Being accepted into a juried exhibition with more than 100 participating artists and exhibiting your work in the 11th annual Sierra Art Trails Open Studio is quite an accomplishment for an artist. But if you're nine-year-old identical twins, such as Camille and Kaitlin Fisher, this comes as a huge honor.
Camille and Kaitlin may look identical on the outside but inside their artistic abilities are quite different. Their interests in art began to develop at the age of five, when both girls expressed to their mother, Wendy Fisher, an interest in creating art.
"I think I was five when my mother started teaching me about art," Camille said. And for Kaitlin, it was about at that same age when her teacher noticed her talents and asked her what she liked about art.
"Art is a special thing in life ... it matters a lot," Camille responded, which was no surprise to Wendy since many of their acquaintances are local artists who live within the community. But what is so fascinating about the twins is how differently they express themselves on canvas.
Camille enjoys creating art with pastels and has the ability to create art that is more imaginary. Kaitlin, on the other hand, prefers to paint work that is more abstract.
To help the girls pursue their skills and talents,Wendy began to investigate artistic options within the Mountain Area for young children and was eventually led to Sierra Art Trails and its Student Sponsorship program.
After learning the details of the program, Wendy and the twins went to work creating five pieces of art each. Once that was done, some local photographers created digital files of their work to submit, along with an application, and turned it over to Jon Bock, owner of Stellar Gallery and president of the Sierra Art Trails committee. The rest was left in the fate of seven professional artists who juried the twins' work along with three other young artists. Each received a $100 award for art supplies, and had the fees waived for this weekend's Sierra Art Trails Open Studio Tour.
"This is a great program and I highly recommend all children who are interested in the arts to apply to the Student Sponsorship program," Wendy said.
As a mother and mentor, Wendy has seen Camille and Kaitlin's artistic skills and talents grow over the past six months.
"They have learned how to draw with perspective and to use color more wisely," Wendy said.
Sierra Art Trails offers a number of student sponsorships each year, giving promising art students an opportunity to participate in the event at no charge. The sponsorship program is open to students from third grade to seniors in high school. The program offers young artists who exhibit exceptional talent or attitude an inside look at what it takes to succeed as a working artist by including them in a professional art event.
Justin M. Smith, a ceramics and mixed media artist, can relate to the twins about the importance of being mentored and introduced to the world of art at such a young age.
"I was introduced to ceramics in the first grade, when Evelyn Ducoff brought her potters wheel to school, took my small hands under hers and formed the clay into pots," Smith said. "If there was ever magic in the world, that was it for me."
Smith, who is artist No. 1 in the Sierra Art Trails catalog, will be showing his ceramic work at his studio in O'Neals, Cobalt-Rain.
Sierra Art Trails Friday through Sunday
The Sierra Art Trails Open Studio Tour provides the public opportunity to meet the artists, visit studios, view demonstrations and see the creative process at work. You may enter a studio and find a watercolorist demonstrating a technique, watch a wood worker turning a bowl, or see Lothlorien Stuart exhibiting her hand-made jewelry at Penny Otwell's studio in Mariposa.
"There's nothing more special than seeing an artist create something and knowing that their process and their life will suddenly be a part of your life," Lothlorien said. "Sierra Art Trails is not only about selling your work - it's about connecting with people in the art community and finding your inspiration."
The Art Trails event provides art enthusiasts the chance to meet more than 100 participating artists, see the creative process firsthand and to purchase works directly from the artists. The show takes place in homes, studios, galleries and businesses in more than a dozen communities within Eastern Madera and Mariposa Counties.
The $18 Sierra Art Trails catalog serves as a ticket for two to the event. Catalogs are available at Stellar Gallery in Gallery Row, 40982 Highway 41.
Details: Jonathan Bock, (559) 658-8844.