A fine art photograph by Dexter Michigan photographer Betsy Finn has been included in a local spring art exhibit. The photograph, titled “Jerusalem of Gold,” was taken at sunrise on Easter Sunday. Finn and her traveling companions arrived at the scenic viewpoint on the Mount of Olives before dawn on the day she created this photograph. As the sun rose, Finn captured a series of images, and ultimately blended them together to create a breathtaking panoramic view of Jerusalem. The fine art print is approximately 8″ tall by 40″ long.
The spring art exhibit in which Finn’s work is featured is one of three yearly juried shows put on by the Ann Arbor Women Artists, a local non-profit group with about 330+ members. Finn was one of 35 members whose art was chosen to be included in the spring exhibit, which runs March 13 through April 29th at the Mallets Creek Library in Ann Arbor.
Below are two images from the opening reception, held the evening of Friday, March 18th at the Mallets Creek Branch of the Ann Arbor Public Library.
The spring art exhibit will be on display at the Mallets Creek Library in Ann Arbor through April 29th. We hope you will consider stopping by to view the many wonderful artworks on display. Many of the art pieces on display, including Finn’s panorama, “Jerusalem of Gold,” are for sale, so if you’re looking to add some art by local artists to your fine art collection, this might be the perfect opportunity to view a variety of pieces.
I love winter. …the cold, crisp, air… the snow… the whole thing. And so I was just about as exited as our boys were to get our first big storm of the season. We got a lot of snow. The boys begged to go out and build a snowman, and so we bundled up and went out — but the snow was a little too crumbly. We made a baby snowman, and then moved onto bigger and better things — a snow fort! Steven shoveled some snow from the yard into piles during a driveway-shoveling-break, and then Toby and I built a knee-high (or waist-high, depending on who you ask) horseshoe fort. Toby kept kicking holes in it to make space for a refrigerator. Then, after a brief snowball fight, it was time to go inside — frostbite prevention!
We didn’t get back out in the snow that day, to play, that is. We did take a drive that evening (as an aside, I’m really thankful we now have a truck). The next morning, we awoke to a winter wonderland (okay, it was there the night before too, but give me a break here). The boys were super excited when they woke up. But, before they did, I was able to sneak out for a brief walk through our woods on my own (Steven was great, he saw the eager look in my eyes and said “go.”).
So, here are some photographs of my morning excursion. I love the predawn quiet and stillness. I got to see a deer, and tracks from several animals who’ve been using the path I made in our woods this summer.
But best of all, I got to see the sun rise and kiss the treetops with warmth and light.
Thanks for indulging me. I know some of you aren’t fond of winter (*gasp!*). But I really love all four seasons — except that constant state of flux where it freezes then thaws, freezes then thaws, etc. Snow is gorgeous. As Toby observed, it is “all sparkly.” The snow shimmers, reflects light, casts a whole new wonder about the world. It makes the ordinary and the mundane seem surreal and magical. It makes us take a pause from our daily routine to admire the wonders of creation around us.
It’s amazing how transient things are, how quickly the seasons change. We went up north last weekend as part of our continued “working on the cabin” saga. And yes, that’s why things have been a little quiet around here on the blog. Real life obligations always come first — in this case, it was an amalgam of things for clients as well as the addition we are adding to the cabin.
Anyways, last weekend we were expecting cold weather, but certainly not snow. We unpacked the truck in between snow flurries and frozen rain showers. And in the morning, we woke up to a winter wonderland. Well, snow wasn’t completely covering the ground, but there was certainly enough for the boys to stomp about, shovel off the deck, and make snowballs.
Here’s a view off the back deck of the cabin, at sunrise.
Yes, it was still snowing that morning. The grayish white specks all over these images (faintly resembling sensor dust) are really large snowflakes coming down. Zack was enthralled and wanted nothing but to be carried outside so he could try to grab snowflakes. Toby tried his hand at catching snowflakes on his tongue, before moving onto bigger ventures — shoveling the deck.
There’s something to be said for the warmth of the early morning sun coming up over a snowy scene. These pictures simply don’t do it justice.
The air was a bit hazy with all that moisture as the sun came up, giving off an ethereal glow…
And here’s the best “it’s snowing” picture I took before heading back inside to make breakfast. So many snowflakes in the air. It was gorgeous. Cold. But gorgeous.
Thanks for letting me share. I’ll be working more blog posts back into the schedule this fall and winter, so don’t be surprised to see things get “back to normal” around here. As always, I’d love to chat with you about planning a portrait session… so get in touch!
This past week was pretty busy! I enjoyed participating in the second annual Paint Dexter Plein Air festival (see my paintings from last year). This time I didn’t paint solo though — I had a entourage with me (both boys, and grandma). My newborn slept, my toddler painted for a bit with grandma, then both enjoyed the outdoors while I kept working. Due to the weather, we didn’t go out to paint the first two days (while I wouldn’t have minded painting in the rain, I didn’t want to bring the kiddos along to get soaked).
