Local artists invite public to 4th annual Studio Tour

       Carol Ettenger had tried watercolor and printmaking. She'd also been an art teacher for 30 years.
       But it wasn't until she took a class a few years ago in the use of bees wax that she found what she was looking for. “I thought I'd fallen in love,” the Kissing Camels resident explained.
       Her various works in that medium - technically known as encaustics - will be on display at the Eye Object gallery, 1612 N. Tejon St., as part of the fourth annual Artists' Studio Tour and Sale Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 11-12. The event will feature a total of 21 artists at 10 locations in the downtown, Westside and Manitou Springs.
       To create her works, Ettenger applies layers of wax that has been heated and mixed with various colors from pigment or oil paints. “This satisfies the textured, tacticle effect I wanted,” she said. “There is so much depth, with layer after layer of different colors.”
       She even likes the smell of the wax. “When I walk into my studio, it triggers me: I'm in my right brain now,” she said.
       Her studio reveals a variety of wax experimentations. Ettenger said this stems from her teaching days in Pennsylvania, working with kids and encouraging them to try new things. “You get them to think creatively,” she said. “There doesn't have to be a formula.”
       At the same time, teaching art is not necessarily conducive to being an artist. “You're using so much energy to teach, there's none left to create,” she noted.
       Ettenger moved to the area nine years ago. Her exhibit for the Art Tour will chiefly include her encaustic paintings (still lifes and landscapes) and shadow boxes.
       She is best known for her series of paintings featuring forms she calls the “Guides” - mystical figures that she envisioned after her mother died three years ago and which have evoked strong emotions in many who have seen them, she said.
       This is Ettenger's second year on the Artists' Tour. “It's an excellent way for the public to see artists in their working environments and various artists committed to it as a full-time job,” she pointed out. Tour participants should also come away impressed by some of the talent in the area. For her own part, when she moved to the Springs, “I didn't realize the area was so rich in artists,” she said.

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