Dragonfly Art Gallery featuring three artists this month
Dragonfly Art Gallery in Harrisville is featuring three artists this month. July Artist of the Month is gallery member Bill Kehoe. Visiting artists for July are Cindy Schwedler and Sisty Behmer.
A reception for Kehoe and Schwedler will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, at the gallery, 116 E. Main St., Harrisville. No reception is planned for Behmer, but all three artists’ work will be on display all month.
In his own words, Kehoe states:
“I remember as a kid sitting in the back seat of our family car putting dashes and dabs on paper. From the time I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I remember always watching my Grandpa Woloszyn, ‘a designer at Ford motor company,’ paint, draw and whittle things out of wood. He was always doing something with his hands.
“In elementary school I took summer classes trying new things and excelling at sports. Going into my freshman year at a new school, Goodrich High School, I was very timid but the staff was very helpful. I had six art classes during my four years of high school. I graduated in 1997. In 1998 I went to Mott Community College for graphic art design, but it didn’t interest me so I didn’t stick with it.
“Then, 17 years later, I was influenced by an artist. That artist pretty much took my hand through my first work. It was then that I took off. I have produced over 500 since then.
“My paintings can be found from St. John the 5th Virgin Island to Florida to Boston to other private and public locations across the U.S.A. and more than 20 locations throughout Michigan.”
Schwedler is originally from Ferndale, has lived all around Michigan and currently lives in Oscoda. While living in Bay City, she studied drawing and design with Chuck Breed at Delta College. She has taken watercolor classes from local artists Bev Chase, Patt Bacon and Helen Mailloux during the years that she has lived in Oscoda. She has also taken classes from nationally known watercolor artist Judy Betts. She did architectural and engineering drafting on paper and vellum while living in Marquette and loved the feel of pen and pencil in hand. Recently she obtained a degree in CAD and engineering Technology and did design work for an industrial manufacturer and an aviation company. She has done custom picture framing on and off for the past 18 years, owning her own business for seven of those years.
“My work is primarily the result of my need to understand and explain the thing that has caught my eye,” Schwedler said. “I like to work with ink on paper because it can be very precise. I also like to combine the ink with watercolor to soften it and add feeling.”
She competed and exhibited at Art in the Loft in 2017, and the Annual Art Exhibition in Saginaw Township in 2018, earning a Special Merit Award and One Artist Show for the month of December 2018.
“The event that started a recent interest in painting was a contest named ‘Forgotten Spaces’ at Art in the Loft,” she said. “I started taking photos with that contest in mind on a cross country car trip to Maine and a trip to Chicago by train in the summer of 2017. The photos were used as an inspiration for the watercolor and inks that showed the forgotten spaces that I found. While looking at my photos, I often found beautiful patterns and curious details that I hadn’t noticed while on vacation. I felt satisfaction in finding beauty in unexpected places. I had started with forgotten spaces and progressed to taking a closer look.”
She is a member of Northeast Michigan Artists Guild, and exhibited in 2018 in the NEMAG exhibit at Brush Creek Mill.
“I invite you to take some time and find the joy in taking a closer look,” added Schwedler, who is a founding member of Just Create in Oscoda, and works on the Sunrise Side Guide for Art Lovers, among other affiliations.
Behmer is a part-time resident of Harrisville and Ann Arbor. A founding member of East Side Art Guild (ESAG) and the Dragonfly Art Gallery, she is a guest artist for July. A former English teacher, Behmer first became interested in art history before learning to paint. Her earliest mentor was Betty B. Washburn of Marshall, but many Ann Arbor and local Alcona painters have moved her along: Margaret Saxton, Patt Bacon, Judy St. John, and Shirley Glowski.
“I love watercolor, pastel, and pen and ink,” Behmer said, “even though my favorite art period is the modern art of the U.S. (abstracts) and the Post-Impressionist masters.”
Since retiring she’s had many hours of credit in art history, both Eastern and Western.
Behmer is also a member of Ann Arbor Women Artists and Northeastern Michigan Artist Guild (NEMAG).
“I’ve met so many wonderful artists here and in Ann Arbor,” Behmer said. “I’m happy with where my interests have led me.”