Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Well we are almost ready for Christmas! Decorating is done as is the shopping. I took this picture this morning of our backyard. I really liked the dark blue snow clouds coming in from the North over the lake. According to the weather forcaster, I had better fix this firmly in my mind as it might be raining here by Friday. I never considered the possibility of not having a white Christmas as we have been slipping and sliding here for weeks.

While taking this picture the squirrel games began. We have four birdfeeders in the yard and the squirrels are busy chining themselves on the hangers robbing each feeder. While I don't mind their antics, they did cross the line today. Storing birdfeed has become a problem at our house. If we keep the seed in the garage, it attracts mice. Uck! Well, we decided the only thing to do was to buy a rolling trash can to keep outside and place the seed inside. To discourage the squirrels from investigating, we placed it right under the living room window. Much to my surprise, today I was met with two beedy eyes staring at me through the window. Mr. squirrel was busy destroying the hinge on the trash can. By the time I got the camera, he was gone. His buddies were still around though. Anyone with ideas for storing seed, please let me know!
I have been spending quite a bit of time in my studio this week. I started a new tradition this year and have painted bird pendants for some special people in my life. I will show them after Christmas. Besides pendants, I finished a painting of the Grand Hotel entrance on a hazy day. I am currently working on a portrait-my first of a Cherokee Indian that lives on the island. I had intended to show my WIP, but cannot as my dog ate the power cord to my scanner, and the new one has not arrived yet. No kidding-this was a $45.00 snack. You see, Jasmine, our 10 year old Golden, believes she should NEVER be left along. She gets quite angry and tends to snack on the first thing she can find. I am surprised she has not been electrocuted by now. Its animal house around here.
This will probably be my last post till after Christmas. I wish everyone a Very Merry and Blessed Christmas and a healthy and profitable New Year!
till next time,

Monday, December 7, 2009

Shamir has an operation

Well, we are slowly getting ready for Christmas, but in the meantime, life goes on. My daughter's horse spent the day at Michigan State University Vet School. Shamir is 19 years old and is being treated for a tumor behind his front leg. Shamir has always had a mole in this location, but a few months ago it blew up into a baseball size tumor. This is his second treatment at the hospital. Medicine, even in animals has progressed in amazing ways. After knocking him out-strapped in a sling so he can't fall over, they place beads the size of peas inside the tumor to shrink it. Today they placed 12 beads inside Shamir. The great news we got today is that the tumor is shrinking so well that they don't think they will have to go in and remove the tumor. Best news of all is that tests showed it is not cancer!!! This picture was taken at the hospital just as he was waking up!! My husband had just given him peppermint candy (his favorite) and he is begging. In this picture he looks like a mule. In reality he is a very beautiful horse. For those wondering Shamir is an Arab. I don't know what his name stands for. We bought him when he was 4 years old and kept the name.
Hope everyone is having is a wonderful December. We are supposed to get snow the rest of the week!!!
Till next time,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Is It Thanksgiving Already?

Wow! It has been another month, and I had promised to update this blog on a much more regular basis. Just completed more paintings for Twisted Fish Gallery holiday show and have shifted to island views. Seems very strange working ahead one or two seasons. The above painting was from a photo taken near Woodstock , Vermont. I love Vermont and would really like to secure a gallery in that area as an excuse to return. Woodstock has been voted one of the prettiest small towns in the US on more than one occasion. I agree. My husband and I went on a sleigh ride on a particularly brisk day. It was well worth freezing a couple of toes over.

I have been enjoying the serenity of fall and secluding myself in my studio. It is amazing that I don't seem to mind working for days at a time without leaving the house even though I am a very social person. Creativity occupies the mind.
Besides painting I have spent time shoveling out my house for the holidays. Shortly after Thanksgiving we start decorating for Christmas. My husband has a rather large collection of nutcrackers. I think they are strange things, but my husband loves his collection so I arrange it for his enjoyment. Complete with snow and lights!
I recently bought some Verithin colored pencils and plan on doing some small flower and fruit pieces in the evenings with my feet up on the loveseat. If I finish anything worthwhile, I will post in the future.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and PROMISE to update my blog in a week!! Honest
Till then,

