What Michigan Artists Do in the Winter

The past few weeks it has snowed a LOT. Here’s a picture of what it looks like outside my front door:

Michigan scene in the wintertime

Outside my house

Since before moving here two years ago, I lived in warmer climates (California, and then Texas), I was amazed by the amount of snow that falls – and stays – each winter. The landscape will pretty much look like the picture above, until the end of March.
When I first moved here, I went “ooh, aaaah, how beautiful.” (I still do).

I have also become acquainted this past year with something we never used in California or Texas: a roof rake.

For those of you from warmer states, here’s what one looks like:

photo of a Michigan artist's roof rake

My roof rake

Okay, I can hear you southerners asking, “What in the heck is a roof rake?” (Especially those of you from counties in Texas with only 1 snow plow for the entire county). Well, when 6 inches of snow fall each day for 3 days in a row, the snow accumulates on the roofs.

Enough snow accumulates that the weight could actually cause a roof to collapse, especially if an ice dam occurs. An ice dam is something that house owners up north dread; when cold snow melts, it creates a ridge of ice on the roof, and then more snow and ice keep collecting on the roof.

So, in the winter, people in this part of the world participate in one of Michigan’s winter sports. They get out a roof rake and rake – yes, rake! – the snow off of their roof.

This is really good exercise, especially when it is 10 degrees outside, My friends all assure me that the cold temperature makes it even more invigorating. My friends are very enthusiastic people who were born here.

Raking roofs involves getting up on ladders, climbing up on the roof, and not slipping and falling to the ground, while raking the heavy snow off. The real challenge comes when you are up on the roof: seeing how long you can last until a chunk of ice under your feet breaks off, and whether you can jump to another part of the roof without plummeting to the ground below.

I have gotten pretty good at this. So good, that I have even helped friends rake their roofs. So, when I’m not painting, I’m…roof raking.

The forecast tonight is for 6 – 9 inches of snow during the night. So….ooooh. Aaaaah. Pretty. And plenty of exercise this next week.







New Gallery

I am very pleased that some of my art was accepted at Art Reach Center in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. They have some wonderful art there, and it’s well worth visiting if you are in the area. Kim, the Director, is very knowledgeable, and has her own art there.

Yay! Now my art is at three galleries and one gift shop (Ludington Gallery and Gifts, which is selling my cards after two weeks, and wants to move the display to the front of the store). The owner there, Karen, is really nice. Plus, the beach is great, and the restaurants….



Shhhhh…..Secret Birthday Present

I have a friend who is an avid bird watcher like me, so I decided to experiment, and paint a bird cup for her birthday next week. Here’s the result:

chickadee mug

I first painted the chickadee with acrylics, then coated it with several coats of clear enamel paint. I know that ideally, I would paint the bisque ware with ceramic paints and fire it, but didn’t have time. I also bought some oil-based sharpie markers (the kind that you bake), I plan to experiment with them, and will share the results in a few weeks.

Anyway, my friend never goes online, so my secret is safe. And, it was a lot of fun to paint!

Photo credit: chickadee is based on a wonderful photo by David Slaughter at Wet Canvas artist’s forum, in their reference library ( I am a member  of Wet Canvas, and can’t recommend it enough). Since this was a private gift, and not a gallery sale item, I didn’t use one of my own photos for the reference.