Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lake Mazinaw

I can understand why The Group of Seven liked painting up here. If you get past the individual trees, rocks, ripples, clouds, etc. and see the shapes as a whole, there’s something thrillingly elemental about it all. But drawings and photographs just don’t do the scenery justice because you can’t incorporate your peripheral vision.
Last summer I took this picture of “Old Walt,” which is part of a mile-long granite cliff on Lake Mazinaw. It was dedicated to Walt Whitman in 1910 on the centenary of his birth. There was an artists’ colony on the opposite side of the lake then – everyone from poets to filmmakers stayed there…along with several members of The Group of Seven, of course.
Andrea’s cottage is about ten minutes past Old Walt and you have to take a boat to get there because there’s no road access. Sadly, the artists’ colony, which was called The Bon Echo Inn, burned down in 1936.
Yesterday we had a Group of Two watercolor session. Andrea painted a Lake Mazinaw sunset from a photo taken by one of her daughters. I did a woman with a purple head, and a Cy Twombly-ish spread in my process journal. I wasn’t happy with what I accomplished, and either was Andrea, so we sublimated by cooking a huge dinner.
Personally, I find watercolor extremely annoying. When I took a class years ago, the instructor advised me forget it and try acrylics instead. Why? Because he felt I was “too intense and heavy-handed for watercolor.” Enough said.

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