a July 13, 2006, article by Corin Blust for the
Tim Lewis bids the Big Apple goodbye for “ideal” Empire
Timothy Lewis, an Empire watercolorist, was raised in Midland, attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, and lived in New York City for most of his adult life, but he spent his childhood summers hanging out at his grandfather’s barbershop in downtown Empire. “I could go down and hang out at the barber shop and hear all these local stories and folklore, and it was a lot of fun. It was the ideal boyhood,” Tim told me in his Empire studio and home.
Tim relocated to his family’s Empire home after a divorce about four years ago. “My mother was born here and died here, and my grandmother lived to be almost 100 years old here,” he says.
Tim Lewis paints detailed and inventive watercolors ranging from geometric abstractions to quirky works that hint at his long illustration career in the Big Apple. When he moved to Leelanau County he began painting mermaids.
“I got into painting mermaids because I figured that there were a lot of artists in this area already doing the fish scene, and I haven’t seen many mermaids, actual or invented.”
Lewis draws his inspiration from the natural areas in and around Leelanau County.
“There is so much in nature that inspires me. I often go down to the beach with an old-fashioned camera, not a digital one, and take close-ups of patterns in sand, or a design on a rock. We have such a wonderful beach [in Empire],” he adds.
His whimsical designs also come out of his own imagination. One of the most important things Tim tries to include in his paintings is a lot of movement and detail.
“I want the viewer to be able to go back into the painting and look at different areas and discover new things, instead of putting it up on the wall and forgetting about it,” he says.
In the past Tim Lewis has exhibited at several galleries in Benzie, Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties, and his work is currently decorating the walls at Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate just south of Empire. Swing by and check him out as you surround yourself by chocolate bliss.