Artists open studios for locals during annual tour

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 30, 2008

NATCHEZ — For the general public, the secret lives of artists aren’t commonly seen, or likely even thought of.

But on Saturday, the public had a chance to look inside those often-unseen lives and even get a glimpse of the artistic process.

Saturday’s Artist Studio Tour, sponsored by the Natchez Downtown Development Association, was just the third of its kind.

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The event had people stopping at galleries and workshops across the city to catch a glimpse of artists at work.

At High Cotton, chef, food photographer and co-owner Karry Hosford was ready to showcase her art.

Hosford is a freelance food photographer, and while the title sounds self-explanatory, she said some people have a difficult time actually grasping what she does.

“I just tell them ‘If you’ve seen a picture of food, someone had to make that happen,’” she said. “It took someone with tweezers and a lot of time.”

And while Hosford said her work requires precession and skill, it also requires her to work quickly.

Hosford said the lights used when shooting food get very hot and aren’t good for the food.

But Hosford’s work also requires her to be creative, like the time she discovered starch, the kind used on shirts, won’t allow syrup to soak into pancakes.

“It won’t absorb and so it looks great,” she said.

Across town Carolyn Gwin, and Margaret Watts were being equally as creative as Hosford, albeit with different tools.

Gwin and Watts, both retired teachers and painters, were set up at Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center Performing Arts Center and just waiting for visitors.

While they waited, Watts worked on one of her newest paintings while Gwin inked out a sketch on paper.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for anyone,” Watts said of the event.

Watts said she thought the event would be beneficial to not only those who seldom get a view of the artistic process but would have a benefit to the artists as well.

“It expands creativity,” Watts said of the conversation between artists and those who come to view their art. “And many of them may not have been exposed to working artists.”

While the event started at noon, by 1 p.m. Gwin said she and Watts had a fair amount of visitors with good questions.

“It’s going pretty good so far,” Gwin said.

NDDA Director Carrie Lambert said while the event got a slow start, she too was pleased with the turnout.

“It’s turning out better than we thought,” she said mid-day Saturday.