Studio Brunstrum

Art Fair Heaven

June 29, 2016

When art fairs are on my weekend calendar, I am in heaven! This month I was one of about 30,000 art lovers who attended the venerable Old Town Art Fair...

Photo Courtesy

When art fairs are on my weekend calendar, I am in heaven! This month I was one of about 30,000 art lovers who attended the venerable Old Town Art Fair – the 67-year-old annual event that is considered one of the best in the country. (This is the one sponsored by the Old Town Triangle Association.) I wandered for hours trying to see as many of the 250 nationally recognized participants as possible. My feet were tired, but the studio's resource binder of talented artists is a little thicker now that I've added a dozen new names.

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design

My personal art collection has grown a bit too and I found some perfect pieces for one of our clients  - a series of nine all-white, textural squares from award-winning artist Michele Renee Ledoux (above.) The simplicity, richness and "abstract minimalism," as she calls it, will be perfect for this client's home.


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Artist Ella Richards’ black-and-white work caught my eye too. She calls her style “scissors drawings” because after she creates her pen or ink images she cuts them out of black paper with a micro-scissors and mounts them. All of her work is in black and white because, she says, “I am an avowed minimalist. I like the visual purity offered by black lines on a white background.” Me too! I now own a scissors drawing of a professional woman, dressed and ready to head out, and another of birds. I like this drawing below of women in little black dresses, too. It reminds me of the Sweet Peas Design trademark style. Simple, versatile and always right!

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But I'm not all about black-and-white. The vibrant, graphic watercolors and acrylics of Jennifer Ardolin are so cheerful and energizing. Jennifer calls herself a “nature girl” who lives in South Florida, where she is inspired by the richly colored tropical landscapes. Her work would brighten any room.

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There's more to life than framed art, however! I found a lot of three-dimensional artwork at the fair too, such as hand-forged steel flatware, candlesticks, bowls and jewelry from Sterling & Steel, a family-owned business in Colorado Springs. It’s so unusual in modern times to find handmade objects of this type, but these sculptural housewares have a rugged beauty that’s timeless and destined to be handed down to the next generation.

Photo Courtesy of

If you plan to visit the Old Town Art Fair next year be sure to make time for the accompanying Garden Walk. There are so many gorgeous homes with unbelievable gardens and interesting history – I only managed to see about a third of them. Next year I’m planning to devote two days to the event!

Susan Brunstrum
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