About Me

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I am an artist working in Water Color, Oils, Glass and wood in North Central Indiana. I enjoy Plein Aire work the most but often find myself in the studio during the winter when the weather is less than desirable for working on location. I have always been an artist, memories of drawing are some of my oldest. My early influence came from looking at old magazine covers done by Norman Rockwell. Later I discovered the photography of Edward Curtis as he had struggled to capture the American Indians of the Southwest before that culture completely disappeared. then I found Andrew Wyeth and knew what I wanted to paint. The Egg Tempera and Water Color Paintings of Andrew Wyeth were simply wonderful and I was forever committed to painting the rural landscape and those that live there. It was then I realized I would never again see the land as I had before I painted it. Soon after it was Winslow Homer and his Water Colors that kept feeding my interest in this medium and a traditional approach to my art. While I left the life as a professional artist for a time I find my return to it at this point in my life refreshing. Life is a journey and I am turning towards home. Mike Yazel

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Naked Chair

  Here is a new chair I am finishing up for an upcoming show. Since these chairs always end up painted I thought I would show one while it is still "naked". This is a new style of chair for me, it is a Massachusetts Comb Back with a sawn arm and Knuckle handholds. Chair will end up black over red milkpaint with danish oil over that. It is from the 1785-1800 time period. I will post another picture when the paint is on.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Best of Show

  Here is a Water Color of a house on the west edge of Mentone I painted that won Best of Show at Amish Acres this week. It was a 1/2 sheet of Fabriano 300lb CP Paper, the award was a purchase awrd so the painting is not available. I will be at the show through Sunday

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Show Season

  I will be in North Webster next Saturday the 31st for a one day show and then the following week I will be at Amish Acres in Nappenee starting on Thursday through Sunday. I have been back out in farm country lately painting for these shows. Some of the Water Colors are bright and bold while others are a bit more restrained. It is always a joy to spend time on the side roads in the Amish areas nearby. It is quite peaceful to step back in time a bit to see farming the way it was everywhere 50 years ago. These traditional Water Colors are an opportunity to see the landscape as it was and still is in these unique areas that I seek out as an artist to share with you.

   This first one is of a farm I ran across last week when out looking for painting subjects. While I took some photos a little Amish girl peered around the corner of the house. It was a hazy summer morning that looked more like August or September than July. I could not pass this up with the two buggies parked under the overhang of the old barn and the morning light just beginning to burn through the morning mist with distant trees still blue appearing blue in the morning air. This painting is 11x15 inches, Water Color on 300lb Fabrino CP paper.

      This painting was at a farm that sat right on the end of a"T" road with a wonderful yellow house that is sure to be the subject of a future painting. I took some pictures and the headed down the road only to come back later for more as it was just to good of a place to give up on. Coming at the farm from the east I could see this wonderful yellow bucket hanging under the overshot on this bank barn with the stonewall of the leanto reflecting the wonderful warm light bathing the scene. It was the morning after  a strong weather front had moved through the night before so I was playing tag with the fair weather clouds racing through on the north wind to get the light I wanted. This one too is 11x15 inches painted in Water Color on 300lb Fabrino CP paper. 

    The wonderful scene shown here was just down the road to the east of the previous painting. It is so rare these days to see wheat cut and then shocked up like it had been done for a thousand years waiting in this case to be ran through a threshing machine. We are so accustomed now to seeing the huge combines devour hundreds of acres in a day that a simple scene like this has become a jewel lost in time. In the distance one can see the the chicken house, a small grainery and a long stack of firewood waiting on the winter snow. It is always a challenge to capture the morning light when it is coming right on at you but I was quite happy with this effort. Water Color, 7x10 inches on Fabrino 300lb CP paper. 

     This last little one is a quick sketch to help me work out some of the problems as I prepare to do it on a much larger scale. It is these treats one finds while shuffling around the countryside that keeps me going out day after day. This old handcart full of flowers sitting by a white barn awash in the light of a summer morning is what gets my heart racing. To do this scene justice will take a much larger sheet of paper and some time but the end result will be worth every minute I spend with brush in hand and just pondering how to make it all work. Again Water Color, 5x7 inches on 140lb paper. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Paintout at Lake Wawasee

  This past weekend the IPAPA sponsered a paintout at Lake Wawasee in Syracuse Indiana and a good time was had by all that attended. The residents of the area welcomed the artists onto their property to paint various views of this beautiful lake. On Sunday afternoon there was a show and sale at South Shore Golf Course where residents could purchase participating artists work.
   Here are some examples of the paintings I did over the weekend in Water Color. My son painted with me on Saturday and wife and daughter helped me with the show on Sunday.

