Blueberry View Artist Retreat

This year, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to attend at the Blueberry View Artist Retreat at 4040 Fikes Road, Benton Harbor, MI.

I put extra oil in my beater van and topped up the radiator fluid just in case.

Departing from Kingsville, ON, I arrived safely at 1:30 pm, enjoyed a grilled tuna at “Bread & A Bar” before purchasing enough groceries and beer to last me eleven days.

The Beater was finally parked at our destination where I was greeted by Mark Toncray & Janet Sullivan, two sculptors with a vision to preserve art culture and with the generosity to put me up so I could immerse myself in art.

With the help of a handy cart, I quickly moved into “my” studio apartment overlooking blueberry fields and a sculpture garden.

On day 1, I woke early and made my way to Sarett’s Walking Trails and settled upon the “Prairie” Loop to complete my first painting.


On day 2, I made my way to the harbour and after an hour of walking the Dunes of Silver Beach I liked the orange colour reflected in the rafters of the Beach Pavillion and completed my second painting “Nestled in the Dunes”


That night I was treated to a tasty tofu & mushroom stir fry by my hosts Janet & Mark. Mark suggested I go to Watervliet, MI where he caught a salmon from the river.

Day 3 was sunny and warm so I set up my gear on the banks of the Paw Paw river and painted “Willows on the Paw Paw”


On day 4, my hosts left early for a Ukelele Get Together, so I set up my gear at the foot of the walkway leading to their front door and captured the essence of my welcome to their home. “Welcome” was gifted to Mark & Janet.


On day 5, I returned to the harbour to capture Benton Harbor’s iconic lighthouse sitting at the end of the pier.


“Fishing From the North Pier”

On day 6, I visited Rocky Gap State Park situated on the southeast shore of Lake Michigan and painted the first sign of fall.


“Witnessing the Waves”

On day 7, I traveled far to find these people and their colourful kayaks setting out from the boat launch.


“In at Lake Paw Paw”

Later that night, I went down to Hagar Beach to watch the sunset and the people. Putting several photos together I composed “Aging Hormones on Hagar Beach”.


On day 9, I traveled to Coloma, MI to have my lunch at Contessa Estate Winery where I found these “Orchards & Vineyards”


On day 10, I cleaned my apartment and framed all my paintings to prepare for my art reception that Mark & Janet graciously organized where I sold “Witnessing the Waves” from Day 6.

Thank you for everything!

Mark Toncray & Janet Sullivan

Blueberry View Artist Retreat

Benton Harbor, Michigan