Expanding on Etsy

Soon you can really see my work properly, on my new beaverislandarts shop on the arts and crafts website, etsy.com/shop/beaverislandarts. My shop is divided into sections, so you can just look at cards or posters or paintings.  You can use a shopping card and payment by check, credit card, or PayPal.

You can still call me or email me with for information or with special requests, or if there’s any problem with the Etsy store.

And here’s early info: My 2010 Open House—my 10th Anniversary celebration and my first Open House in my new studio—will be held Sunday, November 21st, from 1 to 8 p.m. Please come and bring friends…I don’t advertise this show publicly, but if you’d like to be on my list or you’d like the address, please contact me.

My Beaver Island Commission: Finished at Last

It was Ray Cole’s idea to auction me off to do a painting of somebody’s vacation home—or the view from it—to raise money for the Beaver Island Health Center. He and Nina had commissioned me to do two paintings—one of the Beaver Island Lodge and another showing the View from the Beaver Island Lodge. The paintings came out well, so we thought we’d see if anyone else would be interested.

They were: The auction was won by Marty and Marie Tuohy, who asked me to additionally paint in ten people—family and friends—who vacation at a popular rental on the harbor. I hadn’t bargained on so many people, and it took me a long time to do, but it’s finished now and we are all pleased with it. I’ve started painting residents and/or pets into commissions I’ve done since, which does much to personalize them and liven them up.

I did the Tuohy painting in acrylic and it measures about 20×30 inches. We are calling it “Beaver Island Twlight.” Contact me to purchase notecards and prints of it, or to find out more about commissioning a painting  of your own family or home.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

October 2008 completes my 4th survival year!

Yes I am, thanks to early detection (I found the lump myself), an excellent surgeon who left me intact, the usual course of radiation, and a changed lifestyle. Because the usual post-op treatment Arimidex) froze up my joints, I have ignored Big Pharma (saving over $200 a month) and opted instead for a healthy diet (mostly vegetarian) and exercise. Today, four years later, I feel better than ever and find myself living every day as fully as I can, and thankful thankful thankful. So I am celebrating life, creativity, adventure, friends, and new opportunities.

Mary’s Holiday Art Shows for 2008

The season is upon us and I am doing my 7th Annual Open House on Saturday and Sunday, November 22-23 (Noon to 5 p.m. each day) at my Bay City, Michigan, studio. If those times or dates don’t work for you, just call for an appointment. To email me or call for directions or appointment, click on the CONTACT US button above.

This year’s SPECIALS: I am selling, for the first time ever, some of the over 30 out-of-print children’s books I have done for major publishers in the last twenty years. Also new this year is my 2008 title, WHAT’S IN THE WOODS? A MICHIGAN TREASURE HUNT and two 2008 posters that complete my LAKE EFFECT SERIES…you can now view Lake Michigan over an entire year.

Also this year I am adding a “garage sale” element to my Open House…find bargain art frames, original art, prints, cards, and as much miscellaneous household stuff that I can find room for. Whatever is left will go into a public sale, but I’m giving my friends first crack at it.

Please come and enjoy friends, neighbors and area art lovers, as well as coffee, wine, and treats.

 

Mary B’s Illustrated Breast Cancer Blog moves to Beaver Island Arts!

Ive never run out of ideas for my health blog—right now about six of them are waiting for attention—but I’ve tired of thinking about breast cancer so much of the time. It’s been two years since my treatment and I’m feeling like myself again. My prognosis is great, my checkups all good news.

So I’m off and running this summer, to do numerous art shows. And I’ll be painting Lake Michigan again—seven weeks spread out over five months—to produce Lake Effects III, the summer and last poster in my Lake Effects series. I start that project on Saturday! I can’t wait to spend a week doing nothing more than paint, walk, and look for mushrooms (it’s morel and oyster season at last!).

So please stay tuned. I’m going to do fewer breast cancer blogs, but I’ll now have time to include cartoons and illustrations, review my favorite breast cancer websites and blogs, give my take on new techno wonders like MRIs and digital mammograms, and, well, play. Remember play? It’s good for your health!

