Letters

Letters 04-13-2015

Perplexing Eighth Street Changes I’m writing to you about the way 8th Street in Traverse City is organized. I commute on 8th Street daily like hundreds of others.

115 Years of Injustice Investigative reporter Pat Sullivan’s March 23 article “BURNOUT” exposed for the first time to many northern Michigan residents the 115-year-old tragedy that took place at Burt Lake in October of 1900.

Kicking The Prop 1 Can “Proposal 1 consists of only 100 words, but if approved by voters on May 5, it would trigger into law thousands of other words in 10 bills passed by the state legislature in December.”

Expose The Republican Playbook There was much angst among Democratic Party loyalists after the November election about their failure to convey a strong populist message.

Unions Are Essential Thanks to Stephen Tuttle for pointing out in his recent column how we have had trade apprenticeships for decades throughout Michigan and other states.

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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