Hometown artist exhibits first at Besser Museum, then around U.S.

As an artist with business acumen, E.P. Lewandowski of Alpena takes charge of every aspect of his art from designing the perfect environment in which to create his meticulously rendered colored pencil studies to handling the nuts and bolts of framing, shipping, marketing and publicity.

His sheer talent and his marketing efforts are paying dividends.

Beginning May 11, a retrospective of Lewandowski’s work goes on exhibit for three months at the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan before being sent off to Colorado, Maine, Texas, Tennessee and Calumet, Mich., for other solo and group exhibits.

“In 2004, when I started out, I didn’t know where I was going but I knew if I got into it, it would be body and soul,” Lewandowski said of his later-in-life career.

Nearly a decade later, he appears to be making a splash in the world of art with numerous awards to his credit and several recent spreads in national magazines devoted to his work. Besides all the upcoming solo and group exhibits he will be doing this calendar year, he also has been asked to conduct a drawing workshop in Chicago for the Colored Pencil Society of America, and he has entries in six national or international competitions. Additionally, his work can be seen in multiple galleries throughout the state and country.

Self-described as living in a “very organized” world, some would say Lewandowski is a one-man operation.

From his light-infused home overlooking Lake Huron, he does his drawing in a studio replete with soothing music, sweeping views of marsh and water, and all the tools he needs at his fingertips. He’s taken over most of a utility room with the equipment required for framing finished pieces.

One guest bedroom is used for storing mounds of paper supplies, and a second doubles as storage for completed works earmarked for shipping to various galleries and buyers across the country. His garage now doubles as the packing department.

“Very few professional artists have the luxury of knowing the business side,” Lewandowski said. “It’s a rarity, and fewer and fewer people are making a living these days from their art.”

Before he retired from business, Lewandowski worked six days a week. With this second career, he now he finds himself putting in seven.

“Everything is budgeted in terms of time,” he said. “I draw every day, do some framing, pricing, inventory, ordering. My world is very organized.”

His wife Mary, a retired teacher, keeps him balanced and completely supports his efforts. The two take time to enjoy the natural world around them, to engage in a daily game of Scrabble, to exercise and to spend time with friends.

But it is his art that Lewandowski remains most passionate about.

“When I am drawing, it’s a secret world,” he said. “I can get lost in my drawing for one to five hours and it feels like only one to five minutes.”

He has perfected the use of prismacolor pencils, bringing a sense of movement to his cascading waterscapes. The medium, he said, isn’t one that previously received much attention in the art world, although that is changing.

His exhibit at the Besser Museum will showcase a selection of 60 of his drawings from 2006 through 2013 and include several early wildlife studies, nature renderings, his award winning waterscape images, and his latest diptych compositions.

An opening reception is planned for May 11 from 5-7 p.m., with two Giclee limited edition prints by the artist to be given away during the evening event.

Excited to share his artistic journey with his local community, Lewandowski will also be conducting two art workshops at the Besser Museum. Introduction to Colored Pencil Drawing is slated for June 1 and Advanced Color Pencil Drawing for June 8.

To register for either workshop, call the museum at 356-2202. For more information about the artist and his works, go to www.erwinplewandowski.com.