Month: July 2018

Benefits of Black Flies

Posted on


A highlight of our summer is going to Ontonagon MI for a few days with family. This is a small town on the upper peninsula of Michigan, on Lake Superior near the Porcupine Mountains. We enjoy staying with my husband’s family and spending time on the beach, canoeing, relaxing, and enjoying nature and day trips.  This year the black flies were terrible. They bite and droves of them follow you wherever you go. Being outside was not ideal, so we found other things to do. I sketched in the cabin and also sketched the open back end of the Broasted Chicken food truck (lower left) as we ordered a chicken dinner. The following day several of us went into town to see the lighthouse and antique shops. I walked down a long beach, hot in the sun, skittering around from flies. But I loved the stump, driftwood, and the long jetty along the river, so I sketched quickly while swatting away flies. I also stood from afar and quickly sketched the lighthouse, blocking in quick shapes and lines.


After a stop in the gift shop, we went to the Ontonagon museum, which was a treasure-trove of antiques. There I found plenty to sketch in the air-conditioning and no flies. My favorite was the moose-hoof ink well. Kinda weird, but interesting. I could have stayed there all day! Despite the flies, we had a good time and I came home with some memorable sketches, something I probably would not have had if I spent all day laying on the beach!



Sketching at Arcola Mills

Posted on

arcola pic

On Sunday I joined the Twin Cities Urban Sketchers at Arcola Mills outside of Stillwater. This historic mansion and grounds was a beautiful place to sketch. There was a waterfall and creek, woods, wildflowers, and a beautiful view of the St. Croix River shoreline. I chose to start with the house first and used my large Moleskine for a larger view. I went down the hill a bit and sat in front of a garden of flowers, hoping to capture the building peeping up over the tops of flowers. The path to the waterfront was downhill and I joined some other sketchers enjoying the view. Sunlight dappled the shade and a boat or two went by on the river, with waves rolling up on the shore. I also chose two smaller spaces— the brick and stone foundations on each side of the house, with purple cone flowers. There was low humidity and it was so peaceful listening to the birds, breezes, and running water!