Open Studios walk lets visitors explore the artistic process


Janet Lombardi Blixt works with oil, acrylic, and pastel in her pieces. Photo credit: Dominique Wood

The Chico Art Center’s annual Open Art Studios event is a staple. Normally you would be separated from the artist and see the work after it’s been put up in a showroom. However, this event invites visitors to go to an artist’s studio and see their artistic process firsthand. It’s like getting a behind the scenes tour.

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More of Janet Lombardi Blixt's artwork. Photo credit: Dominique Wood

“You not only would see the end of the work, but you’re also seeing the whole process and meeting the artist,” Gallery Director, Cameron Kelly said.

“It’s a really unique annual event.”

Open art studios span across all of Chico, as well as Paradise and Oroville, giving visitors a total of 49 studios to explore.

Janet Blixt, who owns and teaches at the Chico Art School, was once a participant in Open Studios. Blixt is skilled in a wide range of art mediums.

“I like to work in a lot of different mediums, acrylic, oil, pastel, watercolor, collage, scratch art, acrylic poring, dot painting, always something new,” she said.

The event is a great way for artists, like Blixt, to interact with the public.

“I like the interaction because the people that come are interested in art and so we can relate on many levels regarding art,” she said.

Blixt explained what artistic medium is the most work.

“Color pencil is crazy meticulous – you got to work in a lot of layers, but once you get to a point where you get to see the progress you start to think, okay, maybe I can keep doing this,” she said.

Justin and Kathryn Silvera opened up their home for the event and showed off a sort of wood, metal, resin, watercolor and mixed media art. Justin showcased the hook that he made from maple syrup spouts.

Justin went into detail on his inspiration for the hooks.

“I actually saw a piece a that a buddy had and he was hanging a key of just one spout and I was like, that looks cool like that, and so from that I got the idea of just kind of making them bigger and adding more pieces to them,” he said.

He also made a lot of the furniture in their home, from two beautiful chandeliers to their entertainment center, which has a built-in thermostat that cools the stereo system.

Katheryn Silvera is a resin artist who creates her work out of an assortment of materials.

“We got your powdered pigments, quartz crystals, mother of pearl, lots of gold,” she said.

“And silver copper leaf. And then things like pyrite, kyanite and lots of different kinds of quartz.”

Katheryn shared a bit about her processes in making one of her pieces.

“It starts with a painting underneath so that it has a life and a heart and that will build on top of it with the resin, so this was an acrylic fluid painting and then it has oil pastel and then I took leafing material and created this whole floral pattern which took quite a while,” she said.

“But I knew that I wanted that to be there under it because of its something that its base,” she added.

“From there I add its first layer of resin and you just have to keep in mind which colors are going to be built on top ’cause that will affect (the piece) if you’re using a purple and then you use a blue you’re going to get this blue-purple. Then add in all the good stuff into the resin.”

Her resin pieces also have the added bonus of clean the air in the home, due to all the mix of resin shaved metal and quartz. This type of median is quite time-consuming, as each layer takes about 24 hours to cure. That means some pieces take a minimum of 16 days to complete the resin portion of a piece. Some pieces take a month to complete.

Open Studios will continue through Oct. 27-28. For more information, visit the Chico Art Center’s website at

Alex Coba can be reached at [email protected] or @ThatOneGuyCoba on Twitter.