Getting ready for Edmonds Art Studio Tour: How one artist finished just in time

"Barn Owlets" by Kathleen Johnson

This year’s Edmonds Art Studio Tour will take place Sept. 17-18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The tour is presented by the Edmonds Arts Festival and funded in part by the City of Edmonds Arts Commission Tourism Promotion Fund.

Artist Kathleen A. Johnson has been a member of the Edmonds Art Studio Tour since its inception in 2006. For the first four years, she was a guest in other artists’ studios during the tour, as her rented studio was located on a private wharf in north Edmonds that was inaccessible to the general public.

As beautiful and inspiring as her seaside studio was, it was a 30-minute drive each way and Johnson wanted a studio closer to home where she could paint whenever inspiration struck.

Early in 2010, she made the decision to build a new studio in her front yard. “Everything seemed to line up perfectly. My nephew, who had training as an architect and experience in construction, was available to build it,” she said. “And I had recently received a small inheritance. The only thing standing in the way was an ill‐placed and overgrown Douglas fir.”

Though she was sad to see the tree go, she quickly shifted focus to planning her dream studio. Zoning laws and the space left on the lot dictated the size of the future studio. After meeting with Johnson and her husband, her nephew drew up the plans. The plan moved smoothly through the City of Edmonds Planning Division and by the end of March the project received the go ahead.

Two Crows Studio

Johnson signed up for the tour, confident that the construction would be completed and that her studio would be ready to receive visitors by the September 2010 tour.

The next six months were a whirl of activity but as the tour date approached, there were still a lot of items left to be completed. “I had expected to be in the studio by August, so as August came and went I was getting pretty nervous,” Johnson said. Fortunately, the story has a happy ending; Two Crows Studio was completed and received its final inspection just two days before the first day of the 2010 tour.

The name stems from Johnson’s use of vibrant color and her paintings of crows and other natural subjects. Her interest in crows goes back to her childhood and she named her studio in honor of two crow fledglings she once encountered.

During the 2011 Edmonds Art Studio Tour, Johnson’s studio (number 20 on the map), will host local jewelry artist Norma J. Bush. Bush uses traditional Native American, African and European beading stitches to create her contemporary jewelry. Her quality work is finished with precious metal findings, crystals, and even vintage buttons.

For a preview of the Edmonds Art Studio Tour artists’ work and for a map of the tour, visit

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