Members of the Month Articles.
Most of our members are artists, but many others are instead are valuable Arts Council Supporters!
Angela Hamilton, From so-so to Special
— by Marti Notman Dodge
For Angela, art is about “emotion, expression, and freedom.” One look at her impressive web site at AngelaZHamilton.com and you can see she is a successful business woman.
Wild Lake Michigan
Her resume shows a long list of shows and events. She will begin again this year at the East Lansing Public Art Gallery Feb 4-24, which will feature the above painting, “My View of Michigan.” Michigan with its scenery and seasons has a high priority in Angela’s work.
Angela’s portfolio also contains acyclic paintings of landscapes, waterscapes, still lifes, animals, and florals.
Her work also has Plein Air paintings. “Plein Air” comes from the French stereotype idea of a painter working outdoors. It demands capturing the changes in light.
If you wish to try it, Angela suggests going in the afternoon since the light is more static. There are several Plein Air events which give awards such as Saginaw, or Frankenmuth or Glen Arbor. Many who do Plein Air use oils, but Angela is a stanch user of acrylics to avoid chemicals such as turpentine.
Angela’s journey to become a successful professional artist had a difficult beginning. Though her mother had drawing talent and her father was musical, Angela’s creativity was not encouraged in the belief that art was not a beneficial path. It wasn’t until she was fifteen that she playfully sketched a small picture of a favorite musician. It turned out well and it was easy for her to do.
— by Marti Notman Dodge
“Find the time to do some of your art even for a few minutes every day.”
Though most wouldn’t associate a scientist also being an artist, you only have to remember Leonardo Da Vinci. Then there’s Mary Schiros.
Mary began her post high school education as an art major, but as she says, “Life got in the way.” As a single mother she needed a more practical major to lead to a good job. In high school she loved and excelled in art but also in math and science. She switched to chemistry and became a clinical lab scientist.
Even during her working years, Mary kept up with her art. To her the link between science and art is that she approaches both as a puzzle. In both, there are pieces which need to be put together.
In science, there are numbers, figures and cells. In art, there are colors, materials, and composition. In addition, both require experimentation. Whether you succeed or fail, “You always learn something along the way. You never discover anything in science or art without experimenting.”
Retired now, Mary enjoys the outdoors and her art. She avoids being classified as a specific type of painter. She began as a certified watercolor instructor and still recommends it as a starting place since it teaches so much about color. Since then, she has worked in a variety of mediums including classic oils, acrylics, charcoal, pastels, printing, clay, metal and inks. Her favorite is acrylic because it is the most versatile.
For subjects, she is just as varied doing landscapes, portraits, animals, flowers —anything that strikes her fancy. She’s learned along the way that it’s best to paint what you want for two reasons: One is that “You’ll put more of yourself into it because you enjoy and understand it. Two is that “You never know what people will buy so don’t try to figure it out.”
Mary shared a story of going to an art group many years ago where they challenged her that she couldn’t work full time as a scientist and be an artist too. She answered that of course she could. She didn’t clean house. I doubt Leonardo cleaned his house either.
Mary is looking forward to hosting some workshops in the future. Look for dates in the coming newsletter issues.
Click here to see her giving friendly painting advice.
December 2016 Marcia Boven-Perez!
— by Marti Dodge
For Marcia Perez drawing and painting have helped her throughout her life from childhood on.
“It was one talent that out of nine children, I was the only one who had it.”
Marcia remembers that it was her grandmother who first encouraged her and gave her various drawing projects. From there it was her teachers. In Trenton High School, her freshman art teacher, Mr. Bryant recognized her ability and moved her into a higher class. He entered her in competitions and she won an award from the Detroit News for a perspective drawing.
All through school she enhanced projects and reports with her art. She also helped her brothers and sisters with their projects. Marcia works in a variety of mediums including watercolor and acrylics. She tried oils but found them difficult since they dry more slowly. “The kids get into it.” Her brother Santos especially liked her work and decorated his house with numerous pieces.
When Marcia finished high school, she wanted to go to Kendall College of Art and Design, in Grand Rapids, MI. To be accepted, a prospective student needed a portfolio, six recommendations and be interviewed. Mr. Bryant asked her not to read his recommendation letter, and she agreed.
“Whatever was in that letter got me in without an interview. I applied in September and was accepted by October.”
At Kendall, she picked up the technique of pointillism, a technique of using dots of color to capture light. This technique was developed by Georges Seurat in the late 1800’s as a branch of impressionism. One of her first attempts was a picture of Elvis. She was working on the piece when a man came up and offered her $250 for it. She turned it down because it was a gift for her sister.
Throughout her working life as a Head Start teacher, Marcia relied on her art to enhance her work and fulfill requests for specific drawings and paintings whether it was during her regular hours or her volunteer work. Her favorite topics come from nature.