The picture here was taken at one of my book club meetings by my dear friend Mary Bush, who runs an artsy clothing shop in Saginaw called Glad Rags. Never been there? You’ve missed the ultimate in vintage/cool couture.

Please let me know your questions, responses, suggestions and, of course, praise. Just email me at mblocksma@yahoo.com.

New Beaver Island Posters & Art

I spent a total of three weeks at the Beaver Island Lodge in the summer of 2006, a real treat. I always loved that place, which displays my two Lake Effects posters, beautifully framed, in the lobby. When I lived on the island and ran my Beaver Island Arts gallery there, I used to set up my paints outside on one of the round tables on the patio, or at a window in the bar during inclement weather. The Lodge affords one of my favorite views on the island, along with that of Paradise Bay and the Whiskey Point Lighthouse, which I could see from my own window.

While I was visiting last year, Judy and Liz Laneer offered to let me show my Beaver Island and other art in their Montaage gallery next summer. So this winter, I’m working on that show, producing new watercolors, acrylics, prints, cards, and (already finished and produced) two posters that feature my favorite Beaver Island scenes.

Since I closed my gallery on Beaver Island, Sue Thomson has been selling my prints, cards, jewelry and some original art in her wonderful Livingstone Gallery, localed between the Beaver Island Toy Museum (which sells my books and posters) and the lighthouse. Sue will continue to sell my cards and prints, and this year, at last, she’ll have some new ones.

For now, except for the posters, I’m keeping most of the new Beaver Island art a secret….posting it only after the opening of the show in late June or early July.But just as an intro, here’s a small 5 x 7-inch mostly watercolor piece I did during last summer’s visit.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Beaver Island Sketchbook

I didn’t visit Beaver Island last year, the first time in fourteen years that I hadn’t been there for at least the month of July, so this trip was a special treat. My house, which I sold two years ago, i found had been razed and replaced by a huge two-storey job with several livingrooms and as many bathrooms.

My friends said they cried when my house came down–we had made so many memories there. I’d held numerous writing workshops, parties, and a meditation workshop there. I’d put up friends, Buddhists monks, and a medicine woman–Keewaydinoquay– before I turned my guest room into a bookstore, and after that a gallery called Beaver Island Arts. I’d learned to paint there, sold my art and books for years, met many interesting people.

But now, although my place is gone, the island with its many natural wonders is still there. Even on foot I was able to reach my favorite beaches, woodlands, wetlands, sweet grass patches, and sunset views. The last day I was offered a car, so I got to spend a perfect summer afternoon on Donegal Bay, my favorite swimming beach in the world.

And I hung out at the Beaver Island Lodge, where the owners, Ray and Nina Cole, always let me sit and paint either out on the lawn or at one of their lovely patio tables overlooking Lake Michigan and Garden Island. Several of my paintings hang inside their lovely dining room and my Lake Effects posters, both beautifully framed, welcome visitors at the front desk.

While I painted the lake, one of my favorite views, yet again (I have done it often at different times of day), a flock of wild turkeys crossed the lawn and then reappeared an hour later on the beach. I’d never seen turkeys on a beach before, and earlier that morning I witnessed another Beaver Island first for me –a pileated woodpecker.

Click on any image to enlarge it.

Lookin’ Good on Donegal Bay

I did the first layer in acrylic, but it was harsh and I didn’t like it. The light was good–lots of contrast–but it looked like paint-by-numbers, and although the composition was pretty good, the sky and bottom of the painting felt empty. I added clouds and moving water. Still boring. So I did a layer over the whole thing with pastels, and then, after some useful criticism from the subject, who is himself an artist, I did a final layer in oil pastel (kind of fancy name for expensive crayons). The result has depth and movement that I really like, and while I used a lot of bright color, the skin tones look perfect from across the room.

Beaver Island Sketches

The paper is too thin for watercolor, but I love these brief little paintings. This is just how I remember the harbor outside my Beaver Island house. A road wraps around the entire town part of the harbor, a good twenty-minute walk. Everything–grocery store, post office, bar, restaurant, deli, hardware–has this million-dollar view. I like living within reach of three airports and easy access to almost anywhere, but I miss this remote peace.