Letters

Letters 07-25-2016

Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

Mass Shootings And Gun Control The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred December 29,1890, when 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms...

Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Art on the west wind
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Art on the west wind

Kristi Kates - September 28th, 2006
The afternoon light in West Wind Atelier is a perfect complement to Elizabeth Pollie’s work.  Her paintings - which range in subject matter from horses to evocative scenery to detailed renditions of foreign shop windows - are hung at comfortable spacings on the pale gray walls, with white molding offsetting the artwork and objets d’art from Pollie’s travels adding interest to the room. 
It’s an environment that is as elegant and interesting as Pollie herself.  But that’s not to say the artist doesn’t have a sense of fun: friends, several of whom have been her painting subjects, pop in and out to say hello and laugh over shared stories and planned get-togethers almost as often as the never-ending stream of tourists who stop by to admire Pollie’s work.  And this entire Harbor Springs tableau may not have happened had Pollie not, as she puts it, “fallen in love with a great local guy.”
 
LOCAL ROOTS
Elizabeth Pollie grew up near Detroit, and spend nearly 35 years summering in Harbor Springs.  She moved up to the area about five years ago after meeting local real estate executive Bernie Schaffer, and first settled in Harbor Springs proper, later moving out to Cross Village. 
“Bernie and I also have a little house in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where we spend part of our time,” Pollie explains, “but it’s Harbor Springs that we come back to.” 
Pollie has been involved in the arts since she was a child, working with many different mediums, but it was her work as a freelance editorial illustrator that was the real beginnings of her path to becoming a painter. 
“I was an illustrator for quite a while,” she says, “but when I moved Up North, I was painting in oils part time, and that was when I decided to commit to my own artwork entirely.”
Pollie has had a working studio in Harbor Springs since around 2002, and would have about one opening per year to showcase her artwork.  “Those openings were very well received,” Pollie remembers, “and that is a big part of what helped me make the decision to open up my own gallery downtown.” 
Opened at the end of June of this year, the gallery opening, combined with the installation of Pollie’s current exhibition on Mackinac Island, has been keeping the artist very busy.  Her “Horsepower: The Horses of Mackinac” collection (on display at the Mackinac Island library), in which Pollie rediscovered the island’s signature working animal as a central part of island life instead of just as a tourist attraction, features almost two dozen pieces. And 19 of those paintings have already sold, a testament to Pollie’s artistic ability to translate the many moods of the gentle equine giants into compelling art.

TAKE A TRIP
The rest of Pollie’s work, however, tells a different story - many, actually.  The pieces in her downtown Harbor Springs gallery reflect the artist’s travels, while other paintings are still lifes and still others are figurative studies. 
“I try to take at least one interesting trip per year,” Pollie points out. “The last few have been to Spain, Morocco, and San Francisco.  It’s great for inspiration.” 
And, while Pollie is also influenced by the beauty of her Harbor Springs surroundings, she’s definitely not limiting herself to that range of scenery, as she feels that those interpretations are already being done by so many others. 
“I was a little nervous, at first, to make that statement,” she explains, “of doing a wider range of artwork than what might normally be seen in this area.  But people seem to be glad to see different subject matter, they seem happy to see works that diverge from the regional art, which is, of course, nice in its own way - but it’s a huge world, and there are so many other amazing things to see and paint too.”
Pollie also enjoys doing series work, in which she picks a painting topics and focuses on that topic for anywhere from six months to a year, exploring the different nuances and ranges within that self-imposed limit.  Her most recent series, of course, is the aforementioned “...Horses of Mackinac,” and before that, Pollie reports, she did a set of paintings that solely focused on the sky. 
“It really teaches one to become very intimate with your subject matter,” she enthuses, “and it’s good for people to see how, much like Monet and his waterlilies paintings, an artist can handle the same subject over a series of paintings and make those paintings different yet cohesive.”
 
TEACHING OTHERS
Visitors to West Wind Atelier will likely enjoy chatting with Pollie as much as they will enjoy viewing her works.  A gregarious hostess, she’s grateful for the opportunity to do what she does, and she also tries to share what she’s learned by teaching her techniques to others. 
“Another of the reasons I wanted to open my own gallery was that I had done some teaching at the Center For Creative Studies in Detroit,” she explains, “and I thought the gallery would help give me a chance to teach my own classes up here.” 
Although it’s best to telephone Pollie’s gallery for more information, the general idea is that she will be offering six-week sessions plus separate workshops both in the studio and out in the field, a chance for fellow artists of all levels to both learn and share painting ideas and methods.  It’s Pollie’s way to share her good fortune.
“As an artist, what I get to do with my life and time is such a thrill,” she smiles, “to some extent, I guess I’m selfish about it - but I think that to paint what you love is the key to your growth as an artist.  And I’m lucky to be able to do just that.”
 
West Wind Atelier’s hours are generally from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the gallery is located in downtown Harbor Springs at 231 E. Main Street, telephone 231-526-2601. Pollie may also be visited online at www.elizabethpollie.com.
 
 
 
 
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