Cranbrook Home & Gardens

Life, Photography

One of the many outings our family enjoys during the summer months is to visit the nearby Cranbrook House and Gardens in Bloomfield Hills. Cranbrook is the oldest Metropolitan Detroit historic manor dating back over 100 years. It was built by Ellen and George Booth. Ellen was the eldest daughter of James Scripts, founder of the Detroit News and George was the owner of a successful iron-working company in Windsor, Ontario. The couple wed in 1887 and initially lived in the city of Detroit. The following year, George joined his father-in-law as an executive in the Scripps family publishing empire which did business throughout the entire Mid-west.

Rear View of Cranbrook House

Over time the couple accumulated much wealth by investing in other Michigan-run newspapers. Together with his brothers, George went on to establish the Booth Publishing Company, the most extensive and profitable in Michigan history. The Booths longed for a large country estate to raise their five children and in 1907 they broke ground on the 174-acre property in Bloomfield Hills. Booths’ long-term friend and noted Detroit architect, Albert Kahn, designed the English Arts and Crafts Style estate. Even after the Booths moved in, building continued adding many terraces, wings, outbuildings, gardens, and walking paths until the early 1920’s.

Backyard View of Cranbrook House

Backyard View of Cranbrook House

Viewing Pond

Viewing Pond Behind House

Booth personally commissioned tapestries, wood carvings, furniture, metalwork, glass work, fine bindings and other decorative items from leading American and European artisans and crafts firms for the house. He also acquired several important works of art by old masters for the residence.

Once their home was complete, they turned their attention to giving back to the community and established the Brookside School for children, the Cranbrook School for boys, the Kingswood School for girls, Christ Church Cranbrook, the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and the Cranbrook Institute of Science.

Together these make up one of the most exclusive and beautiful educational campus’ in the Midwest. For more information regarding the house click here: Cranbrook House and Gardens. For information regarding the schools click here: Cranbrook School.

Drone View of Cranbrook Christ Church

Drone View of Cranbrook Christ Church


Buildings, JenArt, Pastel

In between learning to paint with oils, I needed to create something in a familiar medium, to remind myself that I can do this! I came across this incredible picture of Venice, Italy on Facebook. My depiction doesn’t do Venice justice, but I like the overall feel, especially the water. This was also a great learning experience in perspective. It’s been since my Design days, about 20 years, that I have tackled perspective drawing. So, I had to dig deep in my memory bank to retrieve those lessons. It’s not perfect, but nothing ever is.

The Bridge

JenArt, Life
The Bridge
9″x 12″ Tempera Painting on Cardboard Adapted from Photograph

My Junior year in high school we studied the Post-Impressionists. My favorite was Georges Seurat. I found his Pointillism technique fascinating – laying thousands of colored dots next to each other instead of the typical blending – and letting the observer’s eyes do the work of combining in order to achieve the right colors.

As part of the lesson, we had to research a well-known artist and create a painting in their style. “The Bridge” above was my feeble attempt to copy Seurat and his Pointillism.

In 1987 my mom and I took a trip to Chicago and visited the Art Institute of Chicago. What a wonderful place to see the Impressionist’s paintings! I was especially excited to see Georges Seurat’s paintings up close! When I spotted A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, I just starred in reverie for the longest time. It was incredible! Of course I’d seen pictures in books but nothing could compare to the real thing up close!