10.26.2012

It's been a long time since I have been here. It was July but all of a sudden the last few days of  October are dancing by.

The weather is chilly, the leaves are off the trees and lie scattered on the ground. The days are getting shorter. I closed the barn windows that are the doors for the summer barn swallows who are long gone by now.

  Here are a few images of the farm yard including my buddy, Mot. I have begun to adore this guy with lopped off ears. He seriously follows me around like a canine creature. He still has his catness about him, but is so devoted to me.







Mot



































































































































             



                         Mot is following me to the cabin for food and comfiness.














 here he comes.









 Mot takes his time to round the corner.









 i love the way this weedy vine turns red.












the outhouse is the most amazing little building.










 looking north toward the city.










                      The pear tree, at rest after it's bountiful offerings.









7.17.2012

heat wave


 I have been sitting at my computer almost all day because it is simply dastardly hot outside. Sweltering to the point of being dangerous. With no real rain for weeks, our yard and grass has turned to brown straw. It burns my feet when I walk on it as I can't bear to put on shoes of any kind.








 My moms Dogwood tree was literally dying before I realized it. I've been watering it a little every day, and it is beginning to come back a little bit.







 It's interesting to see the Queen Anne's Lace florurish while the grass dies. I water the flowers I have growing in pots every evening, but they are still looking a little wiped out. The Pansies in the pots by the swing below were eaten by woodchucks weeks ago.







 It's too hot to sit on the swing. I watched the evening news tonight for the first time in forever, to see what they are saying about the lack of rain. The weather guys, always cheerful, are calling for scattered showers in this area toward tomorrow morning. I hope its true.







Mots in his house today, but will be coming out when the sun begins to set and the heat lifts a little.








I went into the barn to see if I could spot any raccoons. I didn't see one little masked face. Maybe they finally decided to go down the hill to the marrow pit, a pond in which we swam when we were kids. I remember rowing around that pit with my first boyfriend and some other kids. Paul McCartneys
"Uncle Albert" was on the radio. One of those really good memories....







I'm feeling very concerned about this momma turkey who decided to make her nest right below the studio window, in the overgrown garden. You can't see them, but there are several large eggs on which she is sitting. What a sweetheart! What is she doing for food and water? I put some water near the entrance of the garden, but didn't want  to get too near to upset her. Wayne and I don't want to draw any attention to her from the raccoons as they would eat her eggs.
I feel sorry for them too. I really do hope they took off for more watery regions.




7.10.2012

summer



So, it is already almost mid July in Michigan.















 I have decided to make a conscious effort to observe my surroundings, taking in the sounds, smells, feel of the breeze, the touch of the sun.

















It will only be a memory soon enough.




















 A lesson to try and live in the now.

7.05.2012

Marines and Lake Michigan paintings by Armand Merizon




My dad was mesmerized by, and began painting water at a very early age. This first one is a"marine", which means ocean painting, most likely the east coast, as the Atlantic ocean was his favorite. He was influenced by Winslow Homer and Fredrick Waugh, both amazing painters of the sea. He became known for his ability to paint water like no one else in the West Michigan area. At just 16 years old, he was given the opportunity to travel to Maine with a pastor and his family for further study of the ocean. Later he was to spend time off the coast of Gloucester, Mass, on a fishing boat, traveling up to Nova Scotia. These experiences at such a young age really made a huge impact on him.




1932, 12 years old.




 My father made numerous paintings of the Atlantic and Lake Michigan, and it is my desire to
find out how many. His dealer once told him to "stick with the Lake Michigan's. They are what
sell around here." He may have had a point, but to have someone tell him what to paint did not sit
well, and sadly ended their relationship.

This next painting I found in my dad's studio after he passed away. It is on a loose piece of canvas protected between two pieces of illustration board. It measures 20" x 16" and was done with heavy oil. The seagull is flying down to a fish in the water that is visible if you look closely. I believe this piece was probably considered an experiment.





 1973




Below is an example of a "marine" and how it differs from a "great lake", as far as the work by my dad is concerned.  Marines are usually more wild, generally speaking. The waves are larger and greener. There are often rocks, rather than sandy beach.




1989



I found these last five pictures all together, dated 1989 and I believe that they were all painted around that time, as none of them were framed. All were taken sitting on his easel which I cropped out of the photos.  My dad usually took slides, which I'm sure he did with these.





1989






1989






1989






1989
stay cool!

6.02.2012

old and even older paintings by armand merizon


                                                                  old stone barn, 1963.

This painting belonged to my dad and mom and hung in our living room forever. This is unusual in that my dad almost always had to try and sell his work in order to feed his family. Most of his finished pieces were out the door almost before the varnish dried.  Old Stone Barn measures about 12" x 16" and was done in oils with a dry brush.





                                                                Point Betsy, early 60's.

This painting belongs to a physician patron of my dad's. He was gracious enough to let me photograph it and told me how my dad would just stop over at his house every now and then with a new painting. "Do you like it?" my dad would say, and if the response was positive, a swapping of cash and painting took place on the spot. That would be a good day for all of us.




 

untitled, 1936

This was painted when my dad was 16 years old and hung in my brother Marks room as long as I can remember. I love the expression on the boys face as he thinks he's finally got a big one, when actually, his grandfather secretly tosses cattails into the water, making a splash. At least that seems to be what the painting is all about!I think my dad was probably influenced by Norman Rockwell in his youth.




