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Open Studios Napa Valley returns: 70 artists to showcase their work later this month

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When people ask Dennis Smith how long it takes him to create a painting, his standard reply is “One hour and 40 years.”

“Most people don’t know about the years of learning and the enormous amount of practice needed to produce a work of art,” he said. “They just see an image; they’re not aware of what goes into it.”

Smith’s oil painting “A River Runs Through” was chosen by his fellow artists as the cover art for the 2022 Open Studios Napa Valley Directory and Map — the guide art lovers use for their free, self-guided art discovery tours that take place over the last two weekends in September.

Smith is one of 70 artists in 43 locations who will open their studios during the 34th annual Open Studios Napa Valley from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 17- 18 and Sept. 24-25.

Smith, who was an architect in San Francisco prior to retiring to Napa to pursue his passion, has an eclectic style with images ranging from realistic to abstract impressionism. Much of his work has been inspired by his travels.

Studio 42: Art tucked away in an enchanted Napa Valley garden

Visitors to Smith’s Studio 41, located at 1638 Los Carneros Ave., can view the watercolors, oils, pastels, acrylics and line drawings done by this versatile artist inside his studio barn. His art will also be on display outdoors and in white tents that were recently set up for a wedding.

OSNV is presented as a collaborative effort by the participating artists of Art Association Napa Valley because they believe in the value of sharing a unique artistic experience with visitors who come to their studios.

“Open Studios is an exploration of ideas and viewpoints. Artists help us see the world from a different perspective,” said OSNV Director Frank Trozzo.

“We are all relieved that the pandemic is not a factor this year,” he added. “Everyone can just purely enjoy the art.”

With artists welcoming visitors into their studios, savvy art collectors and those who are just curious about art, can peer into their creative spaces, ask questions, watch demonstrations and buy local art from the source.

Part of the fun of visiting studios is witnessing art demonstrations. Fiber artist Sharon Crary and wood sculptor David Mahaffey are among the artists giving demos.

Crary will be doing demos on three looms in her garage at Studio 20, located at 1505 G St. She began weaving more than 40 years ago and continues to weave tapestries, rag rugs and “weft face rugs using the shaft switching technique.”

Wood sculptor David Mahaffey will be giving demonstrations at Studio 26, located at 256 Franklin St.

“I love wood,” he said. “One of my real joys is exploring the fabulous variety of woods from trees that lived in Napa and now, hopefully, will be enjoyed and valued for more years to come as lathe turned objects of art and utility.”

Jewelry artist Sue F. Payne is also at Studio 26. “Ever since I was a child, I loved making pretty things. Jewelry design has allowed me to continue and inspire that passion to create,” said Payne.

Payne is known for customizing pieces for individuals who normally can’t find jewelry to fit them.

All of the talented Napa artists who are opening their studios this month have spent years honing their skills and each studio is well worth a visit.

To make the most of this self-guided art tour a 2022 artist directory and map is a necessity.

These can be obtained at Art Gallery Napa Valley, 1307 First St.; Jessel Gallery, 1019 Atlas Peak Road; Cartons and Crates, 3250 California Blvd; and Color Theory, 1343 Main St.

Artist directories and maps can also be downloaded from

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