First Friday follow up – Meet Internationally Collected Painter and Juror – Mark Mehaffey

meet artist Mark Mehaffey, painter, teacher, juror

First Friday - March 2018 Featured Artist- Mark Mehaffey       Who is Mark Mehaffey? an artist a painter a fisherman a walker a dog trainer/lover a teacher a art competition juror a friend to man a mentor an artist Mark and I had a conversation between us and the gallery guests.  This banter between myself and the artists is something that I greatly enjoy each time we host an Artist Talk.  The list above circles back to Mark being an artist because at the end of the day, I believe that this is the very core of Mark.   Some of the answers to my questions posed to Mark: Cyndi:  How often do you paint, in any manner? Mark:  I paint every day, even if I am traveling.  Hey, I read an interesting article this morning, actually re-read it.  The title was “Why original Art in the home is as important as a BED.”  “You would never put fake books on your book shelf, so why would you put fake art on your walls?!” Cyndi:  Tell us about the shows and traveling that you did in 2017. Mark:  In 2017, I was invited to the Shanghai China Invitational Exhibit and Paint Out.  I was invited to bring two paintings to be exhibited and paint while visiting the surrounding areas.  One of the two paintings that was exhibited was purchased by a C2C client.  I was thrilled for her to own this painting. She can tell her friends that this painting was hung in Shanghai.  Rosie and I traveled to Scotland to participate in a Watercolour Society Exhibit.  I was able to pose for a photograph with Prince Charles who also exhibited in the show. Cyndi:  What do you consider when judging a piece of art? Mark:  I consider how well did the artist resolve an idea or content of an entry; then the overall design and how it relates to the overall emotional content; and then lastly, the technical skill and application. One last thing that I shared: I hope that you, our friends,  will continue attending art openings; inviting friends to join you; and meeting artists.  I believe it is a win-win situation.  You get to see and consider new ideas.  Artist get to talk about their thoughts and what they are trying to share.  And at the end of the day, it connects us to one another.  Have a good night everyone.  

How to Clean & Care for Your Acrylic Paintings

Taking care of your investment - paintings

Care for Your Acrylic Painting Painting by Mark Mehaffey   We are asked quite often "How do I take care of my acrylic painting? Do you know of anyone who can repair my investment?" Don't allow any rigid object to press against the front or back surface of the stretched canvas as this could create permanent indentation damage. When storing or transferring, take care to protect the canvas surfaces from becoming dinged or dented. If though, your canvas painting does get slightly stretched or dented in an area, sometimes spraying water on the back side ( the unpainted side) of the canvas can shrink the stretch/dent. It depends on how severe the indentation is. If unsure about doing this yourself, have a professional do it.  Don't ever attempt to clean the surface by using solvents or cleaning products OF ANY KIND!! Cleaning liquids may actually embed the dirt into the painting and cause permanent liquid lines over the surface. In fact, it is discouraged to use any liquid, including water, to clean the surface of your acrylic painting. Do use compressed air in a can to blow away surface dust. You can slightly dampen a very soft cotton cloth with only water and wipe the surface of the painting.  We suggest weekly dusting the top edge of your painting, too. Be careful not to bump or scratch the painting. If the paint is damaged in any way, avoid dusting altogether.  Do seek out professional services if you find, after years of display, that cleaning with compressed air or a soft cloth do not remove the dirt. Seek out professional services appropriate for the piece. Consider an experienced art conservator who will know the correct method due to their extensive training and experience. The risk of damage to the painting will be much less if it is cleaned by a reputable professional in the field of fine art conservation. Please understand that the artist is not responsible for damage to your painting caused by improper display, cleaning or storage. Suggested Professionals: Carlos Moya,, Amber Smith Schabdach,, Julie Simek,, Joshua Freedland,, Original art is an investment, not only valued monetarily. Your painting will be appreciated by future generations, not just by those who view it today.

National Ceramics Conference – Here we come!

