Three Rivers Artists Prepare for Studio Tour Eleven

Martha Widmann paints what she calls “slow art.”
Martha Widmann paints what
she calls “slow art.”

Three Rivers Artists’ Studio Tour Eleven is a self-guided, biennial studio tour event scheduled for March 21-23, from 10am-5pm each day. Starting at the Three Rivers Historical Museum on Highway 198, visitors will be given a descriptive guidebook and map to find the studios tucked in the rolling foothills of the small town.

Visitors will meet artists in their actual workspaces, seeing how their art is made along with the art itself, especially all the new work created over the two-year cycle since the last studio tour.

All of the artists preparing for Three Rivers Artists’ Studio Tour Eleven describe their art studios as places of sustenance and incubation for bringing their artwork to life.

  • Jana Botkin has two studio spaces, a small cabin where she has been making detailed, intricate pencil drawings for a new book on the cabins of Wilsonia (a private enclave near Grant Grove). Her large garage/shed is her oil painting space, where she paints the local landscape of mountain, river and valley.
  • Rick Badgley makes fine handcrafted furniture in his underground workshop, where he will showcase samples of his functional chairs, tables and cabinets.
  • Anne Birkholz makes bowls (and much more) from wood scraps she finds in unlikely places, and from some that friends drop at her door. She uses a lathe to turn the wood chunks, with sawdust and wood chips flying, uncovering distinctive works of art.
  • Mona Selph paints stunning landscapes on large canvasses that express her emotional connections to mountain, desert and sky. She built her studio for extensive exploration of the many art forms she uses, from printmaking to watercolor, and clay sculpture to pastel and ink. George Smith has expanded his extensive functional stoneware collection to include clay landscapes that depict scenes inspired by the local landscape. His large clay studio includes many kilns, some for salt glaze firing and pit fire that he made himself.
  • Nadi Spencer, known for her murals and paintings of local scenes, now paints poignant acrylic portraits of dogs as special commissions for their owners. These portraits have traveled all over the world, with the initial contacts coming from an international exposure that she has found via Facebook.
  • Nikki Crain hand-weaves colorful shawls for her wearable art collection with carefully chosen fine threads and some of her hand-dyed yarns. She has nine looms, where with flying shuttle and happy feet on pedals, she also weaves towels, placemats and functional items for the home.
  • Clayton Porter has been gathering fine gems and jewels for several decades. He encircles them with wrapped gold wire, using no solder or glue, making a completely different setting for each ring or pendant.
  • Christine Sell-Porter found oil and brush to be her ideal art medium. She loves to paint nature and landscape scenes, especially ones that she has found since moving to Three Rivers a few years ago.
  • Shirley Keller traverses a diverse artist’s palette, including photography, clay mask-making and painting colorful dot patterns on found metal objects. She calls her studio and home “Spirit Hill.”
  • Martha Widmann paints what she calls “slow art.” Her profound images emerge from an inner process, appearing on small and large canvas, with uniquely designed frames. She uses acrylic paint, which allows her control over the consistency of the paint, sometimes painting with the most translucent, clear layers of color.
  • Work by Nancy Jonnum
    Work by Nancy Jonnum

    Jerry Jonnum works with clay and earth-sourced materials to make mosaic installations and large-scale individual artworks. For many past studio tours, he assisted his late wife, Nancy Jonnum, a distinctive clay sculptor and potter. Nancy was to have been the featured artist for this studio tour, but following a sudden, unexpected diagnosis of leukemia, she died in late 2012. Her clay studio will open during the studio tour to honor her outstanding life’s work and memory. Jerry and her family welcome all to share stories and see the family’s personal collection of her whimsical clay sculpture.

  • Elsah Cort is a collage artist, blending her lifelong love of photography into new digital collages, which she calls digital paintings. She uses computer, color, texture and layering to make surprising images. The featured art for this studio tour is a digital painting she calls “Sustenance,” made from photographs of mannequins in store windows and flowers from her garden.

Tickets for the studio tour are $20 per adult, $5 per child under age 12. Tickets, good for all three days, can be purchased at Arts Visalia Gallery, the Three Rivers Historical Museum, online at, or by calling 561-4671. Tickets are also available at the door each day.

Use your voice

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *