To me one of the most interesting things about a painting location are the shadows. I get much more excited about painting a landscape that has dappled sunlight or long, cool, morning or end-of-day shadows. Especially on the sand where you have the obvious warm/cool dynamic.
While hiking around in the dunes looking for a painting last week, the afternoon sun was creeping westward and I came across this view.
A perfect day to paint last Saturday in Douglas/Saugatuck, Michigan—two small, quaint, and artsy towns just separated by the Kalamazoo river three hours from Chicago. Water Street Gallery hosted this one-day event and reception. With the morning light hitting it, I chose the Summertime Market to paint first. And I stood in the front yard of another gallery to do it (the Button-Petter Gallery which is having a great show of Ken Cadwallader paintings right now). The evening reception was in a nice, park-like area behind the gallery and the painting sold.
This weekend I’m heading to Douglas/Saugatuck, Michigan to paint in Waterstreet Gallery’s annual “Wet Paint” show. About 25 painters spend the day Saturday painting the area and then gather for an evening reception and sale. A fun time, some great artists, and a wonderful location.
Here is a painting I started en plein air earlier this summer and have just gotten some studio time to finish. Always have to work to keep that plein air spontaneity and freshness when back at home. This one got a little tighter than I’d have liked.
Also, if you get Plein Air Magazine’s weekly email newsletter you may have seen my “Peoples Choice” award painting from a couple of weeks ago. It links to a short story with even a picture of me!
A small showing of my Michigan paintings is happening at the Glen Arbor location of MacBeth & Co. They had a very nice reception for me on August 3, while I was up there for the Art Associations paint-out. Thanks to Deb, Kathy, and Beth and everyone who came. I’m happy to say that five paintings found new homes that night and a couple of more since.
This painting is one of the larger plein air pieces I did earlier this summer at Pyramid Point on Sleeping Bear Bay. I followed a trail about half-a-mile through the woods and up hill to this great view. I stood at the top of a dune about 30 stories high, looking toward North Manitou island. The lake water has an amazing, caribbean-like color there.
Summer is too short. I'm going back for more Michigan this weekend.
This past weekend was the Glen Arbor Art Association’s 4th annual paint-out in Michigan. In years past it was a one day event, but this year they added a Friday afternoon quick-paint. 40 artists showed up for the two-hour, timed event at Thorsen Farm in the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. This was where I'd spent time during my artist residency in June so I had an idea of what I wanted to paint. I stood off to one edge of the property looking back toward one of the barns and the corn crib. We hung our paintings in the re-done barn/shed to be judged while potential patrons viewed our efforts. And, happily, I was awarded First Place and soon after, a red dot for a sold painting.
Birch at the farm, oil, 10" x 8" SOLD
On Saturday 60 registered artists checked-in at 8 AM to get their canvases stamped and head out to paint wherever they wanted in the area. I first headed to the historic D.H. Day farm, with it’s restored, 100-year-old barn.
Old Oak at the Day farm, oil 12" x 16"
Next I headed into town to paint the well-loved Art’s Tavern. Standing in the sun on very hot day for 3 hours would have been a real chore except that Eric (in the orange shirt) brought me ice water on his walks over to check on my progress.
Two beers, please, oil, 10" x 12" SOLD
Everyone brought there paintings back to the Art Association at 4:30, framed and ready to hang. Judging and then a crowd entered and a bell was rung to start the purchasing. Glad to say this one sold right away. All the artists and attendees each received a vote for a “Peoples choice” award. I voted for a watercolor by Phil Fisher, but my “Two beers” won!
Oh, and I had opening reception for a show too—next post.
The Leelanau peninsula is like the tip of the little finger in the “mitten” that is the Michigan lower peninsula. It’s right across Lake Michigan from Door County Wisconsin, and shares a lot of the geographic characteristics. But, with the dunes, I think Michigan has more sand. The whole area is covered with farms, orchards, and more recently, vineyards. A great location for painting.
This is a farm I came across while traversing as many of the backroads as I could when I was up there last month. It will be a part of my show, opening Friday at MacBeth & Co. in Glen Arbor.