Now in retirement, she enjoys painting for herself, volunteering for the Fenton Art Council – especially activities involving children, and coming to its Open Studio on Wednesdays from 10-4:30.
See more of Marcia’s artwork at Fenton Arts Council events, including the Art Around Town locations.
November 2016 Sue Lehman McKee – Art’s In the Family
–by Marti Dodge
Though Sue always liked art, she never participated in it as a child. In high school, the college-bound requirements ignored art, and she pursued an accounting degree in college. “It was the smart choice for girls back then.” It was much later that a community education class she took while living in Massachusetts finally got her involved with watercolor. One look at her work …
… And anyone can see that the class brought out her talent. Where did it come from? Well into this interview, Sue remembered that her grandmother painted watercolors.
Her father liked to carve.
And her mother did watercolor, china painting and quilting.
Although Sue has painted in oils, watercolor remains her favorite medium. It’s light, dries quickly and cleans up better. Watercolor, though, can be more difficult and unforgiving. It can be difficult to layer and can bleed, turning the picture opaque and messy.
Sue’s still lifes and florals have received a multitude of invitations for shows and are in many collections.
Some of her presentations have been at: Fandangles, Flushing; Springfest, Genesis Hospital Grand Blanc; Buckham Art Gallery Flint; Shiawassee Arts Center and The Flint Institute of Arts. Sue also participates in several artistic groups. She’s the secretary of the Flint Artist Market and serves on the Greater Flint Arts council and Michigan Watercolor Society. Her awards include: First Place, Fenton Art Guild Competition; Flint Institute of Art Juror; Silver, Our Town Birmingham, Michigan.
Right now, she is holding down her lovely, spacious homestead for family gatherings. Though she lost her husband four years ago, her three children and four grandchildren (with one more on the way in April) come to visit. Maybe another McKee will be painting like her grandmother.
October 2016 Bill Rodgers
–by Marti Dodge
Bill Rodgers— Painting, Sketching, Drawing, Cartooning—A lifetime of a great hobby.
Bill won the Virginia State Art Contest when he was in first grade. He’s been sketching, drawing, cartooning and painting with both acrylic and watercolors ever since. He’s enjoyed his hobby from his childhood to his Air Force service in Alaska and throughout his thirty years as a foreman at the Truck and Bus Plant.
He met his wife Judy in Alaska, and they will be celebrating their fifty-fifth wedding anniversary this year. He laughs and says that she calls his downstairs art studio the “salt mines.” It’s not unusual for him to spend six to eight hours there. “It keeps my mind busy…keeps me out of trouble.”
Bill paints a wide variety of subjects from seascapes, to landscapes; from barns, to boats to tractors.
“If I see something that strikes my mind, I can reproduce it up to a year afterward.” Sometimes Bill will do a quick sketch. He showed me one he had done five minutes before:
Although, Bill has never expected a lot of money from his painting, he has had success through commissions. He has paintings in four countries and twenty-two states along with several awards. He admits he enjoys any praise as a reward. His latest works were commissioned by three Chinese Genesys doctors to take back to China. Each wanted a different sport, (golf, biking, sailing) with the state of Michigan incorporated into the picture. Bill took the challenge and included a cloud in the shape of a mitten in the painting’s background.
Most often, he works from someone’s picture to be transformed into a painting. Right now, he’s working on a mountain picture from Colorado. The client had climbed that mountain with his grandson and wants to commemorate their trip.
First, Bill makes a sketch and paints a first “wash”
Then he will do glazes and layer in colors.
Bill often teaches at elementary schools and at the Community Center. His advice to beginners is to learn to draw. Take pictures and copy them. Spend two to three hours a day. Learn shading. Decide on a light source by marking it in the upper right or left of the picture. Then create shadows and cast shadows of the objects.
Should you be interested in a commissioned painting, you can contact Bill at 810-629-5839.
September 2016 Pam Buerger— the “Systems Operator” behind the scene.
–by Marti Dodge
And like the mainframe computer she left behind twenty-four years ago, she’s always thinking.
Pam worked as the senior computer operator for Genesee County. When she had an opportunity for early retirement, she did what comes naturally to her. She did her research. After being warned that her life might become empty, she joined the Fenton Village Players to meet new people. “Besides, I like to paint and build.”
For several years thereafter, she served four organizations. Besides the Fenton village Players and the Fenton Lakes Area Arts Council, she served as a Rotarian and helped a woman’s service sorority. Now, she said she’s had to cut back. After all, it’s not just the meetings, it’s the thinking that’s needed to truly serve an organization. If you haven’t got the time to really think and attend to all the details, you shouldn’t serve.
Now, she only serves the Fenton Village Players as a board member and chairman for the building and grounds. “I don’t see it as my building but as a respect to Russell Haddon and his wife Sibyl.” It was Mr. Haddon’s generous gift which began a four-year process for Pam to research, plan, and cajole before “Karma” offered up a deserted Masonic building right down the road from Pam’s house—Perfect.