K-12 Student Ceramic Exhibit at NCECA

Wow!  First day of NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts)   So much to see, old friends to meet up with, lots of stories to hear and tell.  I love being with my people - fellow potters.  I was telling new found friends last night at dinner that even in the Pittsburgh airport as you walk the concourses, you can pick us out of a crowd.  No, I can’t define this but potters are unique interesting men and women.  (Not saying that those of you who are not, aren’t.  Just saying) Yesterday, was all about getting acclimated to the convention center and exhibit hall.  I always see the Student K-12 Show first.  It makes me smile in amazement at the kid’s lack of fear and the talent.  Of course, the end artwork seen, is due to the talents of wonderful teachers dedicated to sharing information, ideas, and then gently pulling the creativity out of the young. Here are a few pics:          

Final Week of the “C2C Gallery 2018 Photo Contest”

First Photo Contest by C2C Gallery. Juror: bob walma

Our Final Week of the C2C Gallery Photo Contest Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in our Photo Contest.  It's been fun to see the entries.  Last week, our focus was Landscape.   And the winners are....... Linda Holtrop 1st Place Winner Overall - Landscape Kris kelley 2nd Place Overall Kevin tempelman 3rd Place Overall Ryan christensen 1st Place  honorable mention Lynn hitchcock 2nd Place honorable mention  Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry to our first photo contest, "Lines and Colors of West Michigan".  Bob Walma and I had fun with this event.  We plan to host a similar event in 2019.  Enjoy the Spring-like weather.   A look at an early Bob Walma's image of the Coal Tipple

And the winner for week 2 of the “C2C Gallery 2018 Photo Contest”

Week 2 of our First C2C Gallery Photo Contest Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in our Photo Contest.  It's been fun to see the entries.  Last week, our focus was Architecture.   And the winners are....... Morgan Lachney 1st Place Winner Overall - Architecture Michelle Allard 2nd Place Overall Linda Holtrop 3rd Place Overall Kevin tempelman 1st Place  honorable mention Kris Kelley 2nd Place  Honorable Mention Madigan Lautzenheiser 3rd Place honorable mention Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry.  We have one remaining week for our photograph contest.  This week the theme is: Landscapes.     Please submit your entries via email to Bob Walma at  You can also submit on Facebook or Instagram using #c2cgallery2018photocontest.

And the Winner is……

Week One of the Lines and Colors of West Michigan Photo Contest

Week Number 1 of our Lines and Colors of West Michigan Photo Contest   So much fun!  Bob and I loved seeing all of the great photographs by area photographers, both amateur and professional.  Thank you for taking the time to submit your entries. And the winner is:     First Place:  Anya Selina Wells Over all winner, Amateur photographer Congratulations Anya!  Your photograph shows great composition and mood.  We will be printing and framing your image this week.  It will hang in the gallery until March 2.  Please visit us on Friday evening between 6 and 7 to get your picture taken with Bob Walma.  Thank you for participating.     Lauren kane mattone 2nd place overall, amateur photographer        madigan lautzenheiser 3rd place overall, amateur photographer   Stacy drake pearson 1st runner up, amateur photographer     Linda  2nd Runner Up, amateur photographer    Kevin Tempelman 3rd runner up, amateur photographer   Morgan Lachney 1st runner up, professional photographer     Ryan christensen 2nd RUNNER UP, PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER   Joel Bradshaw 3rd RUNNER UP, PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER   Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry.  We have two additional weeks for this photograph contest.  This week the theme is:  Architecture  Please submit your photographs to Bob Walma via his emai: OR you can submit on facebook or instagram using the hashtag:  #c2cgallery2018photocontest.     Have a great week, everyone.  Thank you, Cyndi and Bob  

A Month Focused on Photography – Images of Post-War Europe

This month we are focused on Bob Walma's "Lines and Colors of West Michigan."  However, this article was in my feed this morning.  I found it haunting, eerie, sad, and yet beautiful.  Send me a note letting me know your thoughts.   Here is the link to the article if you would like to learn more:   A Jewish Photographer's Long Unseen Images

Is it a Bird? A Plane? No, it’s a sculpture!

