Tag Archives: grand rapids artist

Project 24: Where a Passion for the Land, Wine and Art Collide



Shazam … and Project 24 is off and running.

It was four years ago that I started painting the Michigan wine trail, and the first vineyard I visited was L. Mawby. And so it was that I launched Project 24 at the same vineyard with the same gracious host, Larry Mawby.


This morning, as Larry spoke of his love for this peninsula, the land and his winery, a prevailing thought was about helping people connect to and the experience land. Wine, like landscape painting, is in fact about nature: every vine, tree and blade of grass. When you care for and tend the vines, or set up your easel and study the land, you experience the beauty intimately, on a deeper level — a level you hope to share with others. That is the premise of Project 24, and likewise, it is also the hope at L. Mawby’s vineyard.

Walking through the vineyards on a sunny early summer morning, as Larry talked about which grape varietals were planted where and why,  with the first vines dating back to 1973, it was truly a “pinch me” experience. I love this history, the beauty, the land and the graciousness of my host. Walking through the vineyards, one foot in front of the other, taking in each detail. Becoming — if just for a moment — part of the landscape, feeling the heat of the sun, the wetness of the grass, the vines beginning to bud. It takes me deeper into the painting experience; the desire to paint is strong.

And so … I spent the afternoon painting plein air, and did a few sketches and studies. It is with great enthusiasm that I look forward to diving deeper into that breathtaking  landscape. Truly its beauty rivaled by none.

As I was packing up my paints at L. Mawby, the rain began to softly fall. And so any hopes of photographing, videoing and painting at my next stop, Bel Lago, were thwarted. However, that didn’t stop us from having a rockin’ little time in the cellar, barrel tasting.

Tasting the wine that comes from the land does, after all, inspire art. Winemaker Blake Lougheed took me inside the passion and process that he and owner Charlie Edson put into creating their wines. Truly, it’s an art form tended to with care and a lot of heart.

I’ll have to save painting at this winery for another day, but my experience there today was rich with fodder for inspiration!

Project 24 is off to a great start, and I’m loving every minute on the Michigan wine trail!

Painting of the Week: “Flamenco the Dance”


Image“In a dark, candlelit club in Madrid, a glass of Spanish red in front of me, my heart skips a beat and then pounds on faster. The commanding spectacle has begun. Clap, slap, stomp: The stage comes alive, the music beautifully haunting, the dance completely captivating, and just like that, I’m transported. I’ve entered the world of flamenco, a Spanish tradition of song and dance that goes back to at least 1774, when it was first mentioned in literature. On Nov. 16, 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared flamenco one of the Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. I am humbled by the performance, moved to tears by the sheer power of it. I can’t remember how many performances I saw on that trip to Spain, or how many I have seen since, but I know I was forever enchanted, a goner for this art form, haunting and passionate — nothing is held back. I painted this dance again and again, and would return to it as a subject matter anytime.

“This image recalls the dark bars and clubs where the only light is on the star of the show, the dancer, as she moves her body, uninhibited, as if the music were coming from inside her. I played the music of flamenco as I painted, let the feeling and passion of the song and memories of the movement of dance flow through me as I worked. Cheers to art inspiring art!”

Size: 36 x 36
Medium: Mixed media
Price: SOLD

To purchase Stephanie’s paintings, click here.