• In Honour of Life Collage by Denise LeClaire 10 Questions to the Artist – Denise LeClaire

    Photograph of artist Denise R LeClaire

    Denise R LeClaire
    Denise is our 2017 ArtWalk artist.  She is a West Michigan artist and high school counselor. Denise creates collages using found paper objects such as antique sheet music, atlases, and books.  Often, she applies a photo transparency over the collage and then, paints over those layers allowing you to see or hide different components of the canvas.  This artist focuses on an idea such as belonging, forgiveness, mortality, or love. Her goal is to create a connection between people and her art with shared experiences.  All of Denise’s work is personal, a combination of the ordinary and the profound.  Like a soft kiss on the forehead for no reason.
    In Honour of Life Collage by Denise LeClaireIn Honour of the Fact that Life is Short

    ArtWalk Voting Code:  Artist number – MM14. Category – Mixed Media

    Denise answers our
    “Ten Questions to the Artist”
    so that we can get to know her, just a little.  


    1. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
    I heard a quote once, I think it was Marianne Williamson who said that the spiritual path is just the journey of living our lives and we are all on a spiritual path, sometimes we just don’t know it. I love this philosophy and feel like it falls together with my own belief in the importance of small moments, the little things that end up being the most memorable. So, it’s just everyday life that does it for me. We get to decide in the first world, what to do with our days, how we respond to life, and how we are creative; it’s a huge gift that not everyone has, that’s a pretty big turn on.
    2. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work?
    I think the theme is connection through common ground. I think there is a spiritual and emotional element to my work with the combination of ideas, words and photographs and I see and feel this when I talk to people about what’s drawn them to a particular piece.   
    3. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
    Travel photographer/writer
    4. What profession would you not like to do?
    Police officer
    5. Who are your favorite artists?
    VanGogh, O’Keefe, Gustav Klimt, Mark Rothko, Jim Dine
    6. What is your favorite tool used to create your work?
    A “mop” brush.
    7. What is your favorite word?
    8. What is your least favorite word?
    Can’t think of one.
    9. Who is your favorite musician?
    Impossible to choose. I love all kinds of music.
    10. How much formal education have you received?
    My B.A. is in Sociology and Fine Art. I’ve taken art classes on and off my entire life including in photography, pottery, painting, drawing & collage. What I’m currently doing with regard to the combination of collage, photography, photo transfer and painting is self taught, trial and error.
    Thank you, Denise, for answering our questions.  Stop in to the gallery to see her exhibit. She and I will be hosting an Artist Talk beginning at 7:30 pm.  Denise will be in the gallery, Friday night, October 6, 6-9pm.  
    Time for the Daffodil collage by Denise R LeClaire



  • Volunteering for ArtWalk 2016

    Students at ArtWalk

    GHAPS 4th Graders visit ArtWalk

    For the last three years, I have helped organize a class trip to ArtWalk for Grand Haven Area Public School’s Fourth Graders. The first year, we created chalk art tessellations with the students. In 2015, the students spent the morning looking at the Detroit Institute of Art’s traveling exhibit.  Grand Haven was one of the first towns outside of Metro Detroit to host their traveling exhibit.  We loved watching residents and visitors consider these reproductions from their collection.  

    DIA exhibit in Grand Haven

    The administration and teachers at Grand Haven have been wonderful to work with organizing this class trip.  It has been interesting for me to watch the teachers discuss what the students could learn from their visit to ArtWalk. What has impressed me is how collaboratively they work together to offer the best possible opportunity for our kids.  The students will view the different entries and encourage them to “See, Think, and Wonder” about art.  

