Inspired by Nature

While Michigan’s lush landscape inspires many artists, mixed media artists Lori Taylor and Glen Wolff strive to inspire stewardship for the very topography it reflects.
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Lori Taylor Art
Created during a 2007 artist-in-residence stay, Lori Taylor’s “Sleeping Bear: The Legend” is made of layered watercolor paper, Lake Michigan sand, canvas, watercolor, gouache and gold gesso on masonite. // Illustration Courtesy of Lori Taylor

Self-taught Pinckney artist Lori Taylor grew up among the state’s abundant ponds and pines and was influenced as a child by artists such as Beatrix Potter and Gwen Frostic. Working on educational exhibits for nature centers led to artist-in-residence positions at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and to a children’s book series, “Holly Wild,” which, she hopes, will teach kids about nature, science and art and ultimately instill a respect for and love of the natural world.

While geared to a more adult audience, Taylor’s multi-media artwork also explores stewardship themes. Her oil “A Dead River Runs,” for example, chronicles the ignoble fate of Marquette’s Dead River through materials that include Lake Superior sand, driftwood, feathers, copper, broken windshield glass and oil. This piece,” she notes, “reminds us to protect our precious water.”

She considers her art a form of storytelling, albeit one she hopes will make people want to learn more about and further value Michigan’s resources. “The works I donated to Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Porcupine Mountains are watercolor and colored pencil collages of my experiences there, along with legend and flora and fauna of the area,” she explains. “They are like tiny museums in a box.”

The works I donated to Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Porcupine Mountains are watercolor and colored pencil collages of my experiences there, along with legend and flora and fauna of the area.
— Lori Taylor

Traverse City-born mixed-media artist Glenn Wolff comes by his artistic roots naturally. The son of a musician father and an artist mother, he attended Northwestern Michigan College and earned a BFA at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He worked as an illustrator in New York for several years before returning with his family to live in northern Michigan.

“Our northern Michigan landscape…is embedded in my DNA,” he says.

Works include hand-colored wood engravings, giclee prints, pen and ink drawings, oil, acrylics and illustration. Pieces such as “Petoskey Stones” are just one example of his use of Michigan’s natural world in his art.

Glenn Wolf Art
“Landslide” by Glenn Wolff, oil and mixed media on canvas, is one of his most colorful 2012 works. // Illustration Courtesy of Glenn Wolff

Wolff has partnered with northern Michigan organizations such as The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy on environmental-themed art projects. His underlying goal, he says, is to teach kids of all ages a sense of stewardship and personal responsibility for the resources we share.  He has worked with art projects with second graders learning about wetlands and middle-school students working on mixed media that combines art and text.

Whatever the subject and the audience, however, he notes, “We quickly find a common ground as fellow artists in the love of our (Michigan) landscape.”

Learn more at loritaylorart.com and glennwolff.com.

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