Sunshine, blue skies and ideal temperatures made for a perfect weekend as art-loving visitors followed the blue and white signs to the Artist Studio Tour. Fields with crops growing and cows and sheep grazing made for peaceful drives to the studios outside of Sisters, while in town, art lovers walked or biked to see their favorite artists at work.

This was the third annual Artist Studio Tour sponsored by the Sisters Arts Association, and the first to span two days. The weekend opened with the Fourth Friday Artwalk through the galleries of Sisters on Friday evening.

The tour offered visitors the opportunity to see artists at work in their homes and studios, and offered artists the chance to know their audience, recruit participants for possible art classes, and sell their art direct to the public, often at reduced prices.

Acrylic artist Sandy Melchiori had a display of small paintings and note cards in her onsite studio, along with a large in-progress work of cows grazing. Her unusual palette was a glass tabletop smeared with acrylic and a “Wet Paint” sign.

“This is where I mix my colors,” she explained. “A lot of people are intrigued by it.”

Referring to the traffic, she said, “It was nonstop. I sold two paintings, including the pink rabbit that was pictured on the cover of the brochure, and pink peonies. I met people from Portland who just saw the road signs and came to visit. A woman from Long Hollow was here with her grandson, and they spent a good hour asking questions. Conversations were great!”

Sandy Dutko, a mixed-media artist new to the area and living in Eagle Crest, said, “I made my expenses plus some. Best of all, I met neighbors I didn’t know before. They came by when walking their dogs.

She took visitors through the steps she follows — or diverts from — when creating her work.

“What I heard was how easy everything was to find, including good comments about the signs, maps, and general information,” said pastel artist JoAnn Burgess.

Being that close to the source of the art brought out the artist in everyone. Her visitors included nearly a dozen people who actually sat down and created their own pastel artworks at a station she set up in her studio.

“One couple liked what they did so much that they took it home to have it framed,” she said.

Not every artist sold work over the weekend, but even those who didn’t experienced tremendous feedback from visitors. Winnie Givot didn’t sell any paintings, but she registered several art lovers for her upcoming watercolor classes, and picked up a couple of folks interested in traveling with her to Ecuador for an upcoming art experience that includes classes, an opportunity to explore the area, and time to paint what they see. Her studio display included handmade journals of previous tours abroad, complete with illustrations and descriptions of places and events.

Visitors were amazed at what they saw and how they discovered this event. One woman at the studio of Mary Moore told how she had toured artists’ studios in Arizona, and when she arrived in Oregon, searched online for similar events in the Salem area. What came up for her was the Sisters Arts Association tour, so she drove here for the day, and she raved over both the quality of the art as well as the stunning scenery.

Scratchboard artist Jennifer Hartwig both sold work and recruited students for upcoming classes. She said the visitors to her home studio came because they were intrigued by not knowing what scratchboard is, and wanting to learn more about it.

Visitors to the pottery studio of Annie Dyer remarked on the evolution of her work over the years.

“One woman, who has tried several different art media over many years, was amazed at how my work had changed,” she said. “Her comment was – ‘so this is what happens when you stick with one thing.’”

Speaking for the Sisters Arts Association, Bob Burgess noted how satisfied he was at the conclusion on Sunday afternoon.

“Everybody loved it,” said Burgess. “People loved it, and the artists loved it. We will do this again next year.”

One of the “perks” of this year’s event was the opportunity for visitors to sign up for the Sisters Arts Association’s Quick Draw. At the conclusion of the tour, signup tickets were collected for the opportunity to win one of three $100 gift certificates, good at participating artists’ studios and the Friday Artwalk galleries. Winners will be individually notified.