Painting a peaceful picture
ALPENA — June Perry’s paintings are serene. Something about them brings a sense of calm and wonder to the admirer. Her paintings feature depth and life in each expertly crafted scene. With a stroke of her brush, she is able to capture the most peaceful and sweet moments, from inviting landscapes to family members playing with their pets.
Perry, the winner of the 2018 Juried Art Show at Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan, will be welcomed at a free public reception from 2 to 4 p.m. today at the museum. Her work will be on display in a solo exhibit now through Oct. 31.
“I don’t paint things to impress people,” Perry said. “I paint things that I love.”
She certainly impressed the 2018 juror, Erwin P. Lewandowski, who said her winning piece “is an exquisite painting filled with an interesting collection of colorful patterns, abundant highlights, and a long cast of assorted shadows. All of the elements seem to be in perfect harmony that presents a pathway leading you, the viewer, into a gentle nature composition.”
The piece was originally titled “Hamilton Road,” but after last year’s show, Perry retitled it “Turnbull Mill Road,” which is the place it represents.
The bright autumn scene will accompany 28 more paintings in a range of subjects, including Perry’s daughter Julie May and her dog Landon, a large tugboat, a smiling captain, and a young girl in a floral dress petting fluffy felines.
“I love the dog looking up at her, all covered in mud,” Perry said of “Julie & Landon.” “They just completed an obstacle course.”
She doesn’t have a favorite painting, but she really enjoys capturing happy memories on canvas.
“I think it’s very fortunate when people enjoy what they’re doing,” she said. “I loved teaching, and I love painting.”
Perry has been painting since she was a young girl. Now 81, she says she has completed “many hundreds” of paintings in her lifetime.
Most of her paintings are in oil, but she also works with pen and ink, watercolors and pastels.
She said it’s hard to say how long each painting takes, because it depends on the medium.
“With oil, you put in a few hours, let it dry, and come back to add more,” Perry said. “It does take quite a while. Especially as I’m aging, it takes me a lot longer.”
A native of Boston, Perry studied art at Kalamazoo College, and went on to teach school in Lansing, Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wisc. Retiring after 41 years of teaching, she came to Alpena in 2003 with husband and renowned maritime historian, C. Patrick Labadie, for the opening of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
She doesn’t paint to make money, although she did make a business of it earlier in her career.
“I don’t do it for the money,” she said. “I’m not very well-off, but I don’t care much about money. I do it to make other people happy.”
Sharing her talents with others is fulfilling to Perry.
“When you see that what you’re doing makes other people happy, it makes you happy too,” she said. “That makes it worthwhile, to know that I’m doing something meaningful.”
Perry has found Alpena to be the perfect place to pursue her interest in art, to become a member of the Northeast Michigan Artists Guild (NEMAG), and to enjoy Michigan’s exemplary support of education, the environment, and quality of life.
“I really am very pleased that this is where we’re living out the last of our years,” she said of Alpena.
2019 Juried Art Exhibit
The Besser Museum will be accepting entries for the 2019 Juried Art Exhibit Oct. 6 to Oct. 12. The Juried Art Exhibit is open to all Michigan artists 18 or older.
Entries can be in any medium, and all entries must be original works of the artist’s own creation and have been completed in the last five years. All artwork must be framed or mounted and ready to exhibit. Each artist may submit up to three entries for a single non-refundable fee of $15 for Besser Museum members or $25 for non-Besser Museum members.
Awards will be presented for first place ($300, plus a solo exhibition in 2020), second place ($200) and third place ($100). This year’s juror is Alpena native artist, Noel Skiba. Award-winning colorist and impressionistic painter, Skiba maintains art studios and galleries in four locations, including Mackinac Island, Florida Keys, Grand Rapids and Alpena. She has followed in the artistic footsteps of her mother, Joy Skiba, who was an Alpena Public School art teacher for several years and started teaching Noel how to paint at the age of 2.
Noel Skiba attended Alpena Community College before earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Kendall College of Art and Design. She also attended Aquinas College, majoring in Illustration, with a minor in Business. She holds degrees in Fine Arts, Science and Business.
Noel Skiba works in acrylics, oils, watercolors, and mixed media. Her art career has taken her around the state, the country and the world. She was honored to be commissioned to paint the late President Gerald Ford’s funeral procession live in Grand Rapids in 2007. She was recently commissioned to paint a series of bridges that now hang in the Michigan House of Representatives. She also paints live at the Kentucky Derby. She has worked with many churches locally and globally, teaching and painting live to music. She has been commissioned to do artwork for corporations such as Sears, Meijer, and American Red Cross.
The schedule for the 2019 Juried Art Exhibit is as follows: Oct. 6 to 12 — Delivery of work and fee; Oct. 14 to 19 — Art selection and jury process; Oct. 20 to 25 –Non-accepted work pick up; Oct. 26 to Dec. 31 – Juried Exhibit; Oct. 26 — Opening reception from 3 to 5 p.m.; Jan. 2 to 7, 2020 — All work must be picked up.
For more information or a Juried Art registration form, visit the Besser Museum website at www.bessermuseum.org, or call 989-356-2202.