Art among the aspens at Markleeville tour

It was a beautiful weekend in Markleeville following the snows a few days prior to the annual Markleeville Artists Open Studio Tour which took place Oct. 7 and 8. Tour participants were treated to a diversified range of art from 17 participating artists. Mother Nature didn't disappoint visitors either. Against a backdrop of brilliant blue skies, the aspens seem to revel in their freshly washed "fall finery."

"Attendance seems to be up this year," Gina Gigli said about the steady enter and exit of visitors into the Villa Gigli.

Among the artists new to the event was Debra Esteban with her art that is really food. Although it tastes excellent, it's so amazing to look at, people don't have the heart to destroy the work by taking a bite out of it. Also new to the tour this year was Evelyn Yonkers who lives in Woodfords. Yonkers calls her work "realistic abstract."

"You know what the art is about but there has been a little tweaking with color or style to make it more fun," Yonkers said.

Regulars to the event also included Sandy Baenen who provided a new illustration she called her "Mountain Goddess," complete with Raymond Peak and aspen leaves. Dale Bennett did Washoe Indian beadwork and offered Indian tacos for hungry travelers. Tanya Berger displayed her sculptural pottery and whimsical pen-and-ink drawings while professional photographer, Todd Branscombe offered his latest collection of eagles as well as his wildlife, local bears and their cubs, and a variety of mountain and scenic photos. Jan Brees joined her son Jeff Brees at his Gardenworks studio. Jan has added metal mesh aspen leaves "The Glory of Autumn" to her collection of oak, sycamore and maple leaves as well as river rock sculpted into birds, each an original. Jeff uses wire and hand-wrought metals to create his topiary and garden sculptures. Peter Chope, recognized by his colorful scenes from Alpine County, turned his talents loose with new paintings of Kirkwood, Mosquito Lake, the Carson River and Arizona. Susan Flakus calls herself the "Steel Magnolia" with good reason as she works on fine metal art, creating functional art with a whimsical twist. Gourds turned into artwork, intricate pine needle baskets and beaded jewelry were displayed by Kaye Jobst and just up Timber Lane, the studio of Charles Muench revealed new images of Alpine County and the surrounding Sierra rendered in Muench's warm plein-air style. Linda Lindsay Stallcup displayed her watercolor and oil landscapes of local scenes. Stallcup has been painting for more than 20 years and she exhibits in Laguna Beach, Carmel and Tahoe City galleries. Jennifer Vaughn shared her award-winning photography at the studio of her parents, Mark and Carolyn Vaughn who create raku pottery which is both functional and artistic. The Vaughns rarely open their studio to the public, so a stop at their studio was an enjoyable experience. The eclectic tour was topped off with Deirdre Wallace, a longtime fiber artist, designer and teacher who displayed a collection of unique crocheted, knitted and felted pouches and hats, using all natural yarn.

If you missed this fun event, remember, this was the fourth year and plans are already being formulated for same time next year for the fifth annual Markleeville Artist Open Studio Tour. Visit for more information.

n Jonni Hill can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 213.n Jonni Hill can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 213.


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