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The Over the Mountain Studio Tour had a wonderful summer show and sale at Evolve, a popup store on German Street in Shepherdstown. It was a tasting and a sampling of what is to come on the physical tour in November (always the second weekend!) Tour members took turns acting as shopkeepers. We loved catching up with our supporters of many years and meeting so many new and interested folk of all ages (and their dogs.)

During my stint there were a few quiet moments for me to see what my fellow artists were up to. As always they were evolving. I’ll mention only a few. Anne Bowers always surprises with new and different work and I was drawn to a large multicolored basket with a pac-man like “mouth.” For a while I sat beside Neil Super’s work – a series of flat wooden “plates” so smooth you just had to touch. Bridget Brown gallops ahead with new work and showed both her stunning wool “paintings” as well as oils. Her bucolic landscapes (always populated with her animals) take your blood pressure down a notch or two. In November watch for Liz Goins’ paper bowls and jazzy articulated mermaids. Blacksmith Eric Johnson exhibited two organic and bold pieces – both for hanging coats or umbrellas or baskets. And there was so much more.

Many – if not most - continue to move forward with new work that echoes and extends what they have done before. Is this artist known for their medium, their subject matter, their colors, their shapes, the indefinable “stamp” of themselves? That “stamp” takes years to explore and discover. And it follows them as they evolve.

I looked up the meaning of evolve – to develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form. And all of this fit in with a book I’ve been reading “The Adjacent Possible: Evolve Your Art from Blank Canvas to Prolific Artist” by Nancy Hillis, M.D. One quote stood out - “Being an artist is about continually evolving your art. It’s about cultivating your fullest self-expression and getting to the elusive deepest work your heart yearns to create.”

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