In January 2019, I challenged myself to do at least one small painting a day-either as a warmup before beginning larger works, or more often a series of these small 3.5 x 5 inch paintings. Each one is unique, capturing some scene or essence of my daily experience.. I began to see patterns emerging and am enjoying how they work as a way to keep the creative channels open.
Birches and Beaches
These plein aire watercolor paintings are truly one of a kind...a visible record of a direct experience with the lake...the trees, rocks, and its ever-changing shores. Painted with the water from each location, the pigments and water interact to capture the forms of the landscapes, movements of the water, and the light that dances upon it.
Birches on the south shore of Lake Superior, Bad River Reservation.
5 x 12 inches, Original Watercolor, 2017
Birches at the water's edge, on Lake Superior's south shore. Scars from traditionally harvested bark and broken branches add character and tell a "story" of the life of the trees..
5 x 12 inches, Original Watercolor, 2017, Framed in light maple
Available through Bell Street Gallery on Madeline Island, priced at $295
Birch Grove No. 2
A stand of Birches at the water's edge, Lake Superior south shore on the Bad River Reservation.
5 x 12 inches, Original Watercolor, 2017, Framed
Three Birches -Dawn
Three birches stand at the water's edge in the soft rosy light of daybreak, clouds on the horizon.
4 x 10 inches, Original Watercolor, 2017
Framed in light maple, framed size 7 x 13 inches. Priced at $250
Available at Bell Street Gallery on Madeline Island
An intriguing piece of driftwood at Little Sand Bay, part of the mainland portion of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on the Bayfield Peninsula.
4.5 x 11 inches, Original Watercolor, 2016
March ice unlocking at the mouth of the Sioux River, Madeline and Long Island on the horizon.
4.5 x 11.5 inches, Original Watercolor, 2016
Little Sand Bay – Rocks
Rocks at Little Sand Bay, part of the mainland portion of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on the Bayfield Peninsula.
4.5 x 11 inches, Original Watercolor, 2016
Painted at Big Bay state park, enormous red sandstone rocks jut out from the shoreline, Michigan's upper peninsula a blue line on the distant horizon.
4 x 9.5 inches, Original Watercolor, 2017
Point Detour Rock
Plein aire watercolor,one of the large red sandstone rocks off Point Detour on the Red Cliff reservation on Lake Superior's south shore.
3.5 x 5 inches, Original Watercolor, 2017.
Lakescapes - 2018
These paintings express the many changing moods of Lake Superior and the interplay of water, sky, and islands.
These watercolor images were painted to highlight just a few of the precious wetlands in the Penokee Hills. Ecologically crucial to the water quality of Lake Superior and the wild rice beds of the Kakagon Sloughs, which are of enormous cultural importance to the Ojibwe people, this area has faced threats from mining and other economic interests. The "ridge" you see in the far distance of the Beaver Pond and Sedge Meadow would have been reduced to crushed rock, burying the images you see here forever. The final image, of a waterfall in Copper Falls State Park, shows this tanin-colored water rushing over rocks, turning to gold on its journey down to the Lake. Precious and pure, and so necessary for life, pure water truly is "gold".
The originals of these pieces were donated as a fundraiser for the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, an organization whose work in mapping and documenting these wetlands was instrumental in saving them for future generations.
Penokee Wetlands - Beaver Pond
This is an enormous beaver pond at Bull Gus Creek, way up in the Penokee Hills. Amazingly built and engineered by creatures who can chew down trees and stack logs, branches, mud, and even rocks to form a 12 foot high watertight wall. The many dead trees are evidence of the flooding that occurred in its creation.
7.5 x 18 inches, Original Watercolor, 2015
Penokee Wetlands-Sedge Meadow
6 x 10 inches, Original Watercolor, 2015
Copper Falls, Solstice
5 x 5.5 inches, Original Watercolor, 2015
What began as a personal project to keep an illustrated journal of my adventures and observations throughout the Lake Superior watershed area turned into something I publicly share. Journaling is a fantastic way to connect with a moment in place and time, and capture it using all of the senses through images and words. I rarely leave the house without a sketchbook and a rudimentary set of art supplies, as these moments can strike at any time.