Sunday, April 01, 2007

"White Owl" -- oil on canvas -- 48x36" -- Margie Guyot

Once again I played hookey from going plein-air painting with my buddies and stayed home to do a still life painting. Since last November, I think we've only had 1 Saturday with sun here in Michigan, and I was just tired of dark, gloomy (and rainy!) days. Yesterday was just another classic "sour owlshit brown" Saturday, so I holed up in my studio and painted screaming oranges all day, listening to my collection of Diana Krall CDs. Last Sunday I started setting this one up and it was driving me nuts for days. I kept taking everything off my rigged-up table, then putting stuff back on, taking it all off, putting back on. I wanted to find orange tulips, but nobody seemed to have them. So I bought orange lilies. All the vases and figurines I've scavenged from garage sales. The owl came from some old guy's garage sale and he was such a flirt! He'd built a treehouse in his front yard and had a mannequin in a bikini posed as if she was waving at passersby. And of course those are my shoes! Life's too short to be conservative.

I woke up during the night on Friday, thinking about this painting. Or, more correctly, the canvas surface. Originally I'd started painting something else on it but didn't like it. Last year a friend told me he recycles unwanted paintings by coating them with oil-based primer. I slapped some on this stretched canvas spring of 2006. But -- oy vey! When I tried painting on it, all the dark colors were dissolving into the supposedly dry primer! It was actually sticky to paint on. Very frustrating. I laid there in bed, thinking about that nasty canvas, thinking I'd have to go buy a new canvas in the morning and throw this old thing out.

Saturday morning I slept in until 4 AM (my usual time is 3 AM) and was so impatient for the sun to rise. Due to glare, I never paint from artificial lighting. When it got light enough to see decently, I went in and just started painting. Drawing this one in was pretty tough (I am far too impatient to take slides, wait for processing, then project and trace images!). I think it took me just as long to draw the basic arrangement in as it did to paint it. At least it felt that way. The glass bowls and large vase were interesting challenges, but not impossible.

So now it's Sunday and the sun is out, of course! I'm going to a big orchid show with my neighbors and maybe to our favorite resale shop.

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