Young artists add vitality to arts group Studio Tour


Last updated 9/12/2023 at 10:14am

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Raina Verhey and Taylor Manoles will meet the public during the September 23-24 Studio Tour.

The Sisters Arts Association's Seventh Annual Artist Studio Tour is happening Saturday and Sunday, September 23-24. This is a self-guided driving tour, featuring 32 artists in 19 home studios and host galleries, in and around Sisters.

This year, three young artists are excited to meet the public and make new friends at Space in Common, Sisters' newest art gallery at 351 W. Hood Ave. Taylor Manoles and Raina Verhey are both oil painters who live in Bend, and Maren Burck is a ceramist painter who lives in Sisters. They, along with gallery owner Amelia Morton, represent an up-and-coming dynamic in the Sisters Arts Association.

Manoles grew up in Minnesota where as a kid she loved to draw - horses, and only horses. Her aunt, who is an artist, gave her a proper oil painting class - which inspired her to major in art education with an emphasis on painting at North Dakota State.

After a year of teaching, she turned to creating her art full-time. Being a self-employed full-time artist is like having three or four different full-time jobs. Of course there is painting - Manoles tries to spend three or four days a week doing that - and then there's everything else – building and maintaining her website, keeping up on email and social media, selling, packing, and shipping.

"It's extremely satisfying being totally self-employed and getting to work and live in the places you want to be," she said.

Her artwork explores themes of faith and the human experience through the natural world of flora and fauna. The landscapes are intense, vivid, with deliberate, angular strokes.

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Manoles enjoys climbing, doing anything in the outdoors, with her husband, Joe, and border collie, Finn.

"I love the Studio Tour because it's a chance to get out of my own bubble and into the community," she said. "I'll get to meet people, and to hang out with Raina, Amelia, and Maren. I look forward to putting down roots here. I have a goal of scheduling one thing a month like this that will keep me focused."

Verhey was raised outside of Atlanta, the eldest of five and homeschooled in literary classics. Her teenage notebooks were filled with sketches but she didn't consider creating art until she turned 18. She began making really big shapes that expressed her feelings. At first she did a lot of abstract line drawings, and eventually migrated to watercolor. Her story is one of creativity born through depression. Her abstract scribbles became the language for what she could not say in words.

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Then one day, she decided to create oil paintings, so she went out and bought all the necessary materials. She is proud of the fact that she's 100 percent self-taught, through reading and learning about different artists and their techniques.

Her canvases are abstract, dreamlike with bright colors and shapes that suggest more than depict landscape. She calls them landscapes of the soul. On days off, she loves to drive out into the desert in her off-road Prius, spend time with her boyfriend, or just sit and think.

"I am a ponderer!" she said. Aside from creating art and spreading the good work through social media, Verhey loves to spend time shopping at farmers' markets and preparing big meals to entertain friends.

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She is excited to be part of this year's studio tour, to create a genuine connection between artists like herself and the people who visit. She's anxiously looking forward to building a foundation for the arts in this area, after so much of life as we knew it was washed away by Covid.

"I want to spend the weekend talking about and seeking out that cultural appreciation," she said.

Maren Burck is an artist and illustrator. She and Laura Campbell grew up in Sisters and have been friends since childhood. Their pottery is collaborative. Campbell makes the ceramics, and Burck hand paints each one-of-a-kind piece with cobalt underglaze. Her designs are inspired by her Norwegian heritage, giving her work a distinctly Scandinavian feel. The ceramics include dishes, collectables, figurines, jewelry, and more.

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The Studio Tour weekend begins with the Fourth Friday Artwalk through 10 Sisters galleries on September 22. The Studio Tour follows on Saturday and Sunday, September 23 and 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Studios will be open to all visitors.

The tour is self-guided and free. You may arrange your visit in any order, and spend as little or as much time as you like with artists, to see what they do and how they do it. They will have works in progress, and finished pieces for sale.

Other artists making their Studio Tour debut are Ruth Carroll (oil painter), Donna Denker (watercolor and mixed-media painter), Lim Khim Katy (oil painter), and Garth Williams (oil painter).

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Back after a short hiatus are Len Babb (Western oil painter), Gary Cooley (bronze sculptor and painter), Steve Mathews (color pencil on wood artist), Mary Moore (ceramicist), and Dan Rickards (oil painter).

Favorite artists returning are J. Chester Armstrong (wood sculptor), Kay Baker (oil and pastel painter), Linda Barker (upcycled clothing and jewelry artist), Paul Alan Bennett (painter and printmaker), Wendy and Bill Birnbaum (photographers), Clarke Berryman (oil painter), Art Blumenkron (fine wood furniture maker), JoAnn Burgess (pastel artist), Annie Dyer (potter), Gin Laughery (printmaker), Diane Hallstrom (Western and abstract painter), Kimry Jelen (acrylic painter), Danae Bennett Miller (sculptor and printmaker), Ken Merrill (potter), Mary Moore (clay sculptor), Lynne Myers (acrylic painter), Mike Stasko (fine art pencil artist), Lawrence Stoller (crystal sculptor), and Susie Zeitner (glass artist).

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These artists represent some of the best in art, design, creativity, and fabrication in this area. Many rely on sales of art, so this event is a win-win; not only do the artists retain 100 percent of the sales of their work, but they may also present special one-time-only sales items to the public.

The tour includes a Quick Draw (raffle) for two $100 gift certificates, to be used toward purchase from any artist. Winners will be chosen from the sign-in sheets, so be sure to sign at each location.

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A wide range of artistic media will be on display.

A tour guide with maps and addresses of each artist's location is available in local galleries, hotels, and businesses, and at These guides will list and describe each of the artists and their studio or gallery location. Roadside signs will be posted on the days of the tour, and visitors may use their GPS devices in conjunction with the guide. More information is at

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