2009-06-13 / Top News

Island Inspires Illinois Painter

By Kerri Jo Molitor

Daniel Purdy uses Mackinac Island buildings as inspiration for his paintings. An Illinois resident, he takes photographs of the Island when he visits in the summer and paints them when he returns home. Showing off one of his completed paintings Tuesday, June 2, Mr. Purdy stands in front of his inspiration, a residence on the lake shore. Daniel Purdy uses Mackinac Island buildings as inspiration for his paintings. An Illinois resident, he takes photographs of the Island when he visits in the summer and paints them when he returns home. Showing off one of his completed paintings Tuesday, June 2, Mr. Purdy stands in front of his inspiration, a residence on the lake shore. Artist Daniel Purdy has been traveling to Mackinac Island for 10 years with his wife, Nancy, from their home in Crest Hill, Illinois. The local scenery and buildings have inspired him to paint a series of landscapes based on pictures he's taken on Mackinac Island.

"I've taken thousands of photos," Mr. Purdy said. "I could paint a picture of every one of them."

Mr. Purdy and his wife started coming to Mackinac Island after he retired. He was a seasonal construction worker, so they weren't able to take many vacations. Mackinac Island was their first trip after he retired, and they have returned every year for a few days in the summer and for their anniversary in August.

"It's just such a unique place," he said. "The people are good, hard-working people. They're all so nice."

While on the Island, Mr. Purdy takes photographs of anything that strikes his eye. When he returns home, and throughout the winter, he paints his favorites. He also participates in a senior citizens group in Illinois, where he paints among friends.

Mr. Purdy's latest paintings are of the Windermere Hotel, the lighthouses seen from the bluff, and a green house on Main Street near the library. The painting of the hotel is not yet finished and Mr. Purdy plans to take more detailed photographs of the porch so he can finish it when he returns home.

The only reward Mr. Purdy said he needs for his paintings is the reward of relaxation that painting provides for him.

"I'm too old to be famous," he said. "I don't care about that; I don't even care about selling them. It just makes my day when I can paint. All my aches and pains just fade away."

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