Letters

Letters 07-28-14

Worry About Legals

I can’t figure out what perplexes me more, the misinformation everywhere in the media or those who believe it to be true. Take the Hobby Lobby case; as a company that is primarily owned by a religious family, they felt their First Amendment rights were infringed upon by the “Affordable” Care Act...

Stop Labeling and Enjoy

I have been struggling to find a simple way of understanding for myself the concepts of conservative, liberal, and moderation as it relates to our social interactions with each other...

Proposal One & The Public Good

Are you kidding me? Another corporate giveaway with loopholes for large corporations who rule us? Hasn’t our corrupt and worthless governor done enough to raise taxes, provide corporate welfare, unjustly tax pensions, and shut down elected officials with his emergency manager racket...

The Truth About Road Workers

Apparently Mr. Kachadurian did not catch on to the fact that the MDOT Employee Memorial in Clare is a tribute to highway workers who lost their lives building our transportation systems. It was paid for by current and former MDOT employees who likely knew some of these people personally...

Idiotic and Misguided

As a seasonal resident, I always look forward to reading your paper, if only because of the idiotic letters to the editor and off the wall columns...


Home · Articles · News · Art · Eye of the Beholder Michelle Hart...
. . . .

Eye of the Beholder Michelle Hart Jahraus captures Leelanau in its element

Al Parker - July 25th, 2011
Van Gogh did it. So did Monet and Renoir.
And Leelanau County artist Michelle Hart Jahraus is an outspoken advocate
of painting outdoors, or “plein air” – especially near water. Capturing
the elusive qualities of light and landscapes are fascinating to her. She
even teaches classes in the classic artistic practice.
“If I haven’t had a day near the water, I feel unfulfilled or
irresponsible,” she says with a smile. “I feel it’s sort of a
responsibility to art.”
Jahraus, who lives in Maple City, specializes in compelling landscapes of
Leelanau County, ranging from the alluring shoreline of Lake Michigan to
weathered barns and flowering hillsides. Leland’s Old Art Building, Empire
Bluffs and venerable Fishtown are some of her favorite places and she’s
captured their charm in several works.
“I like to work from a preliminary sketch,” explains Jahraus. “Then I use
Golden acrylics, by far the best I’ve found. I never work with oils – I’m
allergic.”

DUCK TO SWAN
When she’s not outside working on a landscape, Jahraus can be found
bustling around inside her studio at the Duck to Swan Gallery which she
owns and operates in downtown Cedar. She shares the quaint building with
jewelry designer Liz Saile, a talented artist in her own right.
“Of course, our busiest season is the summer,” says Jahraus with a laugh.
“And that’s when I want to be outside painting. But running the gallery is
fun, too, visiting with our customers. And we’ve grown every year, except
2009 when we had a cold, gray summer.”
Putting all her artwork out for the public to inspect was initially a
little unnerving for Jahraus. “At first I was petrified,” she recalls.
“I’m a shy person and to put my paintings out there and hear the comments,
it was hard. Now I love what they say about my paintings.”
As the gallery gained popularity, so has Jahraus whose works have
generated a handful of avid collectors. She sees the same folks coming
each summer from Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, California and the Carolinas.
They travel north to see what slices of Northern Michigan scenes Jahraus
has captured.
Last year she entered one of her works – “This Side of the Manitou” – in
the ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids. The 65-inch by 25-inch piece
captures the sunrise and sunset of life in a compelling landscape. “It’s
my ballad painting,” she says.

FIVE GENERATIONS
Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Jahraus’ family goes back five generations in
Leelanau County. As a child her family would spend summers in northern
Michigan, sometimes along East Grand Traverse Bay, sometimes on Old
Mission Peninsula. At Wheaton College she double-majored in art and
geology, giving her a solid background for many of her landscape works
that involve craggy rocky shorelines or popular Petoskey stones.
“Rocks are some of the most popular things we do,” she says. “And
lighthouses are so popular that they sell before I can even get prints
made of them.”
Several of her works are available as giclee prints, making them available
for a price that is more economical than an original acrylic painting. She
works with Traverse City’s Scott Wilson to painstakingly produce the
stunning prints on canvas. The reproductions are limited to 100 prints.
Jahraus does her own framing, often using weathered barn wood to perfectly
capture the rural scenes that she depicts. Old tongue and groove works
great, she says.
So who are the artists who inspire her?
She’s a big fan of pottery maker Julie Chai and Leif Sporck, known for his
colorful, creative ceramic tiles. “I love Maxwell Parrish, Monet, most of
the Impressionists,” she says. “And Grant Wood. People know him for
American Gothic, but he did a ton of landscapes.”
Jahraus feels especially privileged to live in scenic Leelanau County.
“I love to be a part of preserving it,” she says. “Not only do I support
efforts to safeguard our natural environment, I also portray and document
our local beauty on canvas and watercolor paper… My passion is to portray
the shores, sands and scenes that God has created and make them available
for others to enjoy and remember year round.”

For more information about Jahraus and her works, go to
www.ducktoswangallery.com.
 
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