“Sailing with Light”

“Sailing with Light” 16″ x 20″ oil on panel 

I recently took a trip to visit my daughter in Chicago and my sister in Michigan.  This was my first visit to both locations since each of them had moved.  In the back of my mind I found it comforting to know they are linked by this large body of water called Lake Michigan. 

I packed light and left without any tools to draw or paint even though I knew I’d be seeing some pretty scenic areas.  My desire with my time there was focused on enjoying their company and maybe capturing a few photos depending upon how the trip unfolded and where we might go. 

Chicago was awesome! One of my most favorite experiences was being on the beach of Lake Michigan downtown and being able to turn around and see the city sky line right there. It was a splendid combination of contrasts.  The lake looked like an ocean and I got a sense of it’s vast nature.   Toward the end of the trip my daughter and I drove to Michigan to visit with my sister and her family.  They live close to the lake and took us out on their boat one Sunday morning.  I had heard my sister describe the area including the beautiful lighthouse called “Big Red”.  She sent me a picture of it a few years back which I created a painting from for her as a Christmas gift.  After that I was always somewhat curious to see this in person.  

The morning we went out was somewhat overcast but there was hope that this would clear as the day rolled on.  It lifted a bit but was still evident when you looked out in the distance. Even with that, the vistas I experienced remained amazing.  Heading out of the channel I started to see this beautiful view of the lighthouse my sister had told me about.  The movement of the water with it’s varied shades of blue, green and purple encased the moment as we continued out into the body of the lake. 

There were amazing landscapes to take in on all sides.  Charming marina’s, natural areas and then expanses of massive sand dunes I could only imagine being in a desert.  The dunes were sprinkled with vegetation native to a beach eco-system and the unique character of such places.  At the same time areas of turquoise water kept appearing where the sand bars rested not too far underneath the lakes cool liquid.  Needless to say I found myself snapping away trying to capture the landscape as well as moments with my family so that I could remember this experience upon my return home.

Shortly after my return, I was inspired to record some of my experiences on canvas.  This is the first painting I’ve had time to complete and I hope to paint a few more.  I was particularly fond of this view because it captured so much of what I had heard about prior to my actual visit.  The sailboats and landscape with the lighthouse took me away to a place where I could just float and connect without strings to those who were with me as we traveled by the light.

 

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