Eileen Sorg is a self-made artist who found success without going to art school, opening her own business about 15 years ago in Hansville – Two Dog Studio.
As she became established in the community, Sorg wanted to take her art a step further by creating a large space for artists to work, teach and learn together, as such a venue has been lacking in North Kitsap.
After purchasing 11 acres on Hansville Road near the Kingston Safeway, Sorg and partner James Towner have been building up the property over the past few years to offer such a facility for local artists and beyond. Their home is also being constructed on-site, and they have horses on the property.
Black Barn Fine Art Studio officially opened Nov. 10 as part of the Art in the Woods Studio Tour where 12 artists displayed their work to a packed house. Sorg, along with other local artists, family and friends, are helping to operate the art studio. She also has since moved Two Dog Studio to the new venue. Sorg specializes in colored pencil over watercolor and oil paintings.
“It was a great location for this kind of space…that brought that kind of art education to us rather than all of us having to go elsewhere to Seattle or beyond,” Sorg said. “We’ve thrown our whole lives into this over the past four years. It’s a bit of a dream come true to have it up and functioning.”
The 4,200-square-foot barn studio is two stories high and features five different spaces artists can rent on the top floor along with a large space on the bottom floor for classroom environments. It also has a top-floor balcony and garage door.
“Part of why the building is as big as it is was to have that space for local artists that need to work outside of their home,” Sorg said, adding it’s also nice for artists to bounce ideas off one another. “I needed it at one point in my career; I was growing faster than the space I had in my living room.”
As far as services, Black Barn will offer fine art workshops and classes starting in January, artist workspace rentals and non-instructive art activities. Events include figure drawing sessions, online webinars and discussions with professional artists.
Figure drawings are sketches of the human form in any of its various shapes and postures, using any of the drawing media. Sorg said Black Barn will have costumed and nude models for figure drawings, with most of the models coming from the Seattle area.
“It’s a wide array,” Sorg said about the offerings. “You just don’t know what people are going to be interested in. A lot of these classes are off of the main line so people are intrigued, checking it out and signing up.
“Most of the instructors we have right now are people that we know personally and that we trust,” she continued. “In the future, as we gain some kind of reputation, then we will look to bring in artists from across the country and the world if we can do it. We have eleven acres, so we’re planning on putting in some kind of place where people can stay.”
Sorg said the property is ideal for artists as it provides tranquility conducive to creativity. Artists can walk the wooded trails, commune with the horses, pick some blueberries, or simply sit and enjoy a quiet respite from the fast-paced world.
“I wanted to create kind of a mini oasis where you can go and leave your phone in the car and enjoy the peacefulness,” she said. “You can stroll around in the woods and gather things you want to draw, which I do often. For an artist, that is huge. Any artist will tell you, if you’re under stress all your creativity is gone.”