    This year, we have decided to focus on music as an art form.  There has been a problem with suicides in the high school and bullying throughout all of the different buildings.  My friend, Susan Picking, is a singer/song-writer.  She created a new album focused on kind, positive interactions between all of us.  Susan asks us to consider that the child/adult who is quiet or loud might be wrestling with something that we have no knowledge.  We need to be kind, being different from one another is ok, even great.  Susan attended Mary A. White Elementary, is a touring musician who currently resides in Beloit Wisconsin.  She will sing and play her impactful Hip Hop ArtPrize piece, “No Bully” on Wednesday, September 28 at 12:15pm.  Art and Music are inspirational teaching tools for children that invite creativity, connection, and enthusiasm.  It utilizes all of our senses and provides access for all learning styles in getting to know our world.
  • Sy Ellens Land Between watercolor Relating to Your ArtWork

    Land Between Sy Ellens

    Land Between Watercolor, 22×22

    At C2C Gallery, we believe that you should love and relate to the artwork that you own.  Otherwise, why buy it?  We have several artists with whom we continue to have ongoing relationships.  Their work may not be physically in the gallery, but talk with us.  Tell us what you think you are looking for or tell us what you like.  We can help you find that one of a kind painting.  I am always surprised (which shouldn’t happen at this point) how much the right painting will add to your home or office.  It will warm a space, make it more personal, and actually help the surrounding furniture look better.  (This painting was created by Sy Ellens.  We have 8 more on display through the end of October.) 

    Stone Pile

    Stone Pile

    Fenceline by Sy Ellens


  • Bouquet of Trees acrylic on canvas 20x24_800 Looking Outward – Sy Ellens

    ArtWalk 2015 Sy Ellens “Summer Shimmers”, acrylic 48×60

    Sy Ellens visited the gallery last summer.  He quietly asked if I would consider his work, paintings, for the gallery.  When you are in the middle of your day, it is hard to be approached to consider an artist’s work. I try to be gracious because I know that for the artist, this request takes initiative.  It makes their heart race.  They are putting themselves out there.  For any creative person, your work is personal, and asking to be considered, no matter how talented and how seasoned an artist, can be anxiety-ridden.  I took Sy’s information and said that I would get back to him.


    Sy Ellens

    Later that week, I looked at his website.  I wanted to kick myself.  I loved his work and felt that it would be great in our gallery.  We made a plan to have him exhibit in 2016.
    A few weeks later, I realized that I hadn’t selected an ArtWalk artist for 2015 and an idea formulated.  Sy agreed to enter our local competition and display several other paintings through the end of October.

    Three Paintings of Sy Ellens

    Sy’s Artist Statement for this exhibit:

    “Having grown up on a farm, I have developed a special relationship with the land. When I was a child, I picked stones, cultivated crops, pulled weeds, milked cows, and did many other chores. I helped with seed planting, pest-control, and harvesting. I learned what it is to go through a frustratingly dry season and patiently wait for rain or wait for the rain to stop. I know what it is like to have an abundant harvest and almost no harvest at all. This made life on the farm both interesting and difficult, challenging and unpredictable. And it is this special relationship which God has given me that I am trying to explore and creatively express in my paintings.
    From an aerial perspective, one can see how people divide the land and establish spaces for themselves which they call their own. One can also see how this little space then relates not only to the other many spaces, but also to the unpredictable natural areas of rivers and lakes. As this creates both challenges and opportunities in one’s daily life, so it does in the ordering of shapes, colors, and textures in my paintings. I often use several layers of paint in my landscapes. To me these layers represent the different crops as they are rotated from year to year.
    With all the experiences that I have had growing up, I have grown both intellectually and emotionally as well as spiritually. I also want to enrich the experiences of the viewers. I want to express a positive mood in my paintings through color: warm, fiery reds, yellows and oranges to brighten or inspire and hues of blue, green, and purple to calm or soothe.
    After traveling extensively by plane, I have been able to look at the earth from a distance. This gives me a new perspective of the land that I know so intimately. Everything looks peaceful and harmonious on the land. I wish that people could also live that way.
    I would like to think that my paintings create the illusion that they have no boundaries, but extend to all the peoples of the world.”

