Tag Archives: October 4 2012

Three Rockford artists impact Grand Rapids ArtPrize

by Cindy M. Cranmer

LeAnne Mawby Sowa with Moose Bath II

Rockford watercolor artist showcases moose print

Bright colors and larger sizes often attract people to ArtPrize entries. A Rockford watercolor artist has both going for her in her 2012 entry.

LeAnne Mawby Sowa uses her unique watercolor style, which uses colorful washes and bold details to show off her artwork.

“The small painting Moose Bath has been one of my most popular paintings. I’ve sold quite a few prints and I’ve gotten lots of smiles and laughs from people who see it,” Sowa said. “This inspired me to create a larger than life painting similar to it.”

Moose Bath II consists of nine panels, which are stretched watercolor paper on foam board and attached to each other to make a seven foot by nine and a half foot painting. This is the fourth year that Sowa has had an entry in ArtPrize.

Sowa is a self-taught artist but has enhanced her natural talent through attending various professional workshops and college classes. One opportunity she enjoyed was studying in England while residing there with her family.

After pursuing a degree in mechanical drafting and several years of drafting, Sowa wanted to “get back to my creative roots and become a fine artist.”

Sowa, a member of the Rogue River Artist Association of Rockford and the Pentwater Art Club, is now a full-time artist with artwork displayed at Our Gallery of Pentwater, the Frame and Mat Shop in Rockford, E3 in Rockford, the Eclectic Gallery in Ionia and the Saugatuck Artists Collective.

“This has been such a popular print that I decided to go big for ArtPrize,” Sowa said. “This is the biggest thing I have ever done.”

Sowa, who has been working on the piece since May, hopes that someone will purchase Moose Bath II for display somewhere that children could appreciate it such as at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. “That will make me feel good,” she said.

“ArtPrize is so much fun. I love being a part of it. It gets you a lot of exposure as an artist,” Sowa said.

The size and bright colors of her 2012 entry are definitely drawing attention to Moose Bath II.

Linda Bassford with her painting, Dog Days

The approximately 30-foot by 40-foot oil painting by Linda Bassford, appropriately titled Dog Days, depicts a black dog swimming in the water. From the water dripping from the dog’s coat to the eyes that express feeling, Bassford captures a realistic image that is displayed at Huntington Bank, 50 Monroe Avenue.

“We’ve had black labs and it’s a favorite subject of mine,” Bassford said of her choice to paint the dog. “A lot of people have said they’ve seen it and are contacting me about work for them.”

“I do people and animal portraits primarily,” Bassford said. She said as long as she can see a photograph or view a building she also can do a picture.

“My work comes from a visual stimulation and not from my head. If I can see it, I can paint or draw it.” Bassford loves displaying her work at Huntington Bank. “They are absolutely awesome,” she said about her venue. “They’re amazing.”

Bassford got involved in ArtPrize to serve as a role model to her children and grandchildren. “I’m in my 60’s and still doing what I love. I have been doing art since I was little,” Bassford said. “I want to be a good example to my children and grandchildren.”

Bassford, a member of the Rogue River Artist Association of Rockford, said she loves being a part of ArtPrize and spends a lot of time at the event. “I love the energy that comes into Grand Rapids,” Bassford said.

Paul Willis entered four images from his Light Stories series for 2012 ArtPrize

Light—fluorescent, solar, natural, incandescent— it’s something we seldom think about as we move about our days. A Rockford artist not only thought about this subject but made this topic the focus of his 2012 ArtPrize entry.

Paul Willis entered four images from his Light Stories series as his 2012 entry, which is being displayed at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

“The theme of these pieces is to capture a moment in a story using the source of light so it becomes an important part of the story,” said Willis, who is a photography student at Grand Rapids Community College as well as an award-winning photographer.

“My goal is to create compelling photographic images that satisfy my desire for artistic expression and hopefully appeal to others,” Willis said.

He selected four of nine photographs from his Light Stories series for his entry.

Curiosity focuses on a young girl who is approaching a doorway with something ominous on the other side. The light from the keyhole illustrates the story.

Portal to Afterlife is about a woman who doesn’t realize she is no longer alive and shows her approaching a photo frame with a bright light that represents the afterlife.