This one is a view from the public access at the south end of the lake painted on Saturday as a small thunder storm was crossing to the the north. It is Water Color, 11x15 inches on 300 LB Paper. 

This one was one of the many wonderful flower gardens around the lake. It is Water Color, 11x15 inches on 300lb paper. 

This is the entrance area to a wonderful house on the lake in the morning light. It is 7x11 inches, Water Color on 300lb paper. 

A shot of the setting I was painting in. 

Another quick shot of a Water Color that is almost finished looking out across a small lake. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Winona Lake

  I am getting ready for a show at the Village of Winona Lake Indiana and wanted to have a couple of local pieces for the show. This one is from some reference photos I shot there a couple of weeks ago. I wanted something that said Summer and I think this one does! I like these paintings that make a statement and make you feel the them. I like to look at a painting and feel myself becoming lost in it. Water Colors are such a wonderful medium for work like this, strong yet transparent and bright. If you are in the area I will be at the Village at Winona Art Show June 5th and 6th. There will be a lot of wonderful art by many great artists.

Winona Summer

Water Color, 7x10 inches, painted on Fabrino 300lb Cold Press Paper. Sorry this one is sold. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Some studio work

  I know I should be out painting with this wonderful weather but the schedule around here is crazy right now with school coming to an end so I have been hanging out in the studio getting some work done there.
   This first one is from some reference photos I shot late last winter, I am looking forward to getting back out there and doing some plein air work of this place. Was no doubt quite a house in its time but is pretty well along the road to decline now. I love the blue house against the dull gray of winter. I know it is summer and the world is green again but this one has been burning a hole in mind since I shot the pics and I just had to take a minute and get it out! I love these scenes and the quiet despair in them. Not sure why but they draw me in like a moth to light on a warm summer night. I will be doing more of this place as time goes by, I feel it calling me back.

Up Ft. Wayne Road

  Painting is Water Color, 11x15 inches on Fabrino 300lb CP paper. It will ship upon payment, price is $165.00.

  This next one is from a photo  shot years ago down in southern Indiana over by the Versalles, Friendship area. Could not find it now if I had too and not sure it is still standing. It is an old one room township schoolhouse in late summer with Queen Annes Lace in the field around it. I have never gotten this one painted and ran into it going through some old pics and thought I would give it a try. Every now and then I try to figure out how another artist did something and on this one went after  "Winslow Homer" sky. I was happy with the result and liked the color and depth it portrayed. Thanks for looking and if you have any interest or just questions feel free to email me. 

Lace after School

Water Color , 11x15 inches on Fabrino 300lb CP Paper. Will ship upon payment, price is $155.
To purchase on Etsy click here Lace after School

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Across the Marsh

   Here is another studio piece I did last week of a large marsh west of me about 5 miles near where Deep Creek meets the Tippecanoe river. I would estimate the marsh to be about 90-110 acres in size covering an area that used to be drained and pumped so it could be farmed. There are two large areas like this now in the area that were once farmed and have since been let go back to a more original state. Some of these are strange places with floating bogs where huge trees move when you walk across them while others have seemingly shallow streams that are actually nearly bottomless. These places have more life in them that you can imagine year around. While I was out photographing this one muskrats were swimming by while the frogs are singing and the blue and green herons wade the shallows for an easy meal. These are wonderful places we have done about everything in our power to destroy but they are slowly making a comeback. The barn and silo off in the distance is the same set of buildings as the little painting 19th & Fir. That was painted from the west and this from the north.

 This painting is 11x15 inches on Fabrino 300lb cold press paper and will ship upon receiving payment price is $135.00. To purchase this painting on Etsy click here Across the Marsh.

Friday, May 14, 2010


   I painted this one from some reference photos I had taken of this farm which is now mostly just a memory. This water color is of the front porch of the house which faced north so the original owners would have a cool place to sit during the heat of summer after a day of hard work on the farm. The foliage overhead s from a huge sugar maple in the front yard which is one of 3 mature trees in the yard. There were various fruit trees and others but they are all gone now. These trees are one of greatest things about these old farms and something you just can't get with new construction. Often the trees and flowers are all that is left to tell us where a farm once was. Many times when I am driving down country roads in the spring I will see the bright yellow of daffodils often by an old red pine and know that long ago someones dreams began here. You can imagine a young wife taking a moment out of a busy day to plant flowers as her husband worked the fields of the farm they built with their own hands.
   Well enough nostalgia for now. The painting is 11x15 inches painted on Fabrino 300lb paper. These works are an attempt to capture rural America as it has been before it is all gone and we forget what the little universe that was the family farm truly was. I am sorry this one is sold.  Thanks stopping by my world.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Little Ones

    Here are a couple of little ones from the studio. These were painted from reference photos I took last week out west of Tippecanoe near a large marsh off of the river near Deep Creek. Both are only 5x7 inches in size. I like doing these little ones to work out some of the issues before committing to a large version of a subject. I have painted the Red Door before and keep trying to capture the feeling of that house. The other is a nice farm at the corner of 19th and Fir road in Marshal county. The barn is currently being used for some horses and has several possibilities as subject mater. Thanks for looking!

