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Beavercreek artists will open their doors this weekend

More than 20 artists invite the public to studios

It's spring in Beavercreek and that means that more than 20 artists will fling open their studio doors and invite the public inside to see the creative process at work.

Two new artists, Jerry Myra and Linda Neff, will be among those participating in the twice-a-year Open Studios of Beavercreek, June 10, 11 and 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Jerry Myra - nature photography, framing, greeting cards

Photographer and framer Jerry Myra has a deep respect for cougars, and he should, as he has been known to go nose-to-nose with them to get just the right picture.

'I climb up the tree with them; I feel confident doing this, as you can tell by a cougar's attitude if you should go up the tree or not,' Myra said.

Visitors to Myra's big red barn will see a 40-foot display of his and his wife Rhondi's photos, all matted and framed with genuine, worm-eaten barn wood. Both of them favor wildlife and scenery, but Rhondi is content to let her husband get up close and personal with animals such as cougars, bull elks, bears and large mountain goats.

During the event, Jerry will show visitors how to cut mats, and in addition to the framed photos, he will have frames for sale so that buyers can display their own artwork inside.

All of his and his wife's photos are framed using specially cut mats made from leather-like paper with corners resembling arrowheads - the feel is definitely Western.

One of his favorite photos of a mountain goat making its way through a large hole in a rock tells a story about what it takes to get just the right photo.

'I was up on a mountain in the Snake River area, and I lay on the ground for four hours to get that picture - it was worth it,' he said.

Rhondi's favorite photo came about in a slightly different manner.

'It is a silhouette of an elk with all the colors of the sky behind it - it just happened; I got lucky,' she noted.

The two are both self-taught and just recently joined the Three Rivers Artist Guild, where they said they have been impressed by the other artists' willingness to help.

They encourage people to take the drive in the Beavercreek countryside in order to see the diversity of art and to get inspired.

Linda Neff - outdoor furniture, birdhouses and chimes

Neff and her husband David live in Milwaukie, so she will be sharing a Beavercreek studio with Connie Veenker, who does mixed media and garden art. The fit will be a good one, as Neff makes Adirondack-style outdoor furniture, birdhouses and wind chimes.

Visitors to the studio will see Neff assembling the backs of chairs or painting floral designs on sheet-metal chimes.

She and her husband started D and L Woodworking in 1996, making outdoor furniture from high-quality Western red cedar including chairs, rockers, tables, footstools, benches and gliders. But five years ago, he got a job offer and took it, so Neff decided she could carry on the business alone.

She spends the winter making all the parts, and then, with help from her husband, she assembles the furniture.

The pieces are then coated with deck sealer made by Sunfrog, a local company, which gives them 'a lot of UV protection and has very little color, so that it doesn't disrupt the color of the red cedar,' she noted.

The birdhouses, which could more properly be described as bird condos, are not made from furniture leftovers, but instead are constructed from red cedar that she orders separately.

As for the chimes, 'I found a design I liked, and my husband cuts them from sheet metal and solders them. Chuck Moen, [from Cherryville Enterprises in Sandy] powder-coats them, and I do all the painting,' Neff noted.

Although this is her first time with Open Studios of Beavercreek, Neff is always busy this time of the year showing her work at garden and art shows from Sandy to Gig Harbor, Wash., and at the Milwaukie and Gresham farmers markets. In her spare time she is a painter, inspired by nature and her extensive garden, which her studio overlooks; she also teaches painting in the winter. Her artwork, including a line of greeting cards, can be seen at the farmers markets.

Fast Facts

Open Studios of Beavercreek

June 10, 11 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Take a country drive and visit one or more of the 15 studios hosting artists working on pottery, sculpture, metal, watercolor, oil, acrylic, glasswork, jewelry, woodcarving, garden art, soft pastel, pen and ink, greeting cards, fabric and more. Visit the gallery, see participating artists' work and download information and a free map at www.openstudiosofbeavercreek.com or call 503-632-4146. Ask the studios for a punch card and enter to win a $50 gift certificate.