That’s next weekend, friends. I know, time speeds up in November. This year the weather is looking pretty good—chilly but sunny—so I’m adding a substantial garage sale with real garage sale prices to be displayed in the large space in front of my garage/studio.

Inside will be my work, including my new felted wool and cashmere hats, scarves, note cards (including my new Open Door series), and books, and SPECIAL DEALS ON ALL POSTERS! Posters which sell on my Etsy store and retail shops for $20 will be reduced $10 or less. Tell me you saw it here and I’ll give you $10 off on any hat or headband.

Many of you have faithfully supported me for years, and I want to make this worth your while. For more information, such as an address if you don’t know it, please contact me.

Or better yet, click the top right corner of my home page to sign up for my brand-new-this-month, short but comic emailed Mostly Monthly Newsletter. The November Issue (the first) will be out early next week (I hope).

Open House Sunday November 21 from Noon to Six

This year I moved my studio to a large garage, and I also opened a shop at

All cards, posters, scarves, and original art listed on my Etsy site will be on sale at reduced prices at my Open House on Sunday November 21 and until Christmas by appointment.

Do come and join the fun. Please contact me for more information.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Expanding on Etsy

Soon you can really see my work properly, on my new beaverislandarts shop on the arts and crafts website, 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.

2010 Catch-Up

As evidenced by my lack of attention to this website, I haven’t done much more in the last six months than move home, office, and studio and try to get set up before fall. Progress is being made, but the best use so far of my heated, insulated, three-car garage—which is also, fortunately, air-conditioned—has been many a passionate game of Ping Pong. The Ping Pong table has been put to other uses—card-building, packaging and scarf-cutting—but I haven’t done too much painting or writing in there yet.

Last week, however, I did a watercolor of a Manistee beach for a client who liked the print I had on my website but wanted an original painting. I did three paintings before it became clear to me that I can’t copy a watercolor—watercolor has a mind of its own and if I pay close attention to it, sometimes I can follow it someplace interesting. Anyway, I chose the one I liked best to send along, but the others came out pretty well, too. They are now available on the art page.

Now that I don’t work in an apartment in a Victorian house, and in fact have a separate work space, I can finally paint with oils. I look forward to this adventure. My only formal art class was about fifteen years ago at Ox-Bow, the summer school in Saugatuck for the Chicago Art Institute. It was a one-week class in oil-painting which taught me the basic materials required and how to mix paint, an incredibly useful class which has helped me in all my artistic endeavors.

I’m hoping to set up some small classes for fall and winter and will put out some sort of brochure or email when I figure out what might work. Meanwhile, I am attempting to illustrate Yoo Hoo Moon—my most successful children’s book—and republish it with my own art. Other projects are in the works as well, but right now so many things are calling for my attention that it seems easiest not to do anything at all. It’s summertime, and a real firecracker of a summer it is, too. I have a garden for the first time in about 20 years and what could be more important than a sunwarmed, just-picked tomato?

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.


Big Bay City Art Fair June 9-10!

My cancer fund drive exhibit is also still up at Jeff Ward Gallery, which is just behind my art fair booth. The weather is perfect for an art fair: very little wind, lots of sun, and in the 60s and 70s.

I’ll be selling prints, posters, books, cards, and lots of jewelry. Don’t miss it!

Click on an image to enlarge it.

Gallery Walk Thursday March 2nd 5-8 p.m.

Tomorrow (Thursday March 2nd) is the Celtic Gallery Walk, this month
sponsored by the one and only Friends of Celtic Culture. I missed the
publicity for the walk this month, but I will be open. Please come
visit me between 5 and 8 p.m. and check out my new gallery.

The new Mary Blocksma Gallery (just opened in November) exhibits my
paintings, including recent paintings of Bay City and Costa Rica, a
well as Bay City posters and notecards, my books about Michigan nature
and the Great Lakes, and many prints featuring my fish paintings,
Beaver Island, and more.

I have just put up a new display of watercolor studies for my next book, What’s In the Woods: A Great Lakes Treasure Hunt, due out in June.

Gypsies will be open as well for excellent coffee. Find me in the orange Gypsies building at 510 Third Street, corner of Madison, across from the Liberty convenience store.

For more information on the gallery walk, go to You can download a pdf map there as well as a
list of all the downtown galleries participating.

Wine and snacks are waiting. See you tomorrow?