The Red Door 5x7 Water Color $39.00 Sold

19th & Fir 5x7 Water Color $39.00 Sold

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Little History

  Here is a little Water Color I did over the weekend while painting with my son at a Living History event we were participating in. We attend several of these a year as a family and set up demonstrating early woodworking and spinning wool. My interest in art has started me researching art in early America. I have found that many of the artists were referred to as Limners which I believe to be an English term and worked in the colonies doing portraits of people and homes while others traveled on the frontier and painted this new found land and the plants, animals and native peoples. I think this is something I will try to develop into a demonstration at the least for these events as it is not represented by anyone I have seen at this time and is a very important part of the history of the founding of the country.
  My son and I both painted this 1812 artillery unit that was camped near to us at the Lore of the Laughery. The event is set around the only Revolutionary battle fought in Indiana which was at the mouth of Laughery creek where it meets the Ohio river. Painting is 7x10 inches on 300lb paper. Ethan and I each sold our paintings of this wonderful setting right after they were finished. It was his first sale of his artwork so he was pretty excited.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Four in a Row

   Light was good tonight right at the end of the day so I had to go out and paint. I saw a backhoe near the farm I had been painting recently and I know what that means so I thought I would see what was left. Several of the trees were gone and they were working there way in toward the buildings so I found something I liked and went after it.
  It is hard to do these end of the day pieces with a setting sun on a clear evening. I tried to lay it out fast and get the shadow lines set before they shifted to much more or the lights and darks changed all together. Working as fast as I could I blocked in the colors while trying to hold out the highlights which is your only shot with water color. I prefer good brushwork over a resist or going back in with an opaque white when everything is done.
  I caught most of what I wanted but was a little light on the contrast between the light and dark areas. I have the house, smokehouse, summer kitchen and garage in this one. I am going to miss this place, it has become a good friend the past year and will live on in my mind and paintings. It is fun to imagine these farms when they were the center of a families world, the sound of children running to the barn, the animals everywhere, Chickens clucking and scratching across the yard. The smell of blossoms on the apple trees and supper coming from the open kitchen window....

    Well back to the painting, it is another small one 10 inches wide and 7 inches high painted on 300lb Fabrino CP Paper with Winsor & Newton Artists Water Colors. Price is $125. Thanks for looking!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Morning Fun

Here is a couple from this morning, not paintings as much as experiments with the wonderful medium of Water Color exploring its many personalities. These are familiar sites to those that follow my work as they are painted from our front yard. I am always trying to learn more about this medium and it is through sessions like this I try to expand my knowledge. By doing exercises like this I have an opportunity explore the medium rather than try and capture the scene, if a painting results it is just all the better. Both of these came out pretty good in there own right so I am going to post them here.

  They are both about 7x10 inches and painted on 300lb Fabrino cold press paper with Water Colors.

Here is the second one. To buy on Etsy click here Sunday Morning

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

From This Morning

     These two are from this mornings outing a few miles south of where I live. I had scoped both of them out a few days ago when I paint the barn while on my way back home.
   This one is looking east right into the morning sun from county line road down by 700 south on the Kosciusko county side. I liked the distant farm structures highlighted by the morning light and the softness of that light due to the dust in the air from the dry conditions and all of the farm work going on in the area. I love this time of year before everything turns really green which becomes tiring by summers end. The painting is 11x15 inches on Fabrino Cold Press 300lb Paper. Price is $135 and will ship upon receiving payment. You can buy it on Etsy by clicking here Etsy

This second one was done about a mile to the west and about 1 1/2 miles to the north along 875 east Fulton county. If you dig through some of my old posts you might find the winter version of this scene which I painted in the studio. Nothing is like being out there with the light streaming across the land and the sounds of spring all around you. It is mornings like this you know why you go to all of the trouble to paint Plein Aire!
  Painting is 11x15 on 300lb Fabrino Rough Paper. Price is $145 and the painting will ship as soon as payment is received. Thanks for looking. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Water Color Morning!