The Gift is about a woman who is receiving a ring as a present. The brightness from the gift of the ring reflects her joy.

The fourth image is Twilight Discovery, which showcases a teen girl who happens upon a wooden box. The item in the box features an amazing light and reflects her emotions at the discovery.

“These four were my favorites,” Willis said of his selections.

Willis said the photographs are considered staged photographs since they need to be planned to capture the setting, location, lighting and subject.

“The primary light is not natural light in these photographs,” Willis said. “However, they still need to be shot at the right time of the day if you are to use the natural lighting.”

Willis has worked for the Area Agency on Aging for West Michigan for the past 12 years and does not plan to seek a career change to photography.

“I just really like photography. I do it for myself,” Willis said. “My goal is not selling art. My goal is creating the things I want to create.”

Willis loves being able to display his work at the Amway and hopes to display a larger series for 2013 ArtPrize.

“They have a great space. I’m hoping to continue the connection that will allow me to show my other half of Dark Art and Music Students next year,” Willis said.

“Being in ArtPrize is very rewarding,” Willis said. “The supportive comments and people showing an interest in your work is great. It’s really an extraordinary chance to feel good about your artwork.”


Harvest Fest breakfast next community event for Rockford Lions

The Rockford Lions Club had a very busy and fun week. We were the proud host of district’s semi annual meeting. Lions members came to Rockford to represent our district Region 11-C1. In attendance were fellow Lions from Rockford, Ravenna, Marne, Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, Wyoming, Allendale, Greenville, Sparta, Casnovia, Lyons-Muir and Muskegon (Northside). Ideas and stories were shared over dinner and a guest speaker. A great time was had by all!

The Lions Club regularly meets on the second and fourth Thursday of the month at the Community cabin starting at 6pm with a social time. Everyone interested is invited to attend and learn more about the largest service organization in the world!

Rockford Lion’s next activity is the Annual Fall Harvest Breakfast (formerly the Pancake breakfast) to be held at the American Legion Hall on Northland (Rockford Park Drive) this Sunday, October 7 from 9 am until 1pm. It will be a delicious feast for all. Tickets are available from any Lions member and will also be available at the door.


Letter to the Editor

Vote no on the 25×25 ballot proposal

Squire Editor;

I can appreciate the fact that Mr. Dan Vos of Vos Energy would devote his entire September 20th column to support the “25×2025” proposal, since he and his business would be the eventual recipients and winners of renewable energy alternatives.

The “funding” for this proposal, if it passes, is not going to come from a magical money tree or “big money” as he likes to make reference to. The money will come from each and every individual, household & business in Michigan in the form of a surcharge, some hidden and perhaps not so hidden. An example of the latter is the “EO” (energy optimization) surcharge I see on my electric bill every month. In the last 12 months I paid $40.47 to support PA 295, passed in 2006, to achieve the mandate that 10% of energy produced in Michigan comes from renewable resources. Increasing that 10% to 25% may double or possible triple our “EO contribution.”

The price tag to achieve this goal has been placed at 12 billion and that does not include the new transmission lines needed as well as back up sources of energy when those renewable source based plants are unable to produce electricity because of cloud cover or lack of steady winds.

Lastly, special interests should not attempt to amend our State Constitution to pass independent laws… in this case, the Constitution should not be amended to enact special interest energy policy proposals.

I strongly urge a NO VOTE on proposal #3 20×2025.

Tom Wybranowski

Bois Blanc Island, MI

Networking to help each other topic of Chamber luncheon

The Rockford Chamber of Commerce is proud to present the October installment of its popular Bi-Monthly Luncheon Series. The event is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. on Monday, October 8, at the Wolverine World Wide YMCA, 6555 Jupiter Ave., Belmont. Lunch will feature the delicious fare of Twisted Vine.

This month’s luncheon will be sporting the new format and features more networking opportunities for the participants. This luncheon will spotlight Chamber members and how they help each other to attain their business goals.

With the new format, there will also be three tables available for highlighting your business. This includes setting up a display at the table, placing literature at the luncheon tables and three minutes to give an overview of your business to the attendees. To find out more about this opportunity call Linda at the Chamber office.

