Artist features Michigan waterways in water colors

Watercolor painting.At age 14, Douglas Chambers served as crew on a 36-foot yawl out of Saugatuck, Mich. It was then that he learned to appreciate the art of sailing and the beauty and power of the Great Lakes that is reflected in his art. His exhibit Fresh Water is now on display in the second floor art gallery of Western Michigan University's College of Health and Human Services.

Chambers' paintings portray Michigan's waterways, landscapes, islands and bays, which he sees as paradise. "Capturing out of the way areas in watercolors," says the artist, "is a small way of distributing beauty to other people with the hope of renewing interest in Great Lakes clean water."

After two years as a military policeman in the Vietnam era, Chambers earned a B.F.A. from Kendall College of Art and Design. He worked as a cartoonist and illustrator for several northern Michigan newspapers and was the illustrator of Great Lakes Ships for a Saturday historical magazine, The Broadside. He subsequently earned a B.S. in teaching and an M.A. in reading. He taught for more than 20 years with Benton Harbor Area Schools and was honored as Teacher of the Year there in 1994.

Chambers has displayed his work at several juried shows in Michigan, and has had three one-man shows. His paintings won the Best of Show award from the Beaver Island Watercolor Society in 2000, 2001 and 2007, and he won honorable mention from the Boniface Art Gallery, Northern Exposure, in 2009. In May 2010, his show Blue Ice and Fire was held at the Alberta House, in Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.

Fresh Water can be viewed from June 1 to Aug. 31, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Gay Walker at gay.walker@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3839.