Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Drawn to Nature
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Drawn to Nature

Al Parker - July 7th, 2014  

As a child, landscape painter Sue Bowerman marinated in myriad art forms. “My mother and grandmother were both artists so I grew up around woodcarvings, portraits and landscape paintings,” said the Traverse City painter, who grew up in Buffalo, N.Y.

From that time, Bowerman took a less-than-traditional approach to her art career, which took off after her retirement from social work.

“I took only one art class in high school and I loved it,” she said. “My teacher wanted me to pursue art in college, but I was too practical.”

Bowerman works now most often in oils, but also enjoys painting with pastel, watercolors and acrylics. Her landscapes are full of blues and greens, refl ecting the vistas, valleys and shorelines of Northern Michigan landscapes.


Throughout my working years and while raising a family, I periodically took classes. In my social work career, I often drew with the kids during therapy as a way to lower their anxiety. They seemed to find it easier to talk when they were engaged this way.

In 2006, when I retired, I was able to devote more time to painting and started to take oil painting classes. I continue to take workshops regularly.


I love the creative process and the amazing feeling of being lost in painting. I can paint for long periods of time, but it only seems like minutes. This feels very much like what I imagine meditation must be like for others. I am particularly excited by color and texture. Oil paints intrigue me the most right now. I enjoy pastel and watercolor, as well as open acrylic paints that mimic the thickness of oils.

I also am excited by the idea of just starting a painting and going with it, without a preconceived plan. Often these turn out to be only exercises in color or texture - or a waste of a particularly good canvas, but sometimes I am really happy with the results. But always these times are pure joy!

Plein air painting is a love of mine because of the challenge and unpredictability of capturing what you see in nature, with the changing light and weather variables. Spending the whole afternoon outside in our amazing area is wonderful.

A large part of my satisfaction with painting has been finding a group of painters who also like to plein air paint. We call ourselves the Magic Thursday Artists because that is what we do each Thursday. During the warm months we are at a different site each week and during the winter we paint at the History Center.

These artists have been very influential and have helped me become more confident about my work. They encourage me to ‘stick my art neck out.’ This group has a show in July at the City Opera House.


I generally do not paint florals, but recently I painted a 24 x 20 close up of an iris, which is presently in the juried Art and the Garden Show at the Botanical Gardens. I enjoyed the process of capturing the subtle colors and I like this painting.

Last summer, after a glorious day of painting at the Glen Arbor Art Association Paintout, my plein air painting of Miller Hill won the People’s Choice Award. I was absolutely stunned and so appreciative.


It is difficult to pick a favorite, but if I have to pick only one, I pick Stephen Duren from Grand Rapids. I absolutely love his use of color in his abstract landscapes. I find his works awe-inspiring. They are rich, fluid and complex and draw you in.


Just start dabbling and then keep playing with creative endeavors. Art should be about satisfying yourself and having fun, not about what others think. Once you define your work by the opinion of others, your uniqueness is lost. Keep taking classes and find friends who share your love of art.


I have exhibited and sold work through shows with the Art Center TC, The Oliver Center, The Minervini Group, the Glen Arbor Art Association and the Dennos Museum. I may seek out gallery representation in the future, if I can get my neck comfortably out there far enough.

I really need to do this so I can make room for more paintings on our own walls. Fortunately my husband is supportive about having so many paintings around.

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