                   
                                                                   untitled, early 1930's

This painting is of the same time as the one above. The style, colors and  simplicity are all very similar and the size of the stretched canvas are nearly the same, approximately 18" x 24". I love the clouds and the big feeling of the sky set to scale by the fence in the foreground.

5.05.2012

May

Spring is now moving along so fast, I just want to say, "slow down so I can catch up!"
I feel that way in general about life I guess. It just clips along. Now, May.

 I sat on Leah's swing the other morning which is positioned on the east edge of the pasture. It is right beyond Michele's Cabin, so I stopped and invited Mot to join me.

Sitting there on the warm weathered boards of the swing, I felt as though I was sitting on the sidelines of an empty baseball field, waiting for the game to begin. I knew if I sat there long enough, it would!















There were birds singing all around me. The breeze was perfect and the sun was warm. I thought about the up coming art reception next week and all the things I needed to do for it. I thought about my family and friends. All the people I love. I thought about how damn lucky I was to be sitting right there, right then. Honestly, I am constantly amazed at how fortunate I am in my life.









Sure enough! Pretty soon across the field I saw something black. I watched as it slowly changed shape from round to oblong and then round again. It was the strangest sort of undulating movement! Then I saw a spot of red and white. I realized that it was a Tom turkey and it was showing off for something out of my eyesight. I zoomed in my camera as much as I could. What a big, sexy guy he was!














 Mot just sat there and purred.

4.14.2012

a few finished and unfinished works by Armand Merizon, as well as some thoughts and insights.

European Village, by Armand Merizon, 1963
This was painted by my dad when he was in his prime. He was 43 years old, and enjoying quite a bit  of recognition from the art community of Grand Rapids. He had recently spent time in Europe, especially Spain and France. This painting was one of many that was inspired by his trip abroad.







Farmland, by Armand Merizon. Year unknown.
 This painting belonged to me for several years. My dad gave it to me after I discovered it in his studio one day. Although it is technically unfinished,  (you can see pencil lines, and it was neither signed nor varnished) it has great feeling of space and depth. I love this painting.








Newton Carter



This is a favorite of mine, even though I have only known of it's existence for a short while. When I saw it, I immediately knew who it was. It is Mr. Carter, my dad's friend and barber when he was a young man, still living with his parents on Bates Street in Grand Rapids.
Mr. Carter had a small shop on Eastern Avenue near Wealthy, just a few short blocks from Bates. My dad respected Mr. Carter and learned a lot about the world from this quiet, wise, African American gentleman.  Every time I drove my dad past that particular stretch of Eastern, he would launch into a story about Newton Carter.
 I grew up with a totally different drawing my dad did of this man. It was a head on view and he was smiling with kind eyes. We all loved that drawing, which my dad rendered in his studio in his parents home.  Mr. Carter agreed to come over. He was all dressed up, and my dad drew his portrait in heavy charcoal on brown paper. It hung in our living room for years.
 In this drawing he is wearing his "hair cutting" jacket with his scissors and comb displayed, bottles of hair tonic and powder in the background. From the looks of the signature, this was done when my dad was about 16 years old. See how the M in Armand and the M in Merizon is the same. A young artist finding his way.






Landscape in acrylic on fabric.
 This colorful painting was an experiment of my dad's, created around 1998 or 1999. It was done on pure linen that had been dry mounted onto regular foamcore by myself when I managed the Frames Unlimited store on Kalamazoo Ave.  My dad was looking for a certain effect, and was quite pleased except for the fact that the fabric bubbled up in a consistent pattern over the entire piece. You can see an example of it in the upper right quad. I love the colors and the linear effects of the background.





front
Experiment, by Armand Merizon. Year unknown.
I have had this for years after my dad said "here, take it". Words I've heard many times from that man. He often gave me things that were "experiments or happy mistakes".  I have many of these!
This one is unique in that he wrote on the back his technique and what he was searching for. My dad kept copious notes regarding his thoughts about his work and technical style. Usually these notes are found in his sketch pads, but sometimes he would scribble on the backs of panels or loose paper.

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preliminary drawing for painting of Hank sitting on steps of abandoned house.
When my dad would begin a serious painting, he would often make one or more preliminary sketches, the first usually being on sight, or plein air. He would often use tracing paper to transfer his image onto a stretched canvas or board. This is his very best "ambling" friend, Henry Becker, a railroad man, who knew all the small towns of Michigan and all the best depots and tracks. My dad loved Hank and they would travel the back roads for whole days with their cameras.




Hank, by Armand Merizon circa 1965
 This was the way my dad could paint in those days. The detail still startles and amazes me!






The Happy Hikers, by Armand Merizon, 2009
This is one of the last paintings my dad finished and one of the last that he asked me to frame for him, so as to put on the wall at MercuryHead Gallery in Grand Rapids. This was after my mother died, when my dad was living with my sister, René and her family. These were very hard times for him. If he actually completed a painting in those days, it was rare. He and I delivered it to Ben at MercuryHead, as was the habit. That would be the thing that kept him going. Making paintings. Having them framed, and delivering them to his gallery!