     LAND BETWEEN watercolor 22x22 (30x30 framed) - Copy800“Land Between”, Watercolor, 22×22

    Sy Ellens is a Michigan native who grew up on a farm.  His love of the land is represented in most of his paintings.  Our Fall show are several of his aerial paintings – acrylic, pastel, and oils.  Sy was a teacher for many years in both Michigan and Nigeria.  Since 1980, he has been a free-lance artist.  This painter has received many awards in  international, national, and regional art competitions.  Sy’s art is included in private and corporate collections in many US states, Canada, Nigeria, Netherlands, Germany, England, Switzerland, Italy, India, Poland, China, Hungary, Hong Kong, Japan, Spain.  He has painted several murals including a 2200 square foot “Fantasy of Flight” mural in the Children’s Room and a 62,500 square foot floor mural in the new Kalamazoo Michigan Air Zoo.

    Floor Mural Air Zoo


  • ArtWalk 2014 by Bob Walma Have you seen the sculptural ceramic work by Mark Chatterley?

     Mark Chatterley with Big Blue

    Have you seen our sculptural work by Mark Chatterley?  


    Big Blue, named “Vincent van Chatterley” by one of our customers has been outside our front door through ArtWalk and ArtPrize.  Daily we have visitors stopping to take pictures with “Vince” and their spouse, friends, and kids.  So much fun to watch.  Mark’s big dogs and pups receive a lot of attention.  Everyone seems to relate to his dogs.  
     Vincent Van Chatterley and Lisa Hinrichs

    photo (20)

    When considering these ceramic sculptural figures, you wonder what was the artist thinking when creating them?  Did it just evolve while being built?  Was a certain idea or mood desired when looking at the form?  Are Mark’s forms literal?  What do they mean?  What do you think about when looking at his human figures?

    Mark Chatterley


    I visited Mark Chatterley’s studio two years ago.  I learned about his process, saw his studio and kiln.  Wow! 

    Walking into his studio you are among his creatures……


    Chatterley studio
    Can you imagine working throughout the week on your projects, living with these beings?……  I find it fascinating thinking about Mark’s process and sculptural work.


    Mark Chatterley's outdoor sculptures  
    Mark’s artist statement helps us have a better look into what he is thinking when starting a new sculpture.
    “Everything is either moving toward or away from nothingness.  Life, death, creation and destruction this is the world I find myself in.
    I want my art to echo these thoughts, everything in a state of flux, changing and reforming.  A sense of decay along with life.  Nothing is permanent and nothing stays the same.  
     I also try to show thoughts and feelings of the human condition.  Beauty in the malformed, acceptance of the inevitable.  I am doing work of our time for our time, even though I look to the past, the dead for inspiration.”
    My daughter, Camille, was here this weekend.  She had a couple of minutes to look at each of our ArtWalk artist’s entries.  Her comments are always interesting to me.  Camille’s opinions are always thoughtful. She read each artist statement, looks again at the work, and usually provides a very interesting perspective. 
     2014 ArtWalk Icon


    2014 artprize stargazer chatterley

    Stop in to see what you think or even fall in love with one of the sculptures.  Take one home or display in your office.  Most of Mark’s work can withstand our Michigan winters.
    Mark has more than 30 years experience in Figurative Sculpture.  He is nationally and internationally recognized. I have been thrilled to exhibit this ceramic artwork in the gallery and at the Grand Haven Community Center.  The larger forms will be in Grand Haven until October 22.  
  • What runs, jumps, tussles, and asks many questions?

    Mark Chatterley, Blue DogMark Chatterley’s Blue Dog

    Wow!  What a day!

    Tuesday, along with several ArtWalk committee members, and two Grand Haven Area Public School art teachers, we managed a Kid’s Educational Art Day for our local Fourth graders.  I had forgotten how kids run, jump on and off of anything possible, and ask lots of questions.  A friend’s son came home saying that he had a lot of fun.

    Student Educational Art Day

    GHAPS Student looking at art

    Goal accomplished!  The kids had fun and looked at art.  This fourth grader thought that there were too many paintings with not enough sculpture.  So, artists, we have a goal for next year – more  art.  Our Grand Haven community foundation provided a grant that covered our transportation costs.  Harbor Restaurants provided lunch for the students and teaching staff.