Monday, October 26, 2009

Big Rabbit Ears

This is a photo of me with Carol Andre taken about a week ago West of Traverse City. The tree reminds me of big rabbit ears. Carol and I had a great time paintings, talking and climbing over art supplies and golden retrievers as we were painting in our motorhome. Just a bit tight for space. It was in the 40's outside and sleet and rain prevailed most of the time we were there! Sadly, the morning this picture was taken, it was time for home.
It takes about 5 hours in our motorhome pulling a Jeep to get home. I have noticed the most amazing thing this year. About 2 hours from home, I start coughing, sneezing and wheezing. Now if this was 5 years ago I would say smog-no doubt. But, with manufacturing at a standstill I can't blame smog. I was talking to a friend of mine who lives in Mackinac City at the very tip of the lower peninsula. She said before the mid 50's, when the Mackinac Bridge opened, people from lower Michigan would come up and pitch tents at the tip of the state and get seasonal jobs to escape their allergies and asthma. Guess I should consider that next year!
Mackinac Island has pretty much closed for the season and I called my gallery guy to wish him a good trip to Va. where he spends the winter. Guess there was a bit of excitement about a week ago. The last ferry boat heading to the mainland lost its engine in a very strong wind and high waves. It took about an hour to get the engine started. Meanwhile, they were being tossed around and taking on water. Glad I wasn't on that boat. This does not happen often. Don't let it stop you from visiting the island.
I am currently working on winter pieces for a holiday show at Twisted Fish Gallery. The week has gone something like cough, sneeze, paint. Even the dog is scratching!!! Oh well, Winter is coming and we can all complain about that soon.
till next time (sooner)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Time is Flying

Wow has it really been a month since I last posted!! The older I get, the faster time goes by. It has been a busy month. The above painting is one of two pieces sent to the MPSGS show in Washington D.C. Unfortunately, I did not make the deadline for MASF. My up North galleries are still keeping me busy. Can't complain!! I was very excited to learn I will have a show on Mackinac Island at the Victorian Summer Gallery next Labor Day weekend. I am very honored to be given this opportunity. Now the work begins.
Saturday, my husband and I made a quick trip to Traverse City (Elk Rapids) to paint during Art Beat gallery open houses at Twisted Fish Gallery. I met many wonderful people and had an opportunity to discuss exactly what a miniature is. Many people were interested to learn of the 1/6th scale guideline. This is becoming more important as of late, because I see a shift by artists to smaller format paintings. These are small paintings as opposed to miniature paintings. It is always fun to watch the amazement of people at the small size and detail of a miniature painting. I had several people tell me that my paintings looked like photographs. I told them that was the idea!
I currently have several paintings in process in my studio. I am finishing up a commission and two other paintings for Victorian Summer Gallery. I am also painting Winter scenes for Twisted Fish Gallery holiday show beginning November 1st.
Next week we are off to camp on Lake Lelanau, West of Traverse City. This is a beautiful inland lake that we camp on every year. I think this year it may be snowing!! During our camping trip we are going to meet up with Carol Andre. We have never met face to face but we talk quite often and have a lot in common. Really looking forward to meeting her.
Once back from camping it will be time to winterize the motorhome, and start putting lawn furniture away. I can't believe it, but Winter is coming.
Till next time,

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Reflecting On The Porch

This has been an especially busy week at our house. My husband has been dealing with a sick dog (seems she is allergic to some sort of bite) and a sick horse. The horse has cancer that is localized and the prognosis is good. It has required a couple of trips this week to Michigan State Vet Hospital, however. I have been holding down the fort and painting like crazy. How fitting that I should paint a piece having to do with reflecting. As the saying goes, a bad day in my studio is better than the best day I ever had when I worked full time. It makes all of the craziness of this week easy to put into perspective. I have the added bonus of being able to excape to a beautiful island when I paint. In my mind, I am there!!! Happy Labor Day everyone.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mackinac Island-No Fudgies allowed

Last Wednesday my husband and I made a quick trip to the island to paint on Thursday in front of Victorian Summer Gallery. Wednesday was a gorgeous day spent taking reference pictures. Mackinac Island is a very tight knit community. The more time I spend there, the more accepted I am. That acceptance enables me to explore new areas not open to the general public,called fudgies, by the residents of the island. This trip I was invited to explore Father Tim's gorgeous lakeside garden. Father Tim is priest at St. Anne's historic church where many brides choose to be married. I also met Molly Carroll, wife of the pastor of The Little Stone Church, another historic and popular wedding site. Molly also is an avid gardener and invited me to shoot her garden whenever in town. The gardens on the island are exceptional this year due to the wetter and cooler weather in Michigan this year. I know what I will be painting when the snow comes! Thursday, I painted outside with one of my favorite artists Bill Murcko. Bill does incredible portraits in oil and I always learn something new when I am with him. Our painting was interrupted mid afternoon by showers. It really felt like a fall day in Michigan. Got a craving for chili and football games! We said our goodbyes and headed to the ferry. After a 20 minute ferry ride and 4 hour car ride, we were home.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My View

