The West Michigan 8

The paintings of the West Michigan 8 will grace the walls of Merizon Studio beginning Sunday, April 1 at which time there will be a "meet and greet" reception with the artist's from 2 to 6pm.

                                                                Larry Blovits 

Aquinas College Professor Emeritus  retired from  26 years of teaching in 1993. Larry is now a full time artist specializing in portrait and landscape commissions, teaching workshops across the country and abroad (England, Europe, Australia, New Zealand), writing books, and judging art shows.

                                                               Jack Brouwer

Jack is nationally recognized as a watercolorist. He is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society in New York, the National Watercolor Society in California, Watercolor West and the Transparent Watercolor Society. He has exhibited extensively through the U.S. and been widely published as book illustrator and watercolorist.

                                                               Carl Forslund

Carl has been exhibiting his art since 1942 when he was the staff artist for the 20th Air Force Division in the Pacific. He worked in oils and acrylics until 1988 when he discovered the beauty of pastels, which he’s worked with exclusively since then. Carl is also the acknowledged ring-leader of the West Michigan 8, who arranges the monthly lunches that provide the creative camaraderie and artistic energy for the “West Michigan 8.”

Collin Fry

Collin Fry, native of Muskegon, Michigan, began his art career as a technical artist in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.  Upon discharge from the service, he attended the American Academy of Art, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Roosevelt University, in Chicago.

Over the next forty years Collin won important awards as an illustrator- graphic designer, art director and studio director in the Chicago area, working on national accounts such as Sears, Continental Can, Encyclopedia Britannica, World Book and many others. He has painted in oil and pastel for many years, and has given numerous programs and workshops. He has written over twenty articles for national art publications, and his own paintings have been featured in American Artist and The Pastel Journal magazines.

                                                                  Jim Markle

Jim had a successful career in advertising as Vice Chairman and Creative Director of Aves Advertising and President of Vitae Publishing in Grand Rapids and in 1994 he retired early to pursue a career as a full time artist. Since then he travels extensively and paints ‘en plein air’ throughout the U.S. and Europe.  He lectures and teaches classes and workshops on painting and drawing throughout the U.S., France, Italy and Canada.

                                                                 Jon McDonald

 Jon has taught art at Kendall College of Art and Design since 1980 and is a ubiquitous presence in the Grand Rapids world of art. He received a BFA and MFA with honors from the San Francisco Art Institute and is a nationally exhibited artist who concentrates on watercolors and oil paintings. He is well known and respected educator throughout West Michigan.

 Chris Stoffel Overvoorde

 Chris Stoffel is professor emeritus of art at Calvin College and an award winning artist whose paintings, prints and drawings are in public and private collections throughout the world. Born in the Netherlands, educated at Kendall College of Art and Design and the University of Michigan; Chris taught for over 30 years in the Calvin College Art Department. He’s had numerous exhibitions of his woodcuts, prints and paintings and currently is busier than ever, executing creative commissions, teaching seminars, volunteering as a GRAM docent, painting landscapes, organizing exhibits and being an ambassador of the arts to everyone he meets. 

Armand Merizon

Armand was the undisputed dean of the West Michigan Eight. In spite of being challenged in recent years by health problems, Armand continued to paint. He changed his style and technique to accommodate his failing eyesight. Nancy Davis, in an article entitled, “The Dean of 8,” summarized Armand’s career, “He paints an honest reflection of us, through seven decades now. A humble giant, who voices the deepest thoughts and feelings of humanity; he continues to inspire his paint and images with experimentation, truth, beauty and light. A living Grand Rapids’ legend, he promised, “I will paint until my nose touches the canvas.” Merizon died in the spring of 2010.



random stuff

I can hear my dad's voice, plain as day, "hurrah, the sun is coming around the barn!" That means that spring will be here soon he would explain. In the winter, there is no sunset. For the millionth time I am so happy and blessed to be here.

As I was sitting at the table I spotted part of the turkey gang out side eating the corn I put out for them.
I did this several days ago and have been watching for them. They are a mysterious bunch, in the way they live their lives. I was worried they just took off to parts unknown and I would never see them again. I am relieved, my gang is still hangin.


Well, apparently, the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow this morning on Gobbler's Knob in Pennsylvania. This means 6 more weeks of winter coming our way. I had not realized that February 2nd is half way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is also known as Candlesma Day, a European tradition that signified the midpoint of winter. Folklore has it that if the weather was fair, than we would be in for six more weeks of cold stormy weather.

In the early 1700's the Delaware Indians first settled the town now referred to as Punxsutawney, which means Town of the Sandflies. The Delaware believed that their forbearers originally began life as animals in "Mother Earth" and emerged centuries later to hunt and live as men according to the Stormfax weather almanac.

Therefore ground hogs or woodchucks were considered sacred animals, or ancestral grandfathers.
Woodchucks or ground hogs are members of the squirrel family.

Pretty cool stuff, yes?

looking out the upstairs window of Michele's Cabin.

 Anyway, I have been spending huge amounts of time this winter out in Michele's Cabin with Mot. I put all the stuff I need, my camera, journal, provisions, etc in a large canvas bag and head out. I lose track of time until I get a call from Wayne, who has taken over the living room as his studio while he recoups from his broken wrist. "Where are you?" he barks! "I was just on my way in" says I....

Mots favorite spot.

so cozy inside, while looking out.

Mot is fully acclimated, both upstairs and down.

contemplation of the old life.