Paint Grand Travers Adventure, Traverse City MI

Here’s the adventure! (A few more details are in my newsletter.)

Sunrise, 6×8″, oil on panel, available at Crooked Tree Arts Center (231) 941-9488

On Monday I drove down to a little park next to the beach before sunrise and painted as the sun came up. I had the whole place to myself for quite a while. Then one car pulled up and parked in front of me and I thought “Oh, that’s a parking lane! Oops!” Then another car. Then there were 40 or 50 people doing calisthenics! I felt like I had said everything I’d set out to say about the scene – looking at the sun, magnified by the smokey sky. So I packed up and headed to Moomers. 

Breakfast at Moomers, 9×12″, available at Crooked Tree Arts Center (231) 941-9488 (their page looks funny right now – the links are still being worked on…)

Moomers was a location Kristi set up, at least in part, because she knew I love painting cows. Thanks Kristi!! 

I really love how this painting turned out. I worked on it from about 8am until around 3pm when I needed to head over to CTAC for my painting demo.

‘Steeple Next Door,’ 9×12″, available at Crooked Tree Arts Center (231) 941-9488

I headed over to Crooked Tree to decide what to paint for my demo, and did a lot of pencil sketches – settling on this scene of building tops and trees. 

It was a 2-hour demo with about 15 people watching. They were great and asked a lot of good questions and got up to look closer quite a bit, which I really enjoyed. 

Partway through the demo a cat came up and sat in an open chair. How awesome is that? 

Thanks Kurt for the photo. ☺

The demo ended at 7:30, and I stayed around for another hour to put final touches on the painting. After that I was feeling pretty good about the day and went and got some sleep.

Afternoon Dance, 9×12″, oil on linen, available at Crooked Tree Arts Center (231) 941-9488

On Tuesday I did a warm-up painting (not shown), and then headed over to the Oryana community co-op where a paint-out was organized. Looking for a good spot to paint, I walked from there along a paved trail that wound down to Boardman Lake, over and past bridges, and out where I could hear happy screams of kids learning to sail at the sailing school across the water.

A number of people pointed out the buildings in the painting (above). The one on the right is the library, and the one on the left is the sailing school. And one person pointed out that the kids do sail all together super close out of nervousness of getting too far away from the group.

Several other boats were painted in and out, and you can see hints of them… I wanted to express a little bit of the passage of time with those marks…

What do you think?

Tuesday evening I went up to a lookout on “the peninsula”, and then looked for a good spot to paint. I ended up on a hilly farm area and painted the sunset colors shining on a farm. I plan to finish that painting in the studio. 

I got back to my host’s house around 10:30pm, and to sleep a little after midnight… And was up before light the next morning for a new adventure!

One of my many take-aways from this experience is that even if I’m tired, I need to take the time each day to write down what I did. At the end of the week, it’s all a big blur!

Catch of the Day (Thanks Pat!), 9×12″, oil on panel, available at Crooked Tree Arts Center (231) 941-9488

After painting in Fishtown I headed towards a “sunset” spot, but about halfway there I saw a beautiful pull-off and stopped to paint lilly pads instead. 

Catch of the Day (Thanks Pat!), 9×12″, oil on panel, available at Crooked Tree Arts Center (231) 941-9488

After painting in Fishtown I headed towards a “sunset” spot, but about halfway there I saw a beautiful pull-off and stopped to paint lilly pads instead. 

Beauty in the Light, 9×12″, oil on panel, available at Crooked Tree Arts Center (231) 941-9488
Reply to inquire.

Thursday was the last full painting day, and I wanted to revisit a couple painting spots. 

First thing in the morning I went back to Moomers to paint the cows again. 

I was prepared for cows to move around, and if one moved, I tried to find another one in the same position to paint. 

My easel was right next to the fence, and at one point a cow came up and stood right in front of me. I didn’t have treats for her, so I tried scratching her on the nose, which she declined. So I just moved my easel back a little (to make sure she didn’t eat any paint) and painted things above her – the tops of the trees and sky. After a while she moved farther away. Hopefully she found the painting a little entertaining. ☺ 

-BTW, that duct-tape color thing above “Beauty in the Light” is my home made panel carrier. It worked! Nothing was damaged. So I’m going to make a couple more in different sizes. 

Sail With Me, 9×12″, oil on panel, available at Crooked Tree Arts Center (231) 941-9488

After Moomers I dropped off more framed paintings at Crooked Tree, and then headed over to the path by the sailing school again. 

I walked out on Boardman Lake Loop Trail, along the water and past the bridge and came across a lovely lookout. Sitting on the bank next to the water I was in the middle of a lot of life – with birds singing and the kids from sailing school making a great fun racket that carried across the water to me. It was quite wonderful. After a couple hours some ants found me and could not be detoured, so I moved to spot on the dock to finish the painting.

This painting has marks from my brush, palette knife and squeegee. Can you find the different textures?

Friday of PGT I put final touches on a couple paintings and then was at the art center at around 8am to finish up framing and turn in my last paintings. 

Then I went in search of a place with wifi to upload my painting information to the art center website, and found a place called “Grand Traverse Pie Company.” 

I sat down in the very back corner with a very good sandwich and a large coffee. 

I was working away when a couple sat at the table next to me. The man let out a loud, enthusiastic “MMMMMMMMMM!” with EVERY bite. They didn’t talk except occasionally one of them would say something like “do you think there’s cilantro in this?” and the other would say “I think so!” 

They seemed really happy and made the whole room smile. And that uninhibited food enjoyment was the background sound while I wrote some of my painting descriptions…

The show opening celebration was sooo fancy, well planned, packed, and energetic. I talked with great artists and art enthusiasts, and someone that you’ll hear more about tomorrow. ☺

After the show closed I stayed and talked again with a new artist friend from New York, and then forced myself to join several artists who’d gone out to socialize. I’m introverted and I was tired, so I had to give myself a stern talking-to to make that happen.

But I was glad I did!

One artist played his dulcimer and sang to us. The pub made very spicy good root beer. I heard about plein air events on the east coast and in the south. And I heard artists, again, talking about the importance of accepting yourself as an artist. 

There were so many artists that I admire in the show. And several of them I got to know a little bit – talking until the pub closed.

On Saturday morning I visited with my sweet hosts, met Gina from Plein Air Magazine and Lynn from Twisted Fish Art Gallery, and was serenaded by this lovely brother and sister musicians. What a wonderful end to the adventure.