To attend this luncheon, please call the Chamber office at 866-2000, or e-mail membership@rockfordmichamber.com to register. Cost, which includes lunch, is $15 for chamber members and $20 for non-members. If you bring a friend, you may purchase their lunch for just $10. Please note that if you have registered and are unable to attend you must call and cancel prior to the event, or you will be charged.

The Bi-Monthly Luncheon is a wonderful way to enjoy good food and excellent company in a relaxed atmosphere. Drawings for prizes are conducted at the conclusion of the event.

A peak into the Bradley family history and Rockford history

Readers expressed interest in the history of the Bradley family following last week’s story on the Scarecrow Make It and Take It event which continues this weekend, October 6 and 7 and the weekend of October 13 and 14 as part of Rockford’s Harvest Festival events. The following information about her family was provided by organizer Denise Bradley for your enjoyment:

My family has lived in the Rockford/Cedar Springs area for generations.  The immediate family ancestor names are, Bradley, Schoonmaker, Shaw, Round, Spring, and Morgan.  There is an old stained glass window at the Rockford United Methodist Church, that was donated by my third great-grandparents, Jared and Catherine Cronk Spring.

The Rockford Cemetery has many ancestors.  I walked the Cemetery one day and took over 100 pictures of grave markers from direct and indirect family members.  My great grandparents Lafayette and Laney Bradley are in the Cedar Springs Cemetery.  Lafayette was in the Civil War and I have copies of his civil war papers.  I have shared some of my information with the Rockford Area Historical Society and I have also gotten information from them to help with my family tree.

One of the reasons the RAHS is so special to me, and it’s so important to help raise money for the new museum through the Scarecrow Make-N-Take is because of their wonderful genealogy area.  They have about 95 percent of the old Rockford Register newspapers (and the Rockford Squire), in hard copy and on microfiche.  I have gotten so much information from these old newspapers to help with my family tree. They have filing cabinets full of birth, death, marriage and more items in between.

Plus, walking through the museum is like walking through my ancestors lives.  There is an World War II bomber quilt that was made by Rockford residents.  Their names including my grandparents were signed and embroidered on the squares of the quilt.  They made about $242.00 ,from it to help buy bombers for the war. There are old tools that my uncle donated to the museum when my Grandpa Dale Bradley died.  But, not just my family, it’s all of our families, it’s our heritage and we need to preserve it and share it with everyone, especially for our children and their children.  It’s so important they can see where they came from and take pride in their heritage.

Going through the museum is so educational and you learn fun things.  Did you know that before we were Rockford, we were called Lamphamville.  When the railroad came through, the name was too long for the railroad tickets.  The townspeople couldn’t figure out a new name to fit the town.  A Baptist minister was traveling through and said he had just come from a town in Illinois called Rockford.  Because of the rock formations in the town, the name seemed to fit and that’s how Rockford got its name.

There is an old picture of the mill that used to be on the west side of the Rockford dam.  On top of the mill were about three large barrels.  They were the fire sprinklers.  If there was a fire the men on the ground would shoot bullets through the barrels, which in turn would spill water on the building.  I’m not sure how well this worked, or if they ever had to use it, but it is a fun fact about our town.

There is so much more information that can be found at the RAHS and with the new location, the possibilities are endless.  The new musuem will be more accessible and in a great location with more parking spots.  You can see why it’s so important to me and my family to help raise money for the RAHS.  Even though the Rockford Chamber of Commerce has eliminated the first weekend of Harvest Festival, I’m hoping the people will still come to make Scarecrow on Saturday, Sept. 29th from 10 a.m., to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 30th from noon to 4 p.m.  I can guarantee they will have fun with their family and friends and the dollars will help the Rockford Area Historical Society along with North Kent Community Services, another very worthy place that helps the families of our community.  I’m hoping that when the Rockford Chamber of Commerce starts planning next years Harvest Festival, they will reconsider and bring back the three weekends of Harvest Festival, not only to help with the Scarecrow Make-N-Take, but also for the businesses that depend on weekends like Harvest Festival to help bring people to town to help them stay in business and earn extra money for the little things like paying their taxes and bills.


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