  It was a little chilly out this morning and the light was not real stable but I could not resist the pull of the new Water Color box and made my way out to a nice barn in Fulton county. I wanted to catch it while backlit by the morning sun which meant facing east which was right into the wind. Not to bad until the sun went under the clouds and then it really cooled off!
   This a later barn, probably from 1920 or so as it has narrow horizontal siding a frame structure visible through its open door indicative of the later barns. These barns do not age as well as the earlier ones as the siding is thinner and more prone to failure exposing the critical frame members to the elements. 
  The painting is 11x15 inches on 300lb Fabrino Rough paper. This painting is sold. I am including a couple of shots here during the painting here on the blog. Enjoy! If you like to purchase painting on Etsy you can click here Up the Hill

  You can see in these three progression shots how much the light changed while I was on site doing the painting. It is these challenges and the enjoyment of being right out there in nature painting that keeps a Plein Aire artist coming back for more.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New Water Color Box!

  Here is a shot of my new Water Color box I just finished up with my son and dog on its first outing. We were doing a quick one of the neighbors house on a very windy morning but beautiful spring morning. The box will do 1/4 sheets of water color paper which is about 11x15 inches for you non water colorists and hold all of the needed items for painting and hold several extra sheets of paper in the lid.

Here is a closer shot of the box itself, showing most of what I carry in it. A water color box is far different than the oil painting box I normally use which I will post sometime later. 

Here are a couple of little water colors I did this morning with my new box. They are both 1/8 sheet (7x11 inches) on Fabrino 300lb rough paper. Both were painted on location on our place this morning. The first was looking east out across the fields in the morning light and the second was back along the creek that splits the property the house is on in two pieces. 

Freshly Plowed a water color on Fabrino 300lb paper. 7x10 inches $55.00 Here is the a link to the listing on Etsy if you are interested in purchasing, Buy on Etsy

Clear Waters, water color on 300lb Fabrino rough paper, 7x10 inches, price $75.00

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Two From Yesterday

  Here are couple of more paintings from near my house. They were both done on location in oils on a beautiful spring day! This first one is of a small pond in the woods behind the house and is 8x10 inches on a archival canvas panel. It is priced at $90.00 Sold.

This second one is another view of the house to the south of ours except done in the evening light from a different angle. I worked on it until dark in a cold wind that would not give up. Love the evening light but when it goes it goes. In the morning it changes but you can still work from memory but at night it is just over! I could here the deer snorting at me from in the the woods nearby while I was painting. I love being out there with nature right with you through the whole process. Thanks for stopping by for a look. 
  This painting is 9x12 oil on archival canvas panel. Price is $125.00, sold.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Plein Aire!

  Well I have wrapped up the syrup season and am back out painting. Got two finished up yesterday, one in the morning and another last night. There is nothing like being out there trying to get that scene down on canvas before the light changes and everything is gone.
  This first one was from yesterday morning, I went out across the road and picked a scene looking south with nice morning spring light setting off the buildings in the distance. It is always the light that makes the scene, everything else is just supporting characters. The painting is 9x12 inches, oil paints on canvas panel. Price is $125

The second one here is from last night, I debated quite some time about even going out because the light was up and down with the front moving through and I was not certain I could get a painting done before it would change again. The sky got very interesting though and it lured me out. I was glad I did because while things were on the move across the sky the light remained fairly stable I was happy with the painting. It is 8x10 inches, oil on panel, painting is sold. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Early Carved Wall Shelf

   The following pictures are of an early wall shelf with a carved front. The piece is about 24 inches tall and is made from Sassafras. The entire front is decorated with carving in a style keeping with the period of the late 1600's to about 1725. This little shelf is in a style I intend to pursue as I enjoy this type of work. I will be doing a chest in the "Hadley"style later this spring. Thanks for stopping by and having a look. This piece is sold, if you are interested in something similar please contact me at myazel@medt.com. Thanks for looking!

Hers is a full view of the piece showing the entire front and all of the decoration. The moulding on the back panels was done with a hand plane along with the joint between the separate boards making up the back. 


    Here is a detail shot of the upper center carving of the shelf. The concave moulding surrounding the openings was simply cut with a sharp gouge which is the easiest way for me to do it. The entire front was carved with 6-7 tools which is the case with much of this type of carving. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Moravian Chair

   Here are a couple of pics of a chair I have been working on. These chairs are early in period, late 1600's into the mid 1700's normally associated with an area where the Carolina's are today. Some were plain and some were heavily decorated with carving and sometimes paint. They use a thin seat with two cleats dovetailed into it that the legs are then set into and the back tenons pierce making for a rather delicate looking chair.

Here is the entire chair showing the carved back and seat with a green milk paint on it. 

