which sold well as they were at very moderate prices (see below).

Tuesday Morning Painting by Marjorie Vernelle Watercolor on Canvas 25" x 32"

When the interest wandered my way, I saw them looking puzzled at my paintings on canvas. I would mention that I paint watercolor on canvas. That prompted some interesting interaction as we talked about the process and the difference between working on paper and working on canvas in feel, technique, and results. The biggest surprise seemed to be the ability to paint in larger sizes than normally associated with water color. The second piece of information that lit up the eye was understanding that watercolor ground can allow you to correct mistakes, as canvas is strong enough to use the ground to make "white-out" corrections. Oh the joy!

Rita Scafidi Landscapes and Portraits in Oil.

From there the flow of traffic ended in a beautiful alcove of windows and oil paintings by Rita Scafidi. Scafidi does plein air painting and portraits in an alla prima style (all in one go). Her ability to focus in order to capture the most beautiful lines allows her to create mood, expression, and feeling all in one sitting. She says that sometimes she will return to a painting, but basically she likes to finish a painting in one take. Working on canvas which she cuts from a roll of canvas and stretches onto a board, allows her to easily and affordably create many works. To show them here, she borrowed a watercolor method by putting them in matts, which could be adhered to the wall without nail holes. Scafidi also had a special set of small works, color sketches of people from around the world. By using Google Earth and Google Quest, she manages to get figures from wonderful street scenes and market settings in all kinds of places on the planet. She creates little 5" x 7" or 4" x 6" figures in whatever is the clothing of the area, doing the activities of the day.

Thus, we passed the two days in total art mode but at a pleasant pace, with good conversations between the three of us and our visitors, plus some sales. Perhaps most importantly we had the feeling of being seen, the fulfullment of those visual conversations that came from our interior monologues. Our hope is to have and help Art All Around expand its outreach beyond the community of artists to more of the community of art lovers.

Miriam Rita Marjorie

Contact the Artists: Miriam Brock, Shadowdog Studio

Rita Scafidi Instagram ritas_art_vault

Should you be interested in articles on art history combined with a discussion of wines, go to my other art blog, Also see my author page at

© Marjorie Vernelle 2023

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