Besides his first gift, he is also the benefactor of the air-conditioning. The Buergers and Haddons remained close over the years until his passing. Though Pam has served several organizations, her heart belongs to The Fenton Village Players and its building.
“I just have this feeling for Fenton Village Players…I’ll not go to the gym…I’ll go vacuum the (theatre) floor…I just have this feeling.”
In addition to making sure there are enough fire detectors or the refrigerator is no longer leaking water all over the floor, Pam produces plays.
Like all her thinking and work behind the scenes, a producer manages the entire production and makes sure everything flows and runs smoothly.
This smooth and meticulous work also goes into her stain glass pieces. The art is in the flow of the soldering which needs to be perfectly smooth. That takes skill and practice. Her other stain glass pieces are mosaics. Here, the glass is cut and glued on. Then a grout is used to fill the spaces.
Pam’s work is both decorative and functional. It can be a framed picture or part of a table top. The bar sign contains an actual bottle of wine and won the People’s Choice Award in a Delphi Stained Glass competition. Pam does not do art shows. “It’s all too heavy to set up, and if your product doesn’t sell, you have to lug it back home”. She does do commission work. So if you have an event, memory, holiday, or idea you’d like to see in stained glass, you can contact her at: email@example.com
Currently, Pam is producing The Fenton Village Players’ production of Early One Evening at The Rainbow Bar and Grille, rated PG13. It takes place after the atomic bomb has been dropped and the characters discuss their fate—then God walks in. It will be shown Sept 15-17 and 23-24 at 7:00 P.M. The matinees will be at 2:00 P.M. on the 18th and 25th.
Before I left I had a props list in my hand and had already agreed to lend the play my husband’s shotgun (empty of course). And I’m to be on the look-out for a lighted OPEN sign.
That’s Pam Buerger—Always Thinking
February 2016 Lisa Bayer
— by Sally J. Bright
Lisa, an extremely focused professional.
In 2010, Lisa Bayer, started the Fenton Community Orchestra with Jennifer Fleck & Kristin Tesner. They sent out a Call for Musicians to see if there was enough interest in the community and over 35 people came to the first rehearsal! The current membership has more than doubled. This early success forecast many more successes to come in only 6 short years of the FCO’s existence.
In the 2nd season the FCO hired Andy Perkins, the band director at Fenton High School, as their conductor. They continued regular rehearsals and began regular performances, developing into the professional organization they are today with their spectacular event coming at the end of this month: “The Red Carpet Gala” fundraiser. The FCO will play a new score written by their conductor, Andrew David Perkins, to accompany the 1963 Hitchcock movie “The Birds”. “It’s a very tight performance so that the parts meld exactly with the scenes in the movie”, says Lisa, “which will be projected behind the orchestra during the performance”. See below for more info and to purchase tickets.
Lisa has been captured by music her entire life and began piano lessons at age 7. In 5th grade she was able to add violin and was fortunate to benefit from a strong string program in her Okemos high school. She completed high school in Chicago where she also played violin in the Chicago Youth Symphony. She made 2 tours of Europe playing in several countries with the CYS.
The Fenton community is fortunate to have such a talented and giving musician. In 2013 she created the “Prelude String Orchestra” for youth. Starting with only 28 kids it now includes 150. As you can see, Lisa has a history of growing her projects! The PSO practices on Mondays at the Ellen St. campus after school and on Wednesday evenings in Hartland. A few years ago, music stands were donated to the PSO. They were marked with “FHS” and have come full circle because long ago, the Ellen St. campus was the location of Fenton High School!
Lisa hopes to take the Prelude Symphony Orchestra on tour to local elementary schools, present a short assembly, let the students try out instruments and hopefully begin after school music programs. This way students can learn more music without competing with their other electives of chorus, band or art.
Ten years ago Lisa opened her studio, “A Joyful Noise” at 111 W. Shiawassee near Leroy in downtown Fenton, where students as young as 5 and up to at least 85 can learn piano, violin, guitar, cello and voice. Together with her business partner Corey Kapanka, whom Lisa hired when he was 15, they have had over 200 students.
Corey Kapanka, Tim Martuch & Lisa Bayer
Lisa has a full life! But that’s not all. She is also a member of “Triplicity”, a 3-piece group consisting of violin, cello and piano, that performs at weddings, parties, a concert each spring and other events, including the Arts Council Paint Parties.
Lisa Bayer on violin, Laura Blanchard on piano and Joe Snider on cello.
Click here for Triplicity’s info and facebook page
And she is a board member of the Fenton Lakes Area Arts Council. Thank you Lisa for doing so much to bring Arts and Culture to the Fenton Community!