Amidst financial woes and economic stress, there is still rich color and beauty in the world. The texture and colors of a fallen tree, the clear blue water running through a narrow stream—the Up North landscapes that inspire watercolorist Richard Forrest are on display at Twisted Fish Art Gallery in Elk Rapids through June 28.

Forrest’s show, Nature’s Images, is meant to remind people that, despite hard times, there is always beauty.

“(Forrest) loves to paint things that make him happy, and even in hard times like we have now, he is still seeing beauty,” said Charlie Steit, who owns Twisted Fish Art Gallery with her husband Bob Steit. “He paints with a great open heart.”

Forrest, a Muskegon native who moved to Leelanau County 16 years ago for the fly-fishing, found inspiration in the freedom and charm of the north. While he used to paint a lot of birds and fish in his free time, he has slowed things down a bit after a decade in Northern Michigan. Now he focuses primarily on the many landscapes that catch his eye.

“I’m drawn to textures, lights, shadows, colors. Anything from leaves to waterfalls. I find beauty in all of it,” he said.

Forrest isn’t alone in his quest to share the beauty of Northern Michigan through watercolors. Two of the four shows Twisted Fish Art Gallery has on tap for summer will feature artists who work exclusively with watercolors.

Check out these upcoming exhibits at Twisted Fish Art Gallery:

June 5 to 28

Richard Forrest: A watercolor artist who focuses primarily on the beauty of Northern Michigan.

July 3 to 26

Three Friends Together: An exhibit featuring Jerry Gates, Rufus Snoddy and Julie Pearson together for the first time.

July 31 to August 23

Charles Murphy: An artist who uses both watercolor and oils to create work that is representational and abstract.

August 28 to September 20

Mike McDonnell: An artist with a unique watercolor style that canvasses past and present.

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Photo(s) by Courtesy of Richard Forrest