Rhythm and Blues

In our travels in the Upper Peninsula this past August, we came upon a rest area. Trust me when I say, if you find one, stop. Not just for the obvious reason but because you never know what else you might find.
We noticed a sign at the far end of the parking area. Usually these signs will have a map of where you are and maybe area attractions. This one though said to follow the trail to the waterfall. A waterfall! Right there! As we were headed to the trail several people were coming back up. We asked them how the waterfall was and they said, "Eh, it's nothing really. Guess it's all right. Thought it would be bigger."
We headed down a very rough trail really not expecting much. The trail was hard to read since it was all rocks and trees. It looped around and over roots and boulders. Finally, the river. The waterfall gently flowed over wide, flat rocks. I could understand the people's comments. It was pretty but not very big.
Our son noticed that the trail seemed to go on. It was a nice day so we decided to hike a bit. About 10 minutes into the hike...........
Well! We found the waterfall! It was HUGE. It went into and around a canyon, dangerous, frothing, loud, breathtaking. It was spectacular! Obviously the people that we had run in to had not come this far. I wanted to run back and grab them and tell them they had missed it. And yet I thought, if you are looking for some quick gawk 'n go before you quickly jump back in your car and move onto the next photo op, go to Disney World.
In doing this print I found myself confused by my own attitude. I love Michigan. I want people to experience the beauty, the serenity, the majesty found in hidden places. And yet, I don't want to tell anyone where this waterfall was. I want to keep it hidden and unspoiled. I don't want it to become just another photo op.
I didn't make a print of the waterfall. This is a small pool at the edge of the river right before the main falls. The water flowed in and over and around the boulder with the rhythm of the river. I want you to see the beauty but for now I am keeping the falls to myself. And I feel sad about that. Sort of!
Hence, Rhythm and Blues


In the north - around the Great Lakes and especially Canada - the "inuksuk" is appearing more often along trails, highways and lakeshores. The man-made stone cains were, and still are, used by the peoples of the Artic for navigation or to mark hunting grounds or a food cache. They have been used in one form or another all over the world since ancient times. I suspect that the modern ones are built more for fun than as a survival tool.
This cairn was found along the shore of Big Bay de Noc. A storm was threatening and it seemed to me to be a Guardian from the storm.


A View of Isaacson Bay, Alpena, Michigan
Japanese Woodblock Print<

Summer Update

The spring and summer of 2009 have been busy.........busy with family, busy with a BIG garden, busy working and, my favorite, busy camping and kayaking!
In May we celebrated our 25th anniversary. We could have had a party or taken a "trip of a lifetime" but instead we decided to buy ourselves kayaks. (In a state surrounded by water it's the second most common form of transportation.) Now we can take lots of trips. And we can get right in the water instead of just gazing at it from shore.
I'm amazed at how close up we can get to all the wildlife along a river or lake. We have seen herons on their nest with one very big baby! We've seen deer, eagles and hawks. We've seen a multitude of fish and on one excursion we had what we called 'dolphins'. This school of little sunfish jumped along right in front of the kayaks as we made our way across the lake! It was funny and made us feel accepted by the 'locals'!
I paused in my printmaking to just enjoy the outdoors and the water of Michigan for a time. We paddled the Rifle River, the AuSable River, Lake Ovid, Colwell Lake, Lake Fanny Hooe, Indian Lake and El Cajon Bay & Thunder Bay. We spent time in National Forests and State Parks. 10 days were spent in the Upper Peninsula visiting Pictured Rocks, Hiawatha National Forest, Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary (www.michigannature.org/home/sancts/estivant/estivant.shtml), a hidden gem called the Devil's Washtub, Brockway Mountain, Copper Harbor and so many waterfalls I can't even remember them all!

As fall approaches I am again appreciative of where I live and how much I have yet to see and experience in Michigan.

Self Portrait with Tree: Tree Hugger

When given the theme of doing a self-portrait with or as a tree, I decided on "with". Previous self portraits that I have done just show my face. This time I wanted to explore an inner self.

Because my prints are based on the land and waterscapes of Michigan and I care deeply about the quality of the Great Lakes and the rivers and streams that feed them, I've had some ask me if I am an environmentalist.

In my mind, an environmentalist is more science based. They know the "whys", the "hows" and the "what needs to be done" of the environment. I would not pretend to know those things and am thankful there are people who do and bring needed attention to the environment's stresses and needs.

Having been a participant in the very first Earth Day I do feel a repsonsibility to my immediate environment. Oh do I hate litter! I cannot understand why people still do it. I am beyond annoyed by people who trash our water systems with everything from empty soda cans to tires and furniture.

"Our ability to percieve quality in nature begins, as in art,
with the pretty.
It expands through successive stages of the beautiful
to values as yet uncaptured by language."

Aldo Leopold

I am an artist. I love what the subject matter that God laid out before me and find my inspiration is never ending. I love the changing of the seasons and the many different landscapes of my state. I love the lakes and rivers and waterfalls. Of couse I want my work to be attractive to the viewer but I am also trying to bring attention to them by showing people what we have and what we stand to lose without respecting it. I love my corner of this world.

So, not an environmentalist - I am a Tree Hugger!

Tree Hugger
6 woodblocks
Edition of 35

Ferguson Bayou

We came to Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in late October hoping to see the migration of the estimated 50,000 waterfowl that are here in fall and spring. We were too late, apparently, this year.
What we did find was an amazing variety of landscape in the refuge. On this trail there were dried up cornfields on our left. We looked to our right and you'd think we were in Louisiana in the sweltering summer! The Ferguson Bayou seems so out of place here. It is every shade of green imaginable. The soil is black and bursting with organic matter. (I would have loved some of this at home in my garden.) If you didn't know where you were, you'd swear the murky, algae covered water was hiding a few alligators just waiting for some unsuspecting animal to wander too close. I'm pretty sure the Michigan equivilant, the snapping turtle, is in there though!

Moku Hanga
6 blocks
9" x 13"
edition of 8