The Royal Scot: Another Thank You

The last house painting I did—the Chautauqua House—was my first experiment painting with gouache and a resist (a substance much like rubber cement that blocks paint). I fell in love with gouache’s rich colors and velvet matte surface. Although it’s basically watercolor, it’s opaque, not transparent, and therefore much more forgiving. It’s possible to paint over mistakes, at least sometimes.

I got so excited after finishing the Chautauqua house that I thought I’d try painting the Fort Lauderdale condo that I have enjoyed for two weeks during each of the last four (maybe five?) winters. It’s even yellow, a color that really glows with gouache. It turned out beautifully. I painted John in on his bicycle (although it really doesn’t look like John) and Carol walking toward the entry.

Although the size—about 11×22 inches—is hard to make prints of to fit a standard frame, the painting makes fabulous 4×9 notecards. Apparently some other residents like them too.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Click here to check out some of my other commissions.

Chautauqua Vacation House

I have been known to trade art for a spell in paradise, not unlike other artists lacking funds to buy (or even rent) such a place. The family who own this house have hosted me not only in this wonderful Chautauqua, New York, home, but also in at least two Key West condominiums, as well as at a newly built Ocala horse ranch. This painting, done in gouache on illustration board, is about 16×20 inches—my thank you.

The recipients seemed delighted to discover that I’d painted all four of them sitting, as I’ve seen them do, on the front porch (they say they can tell who is who) and even the cat with the half-black half-yellow face.

I find that to my surprise I really like doing these things and I seem to be getting better at them. Interested? Check out my new commission page.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

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.

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.


Bay City’s Riverside Art Festival This Weekend!

My art fairs have been doing very well this summer, despite all the economic woes, and most of it has been due to my new book, What’s in the Woods? A Michigan Treasure Hunt, which is selling like hotcakes. I haven’t even had time to send it out to reviewers or notify bookstores about it, being a one-woman show here.

This weekend I’ll be giving away a free Woods book cross-word puzzle to the first 20 buyers of the Woods book and a free crossword puzzle What’s on the Beach? poster to buyers of What’s on the Beach?. All my Michigan nature books will be there.

Also find some dragonfly necklaces ($14.50, reduced from $25) , my Lake Effect note cards, Bay City posters (including the Bay City Bar Guide), Beaver Island Posters, and lots more!

EVERYTHING AT THE FAIR IS HUGELY DISCOUNTED!!! Posters which usually sell for $25 or $30 (even the new Lake Effects III and IV posters) are only $10 at the fair!! $15 note card packs are $10.

See you there!

Memorial Weekend at Timmel Gallery in Saugatuck!

I’ll be showing my new Lake Effects III and IV posters, beautiful Lake Effects note cards, original art for the Lake Effect series, and of course, my new book, What’s in the Woods: A Michigan Treasure Hunt. All my books in print will be there too.

And glory be, for the first Memorial Day weekend that I can remember (this is my fourth M.Day show at The Timmel Collection), the forecast is for absolutely perfectly beautiful weather.

So come and see us! Help me celebrate the completion of two huge projects that I’ve been working on for years: The Lake Effect poster series, which  now illustrates an entire year on Lake Michigan, and the new book in my What’s What Outdoors series, What’s in the Woods.

See you there!

What in the Woods, here at last!

What’s in the Woods?, a companion book to my popular What’s on the Beach has been in the works for three years. I never fully appreciated how much work goes into a book—especially a generously  illustrated book—until I did all the work of all a publishing house’s departments myself—researcher, writer, illustrator, editor, book designer, layout artist, producer, advertiser, and distributor (although Partner’s Book Distributors distributes my books too). Everything except the printing, which is done not only in the United States, but in Michigan at Holland Litho in Zeeland.

I just returned from doing a booth at the Ann Arbor Book Festival. I sold 30 copies of What’s in the Woods in just four hours, along with my other titles and many Lake Effects note cards packs. It was an encouraging start to the season.

What’s in the Woods retails at $12.50, with my usual 50% discounts for wholesale and 25% for school and library purchases, 50% for orders of 10 or more. This year I am also offer merchants a free acrylic book display holding 10 books each for orders of 10 copies of one title.

Wowsie wowsie, these are exciting times! My new Lake Effects III and IV posters are out now too. Want me to come for a show or a signing? Contact me to arrange it.

At last, Lake Effects III and IV are here!

Fresh from Holland Litho, my commercial printer (printed in the USA!), are Lake Effects III: Summertime and Lake Effects IV: Day at the Beach, completing the year begun by Lake Effects I (Oct-Dec) and Lake Effects II (Jan-April).

The new posters, painted last summer from Upper Peninsula and Beaver Island beaches, still present essentially the same view at varying times of the month or day, but the paintings in the new posters are larger and vary also in size. I wanted the new Lake Effects posters to work with but be distinct from the first two, and these seem to work well.

I have not raised my poster prices in ten years, but printing and packaging costs have gone up considerably. All my posters now retail at $30 each, two for $50 (if you order them from Beaver Island Arts)  which makes them the same price they always were. Combine your two posters any way you like (I have six posters available).

Notecards and original art will also soon be available on my website as well as at the many shows, fairs and signings I will be doing beginning in April. Stay tuned!

 Order by email or phone before June 1st for free shipping!!


Just Listed: New Lake Effects Art, plus Christmas Sales!

So here are my latest listings: Original Lake Effects III watercolors from last summer’s  painting project of Lake Michigan; a fabulous new signed and numbered collage print series showcasing the new Lake Effects III (summer) watercolors. Also find my new 2007 handbags and scarf & bag sets (now on sale for Christmas) as well as new necklaces and earrings (also on sale for Christmas).

Order anytime, but if you call by the 18th (i.e. the next ten days!) you can get it for Christmas!

The season has come for me to create! I love winter—so much time to focus and get things made and written. I have some big projects to finish, including the children’s book titled What’s In the Woods? (Great Lakes companion to my successful What’s on the Beach?) 

So Happy December, everyone!

My 2007 Open House Nov 10-11

You are invited to
Mary Blocksma’s 2007 Open House

1 to 5 p.m. each day
Saturday and Sunday, November 10 and 11
1101 5th Street (corner of Farragut)

Bay City 

After seven years in the same studio and too prolific for my own good,
I’m desperate to downsize. So for the first time, everything I’ve done
before this year, with the exception of my Lake Effects project,
will be 50% (or more) off, including Bay City Posters,
Beaver Island posters, all books, cards and prints,
one-of-a-kind jewelry, even acrylic and watercolor paintings.

New for this year’s show:
Designer one-of-a-kind purses, scarf-and-bag sets,
a Marble-ous Mary watercolor series, artsy potholders,
and a sneak peak at my new Lake Effects III and IV project.

Come and enjoy wine, coffee, sparkling cider, biscotti,
my own amazing chocolate chip cookies, nine cheeses and crackers.
Can’t make it? Call or email to make an appointment, to order
from my website, or for information or directions. or call 989-894-5925