EAST — or East Austin Studio Tours, in which artists all over the East Side open their studios for two weekends every November — is a huge, sprawling event that takes some pre-planning if you want to get around easily. With many miles between clusters of studios, it’s best to map out whose work you’d like to see in advance (all the info’s online). On Sunday, the last day of the tour, I was very pressed for time so I decided to go to a small gallery in a private house on Waller Street. I didn’t know any of the artists but I’d been drawn to images I’d seen in the catalogue and was curious. I met Cecelia Russell, owner of Waller at Holly Studio, on her porch on the way in. She has the same East Coast brashness I do and we immediately clicked. Her work is funny: she knows how to pick up on attitudes and paint them with humor and kindness.
Cecelia likes painting older women “who never grow up.” Here’s a picture of her next to a portrait of her mother.
For EAST she had two guest artists showing work in her gallery — Kristi Standley and Denise Jaunsem. Unfortunately Kristi wasn’t there when I visited. She paints very expressive portraits on wood, most of them delineating her own moods and despair.
Denise Jaunsem paints animals and trees.
If you want a good (and reasonably priced) portrait of your pet, contact Denise here. But hurry. She’s planning to start traveling the country in a brand new RV next year, painting wherever she goes, so she won’t be in Austin for too much longer.
Waller at Holly Studio is at 56 Waller Street. Cecelia is a hoot, fun paintings and fun to hang out with. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a blast!
Cover art by EAST artist, Felice House