Australian Sculptor to give workshop in West Michigan October 2018

So excited to be hosting a 3 day workshop in October!   I have read a lot about  Australian Graham Hay's artwork.  Always wanting to take one of his workshops and it just hasn't worked out.  Graham is a sculptor who works primarily in paper and clay.  Last year, he reached out to me asking if I would be interested in organizing a course. The planning has come together.   Lee Ann Frame has agreed to let us use her studio space at Muskegon Community College which will be perfect for both demos and making.  Mike Taylor of West Michigan Clay is donating the paper clay for Graham's use and the participants.  I very much appreciate both Mike and Lee Ann's assistance. Graham Hay Graham is a clay-aholic.  Graham says "My ceramic paper-clay work is an attempt to illustrate this on-going interest in the organization of the arts and crafts, and society. I am inspired by architecture and local plants, while trying to suggest the cycles, rigidities and dynamic nature of our society, and myself. My compressed paper sculptures are a by-product of office work, research, everyday correspondence and junk mail. Since 1994, it has been a way to create silence in a world of information overload. Despite the promise of the "paperless office" we still keep paper to hand and it can become a symbol of emotional attachment and a link with loved ones." Hay is known to lead fun, informative workshops. Participants will watch him demonstrate using this interesting medium - paper-clay, plus create their own pieces with his guidance.  We will have three days of  learning, making, and talking all things art.  Click here for more information.

Tuscan Bean Soup

  Tuscan Bean Soup Ingredients: 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 medium carrots, thickly sliced 1 large onion, coarsely chopped 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 3 sprigs fresh oregano 1/4 teaspoon salt Black pepper, to taste 2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans or other small white beans, drained and rinsed 5 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock 4 cups baby kale or baby spinach, stems removed if tough 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, for garnish Olive oil, to serve Extra grated Parmesan, to serve Directions: Cook the vegetables: In a soup pot, heat the olive oil. When it is hot, add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, fresh oregano sprigs, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes until the vegetables look softened and the onions are turning translucent. Prepare the beans: On a plate, mash 1/2 cup of the beans with a fork or potato masher. Add them to the vegetables in the pot. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Simmer the soup: Add the remaining beans to the pot and stir well. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, partially cover with the lid placed askew, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and the liquid is flavorful. Discard the oregano sprigs; the leaves will have fallen into the soup. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. While the soup simmers: Sprinkle bowls with olive oil and cheese. Add the greens to the soup: Add the kale or spinach to the pot and simmering for another 2 minutes, or just until the greens wilt. Serve the soup: Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with oregano and more olive oil, if you like, and serve with Parmesan toasts and extra Parmesan for sprinkling. The best bean soups have a lived-in quality, as if they have been simmering on the back burner for hours, just waiting for you. You can achieve this by cooking the dried beans from scratch, of course. Or you can skip the long simmer and pop open a can! Bean soups have the distinct advantage of tasting terrific either way. Today’s soup uses canned beans to make a 30-minute meal that tastes like it took all day. When you start this soup, sauté vegetables first to give the soup lots of flavor. Let carrots, onion, and celery cook with sprigs of oregano, then stir in the beans and chicken stock. To make sure your soup has that appealing “simmered all day” quality when using canned beans, just mash some of the beans before they go into the pot. This will give your soup the slightly distressed texture that a good bean soup should have. Simmer the soup briefly, then add baby kale or spinach for their pretty green color and texture. Parmesan toasts are an easy side dish to make while the soup is simmering and they give your dinner plenty of crunch. Sprinkle the bowls with olive oil and more Parmesan. You’re done in less than half an hour, but your soup will taste like an afternoon’s effort. Read more:

So, what makes a great pot (ceramic, that is)?

