Canterbury Woods Resident Peggy Olsen to be featured on Monterey County Studio Tour

Prolific artist and Canterbury Woods resident Peggy Olsen will be taking part in the Monterey County Artists Open Studio Tour this October. Organized by Arts Habitat and now in its 29th year, the Studio Tour provides the public the opportunity to tour local artists’ studios and exhibition spaces around Monterey County. Artists featured in the tour include painters, jewelers, sculptors, ceramic artists, and more.

“I have participated in the artists’ studio tour so many times over the years that I’ve lost count,” says Olsen. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for artists to share their art, where and how they work, and for the public to meet a wide variety of artists at different levels of expertise.” This year marks the first time Olsen will be participating since moving to Canterbury Woods and she will be utilizing the courtyard to present her pieces. “We have a lovely courtyard with many tables, chairs, and fresh air.”

The Studio Tour allows artists to meet the community and share information on their process and philosophies. “As an artist on the tour, it has been fun to get people’s opinions, to see what they like and to share how I work,” says Olsen. “I hand out a sheet of philosophies I have found helpful that starts with what one of my teachers told me: ‘Don’t judge yourself as an artist until you have done four hundred paintings.’”

Since Olsen discovered her love of art at forty, she has painted over 3000 pieces. She notes “I was an English major in college and never saw myself being an artist. I didn’t think I had artistic talent.” But a course in Batik, a technique that uses wax to create designs on dyed cloth, changed her thinking. Olsen says that the Batik class “was much fun and led to classes to develop my art skills.”

Her medium of choice is painting, particularly oil on canvas. “Painting became a challenge, or one could say an obsession, to always wanting to improve skills and do better paintings,” she notes. “I discovered that talent helps, but like playing the piano, frequent practice makes the difference between being amateur or professional.”

In 1986, Olsen was accepted as a member of the Carmel Art Association, which is artist owned and run. “Carmel Art Association has a great reputation and sells a lot of art. With the encouragement of selling, I began painting over one hundred paintings a year, which I have now done for thirty-five years,” says Olsen.

Her most common subjects are landscapes, though Olsen notes that she doesn’t paint out in nature, known as plein aire. “With controlled lighting and ease of set up and comfort, my studio always won over the outdoors. However, I have taken hundreds of photos and use them as a stimulant for ideas.”

Another important part of her technique is music. “Listening to classical music while I paint helps in keeping me from thinking too much and from giving up until things feel right.” Olsen has special techniques for painting on paper, board and canvas and she encourages people to “come to my studio tour to find out what they are.”

Olsen’s studio will be open to the public the weekend of October 16th and 17th. To see examples of her work, visit and For more information on the Monterey County Artists Open Studio Tour, visit To schedule a tour of Canterbury Woods, contact us.