Monthly Archives: June 2013

Painting of the Week: “The Vines in a Purple Haze”



“I’ve spent much of my adult life adventuring off to every corner of the earth I can reach. Each trip is its own adventure — a quest to quench a thirst, to see and to know what’s out there. 

“Of all the places in the world that have enchanted me on my travels, I was surprised to find one of my favorites right in my own backyard. Barely a three-hour drive from my home in Grand Rapids lie the peninsulas of Leelanau and Old Mission. 

“The region is deeply layered in every shade of green you can imagine. Its hills seem to roll on for forever, before spilling out into the waves of Lake Michigan. I’ve been captivated by this enchanting place, and I find myself returning again and again.

“Each season brings its own something special to this wine country. Spring always takes her time arriving. And just when you think she might have forgotten this year, the earth starts to stir, driving up from the ground hints of green — ittle promises of all the new life to come.

“Before you know it, the apple and cherry trees are in full bloom, painting the landscape in a beautiful pastel rainbow, as winter melts into a distant memory. By the time August has come and gone, the vines that course through the valley are so full and wild, dripping with fruit that’s almost ripe for the picking.

“Autumn is perhaps the most magical time of year on the wine trail. Its colors burn–bursting out in their fullest glory, creating a vivid, breathtaking backdrop for the harvest. Soon after the productive time ends, winter sweeps in, covering the land in its still, peaceful white slumber, giving the land and its people a chance to rest before the cycle repeats itself all over again.

“This is the Michigan wine country I’ve fallen in love with. As an artist, I want to know it. I want to hear the stories of the people who live there and who farm the land and make its wine. I want to explore their artistic processes from the ground to the vine, from the grape to the glass.

“‘On the Michigan Wine Trail’ is more than just a series of paintings attempting to recreate the beautiful sights of wine country. It captures the essence of the people there, and what happens to them as they inhabit and grow attached to this enchanting place.

“My series, like their wine, tells of their journeys, their art, and the relationships they’ve built with the land. The stories are all there on canvas, like a bottle of wine, waiting for us to uncork it.”

“The Vines in a Purple Haze”
Size: 24 x 24
Medium: Mixed media on canvas
Price: $450

To purchase this painting or others by Stephanie, click here.

Meet the SSA Team: Stephanie Schlatter


In a series of blog posts, we’ve been introducing the team behind Stephanie Schlatter Art: the folks out on the street promoting my artwork, keeping the website and social media humming along, etc., while I’m in the studio focused on creating! Today we wrap up with …


Photo by Todd L. Church

Stephanie Schlatter: the SSA ship captain, a closet marketer and businesswoman, sometimes photographer and writer, but above all, a creator and painter.

I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, and I’m happy to still call this great city my home. It is my hunger for adventure, for travel, that started this whole ball rolling. Yes, it was because I traveled that I became an artist. My love of recording the magical places I visited sent me back to college at 27 with a desire to learn photography. I soon discovered that my passion for photography was only for travel photography, but that even that left me feeling limited. At the same time, I had a wise photography teacher who encouraged his students to take an art class. Nothing, he said, would teach us more about composition and seeing. Having taken every art class I could in high school, I was more than happy to oblige. From that first college art classroom, my life changed and I never looked back.

I am happiest when I have long stretches of time in the studio to create. It is the joy of creating something where before there was nothing that fuels the fire in my belly and keeps me returning to the canvas to see what else can be done. A curiosity for life is perhaps the biggest driving force in my work. I love to paint figuratively, landscapes and abstract; the subject simply has to interest me, but it’s not so much the subject as the process. How can I continue to take my work to the next level of my own satisfaction, to push my limits as a painter and enter a piece from a new direction? Then, when a piece is complete, I send it out into the world, where it takes on a new life: that of the viewers’ interaction with it. I am not concerned with how a piece is perceived or interpreted as much as its ability to bring joy to the viewer, evoking emotion and, ultimately, smiles.

That is just one part of what I do. I have recently learned I’m a better painter when I honor my other interests as well. I do love the art of business, and I’m afraid I have been known to exhaust my team with my marketing ideas. It’s the way people work, perceive things and respond that fascinates me from a marketing and business perspective. I like looking at the big picture and steering the ship of my small business. My desire is for my SSA team to feel empowered to be creative themselves and honor their own skills and abilities — that excites me. I work with many great people and feel humbled and honored to know them.

At the root of it all is a desire to give back — not only to my team, but to my roots where it all began: travel. The people and places I visit in my travels have had, and continue to have, a lasting effect on me. I have long loved a quote by St. Augustine: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Reading the “book” of travel and people and places of the world expanded my views, broadened my horizons, left me with beliefs and interests I would not have had were it not for my experiences globally. I feel a desire to give back for all I have gotten from the places I have been, so eight years ago I launched a division of my art called Art Aid International, a project that brings art to children in Ethiopia while also using art to raise money and awareness for education. That completes the circle for me: make, create, art, business, marketing, giving, philanthropy repeat. It’s not always simple, but it’s always worth it!