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Fall City woman opens art studio

Cary Jurriaans loves art. She also loves painting. Most of all, she loves sharing those passions with others. So last weekend, Sept. 16, Jurriaans opened the Fall City Fine Art Studio just outside of downtown Fall City.

"It was amazing, there were so many people," said Jurriaans.

More than 125 people showed up for the open house, which lasted from noon to 5 p.m., she said. A model was hired, and people were painting all during the open house. There was also music and four demonstrations by artists Ned Mueller, Jim Lamb, Margaret Davidson and John Rizzotto.

Mueller, an artist from Renton, exhibits all over, Jurriaans said. A landscape, portrait and plein air (using outdoor lighting) painter, he was classically trained. Lamb paints plateau, landscape and plein air studio art. Davidson, from Skagit Valley, is a teacher at the Gage Academy in Seattle. Lastly Rizzotto, also from the Gage Academy, though not a teacher, is a classical realist.

Though just starting, Jurriaans has big plans for her studio.

"I really want to have the same quality as the Gage Academy," she said. "But I want to be different. I want to have realism and all kinds of representational art, not just academic."

Already, Jurriaans has the studio booked for various art classes and workshops through next August. In addition to the four artists already mentioned, she has secured artists from all over the world to instruct the classes.

"All the teachers are professional artists selling paintings," she said. "They all have national exposure."

Jurriaans also makes sure the artists have good track records and good references, plus she has to like their work.

As for the students? She wants local people as well as people from out of the area, even out of state. Jurriaans was pleasantly surprised to find that people from Camano and Whidbey islands had signed up for classes, and hopes to reach more.

"I want people who really want to learn, who are serious about art," she said. "Not people just doing it for a fluke."

But it's not just for experienced painters. The studio offers beginner workshops and classes, too.

"What I say about beginners taking art classes, people who thought they never could, you might get into it and get serious," Jurriaans said. "People need to have education and skill first. You can develop confidence, then do whatever you want."

People of all ages can sign up. Classes at the studio can cost anywhere from $125 to $275. Workshops, three to five days of intensive training that last from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., cost between $500-$600. Though it may seem like a lot, it's actually the least expensive instruction you can find around, Jurriaans said.

"I have to pay for artist's airfare, lodging, food and rental car," she said. She also has to pay the artist to teach. Each student will be provided with an easel, a still life/palette table, seating and lunch.

As far as class size, Jurriaans hopes to have about 14 students per class; 16 at most. That's her personal preference, though. Some teachers may want more, she said. At least 10 students are required to fill an out-of-state artist's class to cover costs, but only four are needed for other classes.

With all the preparations needed to make the studio idea succeed, one would think the project had been in the works for years. In fact, Jurriaans only made the decision to open an art studio a couple of years ago. The goal was one of the reasons she chose her current house, she said. She and her husband Sieb moved to Fall City a year and a half ago after spending 10 years in Seattle's Madison Park. They wanted space, Jurriaans said.

"I wanted to live out in the country," Jurriaans said. "We were looking for a place where I could do it [set up a studio]. We chose the property partly because of the barn. It was nice, rural, quiet and because of the barn."

A three-stall horse barn stood a distance from the house - the perfect place for a studio. It just needed a little bit of fixing up, a few changes to make it suitable.

The actual conversion took about a year. Sieb, who works for Terra Communications, a company that installs business telesystems, took the construction on himself. He did all the wiring, insulating, heating and plumbing himself. The horse barn slowly changed into an approximately 780-square-foot art studio with a smaller, private studio for Jurriaans to work in. The barn gives the studio a familiar, cozy feeling in the winter, while providing a shelter from the sun in the summer. In addition, the hilly, tree-laden 5 acres around the barn provides gorgeous scenery all year long.

Art has always been a fascination for Jurriaans. Born and raised in the Netherlands, she was greatly influenced by art as a child. Jurriaans studied at both the Seattle Academy of Art (now the Gage Academy) and the Florence Academy of Art in Italy before teaching for five years. Jurriaans now wants to continue in the profession. So why bother opening her own studio? Why not get a job somewhere notable?

"I don't have the qualifications to teach at another studio," Jurriaans said. "I like to be surrounded by artists. I thought it would be fun to have these workshops here. It's one business where I know I can do something and make a little money with it. It's just another thing to not get old and bored."

The schedule kicked off with Introduction to Plein Air Painting Sept. 23 taught by Jim Lamb. Jurriaans will follow with four sessions of beginners drawing on Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25 from 6-9 p.m. and Oct. 2, 9, 16 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at a cost of $125. Then, beginning Oct. 26, for $275 Ned Mueller will teach one of six painting sessions every Thursday night from 1:30-5 p.m. A complete schedule of classes, workshops and fees at the

studio is available at www.fallcityfineart.org.

For more information, contact Cary Jurriaans at (425) 222-9595.

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