Magpie Gallery: A Combination of Inspiration & Art
For many inquiring about the creative mind, they want to know when the artist’s gift began. Were you born a gifted sculptor? Or was your ability to create with water colors a learned, carefully-honed skill? And the truth of the matter is that the answers to these questions are often just as beautiful and interesting as the artist herself.
So for art-lovers wondering about Saguache artist Judith Page, and the genesis of her colorful, often whimsical artwork, the answer can be traced to a naughty childhood habit: coloring in the wallpaper.
“Yes, I got caught doing that on more than one occasion,” recalls Page during a recent visit to the Magpie Gallery at the corner of 4th and San Juan. But perhaps that childish indiscretion was more the result of the artist’s self-described upbringing in a “poor” section of Washington, D.C., rather than a desire to deface her girlhood bedroom. After all, most artists work with what they have, right?
However, these days Page’s meager beginnings seem as far away as her birth place, and nowhere is that more apparent than in her Magpie Gallery, which pleasantly assaults the senses from the moment you cross the threshold. But this time, the payoff comes from the rich vibrant colors used in Page’s mixed media illustrations, many of which are also available as hand illuminated prints.
Page has been producing & selling her artwork in the San Luis Valley since 1998. According to the Magpie Gallery website: Judy’s signature style is the use of bold, primary colors to illuminate fantastic imagery.
“My art reflects a way of seeing the world with a sense of wonder, where anything can happen, where things are a little askew,” Page explains on her website. “I hope to excite a sense of curiosity in my viewers, that they might look at the world a little differently.”
And if Page’s art helps people to see the world a little differently, then her business (and life) partner Dean Coombs’ African collectibles help bring the world to people on the corner of 4th and San Juan. In fact, it’s that deep sense of texture that visitors to the Saguache art studio connect with the moment they enter which prompts another childhood desire: to run their hands across the rows and rows of unique and one-of-kind beads. While many in the San Luis Valley know the Coombs name as the third generation printer and editor of the Saguache Crescent, Dean has been collecting African beads and ethnographic artifacts for 20 years, much of which is on display and/or for sale at the Magpie Gallery.
As one art enthusiast expressed during a recent visit, “I’m surprised to see this kind of African collection in the middle of nowhere; it’s lovely!” And no doubt the word has gotten out, as collectors from around the region now seek Coombs out because of his rare and diverse collection of art, particularly his vast selection of high quality beads.
Combined it makes for one of the most unique art shops in the San Luis Valley. See it for yourself; the Magpie Gallery is open during the days and times listed below. And remember that Saguache’s 5th Annual Hollyhock Festival is happening this Saturday, July 30, which makes for another perfect combination: blooming gardens and beautiful galleries – do you need a better reason to stop in to Saguache Today?
The Magpie Gallery is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. (Closed for the winter from January – April except by appointment). 324 4th Street, downtown Saguache Colorado. Call 719-655-2650.