Originally Published: May 5, 2011 9:56 p.m.
Aficionados of fine art and wine have the chance to enjoy both this weekend at the Mountain Artists Guild's 25th annual Fine Arts and Wine Festival on the courthouse plaza.
The Saturday and Sunday fest has attracted 150 juried artists from across the country, said festival coordinator Rae Frederickson, bringing works in oil, acrylic, and watercolor painting, scratch art, wood, metal, stone and glass sculpture, mixed media, fiber art, ceramics, jewelry and more.
Among the artists will be Corinne dell'Aria and Jim Antonius, both of Prescott, and Kathy Chetelat of Las Vegas.
Dell'Aria works in soft water pastels and her subjects are mostly wildlife, especially endangered species, she said. "Too many are endangered. Quite a shame." And even though she can't do much about changing that fact, she captures wild animals on canvas. "I just don't want them to disappear."
Fortunately for her, a good friend is a photographer who travels the world, and he sends her photographs of animals that she can use for her work. As she paints, she may use five photos at a time - one that reflects a pose she likes, and another, the expression on the animal's face.
Even though she has been an artist all of her life, dell'Aria said she didn't become serious about her work until 15 years ago. She sketched tirelessly, she said, but often stuck her pieces in a closet or threw them in the trash.
That changed one day when a neighbor saw her sketches and asked her to do a painting of her dog. "She paid me," dell'Aria said. "That started my career."
Chetelat and her husband, Rory, work together in fused glass and steel and stone as they create table-size sculptures that stand on marble or granite bases.
Rory Chetelat describes their works as "contemporary abstract with a bit of art deco."
Both he and his wife, he said, once tried making stained glass, and their art form evolved into fused glass that essentially "grew out of our love of art."
Their inspiration, he said, "is everywhere," from the shapes they see and the architecture they observe. "We are fairly geometric in what we do," Rory said. They will often put a bunch of metal pieces on a table "and go from there."
Antonius, too, began his art career working in stained glass, but started down a new path after taking a glass-blowing workshop in 1974. He dabbled in this medium for a time and when he moved to Prescott 19 years ago, he "got into it big-time" and built his own studio in Williamson Valley.
His work is not the kind people see when a glass blower, using a short blow pipe, creates small objects. Rather, he uses a long blow pipe and spends hours sculpting contemporary bowls, vases and busts, for example.
Glass-blowing is "pretty instantaneous," Antonius said. "You only get one chance" at success. "It's either a first or it's garbage." After blowing a glass creation, he then etches his work to give it a matte finish so that "it looks real old," like something from an archaeological dig.
Fellow artist Karen vanPrice will mingle her ceramics among Antonius' sculptures. Her specialty is wine glasses, tumblers, vases and decorative boxes.
The Fine Arts and Wine Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday on the courthouse plaza. In addition to fine arts, "cottage edibles" vendors, and dining at the nearby Sweet Potato Café and Taj Mahal, the festival will feature the art of Arizona Wine Growers Association wineries in the Wine Garden at the Firehouse Plaza on Goodwin Street, a block west of the courthouse plaza. The art show on the plaza is free; entrance to the Wine Garden, open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, is $12 for patrons of legal age and will cover a souvenir wine glass and six tasting tickets.
Special activities for children will be set up in the Kid Zone where they can participate in rock-painting, pendant-making and face-painting.
For more information about the festival, visit www.prescottartfestivals.com or call 445-2510.