By David Baker

For the past couple decades, I have wandered around outdoors with my paintbox or a sketchbook under my arm. I walk until something stops me. Often it is a little moment, a fragment, a detail, rather than some grand vista. I have the best luck after I have given up thinking that I know what I want. I have a rather poetic temperament, and I read these little moments as metaphors- little messages about the Universe, about myself.

Currently I’m creating a new series of watercolors titled The Faerie Rings. This is a continuation, perhaps an offshoot, of a group of paintings titled Found which I exhibited at the Box Factory in 2021. For that show, I painted driftwood sculptures which were built and left at Rocky Gap Park in Benton Harbor. My ground rules were simple: I painted them on location exactly as the makers left them. Gallery goers seemed to enjoy my whimsical collaboration with beach artists, none of whom I had ever met!

For The Faerie Rings I sought out tiny sculptures which seemed to be created by children. In nature, circular growths of mushrooms are called Faerie Rings. While science has an explanation for this phenomenon, folklore in many places of the world attribute these rings to faeries who danced in a circle at night. It was considered very bad luck for humans to step inside the ring!

But children seem to know about circles. They gravitate toward them in their games and their art. Like the builders of the prehistoric monuments, they seem to understand the magic of the circle. So, I draw their sculptures on site, exactly as they were created. Then I take them home to the studio and add a bit of magic of my own.

The Faerie Rings will be on exhibit at SFC Gallery, 607 Franklin Street, Michigan City, IN, October 7-31. The opening reception will be Friday, October 7, as part of the First Friday events in the Uptown Arts District. The reception hours are 5-8 pm Central Daylight Time. Paintings and greeting cards are available for purchase.