Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Michigan Madness

Traverse City

After California, I was home for three days and then headed straight to Michigan to teach a collage workshop in Traverse City with the Art Center there. I had never been to Michigan before in my life and let me tell you, it's beautiful.

Grand Traverse Bay, swam here to train for my upcoming triathlon

Traverse City State Park, running here to continue my training

Kim picked me up at the Flint airport and even held up a sign with my name on it so I would not fail to recognize my online friend of over two years. She looked just like she did on Skype and in photos, so it was not hard to pick her out at all. We hit the road to Traverse City right from the airport and spent the drive catching up.

At Left Foot Charlie's, drinking wine with Kim 

The Workshop

The workshop group was amazing and we had a wonderful time painting papers and making collages. The monitor, Katie was incredible. SHE's the one who text me in LA and told me to go to Nova Color paint factory. She did an incredible job planning lunches, arranging the room, entertaining me and Kim, and keeping everyone happy. WOW!

At the Cantina eating Mexican food with Katie

Painting papers is always everyone's favorite part of my class. We get crazy with the paint and the papers and we make all kinds of textures and patterns and colors.

Getting crazy with my bare feet

You gotta love a mess to love this part of the process

blue blue blue, and the glitter resists the paint

On day two and three, we get rolling with collage and everyone is quiet in concentration. This is when I get the best photos. This class space was in an old museum, part of the zoo originally, so we had TONS of space for everyone to spread out at their own table.

Kim is deep in concentration

Jana is enjoying peeling glue off her fingers!

On Sunday night after the workshop ended, Kim and I hit the road to her home in Lake Orion, so that I could meet her family and hang in her hood for a few days. I was so fortunate to be able to take Kim's journalling class after she took my collage class! How cool is that? Kim's great at inspiring her students and getting the ball rolling with exercises and ideas on how to use words.

Visiting Lake Orion

Kim inspiring with colored pencil

One lesson was to write down a bunch of words that you had in your head or thought you could work with on your journal page, it was like a stream of consciousness. This was a great way to get the creative juices flowing and the ideas coming to the surface. We then made sentences with the words.

Words on my mind ...

Playing with materials I don't normally use was exciting

Listening to Kim inspire and watching her teach was a lot of fun. 

I really enjoyed being a student. I loved learning and trying something new. I used markers and gel pens and watercolor and it was lots of fun and I found it to be very relaxing at the same time. I was quiet and into creating my page. I did tend to go back to the techniques I am most comfortable with however....

My journal page! Collage and cows I can never escape it seems...

Spending time with Kim and Co. in Lake Orion and Detroit was stellar. I really enjoyed our day in Detroit at the farmers market and Henry the Hatter! Driving around Detroit was interesting as much of the city is in bad shape, but parts are coming back too. And the Detroit Institute of Art is AMAZING!

Detroit Farmer's Market

I can never get enough fresh fruits and veggies

Detroit Farmers Market offers much Michigan grown produce

The Heidelberg Project

Another place we visited was the Heidelberg Project. I had blogged about this before, after learning about it through some art photographs hanging on the wall in a cafe in Asheville, NC. The Heidelberg Project is an amazing outdoor community art environment. Recycled materials and found objects salvaged from the streets of Detroit tell stories about current issues plaguing society. Check out the video, it explains a lot!

The polka dotted house photo was the image that started it all for me

Sidewalk art 

Yours truly in the dotted car

Making a statement

Giving advice

Kim and I re-create the photo taken by Florence of Florence and the Machine when she visited a few months back

The Caped Crusader and I sign the yellow house

The burt timbers from a house reminded me of Alberto Giacometti sculpture

The Detroit Institute of Art

Another place we visited was the DIA. What an amazing collection of modern art! I couldn't get enough of the Picasso and Matisse current exhibition. We spent a lot of time examining the drawings of both great artists before wandering off for lunch in the cafe, an iPad tour of the Diego Rivera murals and being swept off our feet an amazing collection of modern art. Oh I was in heaven! If you get to Detroit, you MUST visit this amazing museum, and plan to spend all day. 

Kim and I and The Princess were even lucky enough to take in a glove finger puppet drop in workshop where we were able to bring out our inner artist!

Showing off our creations

My finger puppet, glue sticks are tricky 

Kim and The Princess take a minute to pose for a pic

Hanging Out at Home

After a lot of running around, we had a lot of fun baking pies from fresh cherries and blueberries as I demonstrated my MAD crust making skills for the family. Behold, it's not as hard as it looks, folks say "easy as pie" for a reason... Except for the "over / under" of lattice work, I needed The Princess to keep me straight with that challenge!

I felt right at home!

Cherry pie with vegan crust

Blueberry pie with very confusing lattice work

The life of the artist is not all fun and paint, no! I ran carpool to football and dance with Kim, and we took her kids to middle school and high school orientation. I was happy to tag along with similar activities to what we have at our house! It's a balancing act, being a working mother.

The Caped Crusader at High School orientation

The Princess getting her photo ID taken

Yours Truly and the Caped Crusader at the HS pool

Getting in a Workout (or two)

Through it all I was able to maintain my training for the upcoming October triathlon. I couldn't have done it without help though. Kim was up very early one morning to watch over me and make sure I did not drown in the Grand Traverse Bay. The Caped Crusader took me to the high school pool for lap swimming. A borrowed bike entertained me on the bike trail for 20-miles, twice! And they let me run on my own, nobody wanted to join me for that, I asked!!!!

Michigan has a great bike trail network

I was able to run and bike through some beautiful vistas

I'll be back...

I had a great time in Michigan, and would safely say I'd do it again. Oh! I am doing it again. I'll be back in just about three weeks for Art Prize in Grand Rapids where Kim Santini and I are exhibiting our work together at the MVP Metro Club in downtown Grand Rapids. That story will be next, stay tuned. You never know where life will take you, it's a journey and you have to be willing to ride.

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