Brush with artists Demonstrating her technique

Metchosin, Sooke artists open doors to visitors

Tour offers insight into West Shore artists’ workspace

Starting Friday, Metchosin and East Sooke artists are opening their doors and welcoming the public to take a peak at the process behind their masterpieces.

The 11th Stinking Fish Studio Tour, which runs until Sunday, August 12, involves 18 artists of all genres and mediums hosting open houses at their personal studios. Art lovers will be taking a self-guided tour of the studios, dropping in on artist’s workplaces, asking questions, watching demonstrations and enjoying local art.

The route starts around Duke Road and extends all through Metchosin into East Sooke, as far as Calvert Road. Along the way are potters, painters, sculptors, woodworkers, fibre artists and more.

“It’s a wonderful group of artists, a good bunch of people,” painter and printmaker Lorraine Betts said.

Betts is participating in the tour for her seventh year, inviting guests into her studio at her home on Cliff Drive in Metchosin. There guests will be welcomed inside to talk to Betts, take a look at some works in progress, enjoy a demonstration and, of course, admire and perhaps purchase finished products.

As an abstract artist, Betts enjoys experimenting with colour, light and lines. She considers herself an explorer, constantly trying new things with her work and striving to never repeat herself.

While the art is a reward in and of itself, Betts said that the tour is a highlight of the year for her and the other artists, and a lovely way to interact with art appreciators.

“People do work alone a lot, as artists, so it’s good to have that connection, communication with others,” Betts said. “The best part is the people who come in, and just chatting. You talk about art but you talk about many other things as well.”

Participants can make the tour whatever they want it to be.

They have 10 days to visit most of the artists, five days for some, allowing for plenty of flexibility. People can visit as many or as few artist studios as they like over that time period and can even focus on a favourite medium if they choose, for instance only visiting potters.

“It’s a very personal insight into the artist’s world, into their studio,” Betts said. “And to have a conversation, to ask about their work, how did they make it. People are so interested.”

For more information, including a map of featured studios, visit

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