So, I had two days to complete my two plein air paintings for the festival. Plus a third painting that was part of the “Quick Draw” event — but, honestly, they all felt like quick draws to me! I enjoyed painting so spontaneously, not really worrying about minute details, and rather going for an artistic representation. Although, I will say, these pieces were a little more realistic than the abstract style I’d briefly entertained using.
Day One – Painting a Caterpillar En Plein Air
We went to one of the Dexter metroparks and while I was deciding what scenery to paint, I found a curious little caterpillar. He had crawled onto my painting supply bag. I gently helped him onto a branch, and proceeded to paint him as the subject for the first day. I really had fun with this piece. The green background did start out as abstract circles, but then I melded the colors together. I felt like a kid for a bit while I was flicking drops of paint onto the paper — so freeing to make a mess outdoors (no cleanup!). And finally, the fuzzy white hairs of the caterpillar — sticking out every which way — were enjoyable to create too. Can you tell I had fun on this day?
Day Two – Plein Air Painting at Night
The evening after painting the caterpillar, I saw a most fantastic view out my son’s bedroom window. The moon was gorgeous, surrounded by ever changing clouds. I decided it would be fun to paint a night scene — and so I did! It was fun to use so much black in a painting (as an aside, my son would agree – his favorite color to paint with is currently black). The dark colors were a bit challenging too, as watercolors aren’t usually so low-key in nature. I ended up adding in our grass in the foreground, taking a low vantage point rather than including the lake and the trees on the horizon, which were all but silhouettes against the city glow of Ann Arbor in the distance. I enjoyed seeing my painted clouds shape themselves and change as I added layers of paint, ever shifting just as the real clouds do.
Day Three – Quick Draw Painting
The final day of painting was the actual Quick Draw event. I had three hours to complete this final piece — not too stressful, as the other two pieces were completed in that timeframe. Such is the life of an artist who happens to be a mother. Especially to little ones — time is precious, and all too fleeting! After going downtown Dexter to register, I returned home to set up shop. Grandma played with my toddler in our yard so he could be near mommy (someone likes to watch me paint). I sat out on our deck, accompanied by a sleeping baby, painting the lovely view of our trees.
I have to admit, working under a three hour time constraint turned out to be a little stressful. Some of my experimentation while painting did NOT turn out as planned, and I had to backtrack a couple times. I think it turned out for the better, in the end, of course. But I definitely could have worked longer on this piece, as I was originally envisioning much more detail in the final painting.
So, there you have it. My three plein air paintings from this year’s Paint Dexter event. I enjoyed participating. It will be interesting to see the other paintings that were created this week — all are on display in Monument Park until Saturday afternoon — for sale by silent auction (or “buy it now” price).
Thoughts on Painting and Creativity
I wish I painted more often. Every time I paint, I tell myself that. But then life happens.
This time, I am going to try and make sure I get my hands on a paintbrush again soon. Painting is so soothing, relaxing, inspiring. Especially when I allow myself the freedom to experiment and play, rather than trying to adhere to “what should be.”
Because, let’s face it, part of art is breaking the rules.
Of course, you have to learn and master the rules before you break them. Or so they say.
This past week I’ve been thinking about the unpredictable nature of life. How things can take a turn at any moment, how we need to count our blessings, and look for them — even though sometimes it can be like finding a needle in the haystack.
Contentment in the Journey
The day breaks
Another day dawns.
Life goes on,
whether we want it to
Being in control
is a joke, impossible.
We make the choice to
fix our eyes on the goal
…or get sucked into
the quicksand of
Life will never be free
But we can choose
to find contentment
in the journey.
The image above is from a morning this spring (yes, we still had snow). We were blessed with a vivid pink sunrise over the lake. As the evening receded and the sun’s rising approached, deep purple and vivid pink hues were muted into orange and yellow tones. The moment was gone quickly, even as we enjoyed the lovely colors.
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Mother Teresa
Sometimes morning’s coming seems to take forever; other times morning comes far too quickly. And with the night usually comes silence. Silence can be overpowering, overwhelming, and even frightening. It is in the silence that we are forced to deal with our own fears, thoughts, and worries. The hustle bustle of our days allows us to shut out these things, to put off dealing with them until later.
And the morning comes, whether we want it to or not.
Are we ever content with being in the moment? Willing to accept the reality of our present circumstances, whether they be joyful, grief-stricken, or even filled with apathy? I’ve known some strong people in my life. It has always struck me, how, even during their times of trial, they are looking outward towards the needs of others rather than inward towards their circumstances.
Resources on Contentment + Sunrises
Here are some resources on contentment and sunrises. That sounds like such a random assortment, my apologies — but I found some neat activities related to contentment and sunrises. Links will open in a new window for your convenience.
What about you? How do you deal with adversity, loss, or hardship? Do you think it’s possible to find contentment in the face of adversity? Sometimes it feels impossible to find peace in the middle of life’s trials. What do you do to help cope?
Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. – unknown