Bay City Snow Day

When I paint using photographs, it’s obviously important that the painting be a lot better than the photograph, and it’s always been pretty easy to do that. It was harder this time, because this new camera is so good and I set the composition up on PhotoShop, combining three or four photographs, picking out interesting shapes, making sure I had the wonderful age range represented that really is there.

I like the result…it’s pretty much what I’ve been carrying around in my head: the fabulous, almost silhouetted shapes at the top of a white hill against a white sky. It can only be Bay City because you can see the lights tower that presides over the softball field on the right. I also made sure to put in the pigeons that frequently perch in rows along the bridge lights.

I’ve waited years, but finally we got a huge fluffy white snow on a Friday night, so Saturday at ten a.m. our riverside park was joyful with color against a still-pristine white.

Bay City Snow Day is acrylic on acid-free illustration board, and measures 36 by 15 inches. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Michigan Photographers Alert!

Michael Bell has shown an unusual support and respect for Michigan art and artists. Ellen Wilt, Ann Arbor artist who has twice won the grand prize at the Michigan Watercolor show and Professor Emeritus of art at Eastern Michigan University, once told me that she thinks there’s more originality in Michigan art than in any other state, including New York and California. I like it when Michigan art centers and museums make an effort to balance their exhibits between out-of-state artists and those closer to home.

So no excuses! This is an exciting opportunity you can’t afford to miss. I may even try it myself, although my photography is mostly for personal or research reasons. I based a painting on this one, taken on the 2004 Kawkawlin River Clean-up, an annual event where, lacking boat or muscle, I function as official photographer. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Deadline for submissions is June 1, 2006. There’s just one problem with this show: I couldn’t find the announcement on the Saginaw Art Museum website. There aren’t many rules, though. This is basically it:

Saginaw Art Museum – Michigan Invitational

July 9 – September 10, 2006

Open to all Michigan photographers, no age or other limit.

Work must be original in editions of less than 200,but need not be recent.

No entry fee or awards. Artist is responsible for 2-way shipping.

Selected work must be framed and ready to install.

Photographs must be labeled with name/title/year/medium.

Exhibition will be curated in-house, not juried.

Sales inquiries will be referred to the artist; museum asks no commission.

Museum insures all selected work at artist’s wholesale price while on premises.

Entry Procedure

Send resume, artist statement, SASE & up to four images (any format) to:

Michael S.Bell, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions

Saginaw Art Museum
1126 N. Michigan Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48602

989.754.2491 x204

989.754.9387 FAX

or email:

Deadline for submission: JUNE 1, 2006

New Gallery Opens in Bay City

Mary Blocksma has been looking for galleryspace since she moved to Bay City from Beaver Island six years ago, and now she has found it in the Gypsies building at Third and Madison in Bay City. “It’s wonderful to display all my work in one space,” Blocksma says. “I’m so prolific that no one else’s gallery can begin to represent the variety of things I do.” Blocksma, who has published three books since moving here—Great Lakes Nature (University of Michigan Press, 2004), What’s On the Beach: A Great Lakes Treasure Hunt (Beaver Island Arts, 2003), and Necessary Numbers (Portable Press, 2002)-- is also a painter. “All my work will be available in my new gallery,” says Blocksma. “There are still many original watercolors I’ve done of the Great Lakes, as well as Great Lakes posters, prints, and notecards, and two posters I did last year of Bay City—one celebrating twenty-four homes on Center Avenue and another picturing fifty-seven of Bay City’s bars.” Blocksma appears most excited, however, about her new work. “I seem to have found a mysterious passion for fish,” she confesses. “I’m not sure where it came from, since I do not fish or scuba dive, but this past year, while most of my strength went to dealing with treatment for breast cancer, I painted fish just for fun. I was too tired to get serious about anything, so I simply amused myself and my beautiful fish turned into a vibrant series of acrylic paintings.” Although half the fish paintings have already sold, all of them are available at Blocksma’s gallery as prints and notecards. “I even have room to show my quilts,” says Blocksma. “Most of them no one has ever seen. I didn’t even have room to show them in my house.” Pieced and hand-quilted original designs, Blocksma’s quilts add texture and unusal patterns to a gallery of framed art, posters, cards, and books. One quilt, called “Summertime,” even celebrates fish. The Mary Blocksma Gallery, located in the Gypsies building at the corner of Madison and Third Streets in Bay City, is now open daily from 10 to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Her Grand Opening reception and Fourth Annual Open House, is scheduled for Sunday, November 13, 1 to 4 p.m.