This is a closer view of the carved back and shows the two tenons that hold it in place. They are each secured with a wedge below the seat. 

This is the back as it was nearing completion on the carving bench. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sounds of Spring

   Well it is not art and I am not even going to post a picture but wanted to say that the sounds of spring are returning to the landscape. In the last week while being in the woods collecting sap I have heard the Sandhill Cranes passing high overhead out of my limited sight from within the woods. Last night was the first of the spring peepers calling so as the old saying goes they will need to call three more times before it is spring which means the weather needs to cool down and warm up three more times for it to be spring. One other sound coming from low wooded areas just at dusk was the Woodcocks calling to one another which means they are stopping by on their migration north. All add to the chorus of sounds that define spring and it is all wonderful. Enjoy the season!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Now thats Syrup!

Here is a shot of boiling hot syrup being checked with the Hydrometer to make sure it is syrup. That little red line hovering just above the liquid shows that it has the right specific gravity for the correct sugar content that proves this is indeed maple syrup. I use this a couple of times a day to check the thermometer as barometric pressure changes during the day moving the boiling point. 

Here is the thermometer just over the 7 degree mark which is 7 degrees above the boiling point of water which is the correct temperature for maple syrup. This right when I would start to draw off the syrup and would continue until it drops back down to just below the 7.  Using this and the hydrometer is the best system I have found to ensure each batch is just right that I have found for my operation. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cooking Syrup

  Here are some pics from today around the sugarhouse. Thought some might find this interesting.

  This is a shot of the syrup pan with fresh sap in it right after I flooded the pans for the first time this year. You can see it is as clear as water, as the season goes on it will continue to darken as it  comes out of the trees as they push more nutrients up the tree in preparation for leafing out. 

  This is shot of the floatbox that controls the incoming sap into the sap pan. The sap comes from the holding tank outside through the preheater in the in the steam hood which uses the outgoing steam to preheat the incoming sap raising its temperature as much as a 100 degrees which increases the efficiency of the evaporator by 20-30%. Today it was running 25-30 gallons of sap an hour but it was an ideal day for cooking. 

This is the front floatbox which controls the flow of sap into the syrup pan, both of these floats are adjustable and require some attention throughout the day. Notice I have a plug in place here restricting flow into the floatbox which will be removed as I flood the pans with fresh sap. 

   This is the view everyone with a sugarhouse wants to see when they open the big door at the beginning of the sugar season. I will use between 2 and 3 cords of wood to cook off the water each year.  A cord of stacked wood measures 4 feet wide by 4 feet high and 8 feet long. These things are hungry, very hungry! 


Here is a shot down the float side of the machine showing everything in place right after I lit up for the day. I put all of this together this morning getting things ready to go. everything will stay in place until the season ends. I might pull the the syrup pan if we get a break and clean the sugarsand that builds up on it and reduces its heat transfer abilities. I use vinegar to break down the buildups on the pans and will let it soak with vinegar in it for a couple of weeks after the season ends to make cleanup easier. 

Here you can see steam coming out of the cupola and if you look close can see the heat coming out of the stack. That is a 10 inch diameter stack running wide open so you can see why we need so much wood. My sap pan is what is called a raised flue pan which means it has 5 inch tall corrugations in its bottom to increase the surface area for heat transfer. When I flood the pans it takes about 25 gallons of sap, from the time I light the fire it will bring all of that cold sap to a rolling boil in 15 minutes so you can see these things are well designed for their intended purpose. I try and run my stack at 600 degrees which is about all she will do and is controlled by fuel load and an air damper at the firebox. 

This is the syrup pan at the end of the day and you can see the color change as the sugar is concentrated. This will make syrup right after startup in the morning and then I will pull off syrup about every 1 1/2-2 hours until we quit in a few weeks. I pull just under a gallon each time if everything is going right. 

   This is a shot of the magic thermometer on the outlet side of the syrup pan. You notice it starts at 0 then has a 7 and then on to 50. These are adjustable which makes them even more interesting! What we do is boil this in the morning before we start and set it at 0 when we reach a rolling boil for 5 minutes in plain water. Because the boiling point of water changes with barometric pressure and we have to have a true 0 to know where we are with the syrup we do this with any change in the ambient pressure. Then when it reads 7 we are at the correct concentration of sugar to have syrup. I will show this tomorrow when I have syrup so you can see what it looks like. To make sure things are right I also use a Hydrometer which tells us the specific gravity of the syrup at 220 degrees F. I will try and get a shot of that also. 

Here is the sugar house at quitting time. The cardboard on the floor helps save the knees when shoving wood in the firebox which you have to do about 5-7 minutes. Hope you enjoyed the tour of my syrup operation!