Archives for category: art

A recent visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) was pure delight! Kathy, a designer who founded Smith Street Designs, and I spent an afternoon examining paintings by 18 artists. The exhibit called “By Her Hand Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500-1800” highlighted not only their art, but also ways they entered the realm of professional artist.

Most paintings had realistic textures and colors of shimmering taffeta, matte velvet, and oodles of fabric folds. The richness of the fabric and clothing made me question my minimalist uniform in dressing. The female subjects had wide open eyes, often looking directly at the viewer, beguiling smiles, and complete airs of confidence. Still lifes of flowers and fruit honored nature with lunimnous colors. We learned that these women practiced and promoted their art and art businesses while managing families and households.

We contemplated the art and discussed our creative processes as professional artists. We acknowledged that nature and art give us inspiration. When suddenly, the muse struck. The center of the painting caught Kathy’s attention–and pulled us both in.

Mary Magdalene by Orsolo Maddalena Caccia
Mary Magdalene (1620) by Orsola Maddalena Caccia (1596-1676)
Mary Magdalenę by Orsolo Maddalena Caccia detail
Mary Magdalene, detail

The arabesque and flower motifs led our eyes round and round. Deep color saturated our senses. Afterward, while reading the exhibit catalog and reflecting on the experience, I created two paintings. One capturing the essence of the lines, motifs, and color. The other uses the Mary Magdalene colors and plays with fabric design.

By MY Hand watercolor painting by glacialpool aka, Beverly Ostrowiecki
By My Hand I, Beverly Ostrowiecki, Watercolor 4″x 6″

I worked at selecting the “right” reds, as my palette contains 17 reds that range from red-orange to cool red-violet. Comparing the Italian master and By My Hand I shows the colors match well. Keeping the pearls “paper white” creates a porous boundary for an imaginary entrance or escape.

By My Hand Pattern Design by glacialpool, aka beverly Ostrowiecki
By My Hand Pattern Design, Beverly Ostrowiecki, watercolor 6″ x 4″

My interests in fabric and composition led me to study fabric design. I have always wondered how the Japanese create asymmetric patterns. When I painted Spirals Near and Far, I thought I selected a simple pattern! Painting it, I realized there were 4 spiral sizes in 6 orientations resulting a complex pattern. That exercise taught me I had a lot to learn. A Field Guide to Fabric Design by Kimberly Kight provided me the basics of pattern design. By My Hand Pattern Design works in any orientation and delivers repetition and variety in balance.

The DIA exhibit provided inspiration for several future paintings, but more importantly, the early modern Italian artists taught me it’s the tenacious business skills that bring long lasting social recognition.

Professional artists balance creative processes, business skills, and family life in a perpetually cycle. Each cycle segment is important and all are needed for success and satisfaction.”

Kathy Connor is proven professional artist. Her company, Smith Street Designs, is a quilt pattern company that specializes in embroidery machine applique quilts and projects. Her patterns can be found in quilting and fabric stores across USA and Canada. Kathy recently visited Japan where she met Japanese quilters and quilting associations. She currently presses to launch the 2022 designs at an upcoming quilt and fabric convention.

Kimberly Kight is a “traditional quilter” who moved from blogging to designing fabric patterns for Ruby Star Society. Her fabrics are designed with timelessness in mind. Kim is also the author of A Field Guide to Fabric Design (Stash Books, 2011).

Detroit Institute of Arts By Her Hand exhibit, though now ended, has online resources to learn about the art and artists. See the printed exhibition catalog ( I borrowed mine form the library), a video trailer, and an online photo slideshow educational resource that features six color images.

Celebrate Color, Celebrate Life

The Holi Festival honors spring, life, and love. With its historical Hindu roots, Holi customs include a bonfire to purge the old, Dhuledi or “playing with color”, and visiting loved ones. People express Dhuledi by sprinkling colored powder, called galal, and water on friends and family. I am attracted to the intense Dhuledi colors, playful acts of hand throwing color, and the Holi value that good triumphs.

From my hands to yours, let us share joyful colors and aim our energies on similarities not differences. 

Happy Holi Color

Happy Holi Color, iPhone X drawing with Procreate


Manhole Rusty Patch Bee Ink Final


Citizen Bee by Beverly Ostrowiecki, ink on paper.

Glaciapool artist Beverly Ostrowiecki submits design for original art that will be cast iron onto manhole covers throughout Ann Arbor. Her design makes it to round 4 in jury selection.

In December 2017 the City of Ann Arbor asked the Ann Arbor Art Center to administer a Call for Submission for manhole cover art. Submitted designs were to be assessed on a wide range of criteria including aesthetic, feasibility, and fidelity to community values. An advisory committee comprised of professional artists, community stakeholders, and business leaders would select 6 semifinalists. A public voting in February 2018 will decide the 3 designs that will be used for manholes over a 2 year period.

My submission is named Citizen Bee. It represents a Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, especially the grid on the bee’s back, which represents its distinguishing rusty patch.

Citizen Bee withstood the jury selection scrutiny pretty well—it made it to round 4 and near final selection. Given this was my first public art submission, I am pretty pleased.

Bee Design Instills Historical, Educational, and Artistic Attributes

Historically, this bee thrived in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County. It contributed by being a pollinator to meadows and agriculture. Over the last 20 years, this bee has declined in population due to ecological changes. In March 2017, the US Fish & Wildlife placed the Rusty Patch Bee on the endangered list.

The educational component of this design offers opportunities to increase community awareness about the bee’s status, encourage landscapes that sustain bee populations, and strengthen youth understanding of the relationships among insects, plant diversity, and human cohabitation.

Artistically, the bee has symbolic meanings to a plethora of cultures. Common attributes include organized, industrious, and community. My representation focuses on its identifying rusty patch shown by the grid in the center. Body proportions mimic a Rusty Patch Bee. I simplified to achieve boldness.


Luna Moth and Brown Beetle Designs Explored

I decided to use an insect design because pollinators are critically important to sustain our ecosystem. I made 3 sketches: Luna Moth, Brown Beetle, and Rusty Patched Bumble Bee. All play significant roles as pollinators and offer forms for bold appealing designs. I decided to submit the Rusty Patched Bee because its endangered species status is most urgent.

Manhole Lunar Moth

Luna Moth by Beverly Ostrowiecki, ink on paper.


Manhole Brown Beetle

Brown Beetle by Beverly Ostrowiecki, ink on paper. 

Participate in the Ann Arbor community and vote. 

Public voting to choose the final 3 manhole cover designs launched February 14 and closes February 25, 2018. Visit the Ann Arbor Art Center to vote and get results on the final selections.