    Students eating lunch

    ArtWalk 2014

    Our ArtWalk volunteers made the sack lunches, transported lunches, and cleaned up.  The city was wonderful with immediately cleaning up Central Park when the students were done creating their tessellations on the concrete.  “Blessings in a BackPack” received our leftover lunches.  What a great day!

    Grand Haven ArtWalk

    Student Tessellations

    Making art at ArtWalk

    We learned a few things for next year.   Let’s include Spring Lake Public Schools.

    Student artists

    Thank you Bob Peskorse for the images.

  • Mark Mehaffey abstract painting Anticipation, New Idea, and Dangling Again

    It’s ArtWalk Season  
    That means art is everywhere in Downtown and Centertown Grand Haven.  We host more than 200 artists inside and outside of the various retail and office spaces.  This year we are exhibiting work by three Michigan artists who live in the Lansing/Williamston area.  Each of these artists have won many awards.  Their work is found in many public and private collections.  A year ago, one of our customers offered to take me on an art tour to her hometown, Lansing.  I had a great day meeting these talented people.  As many of you know, I am a potter.  I love LOVE the ceramic world.    I was thrilled to meet Mark Chatterley (and of course the other artists).  I have followed his work for years, seeing it at national ceramic shows and at SOFA (Sculptural Objects and Functional Art) in Chicago.  So, for me, to have Mark’s work in the gallery is something that I never would have expected three years ago.  


    Mark Chatterley talks about his Sculptural Piece titled “New Idea”:


    New Idea by Mark Chatterley“New Idea”


    “Athena was born from Zeus leg.  So. I imagine an idea bursting out in a physical form.  A new self image hatching from the old.  These sculptural  pieces are high fired clay, hand built, unique.”  We have other work by Mark in the gallery currently.  Plus, one of his larger sculptural pieces is at the Community Center.  Mark is an ArtPrize artist at the Public Museum in Grand Rapids.


    Mark Mehaffey is a well known painter in the Lansing area.  He teaches workshops all over the world.  The Lansing Gallery had an exhibit of several of his paintings – realistic, abstract, and collages.  Later this Fall, Mark has been honored/invited to China to teach plus exhibit in a large show with many internationally recognized artists.  What an amazing experience will be had by he and his wife!   Mark talks about his abstract painting:

    Mark Mehaffey“Dangling Again”

    “Non-Objective, abstract painting is an exploration of the internal world of the artist. This exploring is shared with the viewer in the form of a painting and while the concepts that drive the imagery may not always be evident, I do hope they invite thought and contemplation.”


    Dianne Wolters is a 2D and 3D artist who loves to collect old wooden and metal toys.  She has fun interacting with the objects creating interesting pieces of artwork.  When, I met Dianne, I was immediately comfortable.  She welcomed me into her home and studio showing me her creations.  They were amazing.  So fun, well crafted, with layers of information to consider.  Dianne talks about her entry:

    Dianne Wolters“Anticipation”

    “The wagon came first. It was an extension of making other wheeled vehicles combined with animals.  As I placed each duck in the wagon, I began to enjoy the community of fellowship among the ducks and it became apparent to me that this piece would be about anticipation. How do we wait? Some of the ducks interact with each other while others wait quietly with patience and grace. There is a sense of anticipation as the question is entertained, what is going to happen next?”


    In the gallery, we have several of Mark Chatterley’s sculptures – dogs in several sizes, another human form, a stargazer.  Each piece is interesting and very textured.  I have had many viewers thinking that they are cement.  The human related forms are interesting.  Very narrow and thin at the bottom.  The work grows larger, more life-like as the form evolves into a human-like form with movement reacting to weather, a relationship, or an internal conflict.  
    Mark Mehaffey has several paintings in the gallery through October.  His artwalk entry “Dangling Again” is a lovely abstract.  Quiet, but not.  There are layers of patterns, lines, in wonderful composition moving across the canvas space.  We have several variations on this theme, plus plein air paintings covered with an acrylic resin.
    Dianne Wolters’ installation is created using papier-mâché.  The red wagon is very light.  Probably only a pound in weight.  The ducks are lovely shades of white, peach, and beige.  Each duck does have a lead weight in his feet to keep him upright.  The black cat ready to pounce on the ducks looks just like any cat that we have watched over time looking and going after something of interest.
    All of this year’s entries plus additional work is for sale, with exception to the cat.  Stop in and have a look.  Our lit display windows show this artwork fabulously at night.  
  • New paintings in the gallery

