Wis. artists show process behind artwork at 20th annual Fall Art Tour

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Published: Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 --- 5:30 p.m.

Aritists from the Baraboo, Spring Green, Dodgeville and Mineral Point area opened up their studios this weekend as part of the annual Wis. Fall Art Tour, giving those who stop by a behind the scenes look at how they create their artwork.

Inside his historic Spring Green house that looks like a work of art itself, Jean-Marc Richel showcases his unique style of combining pictures and paint.

"I do actual photography and enhance by hand the photography by making an engraving," Richel said. "I reveal some of the color inside the print and in addition to that I use ink and dye and seal the piece with varnish when it's done."

The mixed media artist has been a part of the fall art tour since 1999, after he moved to Wisconsin from France.

"I was an artist already, and you know how life is bizarre, I go east, and I traveled to Thailand and Malasia, where I meet my wife that was American," he said. "So you never know, you go east, you end up west."

Richel prefers selling his work in a more intimate setting, because it gives him time to explain his thought process and inspiration behind each piece.

"When you do an art fair, people just pass by. Here, they can stay half an hour, 40 minutes if they want, ask every question they want, they can look at what they want," Richel said. "They love that, I love that too."

In its 20th year, the Fall Art Tour has grown from a dozen or so artists to 45 this year.

To be featured, an artist must apply to the commitee and meet a number of criteria.

"It can't be refrigerator magnets," Wayne Farra of No Rules Jewelry joked. "Basically all of the artists on the tour are professionals, they're doing really quality work."

"I think we've always said, when somebody wants to be on the tour, you must demonstrate your work," said his wife, Maya Madden.

The couple specializes in hand-made jewelry. In her basement studio in Lone Rock, Madden demonstrates a technique for decoriting metalwork objects, called cloinsenne enamaling.

"Once I've decided on my design, I apply enamel to the front and the back of the piece of metal i'm working on."

The point is to give people a feel for the energy spent on making artwork.

"Often times, especially in today's world, we go to a store, we buy something, we don't know where it's made, how it's made and certainly not the maker."