This is the view from my studio window. I am very fortunate to be able to experience the seasons and serenity on a daily basis. Most days it is quiet. Sometimes I hear the laughter of kids out on the swim platform. Before I know it, I will be seeing yellow and orange leaves, and finally snow. The only thing that doesn't change is my love of miniature art.
I began painting in miniature about 14 years ago after discovering a wonderful German woman at the Germany pavilion at Disney World painting scenes on eggs. I became fascinated with art in miniature and have been ever since. I thought it would be easy to paint in miniature, but quickly discovered it is much harder (in my humble opinion) than painting large. Not any room for error and the fatigue factor hits quite quickly. On a typical day I can paint for about 6 hours. After that point my eyes are shot.
If you are ever in my area call or e-mail me for a visit of my view.
till next time,

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Up North Adventures

My husband and I left home Thursday morning to driving rain, driving in our motorhome. Traffic was horrible. Several times we had to panic stop-not an easy thing in a motorhome. Thankfully, we arrived in Elk Rapids, just north of Traverse City without any issues. As you can see from the photo, the day ended up being beautiful. Twisted Fish Gallery is a wonderful place with a beautiful garden full of sculpture. My husband collected seeds from Lupins? Charlie has a wonderful garden.

Late in the day we drove up to Mackinaw City to camp for the weekend. We had a campsite not far from Lake Huron, a beautiful site.

Friday we took the ferry over to Mackinac Island and spent the day touring stables owned by the wealthy "cottage owners" on the West Bluff. Several owners were gratious enough to give the tours personally and tell of the rich history of their houses and stables. We later sat up on the porch of the Grand Hotel and had a glass of wine and looked out over the Straits of Mackinac conecting Lake Huron with Lake Michigan. The day turned rainy, but we perservered and watched a parade of antique carriages down main street (no cars are allowed on the island).

Saturday was a special treat for my husband and I as we were invited to Bill Murcko's studio and home on the East bluff of Mackinac Island. Bill spends summer on the island and has a winter home outside of Detroit. He is very active with the Detroit Institute of Arts. Bill retired a couple of years ago and specializes in portraits in oil. He has very quickly excelled and is painting a new series for his second one-man shows in Washington D.C. One of his latest works in progress is on the easel next to Bill. Hope it wasn't a secret!!! Bill and his wife Betty were very gracious and gave us a tour of their gardens and view of Lake Huron from the bluff where their house sits. Betty, I discovered works with bats and has a huge bat house in their yard. I relayed the story of how we had to go through rabies shots because we discovered a bat in our bedroom. I know they do a lot of good getting rid of bugs, but I must admit I am a bit afraid of them!
We also visited with Mary Lou Peters who was the featured artist at Victorian Summer Gallery. Mary Lou lives in Mackinaw City and commutes quite often to the island. We had a wonderful time visiting outside while the tourists passed by.
We arrived home on Sunday and I am back to work painting.
till next time,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Heading Up North

I just completed the above painting entitled Evening on the Boardwalk. This painting is available for purchase at Victorian Summer Gallery, Mackinac Island. Next Thursday, I will be painting on the porch at The Twisted Fish Gallery, Elk Rapids, Michigan-another fine gallery in Michigan. Please join me if you are in the area-would love to meet you from 12p.m. to 4 p.m. From there, my husband and I are taking our motorhome up to Mackinaw City to camp and take day trips over to the island. Next Friday and Saturday the island 4-H group is hosting the first annual Festival of the Horse. According to the schedule, many Mackinac residences will be showing off their antique carriages and amazing horses. It is definately a photo-op. Can't wait. Till next time.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Victorian Summer Gallery

Today I shipped 3 new paintings to Victorian Summer Gallery on Mackinac Island. Mackinac is beautiful and an unending inspiration to paint. It is well worth the ferry ride to visit! Victorian Summer Gallery is located at the corner of Caddott and Market Street, on the way to the Grand Hotel, pictured in the painting above. When you stop there, say hi to Jack, owner of the gallery. He is a great guy who will take the time to educate his customers on all his artists. And tell him, Yes Jack, Gail is painting.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone is having a joyful 4th of July. Please take a moment to remember what this day means to all of us!
We are taking a well deserved day off from painting and house duties. We are currently camping for a couple of days. Fireworks begin at dusk at the campground with front row seats.