    We wrapped up Grand Haven’s ArtWalk yesterday.  The children’s award ceremony was well attended and a lot of fun.  The new ArtBike Parade, organized by Randy Smith, showed us how to be creative and have a lot of fun.  I might have to try my hand at decorating a bike next year.

    1240429_10151953863178410_2118981255_n(image by Bob Walma)

    The ArtWalk Adult Awards were announced last night, both juried and popular vote.   One thing I would like to see next year is for the  jurors to provide their reasons for selecting one work over another.  I think it would be a great way to further educate artists and the public in how to look at art.  Just yesterday, I read an article talking about how to look at abstract art.  Did you know that Wassily Kandinsky is recognized as being the first artist to create abstract art in 1910?

    kandinsky.comp-7Composition VII, Kandinsky 1913

    What I took away from this discussion is this:  abstract paintings emphasize lines, colors, forms, and surface in relationship to one another.  This means that the artist does not need a definite conventional subject to create art but the colors, lines, and geometric shapes are themselves the subject.    So, don’t try to find figurative objects or meanings in abstract art.  There maybe none.  The subject is the “colorful paint, the crooked line, or the shape arranged aesthetically to provide viewing pleasure.  If you would like to read more about this thought, go to:  http://understandingpaintings.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/appreciating-abstract-art/

    dsc_06611Vision by Christi Dreese

  • Creative Bones

    Creativity?  I believe that we are all creative.  Some people are creative in how they solve problems and others are able to capture an image on paper with a pen or brush.  This week, I have been watching my daughter create a mural on the back wall of our gallery.  We rented scaffolding.  Up and down she goes several times throughout the day, looking at her work, considering what is next.  Up she goes again to add more paint.  It is interesting to watch.  Somewhere along the way, Camille has learned perspective, design and painting skills.  Often she amazes me with her “can do” attitude.  She might not have done it before but she will figure it out.




    In the next several days, our mural will be complete.  Thanks to Camille’s efforts.  She is entering it in this Fall’s ArtWalk competition.  Then, she heads to NYC to school.  Every morning, I will be reminded of her creativity as I open the gallery.

  • How do you serve Blueberries?


    Berry Bowl

    Berry Bowl

    Blueberries are coming into season around West Michigan.  I have heard of friends consuming over 50 pounds during a month’s time.  Personally, I like them frozen, added to my morning yogurt.  We have several berry bowls with matching plates that work great in your refrigerator or on your counter.  I think having them easily available increases the chance that you and your family will eat them throughout the day.


    I hurried into the gallery today to roll out clay slabs for our children’s class this afternoon.  I think they are going to enjoy the project with Jaclyn today – Clay Animal candle holders.  We will continue to offer a variety of classes through mid-August.  Please go to our website, c2cgallery.com,  or our facebook page  and pull down the classes tab, Facebook.com/c2cgallery, for more information.


    Yesterday, I fired my gas kiln.  It was so hot in there!  I would hurriedly check the kiln, make adjustments.  I bet I wasn’t  in my kiln shed for more than 3 minutes at a time, but would be dripping in sweat by the time I headed back into the air conditioning.  Today, the kiln is cooling  and still over 1000 degrees.  I may have to wait until Saturday to unload it.   My daughter, Camille, will be in town on Friday evening.  She plans to begin painting her Artwalk entry next week – a mural on the outside back gallery wall.  Stop down and watch her progress later in the week.   I am looking for one additional Artwalk artist.  If you know anyone, please pass the word.


    Try to stay cool, c.