September 2009: Crystal Falls, pastel by David Bigelow
Header image: Crystal Falls, pastel by David Bigelow

Featured Artist: David Bigelow

David Bigelow painting en plein air...

David Bigelow painting en plein air

David Bigelow is a Sault High graduate who went on to study art at Flint Community College, DeWaters Art Institute for two years, before switching to law enforcement. He worked in the Sault Ste. Marie Police Department from 1965 to 1973, with the U.S. Border Patrol and the U.S. Immigration Service from 1973 to 1979 and the U.S. Custom Service from 1979 until he retired in 2001.

Immediately after retirement he began blazing a trail through the art world. We first became conscious of his work when his pen and ink drawings appeared in the Evening News about eight years ago (before retirement), depicting the houses on Annual House Tour of the Red Cross. He entered the Sault Summer Arts Festival for the first time in 2004, and won the Painting Award. The next year he won the Aarre Lahti Design Award, in 2006 he won the Graphics Award, in both 2007 and 2008 he won the Judge’s Choice Award and this year he, once again, took the painting award. He took Best of Show in Detour’s first Fine Arts Festival and a Purchase Award in the 2008 Northern Exposure show in Escanaba.

You’ve seen Dave’s work in juried shows in Alberta House and in other exhibits as well. He works in pen and ink, watercolor and pastels, and has many prints available. Among the pen and ink prints, many in the form of note cards, are drawings of the old Loretto School, St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, the old Sault High, St. James Church and a number of lighthouses. His drawing of the Bayliss Library heads up the library listings on the Exhibits page. His watercolor and pastel paintings reflect his travels—landscapes of the Great Lakes Area, rivers and waterfalls, barns and other buildings, Colorado and Arizona, France, England and Italy. His favorite saying is “The more I paint, the luckier I become.”

In October of 2005, Dave’s work was in an exhibit in the Olive Craig Gallery titled People, Places and Things with the work of Sue Johnson and Jeremy Ripley. In May of 2008, he was one of four artists in the G.A.S.S. exhibit in the Olive Craig Gallery—and that opens up a whole other story. G.A.S.S. is an acronym for “Gentlemen Artists Sketching Society”, consisting of a motley crew—Dave, Tom Marshall, Ken Hatfield, Joel Lake, and Carl Forslund, who have been meeting for plein air painting since about 2005. All are enthusiastic pursuers of the pastel medium and members of the Great Lakes Pastel Society, the Upper Peninsula Branch of which exhibited last month in the Olive Craig Gallery. Both Dave and Tom are on the Great Lakes Pastel Society’s Board of Directors. Last month the society held its annual weekend paint-out in the Sault area—for the first time, ever, in the U.P.

Dave has enjoyed a very busy and prolific retirement. In addition to his painting, he has been teaching—drawing for beginners in May and watercolor journaling this month (both at the Personal Touch). He enjoys camping, golfing, and participating in art festivals. He says a personal highlight was in September of last year when he and Tom Marshall participated in a Bill Hosner pastel painting landscape workshop in Suttons Bay. Dave is a member of both the Olive Craig Gallery Board and the SAAC Board, is a former SAAC Chairman, and a volunteer in Alberta House. He also volunteers every Thursday afternoon at the Best of Friends Animal Shelter on Killackey Road.

Works by David Bigelow
Click on a thumbnail to see a larger version.

Crystal Falls, pastel by David Bigelow

Crystal Falls, pastel

The Gage Farm, pastel by David Bigelow

The Gage Farm, pastel

Restaurant in Sarlat, France, watercolor by David Bigelow

Restaurant in Sarlat, France, watercolor

Sault High School 1959, pen and ink drawing by David Bigelow

Sault High School 1959, pen and ink drawing

Last updated: September 1, 2009

Sault Area Arts Council Home Page 217 Ferris Street, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
e-mail: Phone: (906) 635-1312