Great Form and Design by West Michigan Ceramic Artists and more

Ceramic artists (potters) are a hard working group of people. They have a commitment to making the best pots possible that reflect their personal story using clay. Pots can be very straightforward like a human body: functional, beautiful and strong. Ceramic work can also be complicated, abstract, and sculptural. One of the things that I love about clay is that it connects us to others. It is a basic material that can be used for many things.   As humans, we have used it for thousands of years to assist us in our daily lives. Tony Clennell I believe that we are all creative. You do creative things all day long:  what you are wearing; how you cook your food; how you mow your yard; and more.  Being creative can heal and connect us to something deeper than ourselves. It makes our lives richer. Using handmade pottery does enrich your life connecting you to a larger world; reminding us to take just a few minutes to consider the story of this pot; and to breathe.   So what makes a good pot?   “The best of pots through the ages have a quality of timelessness about them that transcends chronological and cultural boundaries. The essence of form, the movement of a brush, the quality of surface. Pottery is neither painting nor sculpture, although it has elements of both.” (excerpt from Robin’s Hopper preface in his book, Functional Pottery) Robin Hopper There are several things to consider, when looking at a piece of functional pottery: Proper use of the selected clay body and glazes. Does the pot function well for the use intended? The overall design of the pot. Which clay body and glaze is best? Any clay body – earthenware, stoneware, porcelain – can be used to make Fantastic Interesting Pottery Forms. IF the maker applies correctly formulated glazes and then fires the work correctly. What I mean by this is: Earthenware is typically what we call low fired. We have one artist – Michael Kifer who uses this type of clay. It allows him to get unusual colors and textures. Think Bright Reds, Blues, Greens, Yellows. Michael’s pottery can go in the dishwasher. I wouldn’t put it in the microwave for more than 40 seconds. Raku – is not earthenware. It is a type of firing. Typically these clay artists use groggy clay to handle the contraction and expansion of clay that occurs during a raku kiln firing. Four artists at C2C creating raku work: Tonya Rund, Scott Berman, Mike Bryant, and Diane Niehof. Stoneware – is a mix of different chemicals that help the clay be very forgiving when working with it. It is great for planters, dishes, serving pieces, vases, etc. We have several potters who work in it either throwing on the potter’s wheel or hand building to make their work. Artists at C2C who work in stoneware are: Mike Taylor, Julie Devers, Polly Wellford, Richard Aerni, Jerri Puerner, Jacob Koster, Cory McCrory, and Mary Kuilema. In the 1700’s, porcelain was considered “white gold” and history told us that in those days it caused greed and theft. Bernard Leach, a British potter, was one of the first artists to create a fairly reliable porcelain clay for ceramic artists. At C2C, Marion Angelica, Brooks Bouwkamp, Jerri Puerner, and myself use porcelain. Does the pot function well for the intended use? When you pick up a mug, do your fingers fit well in the handle? (This is a personal preference.) If you pick up a bowl, does the bowl feel balanced, not bottom heavy. If you run your fingers up from the inside of the bowl to the rim are the walls of it an even thickness?   A casserole (lidded and un-lidded) can be very lovely for display and use. You should ask whether it can go in the oven (into a hot or cold one) or be used just for serving food. Does the lid fit comfortably on the base? Is the galley where the lid sits substantial enough to handle use? Or will you need to be careful when replacing the lid? If you are selecting a teapot; do you collect or will you use it? Many teapots are created just for pleasure; others for use. Does the teapot pour well or dribble? When you are pouring liquid from it, does the pot feel balanced? Remember you will have hot liquid inside of it. You don’t want your hands to be touching the body of the teapot. Can you pour the hot liquid easily? What makes a good pot? The overall design. “Trust your gut when looking at a painting or a piece of pottery.” Intuitively, we all know whether a piece of art “works”.  When considering pottery, we use terms like: shoulder, belly, lip, neck, and foot. We look at the form’s proportions. How does the piece feel in your hands? Will you be picking it up often? Is the form graceful?  Did the potter pay attention to the small details like the rim and foot of the pot?  Does the surface decoration work with the form?  Are the decorations appropriate, interesting, and well constructed?   A famous Greek philosopher-mathematician named Eudoxus is said to have carried a walking stick with him. He would ask friends to visually divide the stick into two parts at whatever point they sensed it to be most pleasing. Much to his satisfaction, the majority of people chose a point close to the same place on the stick. From this he deduced that most people are spontaneously drawn to the same ratios. The Golden Mean or Rule is also fascinating in that the living world follows this natural law creating pleasing forms and relationships. (excerpt from Functional Pottery by Robin Hopper). This is what I mean when I say to a client “Trust your gut when looking at a painting or a piece of pottery.”            

Come visit us in lovely downtown Grand Haven.


Handmade Art & Gifts

104 Washington Street
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Cyndi Casemier, Owner


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