Saturday, June 25, 2011

Touring Michigan - Whitefish Point

Whitefish Point is located at the extreme southeastern end of Lake Superior. The Whitefish Point Light Station was established by Congress in 1849; today, the Whitefish Point Light is the oldest operating lighthouse on Lake Superior. The present light tower was constructed in 1861 during the Civil War.

Whitefish Point marks the eastern end of a notorious 80-mile stretch of shoreline from here west to Munising, Michigan, known ominously as Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast. Of the 550 known major shipwrecks lying on the bottom of the lake, at least 200 of them are in the vicinity of Whitefish Point. The primary causes of shipwreck here are stress of weather and collision; the 1975 loss of the steamer Edmund Fitzgerald with her entire crew of 29 has become a world-wide legend. The wreck of the Fitzgerald lies just 15 miles northwest of Whitefish Point.

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is well worth a visit, but today, we just wanted to walk the beach.

We could feel the temperature dropping as we made the drive from Paradise out to the Point and found ourselves enveloped in fog when we arrived.

We love walking this particular beach, with it's mix of soft sand and rocks and the water and waves as far as you can see.

At least a few "interesting" rocks always seem to find their way home with us.

Whitefish Point provides a phenomenal concentration spot for migrant birds with land and water features creating a natural migration corridor. Tens of thousands of birds are funneled to the Point every Spring and Fall while migrating through the Great Lakes region. For over 30 years, Whitefish Point Bird Observatory has been monitoring and documenting these annual migrations.

I'm not sure what this little shorebird is, but there were a number of them monitoring us as we walked.

The tracks left by the gulls have a wonderful graphic design to them, a mixture of random and directed.

This winged creature was willing to pose for me too - isn't he gorgeous?

By the time we turned to return to the parking lot, the fog was clearing and we had a clear few of the lighthouse.

Fog and sunshine, wind and waves - there's not much better than a walk on the beach in northern Michigan!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Everyone Loves a Parade

Really - who doesn't love a parade?

Mackinac Island's annual Lilac Festival always ends with a grand parade and that parade is always led by Don "Duck" Andress, a direct descendant of Chief Mackinac.

Interpreters from Fort Mackinac also participate, fife and drums playing all the way.

Several service organizations are represented, including future service dogs (the puppies are so cute!) and Greythounds of Eastern Michigan , a greyhound rescue group. Greyhounds are typically such elegant dogs, but they're willing to play dress up to be in the parade:

The theme of this year's parade was "Board Games" and many old favorites made an appearance.



Turtlopoly (AKA Monopoly):

And Battleship:

Anyone who's been following Island politics will see the irony of that entry!

No parade is complete without marching bands:

Parades always seem to attract queens too and we had a Cherry Queen, a Trout Queen, an Alpine Queen, out own Lilac Queen and also the "Northern Michigan Beach Queens":

And the King too!

It seems like most parades have a t least a few clowns:

This is "Dynamite the Clown" and I remember seeing him in parades when I was a kid (a long time ago - how old is he?)

This is Mackinac after all, so there has to be bikes:

And more importantly, horses!

See what you missed!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Teal Drift

"Teal Drift" is my entry in the June Art Bead Scene monthly challenge.

We were challenged to create a piece inspired by Ophelia by Odilon Redon.

Odilon Redon was born in Bordeaux, Aquitaine, to a prosperous family. The young Bertrand-Jean Redon acquired the nickname "Odilon" from his mother, Odile. Redon started drawing as a child, and at the age of ten he was awarded a drawing prize at school. Aged fifteen, he began the formal study of drawing, but on the insistence of his father he changed to architecture. His failure to pass the entrance exams at Paris’ École des Beaux-Arts ended any plans for a career as an architect, although he briefly studied painting there under Jean-Léon Gérôme in 1864.
Back home in his native Bordeaux, he took up sculpture, and Rodolphe Bresdin instructed him in etching and lithography. His artistic career was interrupted in 1870 when he joined the army to serve in the Franco-Prussian War.
In the 1890s, pastel and oils became his favored media, and he produced no more noirs after 1900. In 1899, he exhibited with the Nabis at Durand-Ruel's. In 1903 he was awarded the Legion of Honor. His popularity increased when a catalogue of etchings and lithographs was published by André Mellerio in 1913 and that same year, he was given the largest single representation at the New York Armory Show.

The colors in are very saturated and rich - just my style!

I choose a lampwork boro focal bead from Etsy artist, uvanomos. It had the color profile I was looking for and a sense of "drifting" water in the pattern.

The clasp is beaten metal disc anchored with an antique show button.

I used deep blue beads with a matte finish for the base, accented with teal beads; I like the contrast and depth created by surrounding the shiny focal with the matte beads. There are just a few scattered glossy accent beads in the ruffle that pick up the minor colors of the focal bead.

Available for purchase here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lilac Time on Mackinac

Mackinac is always special, but during lilac time, it's simply glorious!

The microclimate of the Island is just perfect for lilacs - here they live longer and grow larger than anywhere else.
There are over 100 species of lilacs on Mackinac, a huge variety of colors.

The fragrance is unbelievable, almost intoxicating!

Come visit if you can, you won't regret the experience!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Touring Michigan (And Making Art) - Brimley State Park

Even when you live in a great place, sometimes you just need to get away and do some things you can't do at home. In our case, that means a campfire in the evening followed by sleeping in a tent near the water. Brimley State Park is a great fit for us: not to far away, quiet and beautiful.

The park is on the shore of Lake Superior and has a great sandy beach - a beach that is a great place to collect drift wood.

I love to use driftwood in my art, it's so light weight and has such interesting markings and patina after it's time in the lake.

It's been so cold that I suspect there haven't been many visitors and there's a lot of reeds, driftwood and other objects on the shore.

This piece really caught my eye:

And I was inspired to create an ephemeral "environmental sculpture" ala Andy Goldsworthy:

The Viking marauders landed at sunset and alas, were never seen again, their ship destroyed by the waves of Lake Superior in the night.

When the creative muse speaks, the wise artist listens - my sculpture may have only survived a few hours, but the memories will last much longer!